Custom log files in Rails 3

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In addition to outputting lots of useful information, the Rails logger can be a useful debugging tool.  But debugging with the log file can become frustrating as it will be cluttered with default content.  The solution to this problem is to create a custom logger and log file for such output.

The easiest way to do this is to create a global log function, enable it in your development environment, and make sure that calls to it don’t do anything in other environments.

In-App Facebook Authentication on iOS

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The official Facebook iOS SDK provides an easy way for any iOS applications to authenticate against a Facebook account. If you follow this tutorial, you’ll be able to add facebook authentication in your app in less than 15 minutes. It’s that simple. Once your app has been authenticated, it will possess both access token and expiration date. These two pieces of data will be used in subsequent communication with Facebook.

A Quick Reference on Box-Shadows

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Every few months I come across the need to add shadows to frontends, and it seems each time I have to go back and look up how these things work.  I always take to the internet for a brush up on box shadows, but I seem to find more information than I’m looking for – I just want a quick cheat sheet, not the War and Peace of box-shadowing.  So here’s the cheat sheet I’ll be using from now on to create the shadows I need.

Fast and slow-motion video with ffmpeg

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In my last installment we looked at all the reasons why editing video isn’t as easy as it should be.  Let’s assume that we’ve cleared those hurdles, and now actually want to do some video editing from the command line.  A not-uncommon video effect is fast- and slow-motion, sped-up or slowed-down video.  Being common, you’d think it would be readily available in any video editing software, but you’d be wrong.  Out of respect for all its other virtues, we’ll be using ffmpeg today.

Scrum is like 20th Century Politics (Part 3 of 3)

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In Part 1 and Part 2, we saw the forces of extreme right and extreme left savage two organizations in the name of scrum. One company goose stepped about in Luftwaffe jumpsuits. Another built a gulag for stakeholders who would question its developers-only central planning meetings.

In both cases, malevolent propagandists diverted the team’s purpose, and product progress all but ceased. The right was called wrong. The in progress was called done.  The 1 was called 0. User stories were enigmatic and undecipherable.

HTML 5: Now With More Method to the Madness

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Up to now, many people have regarded HTML coding as simply a matter of making the content fit together and look pretty on your browser the way you want, via CSS formatting of various <div> regions.  Not true anymore with HTML5, which not only introduces new content element tags but also a new algorithm that renders the contents of a web document in outline form.

Typography: An Essential Element of Modern Website Design

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Typography (from the Greek words τύπος(typos) = form and γραφή(graphy) = writing) is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible.

wikipedia

 
Typography is an under-appreciated art form which is used most often and probably understood the least. Typography is of high importance for printing and screening, as well as for websites. Some of you are probably wondering just why I am making such a big deal about typography and why should folks in the web industry, like us, care about typography. Let me tell you this: “web design is  95% typography“.

Is Software a Science or an Art?

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As we approach software today, often through web or mobile applications, people generally appreciate the elegance of the interaction or lack thereof. But as software engineers know, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.  Of course, with user interfaces for the masses becoming a necessity for modern applications, designers and more artistic–oriented folks have been contributing to the practice of software development. That leads to the question: Is software more of a science or an art?