Archive for August, 2007

An Event Apart San Francisco – Discount!

Interested in hitting An Event Apart San Francisco this October, but on a lean budget? You can trim a svelte $50 off the ticket price until September 7th (when the earlybird registration closes), and I strongly recommend ponying up and attending if you haven’t been to an AEA conference yet. The An Event Apart conference series is one of my favorites – it hits most of the major metropolitan areas so you can usually find one close to you in a given year, and there’s only one track/session schedule – so gone are worries of conflicting sessions or finding a good seat from room to room. Oh yeah – and the speakers are all stellar. Seriously.

If you’re interested in getting that $50 discount, just use the promo code “AEAADOB” (sans quotes) during your registration. Enjoy!

Dreamweaver “Next”- What Won’t Be In It

Dreamweaver’s a big application. Huge, in fact. And the next release is going to be an equally huge one – I haven’t seen the team this excited in years. But as they consider new features and proposals for downstream releases, it’s a struggle to both innovate on features and architecture while also testing and maintaining all the legacy features in DW. So, after a lot of careful consideration and research, the DW team has arrived at a short list of features to be dropped (in releases after CS3) that both a) require a lot of release-to-release effort to maintain, and b) are frankly not being used with much, if any frequency by the DW community. You can read the details here.

Yes, this list will likely be controversial to some – particularly if you’re relying on one or more of these features today. However, the team decided to publish this list early- to both help you prepare for the changes, evaluate other options and adjust your own workflows. Most all the deprecated features either have become more code-centric workflows in other dedicated IDEs/environments (JSP, .NET), or had visual user interfaces that enabled DW developers and designers to generate poorly-formed code in the back end (Layout Mode and Timelines, for example) – something the team takes very seriously.

My personal opinion is that this move will really free up resources to do a LOT in the next few releases of Dreamweaver, and start doing more ‘revolutionary’ feature and architectural work as opposed to strictly ‘evolutionary’ features and polish. If any of the features to be removed give you pause, post a note, and it’s likely we can suggest alternatives for the post-CS3 era to help smooth the transition.

Personally- I hope that when we’re able to talk more about what’s being planned for the next version (or two) of Dreamweaver, the tradeoffs made here will be more than justified in your eyes. But that’s a subject for a much later date with a lot more details- so keep posted. :)

Eric Meyer’s CSS Sculptor for Dreamweaver

To quote Zeldman: “danged if Eric Meyer hasn’t launched a product“, and in collaboration with long-time Dreamweaver extensionology specialists WebAssist, no less.
Today WebAssist announced their new product “Eric Meyer’s CSS Sculptor“, a collaboration with Eric on a very well-concieved Dreamweaver extension that allows you to create drop-dead simple, standards-compliant CSS designs quickly and comprehensively. Quite a nice collaboration at that, if I do say so myself.

CSS Sculptor is an elegant Dreamweaver extension that helps you quickly build a customized CSS layout, starting with 30 of the most popular variants- elastic, liquid and fixed layouts, 1-3 column configurations, and much more. The interface doesn’t just help you choose from a completely ‘pre-canned’ design, but gives you a clear starting point to help expose the CSS and attributes required to customize a layout for your specific project and design- helping educate users on CSS best practices as well as expedite their development. Win/win.

The community is taking notice, too- you can read Jeffrey Zeldman’s aforementioned take on CSS Sculptor (great comment thread, too), articles from InfoWorld and Website Magazine, and of course Eric’s own take on CSS Sculptor at his personal weblog. Don’t forget to digg the news, as well. :)

Great product from two heavyweights in their respective spheres of influence, and yet another reason why Dreamweaver’s such a rich product to work with- the extensibility/third-party developer community around Dreamweaver just plain rocks! Awesome job, guys.

(Side note: I feel compelled to put a little plug in here for the standards-compliant CSS Layouts that ship with Dreamweaver CS3 for the record – which are also great sources of education on CSS design/layout best practices – heavily commented, and coded for Dreamweaver by The Web Standards Project‘s Stephanie Sullivan.)

Configuring Dreamweaver CS3 for AIR Coding

If you’re using Dreamweaver CS3 but hesitant to get started with AIR development, I put together a very quick one-off screencast showing how to configure DWCS3 for AIR previewing and deployment using the beta AIR Extension for Dreamweaver (available on Adobe Labs).

This screencast covers installation and general functionality of the extension, and should get you up and running quickly. From there, it should be a snap to start leveraging your existing XHTML/JS/Spry/CSS skills to write sweet desktop apps using the AIR runtime.
Enjoy!

Desktop RSS with AIR and Spry

Notorious Aussie rebel Andrew Muller has written up a great article on building an AIR RSS viewer using Adobe’s Spry framework for the plumbing. Although he’s using Aptana in the article, Dreamweaver users have it just as easy (if not a bit easier) following the same steps, as obviously Spry’s much more integrated with DW CS3 than any other dev tool at the moment. You just need to grab the Adobe AIR extension for Dreamweaver CS3, which you can pick up for free (in beta form) at Adobe Labs.

Minor modifications to use Andrew’s article with DW CS3:

  • Install the AIR Extension for DW CS3 via the Extension Manager.
  • I suggest creating a unique site definition for each AIR app, to help keep assets managed well
  • Build the RSS application in Spry using either Andrew’s explicit instructions in code, or supplement that workflow with the visual Spry tools in Dreamweaver for a richer coding/GUI experience
  • Preview the application using Dreamweaver’s “Preview in Browser” toolbar menu > “Preview in Adobe AIR”
  • Package the application using the “Package in Adobe AIR” command from Dreamweaver’s Site menu.

Simple, quick and easy! And great little article to get your feet wet with AIR and Spry. Make sure to give Andrew some props if you like the walkthrough.

Source Control and Dreamweaver

… do you use them together? If so (or even if you just use source control regularly with other web design/development tools), please jump in with your thoughts and observations at this post by Lori Hylan-Cho on the Dreamweaver team weblog – “Source Control: Do You Use It?“. Lori’s trying to gather feedback on how you use version control/source control systems like Subversion, CVS, Perforce (and others) in web-based projects, whether application, site or both. If you haven’t used a source control system in the past but are interested in possibly doing so in the future, your comments and suggestions are also welcomed. So if this interests you even remotely, please hit that link and join the conversation. Thanks!

XRAY IE Beta Available

Again proving his boundless reserve of energy and innovation, John Allsopp has just announced an Internet Explorer beta of XRAY, his sweet little page instrospection bookmarklet I noted last week in it’s initial Firefox-supported release. Just one more reason why you should run – not walk – to John’s site and download this little gem postehaste. Just hit the first link above, drag the ‘XRAY IE’ link to your bookmarks toolbar in IE, then revel in your newfound page element wisdom.

Awesome stuff. Thanks again, John- XRAY kicks some major butt.

Be a Dreamweaver Video Star

Wanna get your mug up on the big screen at MAX this year? Enthusiasm about the CS3 launch has you warm and fuzzy, but anxious and jittery? Well, we’ve just the outlet for you hardcores to let off some steam.

Between August 24th and 28th Adobe will be shooting on-camera interviews of Adobe software enthusiasts, talking about the software and work they love, for a video to be shown at the MAX conference in Chicago. If selected, you’d only be needed for one of those days (individual shoots will range between 1 to 2 hours maximum, FYI). If you want to be considered for this big-screen appearance you just have to drop a note to ‘adobecast@yahoo.com’ providing:

  • Your occupation
  • What Adobe products you use
  • A recent photo or two of yourself
  • Contact information

If you’ve got an interesting story to tell – especially if you’re using Dreamweaver, of course (as I’m biased that way) – drop a note to the production email account and get yourself in the running. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final piece, as well as the blooper reels… ;-)

Kuler API Now Available

Kuler, the Flex-based Adobe web app for exploring color space, has become quite the thriving nexus for colorists across the ether, allowing one to experiment quickly with color themes and share them with equal ease amongst the design community. Well, good news for mashup artists worldwide- you can now access a simple RESTful API to get Kuler color themes into your own application/mashup. Here’s an example to get the wheels turning. Ready? You can get all the details over at Adobe Labs. Mash away!

Update: I was recently informed that the Kuler interface was actually built in Flash- not Flex. Apologies for the mixup!

My iTunes – Flash Widgets

Amidst all the new iMac/iLife/iWork iNews this week, I somehow missed this little tidbit (thanks to JD for the nod)- Apple’s new ‘My iTunes’ site offers several downloadable/embeddable page widgets to share your iTunes prefs with the world- and said widgets are delivered in Flash format.

Widgets and code snippets like this aren’t quite breaking news, but given all the chatter recently about what Apple ISN’T doing with Flash today (most notably the iPhone, of course), I found this a rather interesting example of some cool things Apple IS doing with Flash.