Posts Tagged ‘Tools’

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Tools’.

Professional Web Design Forums

Web design-related forums are a place where you interact with other designers, exchange ideas or discuss your first drafts. When you have a problem, you can post the issue, and then receive feedback on possible design or coding solutions from community members. This interaction is a great way to establish contacts and build relationships. Forums are used for networking and marketing purposes. They are practical places to solve problems and can serve as a form of social diversion.

Designers Talk Forum

As designers and developers, we choose a forum depending on its ability to approach our needs. In best case the forum should be large enough, moderators should be cooperative and the posts should be responded quickly. There is nothing worse than posting a thread on a forum and no one replies to it.

In forums, users develop a reputation over time. The forum software can be used to track this. Some forums allow users to rate each other as well. Also, the more you participate and the more professional input you bring to the community, the more other members will recognize you and respect your opinion.

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Productivity Boost: Key Stroke Launchers

Productivity is a tricky thing. Once you've found your way to get things done, you aren't likely to change anything until the system (your workflow or your tools) doesn't work any more. For instance, many developers tend to use the very same versions of applications they've been using over years. After all, you get things done and you've got used to it — so why should you introduce any changes? "Never touch the running system" is the principle which is often followed in such situations.

However, this approach has its drawbacks. For instance, you might simply be not aware of some useful tools which would save you many headaches, a lot of money and dozens of sleepless nights. Using them, you can become more efficient, more productive and consequently minimize the time you spend on tiring, monotonous daily routine tasks.

Over the next months we are going to cover a number of useful tools, services and applications which might help you to improve your workflow and increase your productivity. Most of them will turn out to be life-savers in practice, as they help you to accomplish some tasks automatically and you would need to do them manually otherwise.

Launchy

In this article we present some free key stroke launchers — desktop-applications which you can use to start some other applications without a single mouse click.

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Frameworks Round-Up: When To Use, How To Choose?

Software frameworks provide developers with powerful tools to develop more flexible and less error-prone applications in a more effective way. Software frameworks often help expedite the development process by providing necessary functionality “out of the box”. Such things include user/role management, data access, caching, and much more. These frameworks aid in helping you focus on the more important details of design and even project management by alleviating the need to reinvent the wheel for common development needs.

There are frameworks that cover specific areas of application development such as JavaScript/CSS frameworks that target the presentation (view) layer of the application, and there are others that handle more of the dynamic aspects of the application. Some include both!

cakePHP

In the following we present an overview of most popular web application frameworks; we cover both server-side (PHP, Java, C#, Ruby) and client-side approaches (JavaScript, CSS).

You can also take a look at

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Online Calendars and Date Pickers

Calendars always come in handy. Whether you are planning a schedule for your next project, manage your appointments or simply want to keep track on events you are going to take part in — to get things done in time you need a clear, simple and user-friendly time line. The more flexible your calendars are, the more effectively you can work with them. E.g. setting up your milestones, defining your deadlines and shifting your time line once unexpected problems occur. Besides, if you can get notified once the deadline is coming up or update the data once you stuck in the traffic then your calendar can turn out to be a real life-saver and boost your effectiveness.

Online calendars can also be useful if you'd like to publish your schedule or share it with your colleagues instantly — instead of sending hundreds of e-mails via a mailing list. Or if you'd like to provide your visitors with a date picker — e.g. for your web form. In fact, online calendar services, scripts, tools and software applications are useful for everybody.

Compact Calendar

This post presents a detailed overview of calendar scripts (Ajax, PHP, DHTML etc.), applications, tools and related services, including CSS-styling of online calendars and web-services you can use to generate a printable weekly planners and monthly and yearly calendars for free.

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Charts And Graphs: Modern Solutions

Charts are supposed to visualize data in order to give a more profound understanding of the nature of a given problem or recent developments. Whatever type of data presentation you prefer (pie charts, bubble charts, bar graphs, network diagrams etc.), you can create charts in graphic editors manually or use special desktop-software instead. In both cases you have a major problem: once you’d like to update an old chart, or create a new one, you have to run the application and create new images over and over again. That’s not flexible. That's also not usable — e.g. if you'd like to update your chart live.

Server-based solutions, implemented with Flash, JavaScript or pure CSS, offer a more flexible alternative. In fact, since Flash offers significant advantages over static data presentation with CSS and JavaScript, most solutions use it for dynamic data visualization. The data itself is often stored in XML-files which are loaded and updated via PHP or ASP. The price range varies enormously — depending on the flexibility and level of customization you'd like to have. However, if you don't want to pay, you don't have to — there are powerful free solutions as well.

Chart Demo Screenshot

This article presents an overview of tools, applications and techniques for visualizing data in charts and graphs. Among other things both free and commercial chart tools, services, desktop-applications and web-based solutions (Flash, JavaScript, CSS) — you can use them on your server — are presented.

Please notice that the solutions listed below don't necessarily produce charts which serve the main purpose of data visualization — namely, to provide an easy-to-use visual presentation of (possibly) complex data sets. It's far more important that the presented information is usable and comprehensible rather than presented in a visually appealing way. Outstanding data visualizations aren't achieved by the beauty of data presentation, but by an effective interpretation of the data it represents.

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Flash-Based Galleries For Your Images

In many situations web designers should avoid Flash and prefer usual text-based presentation. For instance, in most tasks related to pure text presentation Flash is neither necessary nor user-friendly, and it also has some serious accessibility problems: in fact, "pure" text is easier to maintain and easier to copy and paste.

However, if you'd like to present some multimedia-content, particularly images, Flash can often be a feasible solution, with flexible image management for web designers and impressive visual presentation for users. Used moderately, Flash-based galleries can give the presentation a fresh spark and create a rich visual experience you might want to offer your visitors.

Polaroid Flash Gallery

In this post we present some of the free, attractive and flexible Flash-based galleries you can use to present your images more effectively. Read more...

Screensavers – Best Of

Long, long time ago screensavers have been used to prevent the so-called screen-burn-effect — a permanent disfigurement of areas on a CRT display caused by non-moving text or graphics being displayed continuously for long periods of time. To avoid this effect, screen savers have been used to blank the screen or fill it with moving images or patterns when the computer was not in use. Today, screensavers don't serve their original purpose and are primarily used for entertainment.

In fact, we don't need screensavers any more, however we tend to use them as eye-candy for our coffee breaks. Particularly complex and colourful 3D-screensavers are extremely nice to look at. But also if you'd like to lift your spirit with some calm and relaxing animations screensavers can definitely be just what you are looking for.

Screenshot

However, if you are tired of the default screensavers brought to you by your OS you might start searching for the fresh ones in the Web. And you'll quickly find out: the choice is enormous; freeware is usually supplied with adware, and there are literally thousands of commercial solutions. What screensaver to choose? Most companies have limited demo- and shareware-versions, but they are almost always rather disturbing than helpful and will only get on your nerves.

In fact, there are only few pearls - amazing screensavers you'd be really ready to pay for once you've tested them. We've downloaded and installed a hell of a lot of them, we've had many problems (mostly adware) with them, but in the end we've tested all of them. And we've selected the most beautiful, interesting and unusual screensavers for you. Among them Flickr-, RSS- and time-screensavers - in the overview below both free and commercial solutions are presented.

Please notice:

  • in the overview below you won't find enormous screensaver collections such as Screensaver.com (10 points for the first user mentioning this site in our comments). We've also tried to avoid sites filled with advertisements, pop-ups and hidden ad blocks. We also ignored cheap "discount screensaver providers" — mostly they offer just image galleries, and not real screensavers;
  • screensavers are executable programs. Therefore: caution, Windows-users! We've tested the software presented below, still: use them at your own risk.
  • some screensavers don't work properly on dual-monitors;
  • you might also be interested in Selected Wallpapers For Your Desktop we've presented few weeks ago.
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