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Smashing Newsletter: Issue #49

This newsletter issue was sent out to 99,408 newsletter subscribers on December 20th 2011. If you haven’t subscribed yet, feel free to subscribe to our email newsletter1. Thank you.


As I am still on the road in the Middle East, and my postcards haven’t arrived yet, I talked to my office family back home in Freiburg and they told me that the Christmas Bundle deals of the coming days are going to be smashing! If you are looking for Christmas presents for your friends or colleagues, make sure to check our Web Design Bundle2 (57% off!) and our upcoming digital Smashing Books, mobile and coding bundles — as well as the grand finale, the ultimate Smashing Book Super bundle. I have to remind my friends!

Fortunately, I’ll be landing in Stuttgart tomorrow evening, just in time for the third Smashing Meetup with Paul Irish and Christian Heilmann. If you’re close, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to get to know Paul, Christian, the Smashing Team and myself personally! I wish you all a blissful last days of the old year! Meow!

— The Smashing Cat

Table of Contents

  1. Interactive CSS3 Lighting Effects3
  2. Mobile Web Best Practices4
  3. jQuery Credit-Card Validation Plugin5
  4. Does It Validate? Site-Wide Markup Validation6
  5. Boomerang for Gmail7
  6. The Great Discontent8
  7. Take a Christmas Break!9
  8. New on Smashing Magazine10

1. Interactive CSS3 Lighting Effects

While CSS3 is becoming mainstream, designers keep experimenting with CSS3 features and come up with quite impressive coding techniques. Things that were once possible only with Flash now lie at the doorstep of anyone who is willing to try it. Even better is what CSS3 is capable of in combination with just a bit of JavaScript.

Interactive CSS3 Lighting Effects11

Our editor Tom Giannattasio has come up with an interactive CSS3 lighting technique12. He used 3D transforms with CSS gradients and masks; the cast shadow was created using box shadows and transforms. Have a look, move your mouse around, and get ready to be pleasantly surprised. Then look at the code and start imagining what you could do with it! (ld)

2. Mobile Web Best Practices

The latest generation of mobile devices has introduced new user interface patterns, and customers have come up with new usage patterns of their own. The devices pose new challenges and opportunities, yet because the landscape is still relatively new, as designers we need to rethink the way we approach Web design and how we target users of mobile devices.

Mobile Web Best Practices13

Mobile Web Best Practices14 is a handbook with guidelines, resources and useful tips on design practices. The resource points you to the main aspects that you need to consider for mobile users and helps you solve common problems so that you can start creating future-friendly Web experiences. Helpful and comprehensive — now that’s a useful resource to always have on hand! (vf)

3. jQuery Credit-Card Validation Plugin

So, you have to integrate credit-card validation in your next project? Where do you begin? Should you break out that trusty book on regular expressions? Should you look up the numerical structures of various credit-card types? And how many credit card providers are there anyway? Good news: it doesn’t have to be that difficult.

jQuery Credit-Card Validation Plugin15

Smart Validate16 is an off-the-shelf solution that ensures users have entered a valid credit-card number before processing the transaction. The plugin supports American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Diner’s Club and Discover. Now, that’s a plugin that will save you headaches in your next e-commerce project! (vf)

4. Does It Validate? Site-Wide Markup Validation

Now that’s a question we hear often. How do you make sure that your website (perhaps a large one) validates? The official W3C validator does not let you submit several URLs at once, so checking a whole website could take a couple of hours. Now, there is a simpler, faster way to check an entire website: W3Clove17.

Does It Validate? Site-Wide Markup Validation18

It’s simple: enter your URL, click “Validate,” and the spiders will start crawling the website instantly. The spider is limited to 100 URLs per website, but that should give any owner a pretty good idea of the kind of validation problems their website has. Every website can be resubmitted after 10 minutes, which is fine because it will take you at least 10 minutes to fix the errors from the last validation check. Now, go forth confidently and ask whether your website validates. (sp)

5. Boomerang for Gmail

Over the years, Google Mail has kept gaining popularity, now becoming one of the most popular mail providers worldwide. Many features have been added over time, yet in addition to the functionality offered by the provider, developers are creating tools to improve the user experience. One good example of that is Boomerang for Gmail19.

Boomerang for Gmail20

The tool is a Firefox / Chrome plugin that lets you take control of when you send and receive email messages. It helps you manage your inbox, schedules emails for later, sets follow-up reminders for important messages, and advises you of messages that haven’t been responded to. Its developers keep track of new technologies, and the tool has recently become available for mobile, too. Put it to the test and you’ll find that you never lose conversations again. (tt)

6. The Great Discontent

Many paths lead to the same destination. Perhaps many of us were destined to become part of the creative industry in one way or another. Think back: what really made you choose the path you took? Did you have an “a-ha” moment? Did someone motivate you, or did you simply wake up one morning knowing exactly which route to take?

The Great Discontent21

Many people in this industry became what they are today by taking totally different paths. And still, everyone featured on The Great Discontent22 is a creative individual somewhere in this world. Find out what they were doing before discovering their calling, and learn about what drove them. You’ll be surprised at how simple or complicated their choices have been. “The Great Discontent is about understanding the human side of creativity and our innate drive to create that keeps pulling us forward, united in the sense that there’s something more.” You’ll see why the page is called the way it’s called. (sp)

7. Take a Christmas Break!

For many of us, Christmas isn’t always a season not to relax but to stress out. You have to buy gifts, fix up the tree, plan Christmas morning and find a peaceful seating arrangement for the relatives. You Better Not Stress23 offers some instant holiday relief to remind you that this is a season for joy.

Take a Christmas Break!24

The site shares great gift ideas, fun holiday toasts and a collection of ridiculous holiday sweaters to entertain you for a few minutes. So, lean back, enjoy a little comic relief, and forget the stress of the holidays. Now that’s a good way to get rid of stress. After all, ’tis the season to be jolly! Merry Christmas! (sp)

8. New on Smashing Magazine

Thank You For Reading!

Please share the newsletter with your friends if you feel that they would find it useful or valuable. Feel free to provide us with your feedback on the quality, length and appearance of the newsletter. We are looking forward to your feedback! And, of course, don’t forget to take a look at our Smashing Christmas Deals (up to 57% off!) which will make it easier for you to come up with quality Christmas gifts for your friends and colleagues! ;-)

The authors in this newsletter issue are: Vitaly Friedman (vf), Stephan Poppe (sp), Cameron Chapman (cc), Iris Ljesnjanin (il), Talita Telma (tt), Luca Degasperi (ld), Lisa Lang (ll), Ana Flasker (af).


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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Mitchell Caplan

    December 20, 2011 8:58 pm

    Thank you Smashing Mag for featuring our holiday site! Healthy happy holidays to your entire team!!

  2. 2

    Vitaly Friedman

    December 20, 2011 11:46 pm

    Thanks, and happy holidays to you, too! :)

  3. 3

    Hey Vitaly, thanks for featuring W3Clove in your newsletter, and mentioning it on twitter.

    We’re getting tons of visits thanks to you, more than 230K pages have already been validated through our tool :)

    Happy holidays!


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