Batch image resizing

Friday, August 28th, 2009

One of my current web design jobs is requiring the resizing of more than enough pictures, and then resizing again to create thumbnail versions. Fireworks and no doubt Photoshop can do batch image resizing, although last time I went through all the settings in Fireworks to do a batch image scaling process it died within two minutes (and that was before it had output the scaled images).

So along comes this web developer’s gem: http://www.rw-designer.com/picture-resize. A free batch photo resizing application, or to be more specific, an .exe icon you can drag pictures on and it instantly outputs the resized version. The .exe contains the size you want to duplicate the image into so if your .exe is named “PhotoResize800.exe” then your image output would be scaled to a resolution of 800px.

Fast, simple uncluttered and doesn’t even require an install. Easy to use so definitely worth trying out.

Testing Websites in IE6/IE7/IE8

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Personally I hate Internet Explorer 6. It’s a web browser that doesn’t speak web, a browser that pretends to be able to do what it’s used for. This isn’t what makes it truly annoying though, nor what makes it my digital enemy, and without a doubt a problem in the world of websites. What causes the friction between me and it is the fact it just won’t die. Recent reports show that there is still roughly 30% of people browsing the internet who still use IE6. Microsoft says it’s shipped with XP; we support XP, meaning we need to support IE6. Indeed most of the users still using it are coming from offices or so, that hasn’t had their browsers updated and probably don’t feel the need to neither update nor want the hassle or cost since IE6 works… in its twisted poor language interpreting way. With sites like http://deathtoie6.com/ and big online brands like YouTube now displaying “We will be phasing out support for your browser soon” to users either forced or damned to use IE6 for the time being, there is only but hope that eventual backwards compatibility and life support will begin to be switched off.

However, in the mean time I was linked to probably the most awesome Internet Explorer party there is.

I myself am a beloved Firefox fan (http://www.firefox.com) but do keep my vista up to date on both my laptop and desktop which means I’m running IE8 on both.

So the question was how does someone that escaped the plague of IE6 actually go about testing in it. The answer is IETester: http://www.my-debugbar.com/wiki/IETester/HomePage

This tool doesn’t just provide you with IE6 mode, but also IE5.5, IE7 and IE8.

Great for testing compatibility and making sure that what should work and look ok does work and look ok. It does randomly crash every now and then but who can blame it.

Usefull SEO Tool Website Analyzer

Friday, July 24th, 2009

For the last five months I’ve been doing a lot of SEO work for the Glasgow storage company Aabsolute Self Storage (www.aabsoluteselfstorage.co.uk), and recently came across a pretty neat little tool. Website Grader (http://www.websitegrader.com/) is one of those many tools that attempts to give you rough data on your site and provide feedback on your pages. There are quite a lot of similar tools out there which do this current statistical judging but the Website Graders interface, speed and even feedback such as Digg submissions and del.icou.us book mark info is rather cool. Also while I’m writing up about SEO I just finished reading the book “The Truth About Search Engine Optimization” by Rebecca Lieb, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-About-Search-Engine-Optimization/dp/0789738317) and can highly recommend. It doesn’t go into technical detail on web page coding at all, but does provide some very good information on the marketing side of things as well as how the search systems work. Definitely worth £11.99 to anyone who is planning on doing search optimizing.

Recently Aabsolute Self Storage was after a way of modifying and adding to pages or “tweaking” as they put it. As I had already created the pages I wasn’t at all sure of the best way to go around creating an editor for them. I was told members of staff were quite IT savvy but I still wanted to stay away from HTML editing or plain phpBB code insertion. Again suggested by Craig (http://undefinedbehavior.co.uk/), without a shadow of a doubt I can recommend TinyMCE as an excellent text editing tool. Anyone familiar with WordPress or even Microsoft Word will straight away feel at home with the look and layout of this tool. Obviously there is bit more work needed than just adding it to a site if you are wanting to be able to save/edit/overwrite text, but it does offer great help as you know whoever will be assigned to editing will have no problem orientating their selves around the GUI. TinyMCE can be found at http://tinymce.moxiecode.com/.

Colour Scheme Creator

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Here’s a small useful web developing tool I was linked to the other day by Craig over at http://undefinedbehavior.co.uk/ (his site is currently under development but try writing beakable into his sites console interface, pretty nifty). It’s a JavaScript colour scheme designer http://colorschemedesigner.com/ which like many similar tools matches up adequate colours for your primary choice. What makes this colour scheme creator tool more intuitive though is the fact it offers a “Light Page Example” and “Dark Page Example” meaning you can instantly get a rough idea on how the colour scheme would look within a visual template example.