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.

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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?

How to set up and exploit an Apache Solr environment on Amazon EC2

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What’s Solr?

Solr is an open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search. Solr is highly scalable, providing distributed search and index replication, and it powers the search and navigation features of many of the world’s largest internet sites.

JQuery DataTable Plugin Pagination

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One of the most common tasks when displaying data through an HTML table is to allow the user to manipulate data within the table. Displaying data on a grid can involve many different operations (retrieving, sorting, live editing, search). Using AJAX to dynamically fill the table requires even more work since the application (in this case, javascript code) has to convert JSON/XML/TEXT data to an HTML element. Each of these tasks can involve more or less time in order to be completed, and of course, tested.

Why Things Go Wrong: A Simple Programming Problem

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Much of programming is writing code with an obvious solution, it’s being a code monkey. You lay things out, you move them around, you wire it up, but you don’t really need to stop and think. I’d estimate that everyone is about equally good at this. But some of the work is also spent solving problems you’ve never seen before. This is where bugs are introduced, bad decisions are made, schedules are thrown out, and things go wrong. These problems are the really defining part of being a great programmer.