Creating .ico Files in Photoshop

It’s bugged me for ages that Photoshop doesn’t have native support for ICO files.
Thankfully, there’s a free plugin which will let you save as a .ico. See here –

Drupal 6 – not quite ready yet

I’ve been playing with Drupal recently – although I’m primarily a ColdFusion programmer, I find it very interesting to look at other Content Management Systems in other languages.

Overall, Drupal is excellent. There are some really well thought out parts. Drupal relies on a set of “core” modules, which in themselves offer a ton of functionality – almost enough for most sites. Almost.

The catch I’ve discovered with Drupal is that some of the most useful modules which exist for version 5.7 have yet (at least at time of writing ) to be ported to the latest version, 6 (or even 6.2 which we’re on now).

If you were planning on building a bi-lingual website, Drupal 6 promises some amazing core functionality; however, to do something like language specific menu items requires the integration of a third party module, i18n. This module isn’t feature complete, and still in development for Drupal 6; but for 5.7 it does pretty much everything you might need, just outside of the core Drupal modules.

The speed which Drupal runs through its versions is slightly alarming as well. Within a week of installing 6, 6.1 was out, and two weeks later 6.2 Now whilst I’m not against upgrading versions, when you have a large dependency on 3rd party modules, they have to catch up before you can upgrade.

So in sum, I needed to do a bilingual site in PHP, I went for 5.7 and it’s all been plain sailing ever since.

Firefox, Web Development plugins and Joe public – part 2

In part one of this post, I look at the Web Developers Toolbar, an essential firefox addon.

This time round, I think it’s worth a look at Firebug. Firebug is aimed more at what I would call ‘realtime’ debugging – it has a definite emphasis on Javascript, DOM manipulation etc.

For Mr/Mrs Joe Public, all this is beyond the realms of comprehension, but it does have one particularly useful function which shows the time used to get/parse the various files and elements which make up the page.

Firebug Screen

In this screenshot you can see the various CSS files, JS files, and the loading times associated. At the very least, this can help show a client where the issues in a page are, and why any page may be slow loading.

It also helps demonstrate what happens when you load an enormous image, and then resize it in the browser (rather than using Photoshop’s Save for Web command).

Firefox, Web Development plugins and Joe public – part 1

The general public are often mystified by how a webpage actually works. Sure, you could explain HTML, CSS, Javascript and Server side scripting to them, but you’ll often be faced with a pair of glazed over eyes and a puzzled expression. Normally, this is a sign you’ve said a switch off keyword like ‘parse’, or better still, some seemingly secret code like ‘ISAPI’.

I find that a good visual aid is often enough for people to make the link between what they’ve scribbled on the back of a napkin, and a working proof of a website.

Enter Firefox. Apart from being one of the best browsers out there (alongside Safari and Opera), it has an excellent range of plugins to visually represent the structure and layout of a website.

The main one I use (and use every single day, if not every time I even open Firefox), is the firefox Web Developer addon. If I’m actually showing someone how a website is put together, this is invaluable.

Take this site for instance; one click is all it takes to view the block elements, CSS classes, etc.

See these screenshots for a quick example:

screenshot for Web developer toolbar


Basic block elements

screenshot for Web developer toolbar


CSS Styles in place

screenshot for Web developer toolbar


Block level elements

Next up.. firebug

Jailbreaking Ipod touch 16GB

I’ve been playing with the idea of jailbreaking (that is, hacking to run whatever applications you see fit) on my 16GB ipod for a while now; I did try it a few weeks back, but the whole process was quite inelegant, and didn’t 100% work.

With the older methods, I used to get a sort of negative screen when the device came out of autolock, and the whole thing became essentially unusable until you powered off and on again. I put it down to a slight hardware revision (as this was a slightly newer 16GB model) which must have been causing the issue, as a friends slightly older, but otherwise identical ipod had no issues.

Enter ZiPhone. This piece of software really is impressive. Unlocked/Jailbroken ipod within about a minute, and with one click.

No “remember to turn autolock off before you downgrade to 1.1.1” etc type warnings. Great stuff.