Google Chrome

I just downloaded and installed Google Chrome after reading the comic book that explains the details of the project. I had been hearing rumors about it last week but I didn’t pay much attention to them. In the last couple days there had seemed to be much anticipation (and over-hype) about its release and what it means. I must say I was prepared to be underwhelmed… and, as a Web designer, thinking, who needs yet another new browser to test sites into? But after using it for a little bit, I must admit I like what I see.

My initial hesitation came mostly from the fact that, aside from its search engine technology, I haven’t been impressed by much of what Google has released in the past. I don’t use GMail and I don’t use Google Documents for the same basic reason. So far, I still much prefer desktop applications for email and office type tasks and my communications and organizational activities are pretty much centered in Outlook 2007. It works very well for me and my data is on my own machine where I want it. I never liked Web based email to begin with.

But Chrome is different because it is a desktop application and the foundations and ideas on which it was built are very interesting. As many noted and despite a lot of over-hype (what else is new in the tech world…), Chrome has a lot of things that were already in other browsers. My main browser is Opera 9.5 and I really have not seen any other that is as fast or feature-rich. But Chrome is fast too… damn fast actually, especially with JavaScript and I really like the minimal interface. This is a first beta and can only improve with time. Also, so far all my sites I looked at with Chrome display correctly and pretty much the same as Safari, FF 3 or IE7. Its text rendering seems identical to Safari which is normal since both are based on the WebKit rendering engine.

So, in summary, Google Chrome seems like a solid entry in the crowded browser world and will only get better. But, I would take the premature previsions of some pundits that Chrome will cause the demise of MSIE with a huge grain of salt… Haven’t we heard that one before?

Won’t tech commentators ever learn that “regular” people are creatures of habit and are unlikely to change browsers just because a new player’s in town? Don’t they get that Microsoft is entrenched in the business world for the foreseeable future? Those who should be worried by this are the other smaller players IMO, like Opera and Firefox and maybe even Safari which seems to be as entrenched on the Mac as MSIE is on PCs… for now.

Anyway, only time will tell how Chrome will affect the browser wars but it is a good piece of software that brings welcome competition and innovation. And did I say it was fast! I’m writing this blog post in it through TinyMCE now which unfortunately doesn’t work in Opera yet. Good going with this one Google!

New Content In The Works

Well, it’s been a while since I posted as I have been really busy. For the few people who might have started to visit this site (I haven’t  publicized it much yet), please know that I have been busy working on a few things to add to the site.

First, I have been working on some more pictures to add the pixel gallery, mostly sorting and working on the best pics from our trip to Nova Scotia in August. I took well over 400 pictures during the trip and I am pleased with many of them. Look forward to a new section in the gallery soon.

The thing that has taken most of my time is the writing of an article and a few tutorials to add to the still empty pixel forge section of the site. The article called “Why Choose Fireworks” is an in-depth analysis of why I think Fireworks is by far the best Web graphics and site layouts design application out there. It is far more than the glorified slicing and optimization tool many people see it as and this article attempts to set the record straight. I’m also tired of seeing it compare to Photoshop (or worse, to ImageReady) when it is much more than that on many levels. This should be the first bit of content going up in pixel forge soon.

I’m also working on adaptations of two Photoshop tutorials including one about creating a watermark graphic for the new 1.2 version of SlideShowPro which is the Flash component I use for pixel gallery. In addition to that I have 5 more tutorials that are pretty much at the  embryonic stage right now, including a series that will be based on the ill-fated Fireworks book I participated in that was supposed to be released by Glasshaus before their demise. I was almost finished with the two chapters I was writing for that book and tech editing was well underway. I don’t want this material to go to waste so I’ll publish it here eventually.

So, despite the lack of activity on the pixellog, I’ve been busy writing and tweaking things on the site behind the scenes. I’m starting to be very happy with it and cannot wait to have more content to offer the community soon.


Site moved & New Blog App

Last month, I annouced the move of my professional site from another hosting company to HostMySite. That move has completed without issues so, last week I also moved this site to HostMySite and at the same time I decided to try another blogging application.

I used to use Ray Camden’s BlogCFC which is a terrific (and free) blog application but I wanted some functionality that it doesn’t have yet, like trackbacks, and pings from individual posts. I also wanted some more extensive administrattive features (through a Web GUI) and I decided to try BlogFusion 4.0.6 and it has all the features I wanted and then some. Its administrative GUI is absolutely fantastic and it installs with the FCKEditor right out of the box. The copy I had installed into BlogCFC had stopped working and I couldn’t figure out why. Although not free, the developer has a special for non-commercial use where you can get BlogFusion for $5.00.

The drawback with BlogFusion is that the ColdFusion code under the hood is much less eficiently written that Ray’s BlogCFC code and, as is typical with many backend developers, the front end HTML and CSS code it generates out of the box is less than ideal (to be polite…) I had to spend many hours modifying the basic BlogFusion skin templates to fit the design of and make it output decent HTML code. This is an ongoing task and I’m not quite finished yet but I’m getting there. I also had to make many modifications to BlogCFC’s code but there was fewer templates to deal with and Ray’s code is far more modular with a lot less business logic mixed in with the HTML code. It was a lot easier to deal with.

I think the extra work with BlogFusion was worth it for the additional functionality and flexibility it affords me. As I get to kow the app better it will probably get easier to modify it. I can experiment without breaking anything as switching from one skin to another is quite easy. Blogging itself is also quite new to me even if I’ve been reading blogs (through FeeDemon) for quite a while now. It took me long enough to finish this site in my spare time but I’m finally getting there… 😉