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Google Analytics :: Introduction into all the feature

Tools 2 Comments »

Google AnalyticsGoogle analytics is getting more and more used these days for measuring and getting statistics on all kinds of websites. But I estimate that only half of the people who uses it, know the full range of functionality that is available within Google Analytics.

Features like:
- conversion measurement
- e-commerce
- outbound link tracking
- ….

For those who want to learn to use it properly, please have look at the SlideShare presentation from the people from Queromedia

Special thanks for Joris Roebben and Tom Michiels from Queromedia, for putting together the presentation and being kind enough to share this with us.

IE Tester :: The ultimate Internet Explorer version testing utility

CSS, Software 5 Comments »

As every mature webdesigner and webdeveloper knows that are a lot of differences between all the different browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari,..) Each browser renders a webpage and lay-out a bit differently.

Being the good webdesigner and webdeveloper you want your website / application to look the same in all browser. For this you use CSS hacks and exceptions and so on…

But the problem was usually testing the lay-out in different browsers.
You can install usually different browsers a long each other but there was a problem with installing different versions of browsers.

Example: Internet Explorer 6 still is used a lot, but if you update your windows you get the Internet Explorer 7 (which renders pages very differently from the Internet Explorer 6). So once you upgraded to IE7 there was no real possibility to test or install IE6. This is a widely know problem for most of the webdesigners and webdevelopers.

Until recently you had 2 options:

Option 1: install a VMware OS with for each VMware a different OS with different browser version
This was not ideal because of all performance issues with VMWare and not practical for debugging

Option 2: use a portable version of the browser (as mentioned in my previous post “Portable Internet Explorer 7“)
This was working, but also not ideal since limited and not always stable.

The kind people from DebugBar (IE alternative for Firebug, like mentioned in a previous post “Firebug for IE“) created a new tool “IETester”.
This is 1 tool which has all the different interenet explorer browser engines build-in.

Official description:IETester is a free WebBrowser that allows you to have the rendering and javascript engines of IE8 beta 1, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process.”

I tested it and this is what every webdesigner has been looking for, believe me!!!
No more messing around with VMWare and portable version. Just 1 tool for all versions of Internet Explorer, what more do you need.

Download it here: Download IE Tester
Or have a closer look at the official website: http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage

PS: you find the DebugBar (IE alternative for Firebug) there as well, a most have IE add-on

Screenshot of IE Tester:

Adobe Thermo :: Closing the gap between design and development

Software, Web 2.0 No Comments »

A couple of months ago, I saw some promissing screencast of Adobe MAX convention about the new tool Adobe was working on.

The RIA tool was called “Thermo” and allows non technical people to put together a complete prototype of an application by simply drag and drop elements. This will close the gap between the design and development of applications. Thermo will provide the functionality to simulate application behavior and making it easier to build complete mock-ups for demo’s or for providing to the IT development teams. I think that this tool will be a great improvement for all the project managers. Giving them a lot of freedom to put together applications and playing around without actually having to develop everything. This tool could replace the wireframe design and speed up application development. I’m anxious awaiting the release.

Official Adobe description: Thermo is an upcoming Adobe product that makes it easy for designers to create rich Internet application UIs. Thermo allows designers to build on familiar workflows to visually create working applications that easily flow into production and development.”

More info can be found on the official Adobe Labs website: http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Thermo

A couple of screenshots:

A couple of Youtube previews:

Youtube Logo

GrooveMasterMix Podcast mini-site

Music No Comments »

This time it’s not a serious post, but a fun about music.

I’m passionate about music, so in my spare time I used to be a professional DJ but due to too much other stuff this has been brought back to the background. But I recently bought a Traktor Scratch system, which allows you to play MP3 tracks throught vinyl records. This system really blew me away!!! It’s a fantastic tool for deejaying!

How does it work?
Well, you play with 2 vinyl records and a special device (AUDIO 8 ) virtually put your prefered MP3 on the vinyl records, which you can then mix and scratch as if they were the orginal vinyl records. It’s super easy and fun.

So with this new “toy”, I felt the need to create some new mixes. To promote this mixes I quickly put together a mini-site to host and promote my podcast.

GrooveMasterMix Podcast – Dj Thim: http://djthim.trinix.be

Enjoy it! You can leave comments here.

Calendar Sync tools (Google, Outlook, Rainlendar) UPDATE

Software No Comments »

In a previous post (Calendar Sync tools (Google, Outlook, Rainlendar) I mentioned that I was looking for a good tool to sync my Google calendar with Outlook.
I only seemed to find paying software but today Google itself launched a free sync tool :-)


Really easy to install and configure. You can choose 1 way or 2 way sync. This is makes the sync process between Google calendar and Outlook child play.

Dreamweaver with Javascript framework support

Javascript, Software 1 Comment »

I’m a big Dreamweaver user because of the nice and user-friendly interface, the good intellisense and … (too much reasons to enumerate them all). I was missing only one main functionality that was better Javascript support and javascript intellisense. Since we are in the Web 2.0 age, the usage of Javascript has risen exponentially. Now Dreamweaver supports Javascript (and their own Javascript framework “Spry”) but I was missing intellisense for the famous Javascript frameworks (Prototype, Script.aculo.us, jQuery, mootools, …).

But somebody started to build Dreamweaver extensions that will fix this.
At the website http://xtnd.us/ you can find the current available DW extensions that they already build and / or will build.

For now they have the following available in béta:

Possible planned releases:

  • Mochikit API for Dreamweaver MX-CS3
  • MooTools API for Dreamweaver MX-CS3
  • YUI API for Dreamweaver MX-CS3

Perhaps it’s time that the guys at Adobe start to support this by providing the Javascript framework extesions.

Ajaxian posted also an article on this topic: http://ajaxian.com/archives/dreamweaver-users-rejoice-support-for-js-libs-now-available

Firefox Memory usage tweak

Software No Comments »

I love Firefox as a browser but when surfing a lot and using it long time it becomes a memory sucker (using a lot of necessary memory).
I applied the following tweaks and my memory miss usage was much lower.

  • Assign Memory Cache on Firefox
  • Release Memory when Firefox is minimized

Assign Memory Cache on Firefox

Firefox doesn’t use memory cache and uses system memory by default, it is good to assign a fixed memory cache to reduce the usage of memory.

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Key in about:config in the address bar.
  3. Key in browser.cache.memory.enable in the Filter field.
  4. Ensure the value of the above item is set it true, if not, double-click on it to set it to true.
  5. Right-click in the browser and select New -> Integer from the pop-up.
  6. Key in, browser.cache.memory.capacity, click OK.
  7. You need to enter a value here and that value depends upon the RAM your computer has.
  8. if you have:
    1. 256MB RAM – Enter “4096“.
    2. 512MB RAM – Enter “8192“.
  9. Note: If you have 128MB or less RAM then you need to upgrade your RAM. It is not very expensive.

Important: If you want to restore to default settings then change browser.cache.memory.capacity value to -1 (minus 1).

Release Memory when Firefox is minimized

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Key about:config in the address bar.
  3. Right-click in the browser and select New -> Boolean from the pop-up.
  4. In the popup box enter config.trim_on_minimize. Click OK.
  5. Select True and then click OK.
  6. Restart Firefox.

I found these tweak on Zolved.com, if you need more tips concerning Firefox Memory Optimizing visit Zolved.com

Yahoo Grid Builder

CSS No Comments »

If you ever need to build a grid-like structure on a webpage, you have to setup all the different DIV boxes and then start to lay-out and position them with CSS and make the grid cross-browser compatible. This can be quite a hassle and you can loose a lot of your precious time and then you are finished and somebody asks for an extra box. Then you would practically start all over again… You would think :-)

The guys at Yahoo were kind enough to put together a “Grid builder” tool. With this tool you can create your grid and change it as you like with a simple mouse-clicks. When you are happy with the grid you can just save the HTML and CSS code and you are good to go. Saved you half a day of work and perhaps a lot of stress :-)

Yahoo Grid builder: http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/grids/builder/

UPDATE: Somebody made an also a Grid generator. Check it out :: http://grid.mindplay.dk/

Lovely Charts :: MS Visio Alternative

Flex, Software, Web 2.0 3 Comments »

I recently discovered “Lovely Charts” (http://www.lovelycharts.com). It’s an online Rich Internet Application build in Flex (flash GUI) and a PHP / MySQL back-end. It’s developed in Belgium (my country :-) by Jérôme Cordiez (active at http://www.thisislovely.com ) and it’s really a piece of art.

Lovely charts allows you to create online charts – Diagrams – wireframes – …

This is like MS Visio but then really nice and easy and most important of all it’s ONLINE!!!
The interface is really intuitive and the functionality is almost complete (it’s still in Beta fase).

You can draw with lovely charts:

  • Flowcharts
  • Sitemaps
  • Wireframes
  • Organigram charts
  • Network diagrams

The diagram symbols are vectorized and have a nice modern touch. The result are impressive charts and diagrams with a professional look. I tested already for personal use and now i’m even using it at my work as a Product Manager at StepStone Belgium. For my projects I have to create a lot of sitemaps, wireframes, diagrams, … and this tool just won over MS Visio. Creating complex sitemaps is no issue anymore. You can play around with all different arrows, colors, elements and symbols. Lovely charts allow you to create even the simplest or really complex diagrams without any problems, linking the different elements with one simple click. You can even specify the different types of arrow lines. When you are finished you can export your diagram / chart to a JPEG or PNG.

Everything is really straigtforward:

  • drag-drop
  • resize
  • link elements
  • adding text
  • export

You can even select and manipulate multipe elements or use the keyboard to do actions.

I can’t say in words how much I like lovely Charts but just take a look at the impressive gallery and believe me afterwards you will signup. And the diagrams presented in the gallery are really created with lovely charts.

It’s a free service with the possibility to signup for a premium account.
With this premium account you can save your diagrams online.

Have a look at their gallery and watch the screencast at their nicely designed website
and Signup now for a free account

Building cross-browser CSS

CSS No Comments »

CSS is a life saver when it comes to managing the GUI of a website.

Changing 1 style in the CSS file, will affect the whole website (if you implemented CSS in the right manner offcourse ;-) )

But even your precious planned CSS lay-out is a victim of the different rendering of the default styles in the various browsers.

For example a H1 is rendered in IE with a specific white margin below its text, while in FF this has a different margin.

Even a form is rendered differently.

To prevent from working with 10 different CSS files, one for each browser existing, it’s easier to reset all the default styles to a specific style.

This can very easily be achieved. You need to set all the default styles in 1 CSS which you include each time as the first CSS file and next you will be working with a CSS lay-out that’s cross browser compatible.

How to reset the default styles and which styles to reset is explained by Shape Shed :: http://shapeshed.com/journal/default_styles_for_css/

Another great explenation can by found at the Yahoo UI Library (which is an excellent reference concerning UI) :: http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/reset/

Go have a look and you will save several hours and a lot off stress and cursing when you start lay-outing your next website or web application to be cross browser compatible.

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