Local development with Hammer & Anvil

Front end web development gives me a lot of joy, but it's not without its frustrations. And so I'm always looking out for any tool that improves my processes and reduces friction. Espresso is a good example of a tool that does just enough without offering too much, and it's a permanent fixture in my tool belt. Another tool I've come to love is Hammer. The slogan for the app says it all: Build out static HTML sites quickly and easily. No fuss, no mess, no PHP.No mess is what I like. MAMP is handy, but it's overkill for…

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Migrating from ExpressionEngine to Kirby

This latest iteration of my site is powered by Kirby, a lovely CMS created by Bastian Allgeier. Kirby has no database and is folder based, so its simplicity is felt in managing the site and, more importantly, in publishing your content. EE can be set up to work with MarsEdit, a great tool. This would have made it much more palatable, but with my complex set up of multiple channels for different post types, it never worked correctly.EE is a wonderful tool, powerful and wonderfully flexible. It's perfect for running my church’s website. But it was more than…

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Are frameworks the new cookie cutters?

Mark Dixon asks a great question — one I've been asking myself. I've used Dave Gamache's excellent Skeleton framework for my past few projects, and it has made the aspect of responsive design quite a bit easier. But I've also had to pare it down, stripping out all the bits I don't need. I've wondered about using something more lightweight, but the reality is, I'd be better off creating something of my own. Like jQuery plugins, it can be easy to use a CSS framework without fully understanding the fundamental concepts that it employs. That's where I feel I need to…

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webkit-tap-highlight-color

There are a lot of helpful CSS properties out there, available for use, that I am simply not aware of. I came across one recently while reading a post from Sacha Grief on my iPad. When I tapped on a link, there was a nice highlight colour applied. When designing a site, I know I've struggled at times to pick appropriate styles to indicate both a link, plus the state of the link when tapped. Enter -webkit-tap-highlight-color. I checked out Sacha's site on my Macbook and discovered this nice entry. He uses a different colour for this property than what…

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Content everywhere

This week's news of the launch of Pocket — a compelling rebrand and slight change-of-focus of Read It Later — caught my attention. Like all the recent chatter on Instapaper and Readability, Pocket touches on a subject dear to my heart. It's not surprising that these tools generate a lot of opinion and discussion — services like Pocket give us more control and access to the content we consume and share via the Internet. And we care about that content. Regarding Pocket, there was plenty of both discussion and opinion on launch day. Federico gave a good overview of the redesigned service. Ben…

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Alternate CSS files

Ever since Liz Danzico offered a separate version of her site in the latter hours, titled The Evening Edition, I've wanted to do the same on my own blog. A new design and a move to a new CMS was the perfect opportunity. I had no idea how to achieve this, but the solution was just a touch of javascript. There are a number of ways to attack this, but I went simple and created three separate CSS files. One for the global stuff, layout and all that. The other two contained color and background settings — one for the day…

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Probing the hive mind: an interview with Dan Benjamin

A couple of months back, I was giving Dan Benjamin a hard time on Twitter, claiming that someone replaced his avatar with a caricature of Cabel Sasser (of Panic fame). Dan replied, with a link to the source his avatar, which was supplied by the gang responsible for Happy Webbies. Although I was merely giving Dan a hard time — you have to admit that his happy webby looks a lot like Cabel's Twitter avatar — this made me stop and think for a second. "Dan Benjamin has a happy webby!?" Seeing as I follow Dan on Twitter, I have obviously heard…

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