Archive for the_time('F Y')

IETester – Essential web dev tool
22 January 2009 in Tools | Comments (2)

In my last post I wrote about several add-ins to FireFox that make web development easier. Now I’ve found another tool that makes the world of web development much easier – IETester. Oh. My. God. This is a tool that every web developer on the planet should have running on their machine. What you get is a nice tabbed interface to show your web pages using the IE 5.5, 6, 7 and 8 rendering engines. Fantastic!

IE Tester tool

One of the *biggest* costs to web development, in my view, is the cross browser compatibility work. Internet Explorer is the prime offender here because of older versions that are still in use. To be fair, we all know that if Microsoft aggressively pushed updates, like Mozilla do, they would get in legal troubles. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Personally I think IE updates should be forced upon people just to reduce the massive global waste of development effort that goes into cross browser support but perhaps that’s my view of the world :-)

Grab this free tool, install it and hopefully you’ll find cross browser development much easier! :-)

Download IETester Here

4 essential FireFox extensions for geeks
12 January 2009 in Tools | Comments (3)

I’ve always used extensions with Firefox but only really one or two. Recently I’ve started using a few more and finding them super handy. Perhaps I’m late to the party but who cares – lets call it fashionably late. For those of you who haven’t seen these extensions then perhaps they’ll help you too. If I’ve missed any you think help developers then post a comment!

FireBug

Firebug in action

What would any list of Firefox extensions be without FireBug? If you’re using the Web Developer Toolbar then it’s time to move on up to FireBug. FireBug just makes web development so much easier with features like JavaScript debugging, providing network data, giving you in depth style information and a whole lot more. I’m sure a small book could be written on this fantastic tool so I won’t go on too much about it.

FireBug homepage

HttpFox

httpfox in action

Every now and then the network monitoring ability of FireBug lets you down. It’s powerful but not superman tough by any means. Enter HttpFox. HttpFox is a much more powerful network monitoring add-in which will provide you with truck loads of information about what’s going in and out of your browser.

One annoyance with FireBug is the need to force a re-post of values to see what the response to a POST action was. This is where HttpFox helps out – it just does everything all the time. Good Times. Thanks to Jeremy for pointing me in the direction of this great add-in.

HttpFox Homepage

S3Fox

S3Fox in action

You’re storing your data on Amazon’s S3 service right? No? Well perhaps you should. S3 is a great services for storing large amounts of data and making it available on the web in a very inexpensive manner. The downside is that tooling support is somewhat limited which is exactly the problem that S3Fox resolves.

Once installed it’s like getting a file explorer for S3 right inside your browser. Manage ACL’s, upload files, do everything you need.

S3Fox Homepage

TwitterFox

twitterfox in action

Lots of geeks are on twitter but it can be time suck. TwitterFox nicely integrates into FireFox and means you don’t need to sit there on the Twitter site or with a dedicated application running. Every now and then it pops up and shows recent tweets which is handy. Saves the whole “oh, I best go refresh the page!” syndrome.

TwitterFox Homepage

I hope that helps – if you’re on twitter then feel free to add me here. Also, if you’re new to my blog then why not subscribe to my rss feed?

kick it on DotNetKicks.com

Starcraft II – now with rain
7 January 2009 in Games | Comments (0)

One thing I want to do this year is just start posting a little more about random things I spy and want to comment on rather than just announcements & opinion peices. I’m not buying into this whole “My blog posts that ruled in 2008″ so here’s to the first post of the year.

I’m looking forward to Starcraft II coming out, whenever that is, and spied this updated screenshot recently (click to see full sized view):

Starcraft 2 rain picture

Notice that it’s raining. Previously in Starcraft there were no weather effects so this is a nice addition. One thing still bugs me though – why not create a shine map so that when it’s raining things look wet? It seems like a fairly arbitrary addition if they’re just drawing lines in front of the camera rather that creating a more immersive effect. I’d love to see puddles appear and as units drive through those puddles they create ripples. I’m appreciative that things like raindrops on water could be too computationally expensive to perform but this currently looks like the same rain effect seen games from five years ago.

Nice improvement, lets see Blizzard take this to the next level.