Jun '09

When Browsers Attack, Head to the BrowserLab

Today is a historic day in the world of web design and development because our jobs just got a lot easier with the preview release of BrowserLab, a future web-based service from Adobe, now available on Adobe Labs. BrowserLab takes the drudgery out of finding the bugs and differences in your pages between the different browsers and browser versions.

Of course, the idea of a service like this is not new – but BrowserLab offers a unique feature called “onion skin view”, which allows you to overlay the view from the selected browsers on top of each other. This way it’s easy to see the differences between the browser renderings. And if you are a Dreamweaver CS4 user, it gets even better – there is a new extension which will add BrowserLab to your Preview in Browser list. This means that you don’t even have to upload your pages to your site to have BrowserLab show you “what’s up”.

BrowserLabNo, you’re not seeing double – oh, wait… you ARE seeing double!

In fact, I’ve been using BrowserLab quite a bit and it even helped me discover a “bug” right here in my blog when it was viewed in Internet Explorer 6 (and no, you can’t see it – because I fixed it immediately). As a Mac user, I keep VMWare running all the time (our corporate email is run off of an Exchange server, if you must know) and that means that I have IE available – but only as IE 8. And the idea of firing up another instance just to check IE 6 pains me to no end. So, of course, BrowserLab has got me (virtually) jumping up and down! I hope you’ll find it as usual as I already have. And be sure to post your comments and suggestions – afterall, that’s the reason that we put this stuff out there early. We want your feedback!


Jun '09

WebDU 2009 : Session Slides

ajaxpresoFirst of all, an apology to all of my “mates” down under. I promised to have my slides up last week, but… well… you know the way it goes… I’ll blame it on the jet-lag! Anyway, I’ve finally gotten the slides edited and they are now available for your downloading pleasure. Obviously it’s hard to convey in a slide what can easily be explained in an in-person setting like WebDU. And the fact that I like to actually write code during my presentations makes it even more difficult.

Therefore, I’ve gone back through the slide deck and tried to annotate some of the “live code” – and here it is. Of course, there’s still tons of information that will fall through the cracks – otherwise you’d be downloading a 300 page PDF file… So, if you do have questions or comments, please feel free to either leave a comment here, or contact me via email (the address is in the About pod on the left).

Lastly, I’d like to publicly express my thanks to Geoff Bowers and his Daemon crew for another brilliant conference! WebDU continues to be one of the shining stars on the yearly conference schedule – from the venue (um… it’s Sydney… need I say more?!), to the organizers (one of the best organized conferences that I’ve ever attended), to the astute group of speakers (you won’t find a better line-up anywhere – year after year), and finally to those that matter most, the attendees. This year, as always, you inspired us as speakers more than you can know. I appreciated every conversation – and enjoyed the “challenging” questions as much as the easy ones (like which pub is my favorite in Sydney…)!

I’ve already started counting the days until next years conference… well… actually I haven’t really… because Geoff hasn’t yet said “when” we’ll all be meeting again. But rest assured, as soon as he does, I’ll have it reserved on my calendar! Cheers!

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Jun '09

A Flurry of Flash Goodness

If you’re in the business of building Rich Internet Applications using Flash or Flex technologies, today is your lucky day. You’ll want to run, not walk, straight over to Adobe Labs, where you will find beta releases of the upcoming (and newly renamed) Flash Builder 4, the Flex 4 SDK and the highly anticipated Flash Catalyst.

In addition to the downloads themselves, there are a number of resources to help you get started. Tim Buntel has a “What’s new” article and video tour of Flash Builder, along with Matt Chotin’s article about the new SDK.

And with the posting of Flash Catalyst, designers and developers alike will finally get to play with the tool that I’m sure is going to revolutionize the way that applications are built. I’ve already had the pleasure of working with Flash Catalyst for quite some time, and I’ve been really impressed – not only at the quality of these early builds of a brand new product, but also at the willingness of the Flash Catalyst team to listen to and act on suggestions, comments and criticism. Now, it’s your turn to help shape these products. So, quit reading this and get downloading!

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