Archive for January, 2005

Cool Tool Friday: “The Mouse”

It’s no secret that I like Macs. I even like the controversial Apple Mouse, not
because it only has one button, but because it’s the most ergonomic mouse I’ve
found, and that one button has a great feel with great feedback. But only
having one button is kind of lame and terribly outdated. Frankly, I can’t even
remember a time on Windows or Linux that I haven’t had at least a two-button mouse,
if not a three or five-button optical with a scroll-wheel.

But now I have the best of both worlds. I was at MacWorld a couple weeks ago,
and I discovered "The Mouse" made
by a company called DVForge. DVForge describes
their design goals for "The Mouse" like so:

"To build a state of the art USB [or bluetooth] mouse, especially for Apple
computer owners who want the gorgeous Apple-like look, but who also want the
functionality of multiple buttons and a scroll wheel. Make it have a familiar
clear over white, high-quality appearance. Add a model with a silvered inner shell,
to match nicely with Apple’s Aluminum Powerbook and G5 look. Make it work and
hold up really well."

I bought the USB version shortly after returning from the conference, and I’ve
been very happy with it. It has a lot of the feel of Apple’s one-button mouse –
and in fact, only appears to have one button — but if you press down on the
right side, it registers a right click. It’s actually kind of strange. There is
also a very smooth scrollwheel in the center. The optical sensor works better than
that of the Apple Mouse as it works on my white desk surface which seems to incapacitate
my Apple Mouse. The feel of the buttons aren’t quite a crisp as the Apple Mouse,
but having two buttons and a scrollwheel are worthwhile tradeoffs.

What kind of mouse do you use, and do use it because you like it, or because you
got it for free and you’re too cheap to replace it?

Flash Detection Kit Macrochat Tomorrow (Friday)

Check out tomorrow’s Macrochat to learn everything there is to know about the
Flash Detection Kit. Specifically, you will learn:

  • What the Flash Player detection kit is.
  • Why you may need to detect the player.
  • How you detect the player.
  • Detection options and reviewing the code it creates.
  • Dreamweaver Extensions.
  • 3rd party methods.
  • Moock FPI.
  • BrowserHawk.
  • Multiple sites (one HTML and one Flash site).

If you’re interested in attending, go ahead and register!

JavaScript Function to Automatically Focus Your Curser

Here’s a simple JavaScript function that iterates through all the forms on a page and drops the cursor in the first text or textarea input it finds. Not rocket science, but useful. If you’re building
an application, you probably include a header from each page, so
the way to use this function is to put it in your header (or better
yet, source or include it from your header), and call it onLoad.
That way, it will automatically work on any page in the application
with a form on it. If a page doesn’t have any forms, or you have
a form with no text or textarea inputs, the function does nothing.

function focusCursor()
{
for (var i = 0; i < document.forms.length; ++i)
{
var f = document.forms[i];
for (var j = 0; j < f.elements.length; ++j)
{
if (f.elements[j].type == 'text' ||
f.elements[j].type == 'textarea')
{
f.elements[j].focus();
return;
}
}
}
}

JavaScript References

Now that Netscape’s JavaScript reference material appears to be gone, what are people using for online resources? Once I discovered DevEdge was no more, I resorted to some old-fashioned paper-based O’Reilly books. Today I started using Google to find some new online resources, and I’m surprised by how hard good ones are to come by. Any favorites?

Free Blogs!

I’m playing catch-up with email and weblogs right now, but in case you hadn’t
heard, Sys-Con publishing is giving out free
weblogs
. I haven’t tried their interface,
but Simon
Horwith has
, and he seems impressed. If you have something interesting to
add to the software development blogosphere, go
have a look
.

Fireworks Macrochat Tomorrow

If you’re into Fireworks, or if you’ve been meaning to get into it, check out
tomorrow’s Macrochat. Here’s the official description:

Macromedia Senior Product Support Engineer, Alan Musselman, will demonstrate various
rollover menu options, slice behaviors vs. button symbols, popup menus, using symbols
to increase productivity, and batch processing.

What You Will Learn

  • Simple Rollovers and Disjointed Rollovers
  • Side by side comparison of slice behaviors and button symbols
  • When to/not to use popup menus
  • Creating/duplicating a symbol and nesting symbols within
    a button
  • Why/when to use batch processing

If you’re interested, make sure to register.

New LiveDocs Features

The Macromedia IMD and web teams have added some new features to Macromedia
LiveDocs
. You can now generate comment reports, sign up for email notifications
when new comments are added, and read comments via RSS. Just drill down to any
LiveDocs page, and look for links to the new features at the bottom.

Right now, only
documents with existing comments contain links to RSS feeds. If the document has
no comments, no RSS link is available. However, if you’re determined to track documents
with no comments via RSS, just find a document that does have an RSS feed, and
make the appropriate adjustments to feed’s URL so that it points to the page that
you want to track.

Eliminate ColdFusion Whitespace Once and For All

Since I’m at Macworld this week, and consequently don’t have a lot of time to
put into my weblog, I’m going to be lazy, and reprint a comment that was sent to
me by Jon Alsbury. It was submitted in response to a post entitled Controlling
Whitespace in ColdFusion
. John writes:

The most effective (and easy to implement) technique for reducing whitespace in
CFMX generated pages I have discovered so far is to set up a simple servlet filter
to intercept the response in order to strip out whitespace before it is returned
to the client. The filer I’ve been using for this is called Trim Filter and can
be downloaded here:

http://www.servletsuite.com/servlets/trimflt.htm

Setup is easy: simply download trimflt.jar from the above URL, drop it into your
‘cfusionmx/lib’ directory. Add the following to ‘cfusionmx/wwwroot/WEB-INF/web.xml’:

<filter>
<filter-name>trimFilter</filter-name>
<filter-class>com.cj.trim.trimFilter</filter-class>
</filter>

<filter-mapping>
<filter-name>trimFilter</filter-name>
<url-pattern>*.cfm</url-pattern>
</filter-mapping>

Macrochats Are Back!

Macrochats are Breeze Live presentations focusing on a specific technical topic given by product engineers or community leaders. We first experimented with Macrochats during Community Week, and found they were extremely successful (attracting more than 700 people for a single topic), so we’re bringing them back. This time, however, we are going to limit attendance to 200 people per session in order to better manage the question and answer period (imagine 700 people asking questions all at once!), but they will all be recorded, and presentations which prove wildly successful will be given again. Here’s the official messaging:

“Macromedia is now offering in-depth technical live product presentations called Macrochats. These differ from our traditional seminar series because Macrochats are precise technical demonstrations on specific products. Macrochats are live technical discussions led by product engineers, technical support engineers and customer leaders. The content of the Macrochats vary across all Macromedia products and technical levels. MacroChats are done online utilizing Macromedia Breeze Live and there is no charge to participate. Each Macrochat is limited to 200 participants.

We record Macrochats so you can view at your leisure. Check out the schedule and recordings here:

www.macromedia.com/community

What Kinds of New Year’s Resolutions Do Developers Make?

I know it’s the 6th already, but I figured I’d give people a few days to solidify their resolutions, and possibly abandon a few that haven’t worked out already. What interesting resolutions have you made for 2005? Are they mostly personal resolutions, or professional?

I’ve resolved to give Eclipse another chance. I’ve tried it twice in the past, and haven’t liked it either time for various reasons, but people keep raving about it, so I’m determined to keep trying new builds until I find one I like.

I’ve also resolved to get back into Java to some extent. I used to be a Java developer before working for Macromedia, but for the last two years, I actually haven’t done much Java development. This should mesh well with my Eclipse resolution.

As far as personal resolutions go, I’m trying to go to bed earlier, get more sleep, and only drink decaf or half-caf coffee. Oh, and I should probably do something about my watch buying habit, but I’m not sure I’m ready to admit yet that I have a problem.