Espresso Kaboom for all-in-one web design coding

I’ve been using the beta release of Espresso Kaboom for my HTML markup, CSS and FTP in our Vancouver web design company now for over a month and I’m really liking it even though there are still some bugs. Although, this is understandable and the reason why it is still in beta. I love how all of the benefits of CSS Edit are now packaged into Espresso.

Here are a few of the features:

  • Visual CSS editing with a web kit browser
  • All of the features of CSS Edit
  • Have both the coding and live browser open at the same time
  • No more bouncing between CSS Edit and Coda
  • Great interface for coding
  • Drag-and-drop FTP upload
  • Immediate saving and uploading to the server (This can be dangerous)
  • Code snippets

Since it’s still in beta, I’m hoping they fix some of the bugs I’ve run across

  • While viewing the server files in column view, when you click on a directory to open it in a new column it doesn’t open the first time
  • I want to be able to have the option of closing the file info in the right side of the code window
  • Some application instability

I’m sure MacRabbit will fix the major bugs before the full release. From what I’ve seen so far, I will be buying Espresso 2 for our Vancouver web design company when it’s ready for final release.

Finding one web design application for markup, CSS and FTP

I’ve spent the last 11 years trying to find the perfect web design software that will do (X)HTML/PHP coding, CSS, and FTP all in one. Like a lot of web designers, I started Hurricane Web Design using Dreamweaver but found it had features I would never use (bloat), the FTP was inadequate and the live preview didn’t give a good representation of what the design would look like in standards compliant browsers.

After getting fed up of Dreamweaver, I switched to TextMate for coding and CSS and Transmit for FTP. I liked how TextMate was clean and would get out of my way to just let me code my web design. It would integrate with Transmit for FTP somewhat, but not nearly enough. Working with CSS was adequate at best. You would add or change CSS, then refresh in a standards compliant browser like Firefox or Safari (this was before Chrome) to see if what you did looked good or even worked.

CSSEdit makes the CSS portion of web design easier

Then roughly three years ago I discovered CSSEdit by MacRabbit. CSSEdit allows you to edit the CSS for a web design and give you a live preview of the changes you had just made within the application in a built-in standards compliant browser without ever having to save and refresh. You could view a website – any website, even one you didn’t own – in the browser, extract the style sheet and make changes or additions without affecting the version everyone else would see. Once you got it looking the way you wanted, you’d upload the CSS to the website. This saved me countless hours designing and editing the CSS for websites. But, this still was not the complete package as I needed an application to markup the HTML or PHP and another for FTP to upload. Three applications to accomplish what I needed for web design.

Coda plus CSSEdit almost perfect for web design

Within the last year, I switched to Coda for the markup and FTP portion of my web design and development projects. Coda is a nice piece of software and was the best application I had used for markup. The interface is clean, includes code snippets, allows you to manage multiple files at once and organizing all of your web projects so you can access them in one window. The FTP portion of the application works great and makes uploading, downloading and syncing between the server and your computer easy. It is almost perfect. Almost. Editing CSS was still much better in CSSEdit compared to Coda. Now I was down to two applications.

CSSEdit goes Kaboom

Vancouver web design with Espresso KaboomI was briefly horrified to hear that MacRabbit was discontinuing CSSEdit until I heard they were integrating with version 2 of their markup and FTP application Espresso Kaboom. Could I finally have one application to do everything I want? Find out my review of Espresso 2 Kaboom beta for web design and development in my next post.

Vancouver Web Design Company

Hurricane Web Design Vancouver
#1002 – 1831 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1E4
(604) 256-7081

Website Makeovers

A lot of website owners make the common mistake of believing their website is done following the design of their new website or the redesign (makeover) of their current website. Websites are never done. They are only abandoned.

Whenever a website owner (whether it be a business, association, charity, etc.) makes the decision to create a new site or redesign an existing site, they take considerable time working with a designer and/or developer to come up with a great design and, hopefully, great content. They spend a lot of money to accomplish this and, once it’s done, they abandon it for a few years without updating it or adding new content. After a few years, the owners realize their site’s content and design is out-of-date and needs a redesign which will end up costing them again. In other words, a revolution every 3 to 5 years. Sometimes a revolution is good, but can you imagine a country having one that often?

Website owners should start realizing it’s best to have their website evolve over time by keeping their content and design fresh. Instead of forgetting about your site once the initial design is complete, work with your designer/developer to keep it fresh and interesting on a weekly or monthly basis. Over time, you will find that evolution will save you money and bring more regular visitors to your site than a revolution will.

Just like our clothes and our hair, websites can go out of style. Technology moves so fast that a website can go out of style faster than acid-wash jeans, members only jackets, leg warmers and parachute pants. Websites can even get too fat, necessitating a diet. If you allow your site to get to this point, it will need a makeover and/or a workout regimen. Website owners need to work with their designers who will makeover their site and then work as their “personal trainer” and “fashion consultant” to keep their site in shape and looking fabulous.

Talk to us at Hurricane Web Design Ltd. – Web design in Vancouver –  for a free consultation on a new design or makeover of your current website. We’d be more than happy to show you how evolution, not revolution, can benefit your business.

Design by committee

It’s so easy to tell when a design has been put through a committee instead of having one person in charge of a design. In all of my experience of designing by committee, the focus seems to get lost. Everybody feels they have to have input and a piece of the design. Let’s face it, we all think differently. The designer may have a great idea but it can get messed up by a committee of people with different ideas.

A perfect example of “Design by committee” is the recent redesign of the Vancouver Canucks’ uniforms. It looks as though it started out as a good idea but went sideways before it was completed. They got some things right and something terribly wrong.

Here is what I think the conversation sounded like when the committee got together to decide what to do…

Member #1: “We really should go back to the vintage color style of the uniforms. Everybody seems to love the blue/green/white by looking at our jersey sales. The vintage jerseys are outselling our current version. Plus, the color represents the west coast so much better.”

Committee Head: “I like the color, but we can’t get rid of the constipated whale logo. Even though an Orca in need of a laxative has nothing to do with a Canuck, we have to keep it. The ownership group is Orca Bay so we have to keep it.”

Member #1: “But the color of the whale logo is all wrong for the vintage color scheme. It just won’t work.”

Committee Head: “How about we change the color of the constipated whale so it’s just blue, black and white? I know it will look all washed out but it will work, I think.”

Member #3: “Wait! We should put the vintage logo on the jersey and get rid of the whale.”

Committee Head: “We absolutely cannot get rid of the whale. Corporate will not go for that even though our fans like the vintage logo so much better.”

Member #3: “Then we should put the vintage logo on each shoulder. There’s lots of room on the jerseys for us to clutter it up.”

Committee Head: “Good idea. We wouldn’t want to have a focused logo so let’s have two.”

Member #4: “With the Olympics coming in 2010 we’re going to have a lot of tourists visiting Vancouver. We really need to put “Vancouver” somewhere on the jerseys so all of these people can buy our hockey jersey and say ‘We’ve been in Vancouver.’ ”

Committee Head: “That’s a fantastic idea. What a great way to add more clutter. Plus, our fans are so dumb they probably don’t know they live in Vancouver. How smart can they be when they liked the vintage jerseys instead of the version we’ve had for the past ten years that we spent so much money on designing? Decision made. Meeting adjourned.”

All of this is a perfect example of a ‘kludge’ (or alternatively ‘kluge’) which is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as:

“An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.”

By the way, this redesign cost the team $1 million.

Web Design Services Vancouver

Hurricane Web Design Vancouver
#1002 – 1831 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1E4
(604) 256-7081