Smashing Newsletter: Issue #34

This newsletter issue was sent out to 57,251 newsletter subscribers on May 24th 2010.

Every other week our editorial team works on short, entertaining and (of course) relevant articles for the upcoming issue. The newsletter is sent out on Tuesdays, and contains unique tips and tricks for designers and Web developers, written by us exclusively for our email subscribers. You can subscribe to the e-mail newsletter, of course.

Table of Contents

01. HTML5 Diagnostics With CSS
02. “If Then” Statements For Online Tasks
03. Test Your Android Apps On The Most Popular Devices
04. David Rumsey’s Map Collection
05. Educate Your Clients
06. Showoff: Easily Share Localhost
07. Drawing Your Happiness

1. HTML5 Diagnostics With CSS

Whether you are working with a third party CSS code, or explore weird CSS quirks in your own code, often you have to dedicated some time for lengthy debugging sessions. But there is a little helper for you: Holmes makes it easy to find errant mark-up.

HTML5 Diagnostics with CSS

Essentially, the tool a diagnostic CSS style sheet that highlights possibly invalid or erroneous mark-up. Just add a single class, and it will create a red border around errors, a yellow border around warnings and a gray border around deprecated styles. In addition to the downloadable CSS style sheet, there’s also a Holmes bookmarklet that lets you apply holmes.css to any page in your browser. (cc)

2. “If Then” Statements For Online Tasks

“If then” statements are common in the programming world, but a bit less common in our daily lives, even though they could simplify things. Being able to trigger one action when something else happens would be a huge time-saver for people who have to perform repetitive tasks. Wouldn’t it be great to send a new mock-up via email and automatically upload the image on BaseCamp, share it via Dribbble and post it on Facebook? Being able to trigger actions based on regular activities would be a dream come true for many people.

If-Then Statements for Online Tasks

That’s where ifttt (if this then that) comes in. Just create simple “if then” actions based on common activities, and let ifttt automate them. Trigger an email when the weather forecast predicts rain so that you remember your umbrella. Send a tweet every time you add a new bookmark to your Delicious account. Do any number of tasks based on channels and triggers. You could automate all of these actions from a single source, rather than relying on various widgets and plug-ins to get the job done. The service is currently in private beta, but you can request an invite. (cc)

3. Test Your Android Apps On The Most Popular Devices

Google Android is creating more diversity in the smartphone market but is also plagued by fragmentation woes. And this fragmentation has become frustrating for many developers. Testing applications on various devices is a nightmare, especially because you just don’t have access to all those devices.

Test Your Android Apps On Most Popular Devices

DeviceReady is a service that helps developers test their Android apps on more than 25 devices. Using the submission tool, a developer navigates through the various screens of their app, with their actions being recorded. The app is then run on actual physical devices (not emulators), and the developer gets back a stack of screenshots for each device to see exactly how the app looks and performs on each device. The tool isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start. (tb)

4. David Rumsey’s Map Collection

David Rumsey’s Map Collection is a large collection of maps of the world from 1700 to the 1950s. The project was started over 25 years ago and contains over 26,000 high-resolution images of maps, with new ones added regularly. A good number of historical maps are also mapped to Google Earth and Google Maps. so you can track them on current geographic data.

David Rumsey's Map Collection

The project provides access to carefully catalogued high-resolution images of maps, as well as a variety of tools for comparing, analyzing and viewing items in new and experimental ways. The website is updated monthly. (il)

5. Educate Your Clients

Clients sometimes approach Web design projects with specific ideas in mind. Many of them have read an article here or there or spoken with a self-proclaimed expert who told them that one rule or another of Web design was unbreakable. And so your client comes to you insisting that everything be kept “above the fold” or that you should do something that just doesn’t make sense to professional designers any more (and perhaps never did).

Educate Your Clients

Enter Wee Nudge. It’s a collection of helpful articles, broken down by topic, that give you the information you need to convince clients that their way isn’t necessarily the only way to do things. Articles are from leading sources in the Web design and graphic design industries, including A List Apart, AIGA and more. (cc)

6. Showoff: Easily Share Localhost

Demonstrating your ongoing projects could be a huge pain. In general, your best option is to upload the files to a server somewhere. You could prepare a video or send over a huge package of files or just .zip it somewhere on project collaboration website. But waht if just want to quickly show someone a project you’re working on without sending over the large files?

Showoff.io: Easily Share Localhost

Showoff aims to solve this problem. Just use the show command, and Showoff creates a “tunnel” between your computer and the Web. Share the URL with whoever needs to view the local files, and you’re all set. A five-minute sharing session is free (great if you just need some quick feedback). If you need to provide access for longer, you can get a one-day pass for $1, or get unlimited access for $5 per month. (cc)

7. Drawing Your Happiness

Feelings and emotions can be quite difficult to describe to others. DrawHappy is an ongoing global art project by Catherine Young that attempts to share the diverse meanings of happiness with people all around the world. Over 150 drawings have been shared already, and they prove well that art does not need language to be understood worldwide; it can be understood by people of all ages, cultures and nations.

Drawing Your Happiness

The things that can make a person happy are countless. When submitting a sketch, you are asked to mention some details about yourself and where you were while doing the sketch. The daily contributions on DrawHappy are interesting indeed and provide a positive dose of inspiration. So, what is your definition of happiness? (il)

The authors are: Iris Ljesnjanin (il), Thomas Burkert (tb), Cameron Chapman (cc).

The Smashing Newsletter Team prepares bi-weekly newsletter issues with lots of love and appreciation for the good ol' Web with the latest tips and tricks for designers and Web developers. Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine's editor-in-chief, started this project back in early 2010. Today, we can't imagine a better way of informing and communicating with our fans and readers!

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