Christian Heilmann

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Archive for July, 2006

Is my quest for a good multi-platform IDE over?

Monday, July 31st, 2006

I just installed Aptana and peeked at some of the Aptana Screencasts to see what this IDE can do and I am very impressed.

I am a sold to Homesite, ever since version 2.5, but lately I found myself more and more using my Mac and I hate using different IDEs. WordWrangler and CSSEdit seemed to odd as an IDE (give me shortcuts, not floating toolbars), Dreamweaver was just too overwhelming and costs too much, and others were just not my cup of tea.

Aptana, however, seems to be really focused on web development and integrates all the big JavaScript libraries. That way using the YUI is a lot quicker as the IDE autocompletes all those long namespaces.

Now, if only I knew that it supports UTF-8 as well as UltraEdit does, then I’d be sold to this one. I’ll give it a spin and keep you updated as to my findings.

Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance is now available

Friday, July 28th, 2006

Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance

Friends of Ed just released another book I participated in. Collected under the succinct title “Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance” you will find all you ever wanted to know about web accessibilty.

I cannot talk much about the other chapters, but the list of writers and knowing what they have done in the past makes it a vast source of knowledge.

My contribution was a chapter on “Accessible JavaScript”.

Becoming Clueful – a collaborative article about what web developers expect from clients

Friday, July 28th, 2006

Esther Schindler has been busy asking members of evolt’s the list what their biggest pains are when dealing with clients are. Or – in other words – what developers would love their clients to know. The result is called Becoming Clueful and was released at IT Business Net yesterday.

It is an article full of good information, albeit I’d loved to see some more structure in it rather than a string of quotes. Something like a Top 10 myths and Top 10 annoyances with a lot of footnotes as to who said it would have been easier to read.

Anyways, my bit is on page 2:

“Clients seem to think that web development is like getting your car fixed in one of the quickfix garages: You agree a fixed price, bring it in, and pick it up after a certain amount of time,” says Chris Heilmann, a web developer in London. “In reality, a good web product needs buy-in and dedication from both the development agency and the client.”

All blogs look the same…

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

At least to me, and this is how they look:

What your blog looks like

Judging by my stats and the referrers, that is the same for a lot of people – not necessarily using the same RSS reader, but one of the dozens out there.

The reason is simple: Time. I simply don’t have the time to surf around all the blogs I like to read, which is why I chose to stick to the RSS feeds and netvibes to collate them all ( in case you’re interested in what I read, here are my subscriptions in OPML format ). And after all this is what blogging is about: Writing and syndicating/linking to others.

That said, I keep finding posts about “Redesign of my blog”, “new blog design” or even “Sneak preview of my upcoming blog design”. Frankly, I couldn’t care less – unless you create a step by step tutorial as to why you have redesigned (which should be something like “increasing readability/usability” and not “to add this new gizmo”) and what tricks you used to overcome browser issues and you offer the templates for download.

What I’d rather like to read is things like “How I sold a good practice of blogs to a client”, “How I proved that web standards make a difference to a client” or “How I integrated CSS in an older CMS or framework – the issues and their solutions”, but sadly enough these are rare.

Talk of “we won the web standard war” is all over the place, and, to me, is premature until there are commercial solutions, frameworks and large sites that really embrace not only the syntax but the idea of standards – which includes that not every browser gives the same result but according to what it can support.

If you are bored with CSS or you think we’ve achieved it all – I guess you never had to face a project that’s been around for a while with clients that just don’t want talk but cheap quick solutions. Once we cracked these situations, it’s time for celebration.

Reason #13423 why I love the internet – Lego instruction booklets

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

I never cease to be amazed by what effort people put into their passions and putting them on the web. I just stumbled over this page with scans of Lego booklets which must have taken ages to put together – well, the scanning not the page.

Content, wonderful content…