Credit Where Credit Is Due
Apr 10, 2009
Over the past six months, two fabulous software products have transformed our approach to web design. While I suppose we could have pulled off the new site design without the aid of these tools, it would have involved at least twice the amount of cursing, hair-pulling, crying, and bourbon drinking. In any case, we’ve turned a corner on our old approach, and we happily say good riddance. So without further ado, here are two products now indispensable to our web work:
“One-window web development” is Coda’s slogan, but this app does so much more than shrink the pixel footprint of your working environment. Most importantly for us, it brings a level of organizational sanity to website work. What was once a mess of obscurely named folders has become a tidy list of websites, each with their associated FTP server logins. Add to that code completion, an easy-to-use plug-in system for extending the app, and my favorite monospace font ever - and you’ve got a great, great deal at $99. (And I’m proud to mention that Coda is made by another Portland, OR software company, Panic Inc.). Coda is for Mac OS X only… sorry Windows fans.
CodeIgniter has made designing a website much like designing an application. I’d been using bits of PHP code for dynamic content for years, but with CodeIgniter, it’s the first time that I created a site from the ground up as a series of classes and functions, with all the grace and efficiency of a well-designed application. So what is CodeIgniter? “CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for PHP coders who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications.” It’s free, and will work on both PHP 4 and PHP 5 installs. If you’re looking to try your hand at Model-View-Controller (MVC) website architecture, this would be a great place to start. Their documentation is top-notch… dive in.