News dév web

How to Master Your API Workflow with Postman

SitePoint.com - 17 août, 2017 - 18:00

Building good APIs is hard, and anyone who had the chance to do so can relate to this. A project can easily grow to become a mess. One can keep trying to adopt an approach to make it more enjoyable, like trying a documentation-first workflow, but something always feels clumsy.

I was trying out Postman lately, a tool we've briefly covered before, and I discovered that they're doing a great job by providing an integrated environment for different components of an API, like authorization, testing, documentation, versioning, etc.

In this article, we're going to walk through the different features that Postman provides and how we can organize them to make our API workflow less painful.

Making Requests

The first step to discovering Postman is making a simple API request and seeing the response.

From the screenshot above we can see that the view incorporates different elements. The top bar contains the request method (in this case GET), and right next to it we specify the endpoint to make the request to. If the request has some params we can specify them by clicking the Params button, which will open a table for entering them. When ready, we can click the send button to initiate the request.

The next section contains five tabs:

  • Authorization: Specifies how to authorize the request. Like Basic Auth, OAuth2, etc.
  • Headers: Any header that should be sent with the request. Like content-type, Authorization, etc.
  • Body: Request body for request types like Post, PUT, etc.
  • Pre-request Script: JS code to be executed before performing the request. (More about this later)
  • Tests: JS code to validate the response payload.

The bottom section contains all the details about the response (status, time and size). The four tabs are self explanatory, except for Tests which contains the tests result if we have any (more about this later).

Authorization

Postman supports all types of authorization, as we saw above. We're going to focus on token authorization set via header. You can read more about authorization here.

The header format that Postman will use is:

Authorization: Bearer <TOKEN>

Now, we'll go ahead and get a token we can use for our future requests. I'm testing on an in-development application of mine, but you can use any application you have lying around, or set one up quickly with Laravel as described here.

Not familiar with Laravel? Try our premium course - it's a comprehensive introduction, and you'll get the upcoming newer version of it automatically if you grab it in its current iteration!

At this point, we have a token to be used for querying data from the API as an authenticated user. However, copying and pasting the token for every request is tedious!

Environment Variables

This nice feature alleviates the pain of copy/paste and groups our variables in one place. An environment is an execution context: we may have a local environment, testing, staging, etc.

Postman has different scopes for variables:

  • Global
  • Environment
  • Local
  • Data

The global variables are available everywhere, separately from the selected environment. You can read more in the documentation.

We need at least three variables for now:

  • domain: current active subdomain company1, company2, etc.
  • url: our app URL.
  • token: Token for future authentication.

Now we can update our login endpoint to use our new environment, but first we need to select our environment from the top right selection box.

We can use our variables inside the URL, parameters, tests, etc. But how are we going to use our token now?

Well, we have two choices. The first is to copy the token and paste it as a value for the token variable (this is what we're trying to avoid).

The second method is to set this via code executed after the request is done. This is where tests come into play, let's find out what they are!

Continue reading %How to Master Your API Workflow with Postman%

Catégories: News dév web

Performance: Simple Tips for Optimizing Video on Websites

Noupe.com - 17 août, 2017 - 10:00

Video on websites has become a common element that is often used purely for design purposes. It’s a factor that you should definitely optimize for performance reasons.

Too Much Eye Candy: When the Website Becomes Fatter

We complain about loading times. Visitors vanish forever after a few seconds without pixels. We discuss if we can squeeze the last bit of air out of our image material. And then, we go ahead and put a video into our website’s header area, or even set it as a full-screen background. Hero videos are one of the newest trends in the design panopticon.

Video don’t only waste bandwidth as a useless background element, though. Even with tutorials or image films, it’s worth keeping some tips in mind, in order to keep your website’s loading time under control. It’s not a secret that the average site is becoming heavier. According to HTTPArchive, the average weight has reached 3.061kb, while the value was about half a megabyte less a year ago. Another year ago, it was another half MB lower.

Source: HTTParchive

As image compression is becoming more common and better, and designs tend to favor less, but more meaningful images, blaming the weight gain on videos is pretty obvious. HTTP Archive also confirmed that the average video weight has risen from 204kb to 729kb over the last two years.

Optimization doesn’t only mean optimizing code, requests, and images, but also optimizing videos. Thus, web developer Estelle Weyl has compiled a few tips that can help you put your website on a balanced diet.

Waiver is the Best Optimization

For me, there doesn’t have to be a hero video. I have a hard time thinking of application cases where that would be different. Generally, I’m always skeptical when it comes to videos, as it is often only used because it’s hot right now. I often notice that videos don’t say anything that the accompanying text doesn’t say. Even worse, in many cases, videos are being used in the style of Powerpoint to display text content faster. One word: useless.

When in Doubt, Leave Out the Video.

Estelle Weyl suggests at least making sure that hero videos are not loaded on small screens. This can be realized using a breakpoint, and can look like this:

@media screen and (max-width: 650px) { #hero-video { display: none; } } Only Optimized Videos Belong Into the Web

This is similar to images. Here, you wouldn’t show your web visitors an uncompressed camera image. When looking at your videos, not doing so is even more important, as they are a whole lot larger.

How You Shouldn’t Define Videos on Websites. (Photo: Pixabay)

Thus, make sure to always compress videos. FFmpeg is a flexible tool for that job. It also comes with a few developer tools, allowing you to pretty much convert any format into any other format, while compressing it, replacing or extracting audio, and much more.

The tool you use for the production of videos should be able to avoid the biggest bandwidth catastrophes on its own, though. Saving in various formats also belongs to the optimization. After all, some formats, like WebM, have much smaller file sizes than others of the same quality. Unfortunately, not every browser comprehends every format.

If you have compressed your videos and saved them in different formats, you should pay attention to the order in which you enter them into your website’s source code. As HTML is processed from top to bottom, Estelle Weyl recommends putting the lightest format, or the smallest file, in first place. The user browser will display the first video it can interpret. Now, if it could do the lighter one, while it could also do the heavier one, but the heavier one came first in the order – you know what happens.

<video width="400" height="300" controls="controls"> <!-- WebM: 10 MB --> <source src="video.webm" type="video/webm" /> <!-- MPEG-4/H.264: 12 MB --> <source src="video.mp4" type="video/mp4" /> <!-- Ogg/Theora: 13 MB --> <source src="video.ogv" type="video/ogv" /> </video>

The rules of image optimization also apply here: don’t overdo it. If you can’t keep the video quality high, leave it out entirely.

Coverrs provides free videos, if you can’t avoid it. (Screenshot: Noupe)

If you use a video as a hero only, I’m sure you wouldn’t want its audio track to play. Of course, this can be prevented with a simple parameter:

<video autoplay="" loop="" muted="true" id="hero-video"> <source src="banner_video.webm" type='video/webm; codecs="vp8, vorbis"'> <source src="web_banner.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video>

However, the audio track still exists in the video, is loaded, and wastes bandwidth. Thus, you should remove the audio track before using it as a hero. FFmpeg or your favorite video editor can help with that.

[via Standardista]

 

Catégories: News dév web

Ditch Self-Improvement: Just Stay the Way You Are

Noupe.com - 16 août, 2017 - 10:00

Freelancers are very susceptible to a trend that has been a thing since the eighties but has been gaining momentum for the last couple years. It’s called self-improvement.

You Still Have Potential

The name self-improvement itself is already one of the main problems of the trend. The general social stance in Western industrial nations prevents us from realizing this issue and abolishing it right away.

I’ve been an advocate for self-improvement for a long time, about twenty years. I guess I was made susceptible due to the skepticism towards my own opportunities, that I was raised to behave by the common education strategies of the postwar decades. Today, the reason for this skepticism of younger people is less a result of the education, but more a result of the environment. Every day, Instagram, Facebook, and all the other life time killers show you the great lives of the people you follow. My house, my boat, my car. Seems like you’re the only one that rents a place and the only one without a boat.

On a lower level of excitement, where you don’t care for the boats of others, you can still easily get the thought that you could get more out of your time than you do right now. The blogs of the competition are full of success stories, while you make your normal living. Your boss also likes to send signs that he wouldn’t mind some extra effort.

Somehow, I got on the wrong track and started buying a bunch of guides. Most of them turned out to be junk filled with commonplace, while others actually helped me boost my performance. I did this until two years ago. I was always looking for ways to improve myself, raise my productivity, and I was ready to question myself consequently.

You Are Not a Machine

What I didn’t notice was that I had already gone too far. On the morning of New Year’s Eve of 2015, my autonomic nervous system made that very clear by knocking me out without warning. After a marathon of doctor appointments, burnout syndrome was determined to be the cause. Since then, I’ve been questioning the things I do, not only from a contentual, but also from a formal standpoint. Do I have to do this, and if yes, how do I have to do it?

Performance optimization is not the focus of any of this. I refuse to continue assuming that I am always unfinished, flawed and that I should always strive to improve. This should become a social attitude. One of my favorite quotes is one of a business leader that has been absent for a long time due to burnout, who was asked for a bit of advice after he returned: “Protect the Assets.”

Common sayings, like “Sleep is for the Weak” work for a while. I know that. But in the long run, everything that speeds you up is harmful. Continuous performance can only be accomplished by “protecting the assets”. The keyword is not “acceleration”, which self-improvement always aims to do, but “deceleration”. Sure, you can work all day today and tomorrow. That won’t hurt. But I promise, your body won’t forget that. And in twenty years, when you still have to work, you can’t do it anymore. Avoid that.

After the upheaval that I had to go through, the fast life of the time before the crash seems surreal to me. From today’s point of view, I can’t get behind the majority of my decisions and behavior of past years. Of course, I threw away all of my self-improvement guides.

You Work to Live, Not the Other Way Around

Instead, I set up a small library of books that don’t preach “get better”, but say “stay the way you are”, or slow down a bit more. The interesting thing I noticed is that, after I looked into the deceleration strategies for one and a half year now, my productivity has actually increased, not decreased.

I don’t do multiple things at once anymore, and I don’t work into the nights and weekends anymore. I don’t write a todo list for the next day, and I don’t have a bucket list that says where I want to be in two, five, and ten years. I don’t get up at five to jog for an hour, read for an hour, before driving to the office after a buttered coffee.

You Are Not Perfect, But You Are Not Defective Either

Instead, I just do what has to be done, in the least agitated way possible. I don’t jump from opportunity to opportunity, from chance to chance. I don’t consider myself perfect, meaning I do still see room for improvement. However, I refuse to consider myself flawed, or something that needs improvement to be competitive.

This is merely the illusion that we are supposed to believe in to make the self-improvement preachers, as well as our employers rich, as they can live very well off the voluntary exploitation. If you can’t do it anymore, they’ll get the next one, until that one’s worn out too. There are enough human resources. I think of improvement in the opposite way. Not getting faster, but more relaxed. Not working more, but working less.

So, what’s the ideal way? To me, this is a sure thing. I plead for “stay the way you are”. More precisely, this means, make sure to keep control over all truly important things, but don’t get lost in the details. Don’t let yourself get hounded, no matter by who. As an employee, you’ve usually signed a contract for 40 hours a week. Stick to that. As a freelancer, be even more restrictive with that, as you are your most important asset, and you can’t afford to fall out of action.

So, stay the way you are, unless you’re already on the wrong path of self-improvement. If that’s the case, turn around as soon as possible. Right now, if you can.

Catégories: News dév web

PHPBot – Can a PHP Bot Help You Look up Documentation Faster?

SitePoint.com - 15 août, 2017 - 18:00

I came across PHPBot the other day (not to be confused with Botman or Fondbot) - a "chatbot" which helps you look up PHP manual entries and generates example code for them.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I don't believe in chatbots being chatbots - as someone who's built some for both commercial purposes and personal ones, and as someone who was around in the age of IRC auto-responding scripts, I see chatbots as a little more than a marketing fad designed to impress today's Snapchat generation. However, every now and then one will appear that's actually useful. Could this be the one? Let's take a look.

Concept

The idea is that you use the text input on the page to enter a PHP related term (like "ksort") and the application will reply with an explanation and some example code, like so:

ksort input" />

Different queries will produce different responses. So, if you ask it for echo:

echo" />

Continue reading %PHPBot – Can a PHP Bot Help You Look up Documentation Faster?%

Catégories: News dév web

How Do You Create a Timeless Web Design?

Noupe.com - 15 août, 2017 - 10:00

The thought experiment that CSS Tricks’ Chris Coyier came up with is an interesting one. How do you create a timeless web design for a site that is meant to last forever?

“By the Way, the Website Has to Run Unchanged For 10 Years!”

Have you ever thought about this? I’ll admit it, I haven’t. Chris Coyier asks himself, and us, how a website has to look when the client wants to run them without any changes for at least ten years. Looking at the continuously stabilizing best practices, this question might not be that uncommon in the future. Let’s see which results we can come up with together.

Chris Coyier lists different designer types that can react to the fictional client’s unusual request in very different ways. At one end of the spectrum, there’s the designer that deems any type of layout and design unnecessary and believes that a simple HTML text is fully sufficient. At the other end, there are the designers that would decline the request right away.

Most of us would probably be somewhere in between and think about what’s required to provide a contemporary design, and what can be forgone. When thinking about it in-depth, we can get to completely different ideas.

Deterring Example: the Million Dollar Homepage

A few days ago, I read an interesting article by the Library Innovation Lab, which dealt with the popular million dollar homepage. I’m sure you remember the website where every single pixel was sold to provide the operator with a million dollars in the end.

On 1,000 x 1,000 pixels, at a price point of one dollar per pixel, prospects were able to buy a spot to place their ads. The project made waves in 2005. The operator easily made the planned million dollars in a pretty short amount of time.

Today, 12 years later, the million dollar homepage still exists, although it seems like a relic of the past. Sure, one of the reasons for that is that there was no design guideline. This couldn’t result in anything but a completely random design. Under this aspect, we shouldn’t even judge the project.

The striking thing is something else. It’s the fact that more than half of the 3.000 links on the page can’t be accessed anymore. Almost 600 links lead into the web nirvana, and the others lead to partially suspicious redirects.

Thus, the million dollar homepage’s use is not only reduced for the visitors, but for the former pixel buyers as well.

What does this tell us when it comes to selling a client a website that can be run for at least 10 years without any changes?

Requirements For Sustainable Websites

It’s pretty obvious. We have to avoid links that don’t originate from our client’s link cosmos. And even then, we have to make sure that the client remembers to adjust the internal links whenever he makes changes.

We also have to forgo external resources, as we don’t have an influence on the permanent availability of these elements. As alluring as it may seem, we should avoid integrating external scripts from web repositories or communicated CDN locations. Instead, move required resources to the client’s site, and integrate them locally. However, make sure that the scripts don’t reference external resources. Prepare for a bit of work.

It’s also important to think about which functions might not be available in the future. Luckily, features that count as deprecated, can be identified rather easily.

In this context, using frameworks is not recommendable either. The new hot shit, like React or Vue is sure to be a problem in ten years. Vanilla JavaScript should be safe though.

What to do about fonts? Typography is a pretty important design elements. Coyier points out that it’s older than web design itself, so it shouldn’t be one of the expendable design elements. So, let’s use fonts. But, once again, save and integrate them locally. Instead of the older WOFF format, we can use WOFF2 to integrate a certain sustainability. We’ve already presented WOFF2 here.

The only trend that we can rely on for this project is minimalism. At least, it includes the modest use of animations. I would only use the latter when it comes to micro interactions.

In the future, we can probably still rely on SVG as our graphic technology. This way, we don’t depend on resolutions. Jpg and Png will still run the scene in ten years. WebP wasn’t able to establish itself so far, and it probably won’t do so in the future.

Generally, we do have to admit that we can only create a timeless website when it doesn’t have to provide advanced functionality. I would decline a request for an online shop that has to run unchanged for 10 years. A web business card or another purely representative presence shouldn’t be a problem though, as long as the above-mentioned requirements are met.

What do you think? What has to be provided for the client to be able to receive his 10-year website?

Catégories: News dév web

How to Know When and What to Upgrade About Your Website

Noupe.com - 14 août, 2017 - 11:00

Your website is a core part of your business, although you might not feel that it is. It sure is at the fore front of your battle for attention. Keep it shiny, performant and on top of the evolution.

Disclaimer: This post was written by Noupe staff through an activation with HireInfluence on behalf of Liquid Web. Although we received compensation for participating in the campaign, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

We all know these people. They put as low an effort as possible into their web presence and then run around complaining that their site has no value for their businesses. In the worst (and wrongest) case they claim that running a website is useless. I still hear business owner make these statements. It astonishes me every time. People, we are in the year 2017. Wake up. Well, as you are currently reading this article I suppose you are not that kind.

But even those that know the real value of a strong website struggle from time to time. As the site ages and the services mature should the site not reflect that? Should it not grow or at least develop over time?

The answers to these questions are not straightforward. Instead, it depends. It certainly depends on how you built the site initially. Did you use the latest technology, are you hosting with a powerful partner, did you put effort into the design, visually and in terms of UX? Even if you did, web technologies develop darn fast. On the other hand, you need not jump on every train that passes.

So, let’s take a look at the top reasons for upgrading your website and how to recognize them.

Your Web Host is Invisible

I know hosts that you don’t hear from at all unless you forget to pay their bill. In this case, you hear them very loudly and, boy, are they responsive then. I prefer hosts that keep themselves involved; hosts that do not only offer storage space and a cloud connection. It’s easy to come to the conclusion that these hosts do not even exist.

In fact, most hosting companies seem to not care much about the customers’ businesses. It’s their duty to provide space, but not more. Luckily, there are a few hosts that define themselves as an extension of you and your team. People that want your website to run in the best way possible.

You need a web host for people who make a living from the web, who create for themselves and their clients and who don’t feel web hosting being at the core of their business, although it sure is a core part of the necessary infrastructure.

People like you and me need a web host that takes the technical part of running the websites we create seriously and fights to keep them up and running. It’s not so much a question of machine power; it’s more a question of mindsets.

Liquid Web™ is an example of a web host that commits to both aspects. They offer the technical stack for any demand from their own data centers, not from a shared space in some other’s server farm. And they work with the right mindset, as they aim to become the World’s Most Loved Hosting Company where The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting work.

One of the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting at Work. (Photo: Liquid Web™)

Liquid Web™ specifically targets web designers, developers, and digital agencies creating mission-critical sites or storing business-critical data for small- and medium-sized businesses aka You.

They offer the whole array of possible hosting solutions. Whether you need Dedicated Server Hosting, Managed VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting, PAAS or Managed WordPress Hosting, and more. It’s all there.

Does your website need a faster foundation? Consult the team over at Liquid Web™. They will be happy to support you on your way away from servers to services.

Your Website Does Not Function Well on Mobile Devices

Are you serious? But, yes, I know that the vast majority of sites out there do not function well on the smaller screens of mobile devices. This should be not only a warning sign but a bold red alert sign. Change that immediately.

I know that there are clients with small budgets, the smaller the business, the smaller the budget. But still, they need a digital representation on the web. Sure it’s supposed to look quite decent and not as if it was born yesterday. But it doesn’t have to be cutting edge technology either.

Do you have clients with these tiny budgets or are you one of these clients and looking to do a responsive website on your own? Take a look at Mobirise then.

Mobirise Builds Websites from Blocks. (Screenshot: Noupe)

Mobirise is a website builder that comes as an installable app for Windows and MacOS. The app is completely free to use, only some themes and extensions are available as a paid offering. The installation is done in two minutes, no information is requested. I had the software running faster than any web-based site builder I know. With Mobirise you use Bootstrap without even knowing or needing to know it.

There is no faster way of building a responsive version of your or your client’s website.

Your Website Has That Nineties Look

Design is not art. Design has to be effective in achieving its goals. Still, we can’t deny that a vísually appealing design has more chances to succeed than one that looks outdated.

(via Brutalist Websites)

Even visually appealing design can be bad, however. Always keep the goal of your site in mind. Does the design help with that? Make sure that the looks of your site fit with your brand. The latest hipster looks might not be fully appropriate for your tax consultant business.

Design is always best when it is frictionless. All these gimmicks or foot angles left unseen hamper the user in reaching the information or service he was looking for. As users are an illoyal bunch, you shouldn’t risk loosing them that easy. Do some serious UX design and follow the best practices.

Even the visuals can be objectified, more or less. We have the psychology of color, the color theory, typography knowledge and we know that people like proportions such as the golden cut promotes.

Conclusion: Don’t Go With Every Fashion, But Care For Solid Basics

First and foremost, find the web host of your dreams. The right technology supported by a motivated team of staffers can do wonders to your web presence and free you from the tedious tasks that don’t bring in any money. Care for responsiveness in design. There are way too many smartphones and tablets out there to ignore all these potential customers. Keep your website visually updated. Don’t go with the latest fashion. Instead turn to proven tactics, knowledge, and skills to #KeepBuildingBrilliant.

Catégories: News dév web

40 Excellent SVG Tools and Dozens of Icon Sets

Noupe.com - 14 août, 2017 - 10:00

On one hand, the web is becoming more and more visual, and even the shortest of texts are supported by images. On the other hand, we have to pay lots of attention to loading times, in order to prevent us from scaring off visitors, or Google. With the development of the responsive web, a third component was added: a graphic’s ability to handle the different resolutions.

SVG image material, also known as scalable vector graphics, is the solution. Small file sizes and a flexible adjustment to the screen size are given here. We have compiled the prettiest online tools and icon sets.

SVG Web Tools Method Draw

Method Draw is a free web app to edit SVG files with. Specifically designed as an online vector editor, its controls are very simple: open a file, edit it, and save: done!


© Method Draw

Snap.svg

With Snap.svg, SVG files can be created and edited for free, even turning them into lovely animations.


© Snap.svg

SVG Morpheus

Those who want to see some motion in their icons use SVG Morpheus, allowing two or more icons to transition into each other.


© SVG Morpheus

quasi-svg

Use this app to create pretty crystalline patterns. Plenty of input fields allow you to create custom patterns, which can be used as backgrounds for your projects.


© berjon.com

Plain Pattern

The Plain Pattern App is an easy to control application for the creation of patterns that can be exported from the SVG format.


© kennethcachia.com

Chartist.js

Chartist helps designers and developers to turn contents into interactive dynamic diagrams, which look the same on all terminal devices.


© gionkunz.github.io

bonsai

Bonsai offers a library for graphic editing, which also supports an API and render platform for SVG.


© bonsaijs.org

SVGMagic

If the browser is too old to display SVG, SVGMagic can help you out. Blocked SVG content is converted into PNGs, allowing the browser to display it. Here’s where jQuery comes into play in the background.


© SVGMagic

Glyphter

Glyphter provides you with easy access to 16 different sources of SVG-optimized icons and fonts.


© Glyphter

iconizr

If you have a whole bunch of SVG animations or graphics, put them all together: Iconizr converts them into an applicable CSS icon kit.


© iconizr

SVG Icon Sets Free SVG icons for popular brands


© simpleicons.org

Responsive E-Commerce Icon Set


© plugandplaydesign.co.uk

Freebies – Social flat icons set


© Christophe Kerebel

Simple Line Icons – Freebie


© Nimasha Perera

Web Hosting & Technical Support Icons


© Vecteezy

Free Fruit Icons


© James George

UI UX Icons


© Armantas Zvirgzdas

Free vector Foldicons


© James George

60 Free Industrial Icons


© speckyboy.com

Rounded Icon Set


© Jerry Low for Myplanet

The Free Bitcoin Icon Set


© speckyboy.com

Freebie: Pixelvicon Icon Set (80 Icons)


© Mohammad Amiri

Free vector icons


© Dan Skrobak

60 Stylish Round Icons – Meet The Roundicons


© smashingmagazine.com

Stroke Gap Icons – Webfont


© graphicburger.com

60 Astonishing Flat Icons For Free


© smashingmagazine.com

Basic


© linea

36 Beautiful Rounded Icons


© smashingmagazine.com

240 Free Kitchen / Restaurant Icons


© ewebdesign.com

200 Free Valentine’s Day Icon Pack


© ewebdesign.com

50 File Type Vector Icons


© Chris B

Free Download: 40 Valentine’s Icons


© webdesignerdepot.com

CaptainIconWeb


© mariodelvalle

150 outlined icons – PSD AI SVG Webfont


© Dario Ferrando

nastyicons.com


© nastyicons.com

Metrize Icons


© alessioatzeni.com

Simple Line Icons – 100+ free icons


© Mirko Monti

200 Holidays & Travel Icons Pack


© graphicsfuel.com

100 Free Line-Style Icons


© elegantthemes.com

Weather icons set Free Vector


© freepik.com

Catégories: News dév web

Duolingo for PHP – How Much PHP Can Apps like Mimo Teach?

SitePoint.com - 12 août, 2017 - 18:00

Mimo is an app which claims to teach coding "on the go". As a long time Duolingo user, I could relate to this approach - particularly as I was becoming increasingly interested in achieving some degree of basic Swift literacy in the coming weeks.

In an attempt to objectively assess the app's ability to teach people new things, I decided to look at what it's offering and see if it's something I can recommend to people just starting out with a new language.

Model

The application is free for the first one or two lessons of every course, at which point you're asked to either spread the word on social media, or pay to unlock the next one. The next one after that, however, has to be paid for.

Like Duolingo, Mimo uses streaks to gamify learning, keeping track of how many consecutive days you've been using it. To further gamify things, the app features a bunch of badges and achievements to collect, though the real killer feature would be a Duolingo-like "follow user" approach which also allows for direct communication on certain lesson slides.

Obviously, there's quite a bit of collecting and achieving to be done in Mimo!

The app lets users set their own desired learning frequency, but all this does is dictate how often the app will remind you to use it - it has no other effects on the app in terms of course length or content.

It's a sad world where 20 minutes of learning per day is considered insane, isn't it?

At the time of writing, Premium access costs a whopping 54.99 GBP per year, or 4.58 GBP per month, but only payable annually. It seems the app's developers are well aware of the fact that most people abandon learning and self-improvement apps on mobile after a month.

The biggest problem is that with what's offered for free, it's hard to justify spending this amount.

Courses

The application offers individual language courses - PHP, HTML, Swift, "Hacking", etc. but also course tracks that include several courses in order, aimed at teaching a bigger whole. For example, the Make a Website course has the sub courses: Programming, Programming 2, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.

This course doesn't whet the appetite, however - what's covered is a very basic and language agnostic concept of variables, and then the paid content begins. That's 2 out of 43 lessons free - hardly enough content to make an educated purchasing decision. Also, despite what seems like a lot of content (43 lessons), it should be noted that lessons are typically 10-15 minutes long.

Continue reading %Duolingo for PHP – How Much PHP Can Apps like Mimo Teach?%

Catégories: News dév web

Nostalgia Alert: Windows 95 in the Browser

Noupe.com - 11 août, 2017 - 10:00

Do you miss the nineties and the early days of visual interfaces for the mass market? If you do, I have a functional version of Windows 95 that doesn’t need to be installed for you.

I’ll admit it, this is an article for the lunch break, but this project made me feel nostalgic. The execution is actually impressive from a technological viewpoint, even though the project is two years old already.

20 Year Old Developer Recreates 20 Year Old OS

The Scottish developer Andrea Faulds, who’s younger than Windows 95, managed to bring a nearly fully functional version of the ancient OS to your browser. No plugins or other tricks are needed here. This Windows 95 runs via Javascript in the browser. For the execution as a browser app, Faulds used the runtime compiler Emscripten, that compiles C and C++ to the runtime in JavaScript.

Win95: As Much of a Puzzle As Ever

You should be aware that “working” with this emulation is more of a puzzle than anything, as the image buildup and the reaction times are very slow. This might actually match the performance from back then. After all, humans don’t have a good memory for pain. Maybe, we’ve simply forgotten the slowness of the ’95 Windows.

One thing that I like a lot is that the feeling of nostalgia will vanish pretty quickly, once you realize what modern OS actually have to offer in comparison. I don’t think anyone actually wants Windows 95 back. Everything was better in the old days, my ass. More like “We had nothing”.

Even the Unstable Internet Explorer is Here

The perfect match with the original is the fact that the Internet Explorer crashes all the time. Faulds did a great job with that :) Microsoft Pain is available too, allowing you to keep creating awful graphics if you want to.

Oh boy, Minesweeper looked horrible back then, and I won’t even talk about Solitaire. It impressed us nonetheless. I can still remember dozens of lunch breaks spent with Solitaire.

Go Ahead, Waste Your Time

Windows 95 for the browser is still a veritable way to waste your lunch break, and to follow nostalgic emotions. Of course, this implies that you have been able to use a computer in 1995. Otherwise, you won’t care about this Win95 emulation at all.

Catégories: News dév web

Stopping Endless Client Revisions with Be Theme and 260+ pre-built websites

WebAppers.com - 11 août, 2017 - 06:57

Advertise here via BSA

If a seemingly unending stream of client revisions is starting to get to you, it is time to do something about it. In fact, this something can also be appealing to your clients.

You shouldn’t be stuck with the same project week after week while neglecting other projects. There is also no need to scramble to meet deadlines! It is time to get control of the situation.

What you need is a WordPress theme that easily adapts to any client’s needs. It is easily cutting down the number of revisions and saving you valuable time in the process. That WordPress theme is Be Theme.

1. Let Be Theme help you deliver exactly what your clients need.

Be Theme is loaded with the web-building features you need. It is also an answer to your unending stream of revisions dilemma. Be Theme’s superb selection of more than 260 prebuilt websites is here to help.

Individually, they meet the highest standards of the niche they represent. You will easily find one that features the desired design structure and functionality. Plus, you can have a website up and running in as little as 4 hours.

Watch this cool 40 seconds video to see how easy Be Theme is to install.

2. These 10Be Theme templates lay the foundations for award-winning websites.

For clients who sell online courses: Be eLearning

This beautiful, responsive pre-built website was designed with the end user in mind. It provides a great starting point to create a website for a client with online courses to offer, or has other uses for an eLearning platform. Despite its generous use of whitespace, this pre-built website will support a high amount of content.

For small business owners: Be Craftbeer

This pre-built website is a good match for a client with a handcrafted product to sell. It illustrates the impact large images and eye-catching design can have on a potential customer.

Be Craftbeer features a well-structured design, with some neat JavaScript effects. 

For interior designers and architects: Be Tiles

Be Tiles illustrates the impact an elegant design, in combination with a simple, yet effective unique value proposition, can have on end users; not to mention a favorable impression on the part of the client.

It has the features and functionality necessary to create a stunning visual portfolio.

For clients working in creative industries: Be Artist

Artists and other creatives can be very picky about the appearance of their websites. With the Be Artist pre-built website as your starting point, you can avoid an endless stream of revisions; an issue commonly encountered with these types of clients.

For clients working in the catering industry: Be Burger

It’s amazing how bland many food services websites are. A website for this niche should never be without mouthwatering images, and an easily readable menu; as is the case with this example

Be Burger also provides easy-to-order forms; which should make your client happy.

For clients in the fitness & wellness industry: Be Sports club

Offer your client a website whose front page features the entrance to a smelly gym, and you’re certain to get requests for revisions.

Better yet, go with this dynamic, interactive pre-built website, with its clean, modern design, eye-catching animations and room for your clients to place all the information needed on their websites.

For clients in the travel and lodging industry: Be Hotel2

Be Hotel2 is designed to convince visitors it’s time to pick up the phone and book a room. Beautiful, attention-grabbing home page images are essential elements of travel and lodging industry websites; as are galleries picturing accommodations and easy booking forms – and, you can deliver such a complex website in 4 hours!

For restaurant or bistro owners: Be Restaurant 

Be Restaurant cleverly combines elegance and coziness, which is what it is designed to do. This pre-built website will serve you well whether your client represents a multi-star, destination eating establishment, or a neighborhood bistro.

This is just one of many pre-built websites designed to satisfy a variety of often very different needs.

For your IT clients: Be VPN

If there’s one characteristicIT teams share with creatives, it’s that they tend to be extremely picky about the appearance and functionality of their websites. You can avoid Revision # 12, and counting, by taking advantage ofBe VPN.

Since a human touch is often appreciated in corporate-style websites, a glass of juice can have its place.

For clients who sell luxury products: Be Car

One doesn’t successfully promote sales of luxury products by relying on run-of-the mill websites to advertise and display them.

Figuratively speaking, Be Car breathes both elegance and luxury. The hero image is stunning, white space is cleverly apportioned, and the content blocksdeliver the message, without being invasive.

Summary: See how Be Theme does away with those ceaseless and annoying revisions.

– With the largest number of pre-built websites on the market, it’s easy to find the perfect match for a client;

– It’s possible to build a complex website, complete with text, images, and the works, in as little as 4 hours;

– It’s a top 5 ThemeForest Bestseller. 10’s of thousands of designers and developers from around the globe love it. They never have to put up with endless revisions;

– The pre-built websites are easy to edit and customize. You can deliver exactly what a client wants, or built a prototype to ensure you and your client are on the same page;

– The designs are beautiful, intuitive, and well-structured. They meet the high standards of the industry or niche they represent.

Conclusion

We bet you’re now convinced that endless revisions should not be looked upon as being a part of a web-building job. With Be Theme and its 260+ pre-built websites, you can always find an excellent match to a client’s needs. With its 1-click installer, you will have all the necessary tools at your fingertips.

For starters, all you need is just content. Within half a day you can surprise even the most difficult client with a high-quality website. While a need for one or two revisions is always a possibility, it should never have to go beyond that.

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Catégories: News dév web

Subscription Models: Does it Make Sense to Become the Netflix of Design?

Noupe.com - 10 août, 2017 - 10:00

Subscription models are on the rise. There’s no doubting that. Could a subscription model be a good choice for designers?

Subscriptions Are Everywhere

I’m a fan of the subscription concept. Thus, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’m subscribed to Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Save.tv, Zattoo, Deezer, Spotify, and Apple Music. I pay for my domains on a monthly basis, just like my websites, and the newspapers that I want to read regularly. When it comes to books, I use Kindle Unlimited. My tariff for mobile calls and data is a monthly flat rate, and I also pay for my internet access in my home office like that. Data gets stored in Dropbox, and notes are saved in Evernote. In both cases, I pay annually.

This way, I make sure that I have access to the entire supply at any time. Usage varies from month to month. The amount of money taken from my account stays the same, but it’s acceptable so that I don’t have to think about it for too long.

More and more providers take inspiration from Netflix and co. You can now subscribe to monthly deliveries of new razor blades or new diapers for your first born. Most of the today’s digital services work like that.

Subscriptions For Designers

The amount of designers on the market that work with subscriptions is increasing as well. Just think of all the theme clubs where you pay a flat rate, but gain access to all the themes of the respective club. Stock material is also being offered as a monthly subscription increasingly more often, providing you with a certain maximum number of elements. In most cases, stock providers also offer illustrations or other vector elements, like infographics components. Envato Elements, the popular design market place, is moving in the same direction. The same goes for different font foundries.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud wasn’t popular at first but turned out to be a success in the end. Here, users have been paying monthly fees for a couple of years now, in return for access to the entire tool palette of the graphic giant.

For social media or email marketing, subscriptions are the typical approach. Edgar, Hootsuite, MailChimp, and so on, all go for monthly payments. Performance differences are priced via contingents or features. SEO agencies like working on a subscription base too.

Designer Subscriptions: the Advantages Prevail

Classic design and developer services aren’t typically offered as a subscription. The benefits are quite obvious, though.

Projects never come in regularly. You know this. Sometimes, there’s a lot of work, and sometimes there’s no work at all. A balance that would cover your time well without overloading you is incredibly rare.

Plannable Income

Had you designed your services as a subscription model, you’d have a pretty fixed, monthly income, as well as an upper limit. You could easily plan for growth. More workers would need more subscription revenue, allowing you to keep them occupied for a long time.

Today, you can book freelancers to help you on projects, or decline larger commissions. Sustainable growth can’t really be created on this base. However, if you hire staff, some months will cost, and some will gain you money. Hopefully, over the span of the year, you earn more than you pay.

Less Conflict Potential

If I look at where most conflicts in classic client businesses come from, I can see two main aspects. Firstly, there’s almost always a disagreement in terms of the contract scope. The client want to get more than you think he commissioned. Secondly, there’s always an argument regarding the question of the time for payment. While you think that the scope of services for the third payment was met, your client has a very different opinion.

If you had a subscription model, both of these aspects would be eliminated. For one, there wouldn’t really be a contract scope. The client would be free to make use of your services however he wants to. He wants to scrap the entire design and rebuild it? No problem. Payments are due every month. There would be no more arguments regarding this aspect either.

Simplicity is Key

When developing a subscription model, it is recommendable to keep it as simple as possible. The easier the model, the more likely it is that the customers choose it. Here, Apple has been showing us how to sell for ten years now. Apple reduces the purchase decision for a smartphone to a simple yes or no. Clients won’t face upsetting configuration orgies.

Pricing Difficulties

The main difficulty of pricing a design subscription is the fact that the service is not provided and made use of continuously. Naturally, a design project is a lot more work up to the golive than it is afterwards.

Using a minimum run time could be a possible option. Similarly to the mobile companies handle handle subsidized smartphones, you could make back your effort over the first 12 to 24 months, and then offer a lower monthly rate after that. Of course, this would require a standardized scope of services, as well as a size definition of the website you are commissioned to create, depending on the number of pages, for instance.

An approach similar to a leasing contract is possible too. The customer pays an extra fee, in order to compensate the initial effort before the subscription model comes into play.

The Client Benefits From Higher Liquidity and Better Marketability

Whatever the solution for your services may look like, it’s important to think about it. Here, you can be optimistic, as the liquidity argument doesn’t only work for you, but for your typical client as well. Otherwise, cars would be bought a lot more than leased. In reality, it’s the other way around.

So what’s the problem with thinking about offering your design services like Netflix offers films?

Catégories: News dév web

Dreary: Does UX Design Kill Your Brand’s Core?

Noupe.com - 9 août, 2017 - 10:00

It’s a clear statement: UX design is boring. Thus, it kills any brand, always leaving the same stale aftertaste.

Leveling Down: Nobody Sets Himself Apart From Others

Kim Jong Anderson, a Danish designer, and founder has a clear stance on the position of a conventional UX designer. According to him, UX design kills the brand core of any business, as it always works and has to work similarly.

He states that UX design was more of a formal discipline. He says that it was pretty much intended to apply the same principles to all websites. After all, that is the only way to create recognizable patterns for user orientation. Empiric is what gives the UX designer the objective knowledge on where the user is most likely to click, how long the path to the result can be, and how information and navigation should be designed.

Accurate and Rational, Absolutely Symmetrical. Yawn…

He says it was logical that the application of these principles would result in tendentially similar websites. Anderson even uses the unflattering term “Template Syndrome.” He claims that everything was forced to fit the template, and adjusted to do so.

Supposedly, for web designers, there’s nothing left to do other than making the UX designer’s wireframes a bit prettier, and adding colors, like painting a coloring book. And, even though all of this may seem entirely logical, and easy to sell to customers and colleagues, it was still the wrong approach.

According to him, this would never result in excellent work. Instead, the results would always seem interchangeable, dull, and not different from the masses of other “Best Practices.”

Where’s the Brand, Where is the Excitement?

Brands have to try to impress, though. They have to exceed the expectations of their potential customers and have to be innovative and thrilling. Nobody would stay on a website because of convincing boredom. It would take better arguments than that.

She’s Screaming With Joy. On Your Website?

Thus, Anderson recommends moving the brand core more into the center of the development process. If it were necessary to burn the templates, you’d have to do so. Standardization was a good thing looking at the financial aspects, but creative work could not be churned out on the assembly line. And even if that were the case, it wouldn’t do the result any good.

Because of that, his suggestion is uniting the positions of the art director, and the UX designer. For lone wolves, this means either leaving the rudder to the artist, without putting the seemingly plausible best practice into the foreground.

Emotionality over rationality – that seems like a good summary of Anderson’s appeal. But is it really true that rationality kills the brand core?

Emotionality and Rationality as Opponents?

I think that a differentiation would be appropriate here. Not all brands are highly emotional and in need of a thrillingly exciting web presence. In fact, for most brands, a formal, reserved approach would be the more promising one, and also what the customers would expect. A financial service provider with an unforgettable web performance; do I, as a customer, want this?

Okay, Nothing Should Look This Old Anymore.

On the other hand, Coca-Cola shouldn’t present itself like an accountant. Personally, I don’t see this problem at all, though. Sure, they are well-made but horribly boring internet presences. But I’d doubt that the UX designer who has destroyed the brand core with his rational considerations is to blame. That’s just the fault of bad designers.

In any case, it can’t hurt to keep the emotional aspect in mind, next to the “functional patterns” and “best practices.” Is the design fun? Is it memorable? Does it suit the brand? Does it invoke sympathies? A majority of purchase decisions are made intuitively rather than deliberately.

Thus, a combination of proven UX design and a focus on the brand core would be crucial. The “Either-or” scenario as presented by Anderson is just as ineffective as a one-sided reduction to boring default templates.

UX Designers Are Surprised

UX designers would probably throw in that their job is to optimize the user experience, which requires the integration of a brand’s distinctive characteristics. The user experience can only be truly good when rational and emotional aspects are considered equally.

Looking at it from this perspective, Anderson seems to know more bad than good UX designers. Or is the average UX designer a stiff bureaucrat that builds his interfaces following strict checklists?

Catégories: News dév web

Emojis: Useful Resources Around the Popular Symbols

Noupe.com - 8 août, 2017 - 10:00

The rise of the smartphones was the rise of the emojis as well. You’ll rarely find a short message without the tiny symbols.

In communication, emojis are valuable, as they can make up for a part of the missing nonverbals. Pure text communication can be misunderstood. A winking smiley or an angry face leave users with much less room for interpretation.

In today’s article, I’ll introduce you to a few resources around the emojis topic. You’ll surely be able to make use of some of them.

Emoji Finder

The Emoji Finder by Graham Hicks is especially useful for desktop use. You won’t have any trouble using it. Enter a word into the search bar at the top, and one or multiple emojis that fit the term will be returned as a result. The finder presents a scrollable list with all associated symbols. In the screenshot example, I searched for “Love.” Below that, you can see the results.

Now, if you click an emoji from the results, it’s copied to the clipboard, from where it can be pasted to Facebook, Twitter, or Slack. The display of the emojis is large enough for them to be used as screenshots, and as a graphic in Word or other programs.

You can also add the search term to the Emoji Finder’s URL directly, like this: https://emojifinder.com/love

Find the Emoji Finder Here >>

Emoji Pics Composer

The Emoji Pics Composer by Amplifr allows you to create a social media cover pic, as shown in the screenshot example. Add symbols to the three spots for freely selectable icons. Within this selection, there’s the standard categorization, as well as a free text search.

Once you’ve chosen your icons, add a logo or a short text below them. The background can be configured using a color picker.

Find the Emoji Pics Composer Here >>

Emojify

Tomasz Stefaniak’s Emojify is a URL shortener. Similarly to Bit.ly and its competition, Emojify creates short links that can then be used to share the original page on social media.

The unique thing about Emojify is the fact that the short links contain an emoji, as you can tell by this screenshot example for Noupe. This doesn’t have any actual use but looks funny. In exchange for money, Tomasz also offers a short link domain where you get to choose the emoji yourself. This might be attractive for surfers, guitarists, and other services that can easily be described using one emoji.

Go to Emojify >>

The History of Emojis

Our colleagues over at the Webdesigner Depot have created an in-depth article on the history of emojis. Author Marc Schenker explains how the popular symbols were created, and where, why, and how they were used originally.

You’ll definitely be interested in the story about Shigetaka Kurita from Japan, who felt like text communication was too boring, in the nineties already.

Read the Article >>

Emoji SEO

Kelsey Jones of Search Engine Journal deals with the question whether it is possible to rank for emoji-based searches, and figures out that it actually happens. She experimented with different combinations of an emoji and the local search parameter “near me.”

With a pizza emoji and “near me,” she managed to find a local pizzeria. This pizzeria most probably hadn’t optimized their web presence for this emoji, however.

The experiment shows that search engines process emojis, and it seems like they index them as well. In reality, however, nobody seems to incorporate emojis into their search terms. It’s still possible, though.

In the near future, it may well make sense to pay attention to the optimization for certain emojis during SEO. At least keep it in mind.

Find the article Here >>

Catégories: News dév web

What Are the Workflows of Prominent PHP Community Members?

SitePoint.com - 7 août, 2017 - 18:00

Workflow refers to both the process and the tools that are used in this process. Almost every developer comes up with a process of creating and finalizing the project deliverables. This process is implemented through a set of tools that the developer comes up with through trial and error. Once a workflow has been perfected, developers follow the process almost religiously because of a simple reason: following workflows reduces most of the management problems that developers have to face during a project.

Since developing workflows is a matter of experience and trial and error (a very distressing process), many experts recommend that budding developers should try and study the workflows of other known developers. Over time, these new developers would come up with their own toolkit for project development, as they adopt what works for them and discard what doesn't.

Here are some of the PHP ecosystem's most popular developers and designers, and their tools and/or workflows. Note that these workflows will by no means be comprehensive, but even mentions of tools used by some of the more prominent members of our community should be enough to warrant checking them out.

Twitter | Linkedin | GitHub

Taylor Otwell, Creator of Laravel
  • Currently, Blackfire.io is my favorite tool for profiling PHP applications. It provides an easy-to-use interface and quick approach to identifying troublesome parts of the application.

  • For continuous deployment, I typically rely on Forge and Envoyer, two services I created myself.

Taylor also discussed his workflow in depth in this Hashnode AMA - check it out to find out specifics.

Twitter | Linkedin | GitHub

Continue reading %What Are the Workflows of Prominent PHP Community Members?%

Catégories: News dév web

Awareness and Design, a Dream Team

Noupe.com - 7 août, 2017 - 10:00

If you are in the process of integrating awareness into your life, you should also do so on the professional level. In design, this helps you in many different ways.

Barely Anyone Draws the Right Conclusions Voluntarily

At the start of last year, I started integrating awareness exercises into my daily routine. In the beginning, I had massive difficulties doing that. After all, I was used to 100 percent busting my ass upon entering the office.

Only once I started getting physical symptoms of burnout, I came to the conclusion that I should not ignore my body’s warning signs any longer. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Sleep is for the weak.” All of this has been a part of my mindset up to that point.

By now, I live a lot calmer, and surprisingly, I don’t accomplish that much less. However, my whole approach has changed. The first thing I got rid of was multitasking. Today, I complete my tasks one by one. While working on one, I don’t think about the next one either. One by one, step by step.

Awareness – You Can do it, You Just Have to Start.

Awareness is nothing you’d have to put effort into to learn it, even though that was what I expected initially, so I visited tons of courses. Awareness simply means focusing on the task at hand, and only on that. Essentially, it’s about differentiation.

There’s one ability you may have to learn first, though, and it’s how to say no. No, I’m currently working on XYZ. No, I can’t take care of that as well. No, no, no. No is immensely relaxing.

When focusing on a single thing, all other things, like your remaining tasks, become a lot less scary. Procrastination, creative embargos – all of this goes away after a while.

I mentioned differentiation. By that, I didn’t just mean differentiating oneself from human time thieves, which you’ll find in virtually every office, but the distinction from time thieves of any kind. When working on task A, put your smartphone away, turn on airplane mode, don’t surf the web on the side, and close the Twitter and Facebook apps.

The First Exercise: Only You, the Computer, and a Task

Now, there’s only you, your computer, and the task at hand. I recommend starting to practice awareness right there. Don’t get distracted. If it does happen, stop the distraction, and move your focus back to the actual task. It’s pretty logical that this type of focus leads to better and faster results. In that regard, awareness doesn’t block you; it actually accelerates you.

Once you’ve gotten in some practice in awareness during design work, you may have gotten into the state known as flow a few times. Now, you can expand your awareness exercises to other areas.

Other Attentive Behaviors That Improve Your Condition and Your Work Result

During conversations, no matter with who, put your smartphone to the side and just listen. You’ll be surprised at the things you catch when you’re doing nothing else. Listen very carefully, especially when it comes to customers. This doesn’t only show appreciation, but professionality as well. All of that for doing nothing but being completely present and attentive.

When it comes to project time schedules, don’t put yourself under pressure. Calculate your effort conservatively, but of course, not superabundantly. Keep in mind that you want to work on projects one by one, not simultaneously. Apparently, this comes with a longer duration of the individual project. During calculation, keep in mind that you only have a limited working time per day. Be attentive when it comes to yourself. You are the most valuable tool for earning your income. Don’t break it, and maintain it regularly.

Before you start designing, define the goals you need to achieve, and agree on fixed success criteria with your client. This is a criterion of differentiation as well. Projects often become stressful when there are different ideas on what is included in the scope of service, and what isn’t. This can be avoided by being attentive in that regard.

Be cautious when it comes to your toolbox. Don’t jump from tool to tool because everything is cute and colorful. Tie yourself down, at least for the project, preferably in general. You’ve been using Photoshop for your layouts for ten years? Stick with it. Sketch may be better. Who knows? But do you really want to put in the learning effort, just to find out that Sketch is half a second faster? I’ve decided to stick to the tools that I master. After all, when walking, I always rely on the same motions as well, avoiding experiments.

Are you not ready for these insights? If that’s the case, my “No “Bullshit” Guide for Creative Workers” might be a good point to get you started.

Catégories: News dév web

Introducing the Neo4j Symfony Bundle

SitePoint.com - 4 août, 2017 - 18:00

There is no such thing as disconnected information, no matter where you look - people, events, places, things, documents, applications and the information about them is all heavily connected. As the volume of data grows, so does the number and dynamicity of its connections. And if you've tried in the past to store and query that highly connected, semi-structured data in any database, you probably experienced a lot of challenges.

The Labeled Property Graph in a native Graph Database

Neo4j was built to handle exactly this real-world information without compromising on the number and types of connections you can have relating your entities. It is an open-source NoSQL database that uses the Labeled Property Graph to store the entities of your domain model (diagram) as Nodes and their connections as Relationships each of which can have arbitrary properties.

Neo4j is not just a graph layer on top of another database but a full blown, transactional (ACID) database with everything from managing pages of records on disk to providing a scalable, secure cluster. And as a native graph database it uses dedicated data structures to store and query highly connected data efficiently. Unlike in other databases, (complex) JOIN queries are not computed repeatedly at query time. Instead, relationships between entities are stored directly. During querying the database engine can use direct record-pointers for constant time lookups.

The open Cypher Query Language

This doesn't just extend to modeling or storage, even the Cypher graph query language that comes with Neo4j is focused around graph patterns, this time represented as ASCII-art in your query: (dan:Person {name:"Dan"})-[:LOVES]->(ann:Person {name:"Ann"}), which make your queries extremely readable even for non-developers, e.g. here is a recommendation query ("customers like you also bought this"):

MATCH (c:Customer)-[:BOUGHT]->(:Product)<-[:BOUGHT]-(o:Customer)-[:BOUGHT]->(reco:Product) WHERE c.id = 123 AND NOT (c)-[:BOUGHT]->(reco) RETURN reco.name, count(*) as frequency ORDER BY frequency DESC LIMIT 10; Symfony, a rapid development framework for PHP

Symfony is the role model of frameworks for modern PHP. The framework has a component approach and has been around for the last 11 years. From the Symfony ecosystem we’ve seen projects like Composer, Twig, Swiftmailer, Assetic, Monolog and many more. Thanks to the component approach, it has been made easy for other projects and frameworks to reuse code from Symfony. Projects like Laravel, Silex, Sylius, Drupal, phpBB, eZ are all using Symfony components.

A key factor of Symfony’s success is the flexibility of the framework in combination with the ease of use. The standard edition of Symfony comes with Doctrine as default database layer abstraction which supports some major databases like MySQL and MongoDB. But neither the database layer nor Doctrine is a primary citizen in Symfony. They could easily be replaced by something else.

Introducing Symfony Neo4j Bundle

To provide a smooth integration between Neo4j and Symfony we’ve created the SymfonyNeo4jBundle. It wraps the excellent PHP community client by Graphaware and creates a solid Symfony experience. Thanks to the WebProfiler integration, you will see all your database calls, all the queries and their results. You will even have a view over any exceptions that are thrown when interacting with the database. You will also get detailed statistics about each database call. This makes debugging your application way easier.

The bundle also integrates the client events with the Symfony event dispatcher. You could now create event subscribers that listen to the interactions with Neo4j e.g. for integration with MonologBundle to log all your database queries.

The bundle is not opinionated in how you are using Neo4j. Using the OGM is optional. Advanced Neo4j users will have full control over the client and what Cypher gets executed.

An API like Doctrine

For developers who are familiar with Doctrine, they will know how to use GraphAware’s OGM (Object Graph Mapper). The OGM has an EntityManager that implements Doctrine’s ObjectManager interface, which gives you functions like “find”, “remove”, “persist” and “flush”. Developers will have the exact same experience working with models from Neo4j’s OGM compared to Doctrine’s MySQL EntityManagers.

Configuration

Like in most modern frameworks, Symfony separates configuration from the code. This is good software practice which the Neo4jBundle adheres to. It provides the ability to easily configure multiple connections, multiple clients and multiple entity managers. For each connection you can decide if you want to use HTTP or the new binary “bolt” protocol.

Thanks to Symfony’s configuration component, you may use Yaml, XML or PHP to specify your configuration. The default configuration will set up one connection to 127.0.0.1:7474 with the defaults username / password.

Continue reading %Introducing the Neo4j Symfony Bundle%

Catégories: News dév web

Who Invented the Design of the Eighties?

Noupe.com - 4 août, 2017 - 10:00

I grew up in the eighties. Back then, I loved the typical 80ies design. Today, I have a more differentiated opinion on that.

On behalf of Vox, Dion Bell has looked into the question who had a significant influence on the design of the decade with the best music ever. In contrast to other decades, in the eighties, there actually was a single modern Italian studio that has shaped the entire decade.

(Photo: Dennis Zanone)

 

The Memphis Group From Italy Defined the Look of the Eighties

Said studio is the Milan-based studio “The Memphis Group,” and you’ll definitely recognize their style if you have been alive and aware of your surroundings back then. The Memphis Group was able to draw attention towards them from 1981 to 1987. In a fashion similar to Colani, the Italians dared to touch virtually any product. Their designs didn’t always meet the taste of the masses. Especially their furniture collection was more of a collector’s piece than a product for the mass market.

The following video displays the era of the Memphis Group and is sure to rekindle tons of memories of the good old days. Take these six minutes for nostalgic feelings, and learn something along the way.

P.S.: Although I grew up in the eighties, I have never heard of the Memphis Group before. So don’t fret if you feel the same way.

(Image Source for the Article Image: The Memphis Group)

Catégories: News dév web

CSS Grid Layout: Masonry Layout Made From Pure HTML and CSS

Noupe.com - 3 août, 2017 - 10:00

Codepen user Kseso convinces us with a simple but impressive application case for CSS Grid, by creating a clean Masonry layout from pure HTML and CSS.

CSS Grid Layout is Available Across the Board

The fact that the CSS Grid Layout is an important design function for modern websites has been a given ever since its near comprehensive availability in all modern browsers. As a perfect addition to Flexbox, CSS Grid provides the option to design entire pages, while Flexbox is restricted to individual element areas within the page.

By now, CSS Grid Layout is supported natively. Opera Mini is an exception. In the Internet Explorer, the prefix ms is required. The same applies to Microsoft Edge in its current version 15. Both IE and Edge don’t fully support CSS Grid, even with the prefix. This flaw will be fixed starting from version 16 of the current Redmond browser. If you can afford to only develop projects for current browsers, you can go all out here.

Kseso is a very active border crosser that likes to experiment in the cutting edge area. He likes to add the hashtag #impoCSSible, documenting that he doesn’t present an established default solution.

Simple But Universal Masonry Layout With CSS Grid

The Masonry layout that Kseso presents in this Codepen is meant to be an inspiration, but it can also be used as it is. The necessary prefixes are missing. However, you can easily add them yourself; the code is not that long.

Kseso also didn’t put much effort into optimizing the solution, but it should be sufficient for many application cases. Aside from the version of pure HTML and CSS, Kseso offers another version, where he integrated a JavaScript for lazy loading, which is the need-based loading of images. For large image galleries, this solution should be more practicable.

Kseso Has a Lot More to Offer

It’s worth following Kseso on Twitter. He also runs a blog, but it’s only available in Spanish. The Google Translator can somewhat help with that, but it doesn’t handle Kseso’s way of enunciating too well. The blog layout is interesting. It takes a lot of inspiration from Tweetdeck and HootSuite, and will seem familiar to social media fans right away.

Kseso had already been publishing on CSS Grid layout in 2015. He was far ahead of his time back then. I’ll forgo integrating source code here, as you can easily grab everything from the Codepen, and potentially even experiment with the parameters. Let’s go.

By the way: In this article including a video, Jen Simmons shows you what the new CSS Grid inspector from the Firefox Nightly build is capable of. You can definitely use it in this context.

Catégories: News dév web

What Are the New Features in Laravel 5.5?

SitePoint.com - 2 août, 2017 - 21:00

Laravel 5.5 will require PHP 7.0+. For the features this modern PHP version brings, please see our recap.

Laravel 5.5 will also be the next LTS (Long Term Support) release. This means bugfixes for two years and three years of security updates. That was also the case with Laravel 5.1, but its two-year window of bug fixes is coming to an end this year. Without further ado, let's see what this new version has to offer.

Creating a New Laravel 5.5 Project

Since the release has not yet officially happened, we can install the dev release version by running the command:

laravel new laravel55 --dev cd laravel55 php artisan key:generate

If you prefer not to use the Laravel installer, you can also take the Composer approach:

composer create-project --prefer-dist --stability=dev laravel/laravel:dev-master cd laravel php artisan key:generate

Once we visit the homepage of the newly set up app, we should be greeted with a welcome page similar to what we used to have in previous Laravel versions.

Rendering Mailables to the Browser

I feel this is something that will come in very handy. In the previous Laravel versions, we had to send actual emails or use an email client like Mailtrap to test email layouts, and this wasn't a fun task. This won't be the case any more, as with Laravel 5.5 it's possible to render the email layout to the browser directly.

A quick walkthrough on how to achieve this: let's create a new mailable as well as the email template for our current project:

php artisan make:mail Welcome --markdown=emails.welcome

I prefer the markdown approach since we will get a template with some content already. Let's open our web.php file and create a test route to checkout the email layout:

Route::get('/email', function () { return new App\Mail\Welcome(); });

routes/web.php

By visiting the route /email we should be able to preview the email template:

What's actually going on under the hood is that with Laravel 5.5, the Mailable class implements the Renderable contract which has a render() method. This is the implementation of the render() method inside lluminate/Mail/Mailable.php:

public function render() { Container::getInstance()->call([$this, 'build']); return Container::getInstance()->make('mailer')->render( $this->buildView(), $this->buildViewData() ); }

lluminate/Mail/Mailable.php

This is the method that makes it possible to get a view. Had we tried returning an instance of a class that does not implement the Renderable contract within our routes, we'd get an UnexpectedValueException thrown.

Custom Email Themes

When using Markdown for emails, Laravel will provide a default theme. However, some people may prefer having some custom styling in their email templates for branding purposes.

To use a custom theme for a particular mailable, we first create a custom .css file containing the styles we want:

touch resources/views/vendor/mail/html/themes/custom.css

We then then specify this filename as a property in the Mailable class:

class Welcome extends Mailable { protected $theme = 'custom'; [...] }

app/Mail/Welcome.php

This way, the email layout will be based on the styles we defined in the custom.css file. The good thing with this approach is that we can have different themes for different mailables.

Exception Helper Functions

Laravel 5.5 comes with two exception helper functions which will help us write more expressive code. The two helpers are the throw_if and throw_unless methods. Both take three arguments with the third argument being optional.

Let's look at the different implementations of these exceptions:

$number = 2; throw_if($number !== 3, new NotThreeException('Number is not three')); // or throw_if($number !== 3, NotThreeException::class, 'Number is not three');

With the throw_if helper, an exception will be thrown if the first argument evaluates to true.

Implementing the throw_unless helper is no different from what we did above, the only difference being that an exception will only be thrown if the first argument evaluates to false:

$number = 2; throw_unless($number === 3, new NotThreeException('Number is not three')); // or throw_unless($number === 3, NotThreeException::class, 'Number is not three');

Not the best example, but serves our demonstration purposes.

Introducing the migrate:fresh Command

You've probably found yourself in a situation that required you to rebuild the database. With previous Laravel versions, we achieved this by running the php artisan migrate:refresh command. The migrate:refresh command rolls back all migrations based on what is specified in the down method for each migration file then runs the migrations again:

But you've probably run into issues with this command a couple of times, especially when working with foreign key constraints or say you have a down() method in one of your migrations that has not been well defined. When that happens, we resort to dropping the table raising issues manually most of the time - (could be from the CLI or some GUI). That's where migrate:fresh comes to our rescue. This command drops all the tables, then runs the existing migrations again:

JSON Error Stack Traces

Not a really big change but then in previous Laravel versions, we'd see HTML markup from an API client such as Postman every time we got an error while building out APIs. In Laravel 5.5, we get a JSON stack trace rather than HTML markup if an error occurs which looks neater and easier to follow:

Automatic Package Discovery

These are the steps we follow in order to use a third party package in our Laravel projects.

  • Install the package
  • Register the package's service provider
  • Register facades if any

As you can see, it could be simpler. Now it is.

With automatic package discovery, we'll just require a package and start using it on the fly. Note, however, this only happens if the package provider has configured the package for autodiscovery.

Looking at the Laravel Debugbar package which has already been updated for package autodiscovery, we see that there is an extra section inside the composer.json file:

"extra": { "laravel": { "providers": [ "Foo\\Bar\\ServiceProvider" ], "aliases": { "Bar": "Foo\\Bar\\Facade" } } }

Package providers will have to update the composer.json file with an extra section, then specify the providers and any aliases for the package.

Another good thing with automatic package discovery is that things won't break after removing a dependency. Normally, even after uninstalling a package we still have the package's service providers and facades hanging around in the config/app.php file and this may raise issues in some cases.

With package autodiscovery, when a package is removed via Composer, then everything related to the package is also removed.

Continue reading %What Are the New Features in Laravel 5.5?%

Catégories: News dév web

2017’s Top tools and Resources That You Should Use

WebAppers.com - 2 août, 2017 - 11:08

Advertise here via BSA

Have you been putting off a website project for some time right now? Do you feel like you don’t have the necessary tools or resources to do it well? Now it is high time to get that site designed and up and running,

It doesn’t matter what it is you may have been lacking. The options on the following list of tools and resources will satisfy your needs. At least one of the offerings should be just what you need. More than likely, several will prove to be helpful.

The same applies if you have the tools you need, but you’re simply looking for new ways to build better websites. Here you’ll find tools and resources that can be fast, efficient, and user-friendly. All can be used by beginners and experts alike – so, no more procrastinating!

 

Proto.io

If you need to create a low-fidelity prototype to share yourthoughts as to the direction you’re headingwith teammates or clients,Proto.io is just the prototyping tool for you.

If what you needto create is a high-to-ultra-high prototype that features the look and feel of the real thing on any PC or mobile device, the solution is the same – Proto.io.

Designers, entrepreneurs, developers, and project managers can all benefit by having this excellent prototyping tool. The latest version, Proto.io 6, has been redesigned to make it more intuitive and easier to use.

This latest version features such niceties as single-click sharing, new state transitions, interactive design patterns, and a new app for iOS and Android that offers enhanced experiences of previewing your prototypes on mobile apps.

Gestures supported include tap and double tap, tap hold and tap hold release, touch, swipe (left or right, up or down), pan, right click, and mouse over. Proto.io also gives you the options of uploading information from Sketch, Photoshop, or Dropbox.

SITE123

SITE123 has all the web-building features you’d expect to see in a premier WordPress theme, such a rich choice of responsive designs, a WYSIWYG editor that displays changes as you make them, and an intuitive interface that enables you to arrange and customize design modules in the dashboard.

There’s a pair of useful features that you won’t find in many of the popular website building tools that might prompt you to give SITE123 a closer look.

One is a built-in app market that allows your customers to integrate external applications in to their websites, thus boosting their usability. These external applications could consist of analytics tools, live support chat, booking, and more.

The second feature is a multilingual tool that allows you to create a website in the language, or languages, or your choice – a great idea for a client who serves a global market.

Xfive

Designers who turn to Xfive.co for web development services eventually conclude that this company not only provides quality service and support, but must be a fun place to work as well. Xfive.co, formerly XHTML, has been up and running for just over 10 years. They are an Australian-based company, with offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Krakow.

The Xfive brand is typified by high fives all around for a job well done, which is all the time. That’s the company culture. They care about you as a customer, and they prefer to work with you as a partner. Microsoft, Twitter, and eBay are among the many thousands of clients, which also include startups and small business, and individual and freelance web designers.

Their services include PSD, Sketch, and AI to HTML conversion, custom PHP and Ruby on Rails applications, Email, JavaScript applications, and more. 

wpDataTables

Tired of spending too much time creating useful and informative tables and charts? Lacking the tools to make these charts 1) easily editable, 2) responsive, 3) interactive, or 4) all the above?

wpDataTables will remove that burden from your shoulders. There’s zero learning involved, the tool is incredibly easy to use, and it can manage huge amounts of data with ease.

Webflow

With Webflow, you can take your prototyping to a whole new level. You can build HTML/CSS/JS prototypes, production-ready websites, or ultra-high-fidelity prototypes that work just like real websites, because they are! And you can do it all without having to write any code.

That’s how Webflow makes it possible to significantly accelerate the design process, cut down on the number of feedback cycles, and get designers and developers on the same page.

Pro

While you can build any type or style of website using Pro, where this “app” for WordPress really shines is that ofbuilding creative websites. There is, in fact, a community of creative professionals who are devoted Pro users.

Pro’s features include a header builder, a footer builder, and a content builder, plus 30 additional tools including Themeco-developed and 3rd party plugins.

Pressmate

Pressmate is a WordPress support service company that helps small businesses and agencies maintain their online presence. Pressmate provides real-time updates, backups, and security measures for their WordPress websites.

This service is particularly important to businesses whose websites rely heavily on plugins for correct operation. With respect to security, automated cloud backups ensure 100% website security, including files and images.

Ultra

Ultra offers a novel approach to website building; one that is both fast and efficient. Instead of building a WordPress site by starting from scratch, or editing pre-selected layouts, Ultra provides a selection of pre-made row designs.

It’s simply a matter of customizing a row, and placing that row on any page you wish via drag and drop. This approach also lends itself to rapid prototyping.

WhatFontIs

If, at one time or another, you’ve come across a font that you’d really like to use for your own purposes, but you have no means of identifying it, and finding a close match could involve hours of searching – WhatFontis provides a solution.

It’s simply a matter of submitting a sample. WhatFontis will either identify the font or provide several close matches. Best of all, the service is free!

FFonts

FFonts offers an amazing collection of thousands of free fonts. If searching for one you could use sounds like searching for a needle in a haystack, don’t worry. The categories range in size, but you can quickly narrow down your search by picking one or two categories that look promising.

FFonts is a handy resource to have at your fingertips.

Aurora

Aurora HDR is an excellent HDR photo editor that can give any photo a polished, professional look, or create dramatic, or sometimes subtle, special effects. Aurora HDR was initially designed and developed for Mac users. A PC-compatible version is expected to be announced in September 2017.

This software has dozens of presets that can be customized, and you can create and save your own presets.

Aurora HDR was designed to be simple to get started with, but at the same time some of its more technical features are quite deep.

SnapPages

SnapPages 3.0 literally makes building websites and website pages a snap. This website builder’s professionally-designed templates and sections are fully responsive.

Since your website is fully hosted on the cloud, you can access it anytime, from anywhere, for maintenance work or editing. Bloggers will love using this fast and easy website building platform.

BBT Drag and Drop Email Builder

Email marketers special! Big Bang Drag and Drop Email Builder’s modular approach is just what’s needed to quickly create a highly customised email template. Nearly 10,000 users have already discovered how fast and efficient this template-building tool is, and can attest to its quality and performance.

The BBT Drag and Drop Email Builder enables you to export HTML code compatible with any of the common Email sending services.

Goodie

Goodie provides a perfect solution to web designers who need to work with a developer to complete a project. Goodie promises to do the necessary coding quickly, and at a pre-determined fixed price.

This is a great service have handy for smaller projects like e-mail templates, simple WordPress sites, or single-page websites. Submit your project’s details and you’ll promptly receive a fixed price offer.

Stockfresh

Stockfresh is somewhat of a newcomer to the stock photo agency industry, but the owners have nevertheless managed to compile a selection of several million quality photos and vectors in a relatively short time. Its prices are competitive, and Stockfresh is looking to expand its selection of design goodies in the near future.

Stockfresh is a resource that’s well worth having at your fingertips.

Conclusion

It’s always good to have a comprehensive list of quality web-building tools and resources. The above is exactly what you need. If anything is missing from your tool kit, you’ll more than likely find it here.

We hope you’ve found one or two items that will make your web-building experiences easier. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.

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Catégories: News dév web

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Yves Bresson, ingénieur en informatique, consultant freelance, spécialisé dans le développement web (CMS, PHP, Laravel, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap, HTML5, CSS3) et d'applications mobiles (iPhone, Android). Voir le profil de Yves Bresson sur LinkedIn