Monday, 16 December 2013

Open Source Software is Anarchism*

There is No Governing body

People come together purely through enlightened self-interest to build something useful

Yes there are freeloaders
yes there is chaos
yes standards vary

But some amazing stuff gets built despite all that.

* Note: anarchism != anarchy... go look it up, if you've never heard of it before...

No. it wouldn't work as a form of government for obvious reasons (ie people are still people)... but that isn't the point I'm trying to make here.

Monday, 9 December 2013

In the land of the blind

In the land of the blind
the one-eyed man is burnt at the stake
for asserting the heresy of light in our land of blessed darkness

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Twitter bootstrap - for quick and easy design

If you're anything like me, for a graphics designer you make a great web developer.

My past attempts at design have run the gamut from "geocities" to "unicorn vomit", and I've become increasingly minimalist in an attempt to rectify that

-> less design == less unicorn-puke == win!

But it still leaves my sites looking like crayon-drawn whitesites

It's a long way from there to the current industry requirements of a clean, flexible, responsive design - able to handle mega-huge desktop-monitors and tiny smart-phones alike while looking sleek and professional... and I had resigned myself to basically just not sucking too badly and hoping my sites were useful enough for people to get past the ugly-duckling look.

but now I've found bootstrap. It lets you quickly and easily build a fully-responsive all-devices-ready design with very little graphic-design nous required. From a full grid-based system (to easily build columns that will nicely collapse on smaller screens), to all sorts of components - navbars, breadcrumbs, panels, lists of linked thumbnail images... the list is pretty huge.

Don't be put off by the "oh my god PURPLE" look of their website - this is a tool worth using.

The getting started guide is where to begin.

There's a number of pre-built templates on bootply templates that even if you don't like, you can cannibalise for the various pieces you want.

You can also buy a whole bunch of pre-packaged, professional themes (for about $12 each) from WrapBootstrap to kickstart your website design. Though be aware they are mostly built on Bootstrap 2

If you're building this stuff in rails, there's a whole bunch of bootsrap-related gems - which mean you don't have to download the css/js versions of bootstrap and mix them all into your assets directory.

Ryan Bates' railscast (see below) uses seyhunak / twitter-bootstrap-rails, which seems to have a whole bunch of neat generators for quickly throwing up layouts. I prefer not mixing bootstrap's Less with the existing SASS, and so have gone for the sass-based gem: bootstrap-sass gem.

I suspect you can combine these two powers for good by using the generators of twitter-bootstrap with the sass-based assets of bootstrap-sass... but have yet to try it (let me know if you do).

There's also a great overview of rails and twitter bootstrap with a related RailsApp that goes into far more depth (I haven't had a look at that yet).

and Ryan Bates has done a railscast on twitter bootstrap basics, and a pro-only railscast: more on twitter bootstrap


Note: Bootstrap version 3 has recently been released, and a lot of the tutorials, railscasts etc are based on version 2. Bootply has a Bootstrap 3 migration guide if you want a reference to what has changed.