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Smashing Newsletter: Issue #85

This newsletter issue was sent out to 154,346 newsletter subscribers on Tuesday, May 28th 2013. If you are not subscribed yet, feel free to subscribe to our email newsletter1 anytime.


Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on performance improvements for Smashing Magazine — optimizing CSS/JavaScript, and refactoring and cleaning up the code base. As a result, you will hopefully notice a slight speed improvement and faster loading times. As it is, refactoring usually means that code is being rewritten, so you have to be able to quickly toggle between old and new code snippets to see if refactored code does what it’s supposed to do. So how do we do it efficiently?


Alexander Brevig has shared his comment toggle trick3 to solve this very issue. Essentially, by using an extra backslash at the beginning and at the end of your code snippet, you can toggle between two sets of code, by changing one symbol in the code, with no additional short-keys to learn and no tool dependencies. That’s a clever technique; however, you do need to remember it first. What tricks are you using for refactoring?

P.S. We’ve also been fixing quite spectacular ePUB bugs using a similar technique for our eBooks when testing them in Nook and on iBooks for our Smashing Library. What problems have you run into and how did you solve them? Share them using the hashtag #smrefactoring!

Sincerely yours,
The Smashing Team

Table of Contents

  1. Apps And Tools For Creative Professionals4
  2. For The Love Of Letterpress5
  3. Button, Button, Where Goes The Button6
  4. A Bunch Of Animated Dribbble Shots7
  5. A Fast And Easy Way To Share Emails8
  6. Retro Games Reinvented, In The Browser9
  7. The Secret Colors Of Movies10
  8. Sqwiggle: Remote Working, Made Awesome11

1. Apps And Tools For Creative Professionals

Often, creative professions don’t involve as much creative play as we might wish, just the more serious business work. Deadlines need to be met, clients want to be satisfied, and project management plans must be arranged — all things art school probably never prepared you for. To simplify these tasks, the team behind 4ormat has put together a great resource filled with apps and tools to help you increase your productivity and creativity: Damn You Art School12.

Apps And Tools For Creative Professionals13

The site features six different toolkits, each one filled to the top with productivity and creativity apps, tools and resources. Whether you’re a communication designer, illustrator or even photographer, there is a toolbox tailored specially to your profession’s needs. The virtual drawers are neatly labeled, covering every possible aspect of your work, from collaboration and client communication to accounting and invoicing. Save time getting the necessary stuff done and spend some more time living out your creative passion. Sounds good, doesn’t it? (cm)

2. For The Love Of Letterpress

“Nothing you truly care about can be made by a nameless face in a far flung country and left out in the rain on your porch the next day.” There are people in this world who truly care about devoting their attention to long-forgotten machines, and paper being squeezed by tons of iron — people who love letterpress. This love is what The Beauty of Letterpress14 is all about. Brought into life by Neenah Paper, The Beauty of Letterpress features the best and most innovative letterpress work in the industry.

For The Love Of Letterpress15

Just like a subtle letterpress print, the website reveals all its fine details when you look closer. It features the work of well-recognized designers and also presents you with a number of insightful videos on letterpress process and printing. In addition, The Beauty of Letterpress wants to help the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum16 in their efforts to relocate and preserve their matchless piece of history. Anyone can donate by ordering a print from one of the site’s monthly issues, or lots of other paper goodies. The money will all go to the museum, towards moving palettes, packing and storage materials, sorting and cataloging the museum’s inventory and the like. For the love of letterpress. (Quote by Workhorse Printmakers17) (ea)

3. Button, Button, Where Goes The Button

Common Misconceptions About Touch18 isn’t new guidelines for inter-personal contact, it’s the title of Steven Hoober19‘s article on designing for touchscreens. Of course, there are many articles and guides out there that deal with the same subject, yet this one delivers what it promises.

Button, Button, Where Goes The Button20

In his article, Steven deals with details as simple as thumb size, as well as with logical conclusions, such as that placing the delete-your-account button next to the check-your-messages button is a recipe for disaster. He also includes some very handy size guidelines to use when designing for phones and tablets. All in all, this article is 15 minutes of well-spent reading. (jc)

4. A Bunch Of Animated Dribbble Shots

If you love animations, then you got to check out GUIFFF21, a collection of animated Dribbble shots curated by Jan Cantor22. Looking at these designs might turn any animator green with jealous rage, but isn’t jealousy so inspiring? If you care to know more about the designs and the people behind, just click on the gif to go to the original post on Dribbble.

A Bunch Of Animated Dribbble Shots23

For those of you who are eager to design something like this, it might be worth checking out the comments section below the original posts. Here, some of the designers tell us which tools and software they used to create the gifs, and in some cases even provide tutorials and project files. GUIFFF is a great source of inspiration for anyone who wants to take UX and UI to the next level. (ea)

5. A Fast And Easy Way To Share Emails

Sharing beautiful HTML emails can be a real pain. Simply forwarding them can break the code, screenshots are time-consuming and annoying. Scope is a free tool to solve those problems. It creates a clean, Web-based version of any email and even lets you view the desktop and mobile versions.

A Fast And Easy Way To Share Emails

Simply drag the bookmarklet into your browser toolbar or download it for Mac. It will then present your email in HTML or text-only. But instead of simply providing a clean screenshot, it lets you scroll down like you would on an actual device. Scope is perfect to share great emails or show off your own projects. (ml)

6. Retro Games Reinvented, In The Browser

Ah, the good old days! Do you remember those sleepless nights when you eagerly played in front of your Game Boy, trying to move that poor, tireless game character to the next level in the game? Well, if you miss those times, you can easily relive them online, in your browser.

Retro Games Reinvented, In The Browser24

Pica-Pic25 is a digitized collection of handheld electronic games, including the legendary Donkey Kong, Penguin Land, Parachute, Caveman and of course Zelda. Now that’s something to save for a slow weekday evening! (vf)

7. The Secret Colors Of Movies

Remember the first time you watched Amélie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet? That warm, fuzzy feeling accompanying you throughout the film. If you’re an art movie buff, you know that this is due to Jeunet’s very distinctive color palette style. Always a yellowish, greenish tint. Color creates mood. Now you can let yourself get inspired by the color palettes of iconic movies on Roxy Radulescu26‘ blog.

The Secret Colors Of Movies27

Radulescu’s Movies In Color28 blog features a new movie still every day with its associated color palettes. The idea is to provide inspiration to artists deciding on color palettes for their paintings, films, videos and graphic design. Radulescu chooses a new still every day and, using Photoshop, distills the most worthy colors from it. If you have any requests, feel free to write her. (jc)

8. Sqwiggle: Remote Working, Made Awesome

Working from home is pretty trendy right now and is expected to become even more popular over time. Sqwiggle29 is a handy new tool that promises to make remote working a lot better because it gives your team the ability to to communicate effectively and bond with each other, even if you’re physically separate.

Sqwiggle: Remote Working, Made Awesome30

While Skype and Google Hangout offer a service that is call-based and relies on someone setting up a meeting, Sqwiggle can run the whole day. It takes several snapshots per minute while you’re working and your team members can see if you’re on the computer or not. This gives you a sense of having a community around you which is as close to an office atmosphere as it can get. You also have the option to display a busy note if you want people to be prevented from contacting you. So far there’s a Web version and a Mac client, but Windows and Linux should be supported in the future. Join now and save, with a lifetime 45% discount. (ml)

The authors in this newsletter are: Cosima Mielke (cm), Esther Arends (ea), Jan Constantin (jc), Melanie Lang (ml), Iris Lješnjanin (il), Vitaly Friedman (vf), Sven Lennartz (sl), Christiane Rosenberger (research), Elja Friedman (tools), Clarissa Peterson (proofreading).


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The Smashing Editorial 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!

  1. 1

    Luc Latulippe

    May 28, 2013 4:17 pm

    Great stuff thanks! (Btw, any plans to make the newsletter email itself more mobile-friendly/responsive?)

  2. 2

    Awesome! Thanks for adding GUIFFF on the list :)


  3. 3

    Also really appreciate you adding Sqwiggle to the list! Means a lot to us!

  4. 4

    I saw a Tweet
    I read a sample
    I subscribed right away
    I got my own first issue (same day)
    I read
    I pondered
    I browsed
    I am happy now
    I can’t wait for the next one


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