All Posts Tagged ‘software

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Friends don’t let friends look out of date on the internet

Content on the internet can be frighteningly fast-paced. You don’t need to look much further than twitter or Facebook to notice the deluge of content being posted daily. It’s overwhelming – blink and you miss it. Yet websites often fall into the trap of hard-coding content into less-obvious page elements and forgetting all about it. One excellent example of this is the Copyright text appearing in the footer of many websites. You’ll often see something that looks like this:

© 2015

Obviously, the content here is not © Marco Arment.

This innocuous piece of text doesn’t only lay claim to copyright protection, it also clearly displays the year in which the website was ‘last updated’. It dates the content you’re currently reading. It plants a flag, sending subtle signals about how fresh your site happens to be. It might be dead-right, but then again it might be way off. Like, several years out of date.

Now why is this a problem? Well, most bloggers and webmasters tend to think about these things very infrequently. You might look at the footer text when setting up a new theme, or changing plugins, but that doesn’t happen very often & chances are that your web footer text is now a whole year out of date (© 2014). If you run a website, I’ll pause here to let you go check your footer text. No really. You’ll thank me for it.

Ok, so now you know. Is your footer text up to date? If not, I’ll bet you just changed it. Job done, right?
For now, yes. But what happens 12 months later, when 2016 rolls around and you’ve forgotten this piece of sage wisdom? You’ll be back where you were today, before you read said piece of wisdom. There must be a better way.

updateyourfooter.com is here to help.

updateyourfooter.com is here to help.

Well, there is. Computers are fantastic at doing things without even requiring human thought. Automatically. It’s great. Here’s my special tip that will save you literally seconds, once a year, every year from now until your website dies.

Just use software to automatically update the date. It’s that easy. Set it and forget it. If you run more than one website, you may never need to think about checking your footers (feet?) again. Let the computers keep track of the date, you can get back to the business of writing killer headlines & splitting long articles up into separate pages.

It’s called software and it works. One change and your site will look fresh and new this year, next year and every other year, for as long as you like.

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Looking back on baby steps

Yours truly, back in January 2009:

I’ve started from scratch, learning Processing using Dan Shiffman’s handy book Learning Processing. Above is the first little creation from the book, a little creature called Zoog, which I’ll be wiring up to respond to mouse clicks and all kinds of computer interactivity. It’s not much to start with, but it’s fun to get my hands dirty with Processing and learn some coding fundamentals.

baby steps with processing

It’s hard to imagine that — less than 5 years later — I would find myself teaching primary school children how to build apps for iOS in Xcode. Amazing.

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★ Why torture yourself?

John Gruber doesn’t buy the argument that Android 4.0 will force developers to build software for it, “like it or not”:

“Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform” sounds a little arrogant, but maybe that’s just me. But it got me thinking. Maybe “whether you like Android or not” is exactly wrong. I think maybe the biggest reason iOS has such strong developer support is that developers like iOS. They use and prefer iPhones and iPads personally, they like Cocoa, and they like the App Store.

I tend to agree. I love the iPad, I love using it, I love creating things using it. I’m not even a developer (per se) but this thing makes me want to whip out Xcode and get started. Isn’t that weird? Android on the other hand, well… do we need to remind ourselves about the landscape again?


Image via Cocoia

Why would anyone choose to develop for this convoluted platform? I can think of three reasons why not to:

    1. It’s complex – lots of different versions, screen sizes, input modes and hardware configurations. How are you meant to design a quality experience and maintain that for a thousand variants on the android model? Matt recently set out some arguments for and against maintaining support for the just the latest version of iOS, which has a grand total of 2 dominant OS versions, 3 handset options and 2 screen resolutions. That’s it.
    2. Android users tend to be less inclined to pay for apps. Why go through all of this difficulty to create software for people who don’t fundamentally place any value on it?;
    3. It’s sluggish, laggy and generally slower than iOS or even Windows Mobile Deluxe Special Home ARM edition.

Why would you torture yourself over this large volume, low margin, difficult to plan for and convoluted suite of devices? I can’t think of too many reasons. And to put it so bluntly – like it or not – just doesn’t make sense.

On another note: does John Gruber ever sleep? I live in Sydney, which is hours behind/ahead of the US, and I often see updates from DF during the day. Has anyone else noticed this?