Web Developers - Eric Bids Adieu! - Lockergnome
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Wed Feb 18 12:35:17 PST 2004
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February 18, 2004 - Eric Bids Adieu!
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
- GnomeREPORT: Eric Bids Adieu!
- SCRIPTS: Stadtaus.com
- WARE: Expression Engine
- WARE: DreamWeaver MX 2004
- BOOK: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh Visual
- SITE: RentACoder.com
- GOODBYE: Fond Farewells!
- Read this issue online
- Get the RSS feed for this channel Syndicate this Channel
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GnomeREPORT: Eric Bids Adieu!
Hey, Gnomies! Well I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine holiday
and extended weekend (for those who got off on Presidents Day). I was
able to get a lot accomplished. For starters, I soft launched my
mother-in-law's Web site SweetsFromTheSouth.com, so please take a
gander and tell me what you think! Also the site is ready to take
orders so if you see something you like feel free to make a purchase.
I took a lot of the thoughts from all of you and applied as many as I
could. The biggest thing you'll notice is the layout! I got rid of the
candy background and moved everything directly into the shopping cart
software template system. This will make it easier for me to manage in
I also moved a few steps further on my consulting Web site
(JpecServices.com). Having locked up the backend code and settled
in on offerings and pricing, I should be ready to launch in a week or
two! So please bookmark the site today and keep on the lookout for the
Finally, I have to report that this is my last issue with Lockergnome.
We all reach a point in our lives where we have to decide on which
path to walk down. For me, I need to concentrate on my business,
family, and more. Don't worry, though, I'm not abandoning you
completely! You'll still be able to get fresh content from my site
when it launches and I'm sure I'll have stuff to submit to the next
editor, whomever that may be. I'd like to thank all of you for your
words of wisdom, level of enthusiasm, and thirst for knowledge. You've
made this a great experience for me. Of course I have to also thank
everyone at the LG staff for guiding me on this wild and crazy journey
and for the opportunities it's presented.
[Back to Top]
Forums and message boards are full of users trying to install and
customize Perl or PHP scripts. Most of them struggle with at least one
step of the installation process.
Some of the scripts have no (useful) documentation. Others simply
can't get to work with the server environment. Another fraction of
scripts have loads of features that make the configuration complex and
time-consuming. And most of the scripts don't feature template files
to customize the layout so that it matches with the Web site's layout.
Since nobody and nothing is perfect, it is expected that users,
especially the inexperienced ones, run into problems. Good for them,
if the script developers provide support.
Another crucial point is the licensing and pricing issue. Scripts that
can be used for free are often written by coding beginners and the
quality level is very low. High quality scripts, in turn, are often
expensive and overloaded with features.
While aware of these issues, the object of STADTAUS.com is to develop
and provide PHP scripts that are easy to install and configure. The
scripts are fully customizable to fit the layout of the Web site. All
scripts can be downloaded and used for free and without registration.
Only a small link back to the project is requested, unless the user
pays a fair license fee. And finally, STADTAUS.com provides a support
forum where all users are guided through the installation process.
[Back to Top]
WARE: Expression Engine
I've seen the future and the future is full of expressions.
Expression Engine, that is. Still confused? Well not for long. How
many of you have a blog? How many of you have a Content Management
System? How many of you have been looking for blog software and a CMS
package? I've seen the future and the future is Expression Engine.
Released currently as a public beta (1.0b), Expression Engine is a
killer app that is sure to change the face of blogging software to
come. For those of you who remember my pMachine review awhile back
you'll be familiar with the company. Expression Engine is pMachine on
steroids. Expression Engine is modular, it's OOP, user friendly, easy
to modify, and it's almost 100% plug-ins. What does that mean, almost
100% plug-ins? It means the system was designed from the ground up to
be expanded upon, to have things plugged in and unplugged. For you
developers, this means an awesome API that is sure to make problem
solving a simple task.
I installed Expression Engine, also lovingly referred to as EE, or E
squared, or the big double E, in 15 seconds (not including upload
times, which will vary). It comes with 12 templates to choose from -
or ignore them and create you own. Believe me, in 15 seconds I was
running around with a blog that will put most to shame with features
and expandability. What features, you ask ?
* Data Modeling
* Speed via page or paragraph caching
* 160 bit SHA1 password encryption
* Double opt-in mailing lists
* Google-friendly URLs
* Multiple categories for postings
* Member groups and associated privileges
* Workflow - Yes, Timmy, you can have the post as first draft, or
pending, or in revision
* Image resizing and thumbnailing from your blog entries
* Stat tracking - logged-in members, guests, anonymous, and more
* XHTML compliant Control panel - it is fast. Really fast.
Trust me, if you are serious about your blog or about the CMS on your
site, you owe it to yourself to check this product out. I could fill
up pages upon pages of how customizable EE is. Imagine each and every
user in your system having a different control panel with different
privileges, views, powers, and more. You can't fathom the
extensibility of EE and I can't wait to dive into it and push it to
the edge - if the edge can ever be found!
Stop thinking! Go grab it now and you'll wonder how you ever
survived with those other "content tools." It's time to stop having a
weblog and move up to an Expression Engine, where your true thoughts
are delivered the way you intended them to be. [Eric]
[Back to Top]
WARE: DreamWeaver MX 2004
I've been playing with the latest MacroMedia DreamWeaver MX release,
aptly named DreamWeaver MX 2004, and I have to say I'm very
impressed! As with every DW release they have redesigned the
interface, albeit not as drastically as in past releases. I can see
the developers of DW MX 2K4 have been hard at work studying user
interfaces and workflow.
The new interface is a dream to look at and, in some cases, much
easier to use. They've moved the tabs from the bottom of the screen to
the top and they have consolidated a lot of the menu bars. The biggest
confusion for me when I started out was finding my way around the menu
bars. In DW MX, your entire menu bar was a bunch of tabs across the
top of the screen and you could quickly jump from layout to frames to
PHP and get relevant choices. With the new way of doing things, you
have a selection box that you use to select which menu you want to
see. I'm actually finding this way to be more user friendly versus the
multiple tabs. Sure, at first it's confusing, but after you get used
to it you realize how nice it is to go to one area each and every time
to get what you need. Instead of hunting for the right tab, I just
click, select, and press the button I want.
DW MX 2K4 has also bumped up the notch on working with CSS. We first
saw CSS come to real light with DW MX but it wasn't the stellar
control we expected from DreamWeaver. With MX 2004, things changed a
lot. You can expect to have a lot more control over your CSS style
sheets, improved code hints, and rendering. MX 2004 is finally
bringing CSS to the front of its capabilities.
A new feature of MX 2004 is the ability to do minor editing (cropping,
resizing, etc.) of images from within DreamWeaver! They've taken a bit
of FireWorks and placed it right inside of DreamWeaver. So you no
longer have to jump out of one program to jump into another just to
crop or resize your graphics. This is a great addition to the product
and I'm sure it will lead to many of us being a bit more productive!
You can also do more with Flash from within DreamWeaver without having
to actually own Flash MX 2004. Of course, if you have the full studio
suite you'll get a lot more of it, but even without the extra programs
you should be better off than you were.
The feature I'm happiest with is the ability to use Secure FTP from
within DreamWeaver. This lacking feature had long been a thorn in my
side with the older version. Now with MX 2004 I can actually initiate
and use an SFTP session with my servers without the need to use
another $30 program.
Also with this update comes an update to all the reference books
included with DreamWeaver. This also means upgrades to the code hints
and completion mechanisms found in the IDE. If you are like me, you
find these resources to be constantly in use.
DreamWeaver MX 2004 has also integrated the ability to work with .NET
technologies and new technologies in PHP and ColdFusion. There is also
a tighter integration when working with Databases and the DW wizards.
Overall they seem to be cleaner and easier to figure out for first
time users while not holding back the more experienced coder.
Overall, the new DreamWeaver is a great upgrade. If you are someone
who plays with a lot of languages or projects, it's a must. If you are
the casual site builder and can afford it, then I say grab it now.
Otherwise, low volume users and those on a tight budget might find the
program to be more than they can handle, but with time and patience
even you can push DreamWeaver MX 2004 to the limits. [Eric]
[Back to Top]
Traffic Analyzer - Sawmill 6 is a log analyzer and traffic
statistics tool that runs on every major platform. It's suited to web
server logs, but can process almost any log. Sawmill generates
reports that are attractive and heavily cross-linked for easy
navigation. Complete documentation is built into the program. It's
easy to use and install. Plus it's highly configurable. Get your
FREE trial download today!
BOOK: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh Visual
I wanted to learn Flash so I went and got myself a copy of
Macromedia Flash MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual
QuickStart Guide by Katherine Ulrich. I'd grabbed a Photoshop version
of this same book back when I was learning to use that program and I
was super impressed with it.
First, let me say if you have a need to learn Flash, then this is not
the book for you, however, if you want to learn the Flash MX 2004 IDE,
you MUST get this book. It goes into such depth about the layout of
the IDE, the menus, and more that you can't put the book down without
having a solid grasp of the Flash MX 2004 IDE. I was amazed at the
level of detail and care put into explaining the IDE to me.
The book is very well written and is served up in a way that makes you
want to keep going. Just as you learn one facet of the program it
dives into another level and so on and so on. Before you know it,
you've read half the book and you are craving more.
To some users I can see how this book might drag in areas. The great
thing is that it's so well laid out you can skip those areas and even
jump around the book like a cat on a hot tin roof and still have a
solid grasp of the IDE.
I honestly can say that after reading this book I might not be able to
create a lot of Flash products but I know where I need to go and what
processes I need to take to accomplish the tasks. [Eric]
[Back to Top]
At some point in your life you're probably going to want to make money
from building Web sites or coding online applications. Now you can do
this with a job in corporate America or you can go out and do it on
your own. If you choose to go out on your own you might have a problem
building your portfolio for prospective clients. Sure you could try
the pro bono route and get some exposure that way but wouldn't it be
more fun to get paid while building your portfolio?
RentACoder.com is a site online that allows you to bid on projects
or to have others bid on a project you need. So you can go here, find
some projects that fit your skill set, and bid to take this project
on. Now keep in mind the lowest bidder will win the project, so you
need to find a nice balance between workload and the dollars you bid.
Don't rush out and bid $50 on a full-on Content Management System that
will take you 3 months to deliver. Rather, find small projects that
you can complete in a few days. This will give you the experience you
crave, the portfolio you need, and a few greenbacks to line your
pockets with in the meantime.
One of the features of this site that must be mentioned is their Safe
Project Escrow which is designed to ensure that money is only paid to
those that complete a project to the client's specifications.
The "Safe Project Escrow" (tm): This Rent A Coder exclusive
feature, guarantees a stress free transaction by putting you in
control of releasing funds to the coder. p>Before Rent A Coder,
many companies had to make non-refundable, up-front payments to
coders to hire them. This often resulted in deadbeat coders making
off with deposits, and buyers being left with nothing but empty
promises and empty wallets.
However, with the "Safe Project Escrow," you don't pay the coder
directly, but instead deposit the funds into an escrow account.
While giving the coder the reassurance that you have the funds, the
coder also knows that they do not receive any funds until work is
completed (or a work phase is completed if you are doing a phased
Upon completion of work (or work phase), you verify that you've
received what you've asked for, and authorize the release of funds
though the site. Since you are in control, you can guarantee that
you'll get the deliverables that you're asking for!
[Back to Top]
GOODBYE: Fond Farewells!
As I mentioned in the GnomeREPORT, this is my last full issue. From
here on out you'll see me from time to time as I submit articles,
tips, and more. I want to again thank all of you for your suggestions,
ideas, tips, and words of wisdom. This really has been a great
experience for me and I'll treasure the contacts and friends I've made
As a final parting, I'd like to let you in on a little secret recently
reveled to me. As you know, in the past I featured a program called
VisitorVille, which allows you to view your website statistics in
real time as well as in archival format. Shortly after featuring the
program on Lockergnome, I was contacted by the CEO who wanted to offer
a discount to everyone. Well, little known to me, he never took the
discount coupon out of the system, and he's going to keep it in there
a bit longer! So grab the software, you get 12 days to play with
it, and when you are ready to buy, use the code gnomies to get 40% off
for life. Just think of it as my parting gift to all of you!
[Back to Top]
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