Quick Link: Building a Bulletproof Contact Form with PHP

Matthew Pennel (of The Watchmaker Project) just wrote a short and very clear article on Digital-Web Magazine on handling contact forms with PHP entitled “Building a Bulletproof Contact Form with PHP”.  If you are new to the topic, or are just looking to get that contact form set up and working, then for sure, give it a read.

Great work Matthew!

Quick Link: Live Blogging CodeIgniter tutorial

CodeIgniter developer Michael Wales started an interesting kind of tutorial today, as he live blogged it.

I think we’re all familar with Live Blogging, the act of updating a specific blog posts continuously through an Expo or something of that nature. Today I’m going to try something a little bit new here - a live tutorial. We’ll be creating a very basic blog using the CodeIgniter framework - I’m not going to run through Installation of a web server or anything like that. Just make sure you have a fresh install of CodeIgniter up and ready to go.

Interesting work Michael, and I hope we see more of this!

Quick Link: What a designer has to do when looking for a job

First of all, Veerle is flippin’ brilliant to begin with, but then writes a blog post entitled “What a designer has to do when looking for a job” that is chalk chock full of great advice, and then recommends you use ExpressionEngine to set up your portfolio.  What’s not to love!

Next, I would design myself a website using web standards of course. How far you take this is based on personal knowledge. If it was me, I would use ExpressionEngine to power my portfolio and blog. Why? Because it’s a great way to get your name out and to show your work to the world.

Thanks Veerle!

Quick Link:

Sample from LuckyOliverLuckyOliver is another entry into the stock-photo market.  They’ve been around for a bit of time now.  I first heard about them when I was down at South by Southwest, where they gave out these nifty beer coasters as promotional giveaways.  So what makes them different then the venerable iStock?  Well, they’re both stock photo sites, so you’d expect similarities.  iStock seems to have generally higher quality work, but you can find some great pictures on LuckyOliver. 

iStock also has videos now, which is something not available at LuckyOliver.  Then again, videos are generally only useful if you’re doing very specific Flash work, and even then the video selection from iStock leaves a little be be desired (although, to their credit it is growing every day, and finding high-quality video clips is getting easier and easier).

So what does LuckyOliver have over iStock?  In a word, attitude.  They still exude that “small team of guys trying to make a run of this” feel.  Their blog is candid, and fun.  The site is designed to look worn, but the interface remains clean and clear - but still “flirty”.  Running a search?  They offer you the option of “no nudies”.  Your “control panel” is called the “Big Top”, and also offer the “Odditorium”. Cute.  There are other interface niceties there as well.  When you first sign up, they give you a simple 2 option choice box.  “Ready to buy, or read to sell” - attractively presented.  I have no interest in uploading or selling images, and the presentation left me feeling like I knew what I needed to do next.  Even when they nag you for money, its well presented. “Interested? You’ll need to get yourself some tokens”.  Oh yeah, continuing on the carnival theme, they call credits “tokens”.

search results from LuckyOliverThe search tool looks really promising, but isn’t giving me as accurate of results as I had hoped for yet.  A search for “old people” gave me a bikini Ms. Santa Claus and about 8 Shakespeare actors, a police cruiser… a toilet?  Um… ok.  If they can get that sorted out, they have great ideas.  You can search by orientation, be specific about illustrations or photos, licenses and many other options.  Nice.

While it doesn’t mean much to me, they do a photo commenting not unlike Flickr, and also offer image tagging, lightboxes, and the other standard fares.

Finally, they seem to offer types of photos that I don’t see too much on other stock sites.  Worn, risque type imagery.  LuckyOliver has intrigued me enough to add it to my stable of resources, and I’m hopeful it won’t let me down.

Quick Link: Three Layers of the Web

Three Layers of the Web Kevin Yank has an article posted on Sitepoint entitled “Simply JavaScript: The Three Layers of the Web”.  What I love about it, is that he does a masterful job of outlining the separation of content from presentation from behaviour.  I was just talking about this the other day, how HTML, CSS and Javascript make up the 3 legged table of the web; each is required if you are trying to build something stable.

These days, everyone seems to understand separating presentation from markup, but I still see <a href=”#” onclick=“doSomething();”> all over the place.  Hopefully, as more and more people keep repeating the message, separating behaviour, the same way we separate presentation, will work its way into our collective folk-knowledge.

If you are a beginning webmaster, spend some serious time reading about these separations - you’ll be a better webmaster for it.

Firefox line paste trick

Courtesy of lifehacker comes this brilliant Firefox tip.

Firefox multiline input example

If you’ve ever tried copying and pasting a multi-line address into Google Maps just to realize that an input box will only take one line at a time—meaning that you have to copy and paste each line individually—there’s a simple Firefox tweak that will solve this problem:

Type “about:config” in the location bar. In the “Filter” field type “singleline.”
You can set the value to 2 for editor.singleLine.pasteNewlines, which will allow pasting of multiple lines to input boxes.

Quick Link: Plotr javascript graphing library

A beautiful piece of work!  Bas Wenneker has written Plotr, a charting engine in Prototype that uses canvas.  Now if only IE would support SVG, my world would be complete (until I found something else to complain about). The library is released under a BSD license, and requires prototype to run.

The rendered graphs are not bitmap graphics (no GIFs or PNGs here), but rather plotted using SVG or Explorer Canvas, as is appropriate. And if I may say so, the output is sexy as hell.
Example of a Plotr Graph

Quick Link: Tab Effect for Firefox

One of the more innovative things I’ve seen lately for Firefox is the Tab Effect Extension. It adds an interesting transition between tabs reminiscent of how Suse handles desktop transitions.

tab effect extension for Firefox

I’ve got to admit it does look sexy, but after living with it for 5 minutes, I’ve already removed it. The authors should be commended for creating this wonderful extension, but to me this is a clear case of eye-candy getting in the way of practicality.

Quick Link: Firebug 1.0 is out in beta

One of my favourite Firefox extensions has just released a new version. Firebug announced today that the 1.0 version is out now in beta, and even more importantly, has been released under the same open source license as Firefox itself. From the site: Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

Fancy-pants DOM features abound, and the usual AJAX debugging goodness is in there. Thanks go to Joe Hewitt.

Quick Link: Firefox 2 is out

Get it now.

Good God I hate the new location of the tab closing button.