Filed under Memo's

John Gruber:

What’s satisfying about Apple’s current success is that it’s proof that you can succeed wildly by focusing first and foremost on making great products. That design does matter.

Thats exactly how I wanna make my own products.

— Written on the 25th of January 2012, filed under Memo's.

Yup, I did a site redesign. Seized the moment to upgrade the old site to Rails 3.1 and place it on the Heroku platform.

  • Minimalistic design
  • Rails 3.1 at Heroku
  • Better caching (speed!)
  • Using markdown now instead of BB code
  • It's responsive now for modern mobile browsers

The site is a lot more dimmed down from the previous version. Did take a chance by coloring links black in stead of darkish red.

Bit more form over function.

Ooh, and I didn't test my site for Internet Explorer. I've decided only to support the current browser versions

Yes.. I know I' m ignorant. Screw you too.

— Written on the 14th of December 2011, filed under Memo's.

I sometimes find it hard to concentrate while writing. Whether it's the television, Mail popping up with a new message or my girlfriend talking on the phone, they all get me distracted.

I decided it was time for a full screen text writing app. After some searching I found out Ommwriter (version 1). It's a zen text writer that runs fullscreen while playing ambient sounds.

It's focus is on content, not font sizes or other stuff.

You can download Ommwriter 1 for free or get it's extended brother for a few bucks at the App store .

— Written on the 26th of July 2011, filed under Memo's.

This year, at the largest yearly Microsoft developers event in the Netherlands, I helped organizing and setting up the Achmea booth. Besides participating sessions and hanging around the Achmea booth I gave two presentations with some of my colleagues.

The first about “Prototyping with Expression Sketchflow” and the second about “Rethinking architecture with CQRS”.

You can watch the first presentation below. The language is Dutch and the video stops around 40 minutes or so (battery was drained).

Alternatively you can also download the presentation files .

Ooh, and besides the video I also have some excellent pictures taken during the DevDays.

Note: All credits go out to Jip Fens!

— Written on the 11th of April 2010, filed under Memo's.

Tomorrow Apple will announce and demo it's upcoming version of the iPhone OS. As a iPhone developer I'm obligated to keep a keen eye out for any new features and API improvements. And for that matter I'll also take a shot at guessing what will be new in 4.0.

My guess is the 4.0 version will introduce the following new features:

  • Limited third party multitasking. Multitasking, with some sort of restriction. UI wise it will have an appearance like Expose in Mac OSX.

  • Higher resolution support (4x the number of pixels). Of course with backwards capabilities for lower resolution iPhone apps, like the iPad has (minus the 2x button).

  • Springboard wallpapers. Like the iPad.

  • Improved 'lock screen' with missed calls / unread email indicators etc. They simply must have enhanced the lock screen... I would seriously be disappointed if they didn't enhance this!

  • Paid updates. Just a hunch, but I think Apple will introduce a model for developers to create 'non-free updates' for their apps.

  • iAds. Or whatever it's going to be called. I think Apple is going to demo an API that allows developers to easily integrate advertisements into their apps (interface designer support and everything)

  • File storage API. Some sort of system wide file storage capability.

  • Games. Demos of Unreal Tournament and some other big titles.

  • New developer API's. Over x number of new API's for developers. Love this one... (better gesture support, improved push notifications API etc.)

  • Verizon version. Nice for any Yanks with bad AT&T coverage.

  • Enhanced Bluetooth support. Support for Bluetooth keyboard, trickled down from the iPad.

What I don't think will be there.

  • Video conferencing. Although this is a feature I would really like to see, I don't think it will be in. Why not? The iPad doesn't have it... Knowing Apple they might consider that such a feature would 'underwhelm' the iPad...

  • Flash support. Simply isn't going to happen.

  • Codecs support. Nope. WMV, Dvix won't be playable.

  • Printer support. Printing would require another service, which is equal to more CPU cycles, which is equal to more power drainage.. I think we'll have to wait for a next version..

  • RFID. A lot of talk regarding RFID support, but probably ain't gonna happen (underrated feature?).

  • Social integration API's. Would be nice to easily integrate Twitter, Facebook etc. using the native API. But probably won't be in..

Apart from the above list, I think the update will be 3GS and '4G' only. iPhone 2g, 3g and iPad owners will be out of luck.

— Written on the 7th of April 2010, filed under Memo's.

After enduring a storm of criticism with Flash, Adobe is releasing some details regarding it's upcoming CS5 software.

This is the CS5 feature list I compiled so far:

Photoshop

  • Magic Erase and content aware fill
  • Content Aware patch
  • Digital Photography Features
  • 64 bit support for Macs
  • Code ported from Carbon to Cocoa
  • Support for Multiple GPU's

Dreamweaver

  • HTML5 support
  • Improved support for PHP
  • Smart paste: cut and paste vectors and animations as Javascript / XML to HTML!

Flash

  • Publish as iPhone app
  • Multitouch support

Release date is the 12th of April 2010. Now if they would drop the Evangelist bull, I'd fall in love with Adobe all over again :-)

— Written on the 24th of March 2010, filed under Memo's.

Cannot connect to the AIM login server using a proxy? I've ran into this problem during my stay in Vancouver and found a quick and easy solution.

Seemed like the wifi accespoint didn't support the exotic port number.

First I tried to change the default port of login.oscar.aol.com to 443. This actually worked straight away. Another solution was to use login.icq.com with port 443.

— Written on the 3rd of March 2010, filed under Memo's.

Well this one had us going quite some time. Having problems with a Surface Scatterview or Tagvisualiser ‘catching’ all Contact down events? Solution is to check that the element has no background brush.

Like all elements, a Scatterview won’t let any Contact down events through when it has a Background brush. Sounds quite simple doens’t it? Well it can keep your head spinning when the brush has a opacity of 0.

If you get these problems with a Tagvisualiser, ditto. You should also make sure you place all other elements as a child within he visualiser. So...

Instead of:

<Canvas>
    <SurfaceButton />
</Canvas>
<TagVisualiser />

Do this:

<TagVisualiser>
<Canvas>
    <SurfaceButton />
</Canvas>
</TagVisualiser>
— Written on the 10th of February 2010, filed under Memo's.

It’s been a bit quiet on my blog, but that has a good enough reason. The past few weeks I’ve worked on a new Surface application that's being used during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Guess what, I’m in oak leaf country!

Achmea Zorg asked us to create a Surface application to be used at the Vitality Campus . Together with Adil Bouhouch, Niels van den Broek, Jip Fens and Peter van den Hout I’ve build the Vitality Checker. Expect some more posts with photos the couple few days.

— Written on the 10th of February 2010, filed under Memo's.

Microsoft is promoting Silverlight as the next best thing for web development. While Silverlight looks promising and feature rich with version 3.0 on it's way, how do Microsoft's competitors look at the future of web development? What will we use to code our web apps in a few years?

Microsoft introduced Silverlight late 2006 as an alternative to their traditional ASP.net Website and Web Applications. Using an XML like language called XAML, it enabled developers to deliver web animations and rich internet applications 'comparable' to Flash.

With version 2.0 Silverlight reached an acceptable level (feature richness, and bug prone) and shifted it's aim towards true Rich Web UI development like Adobe's Flex (that was released back in 2004). To date, however, Silverlight adds little more to Rich web development then Flex does. Apart from the C#, Visual Studio and .NET Framework support, most 'features' have been available to web designers for years.

On the other hand we've seen the evolvement of Javascript and Ajax development the past few years. Embraced by all camps, advanced Javascript and web standards have grown to a professional level.

It's pretty clear that Microsoft's competition, Google and Apple (amongst others) aim at the next version of HTML, Javascript and CSS. All their present Web applications make heavy usage of HTML, CSS, Javascript frameworks and AJAX technology.

Recently Apple released an updated version of MobileMe. A web based application using SproutCore. They also updated Safari 4 and the iPhone Mobile Safari browser to support CSS 3 and HTML 5.

Google, on the other hand, introduced a Gmail web application running online and offline on both an Android and iPhone using the offline data storage engine of HTML5. And of course their Chrome browser supports most of the latest standards as well since it uses the same WebKit engine like Safari does.

The current HTML 4 specification is pretty limited and dates back to 1999. HTML5 is primarily the same to older HTML 4 / XHTML specification. It's first focus is to be backwards compatible besides pouring in a lot of new elements and functionality.

CSS 3 adds animations and other new possibilities to style HTML pages. JavaScript development is simplified by frameworks like Prototype and jQuery (amongst others).

Microsoft, with Silverlight, chooses for a solution a lot like Adobe's Flex and Flash, which requires specialized software to develop and compile executables. But why do they aim there arrows on Silverlight? Vendor lock-in anyone? :-)

Personally I don't believe a single technology will be the "next best thing". My guess would be that HTML is the ubiquitous standard, adopted by every platform, and won't go away anytime soon (nor will Flash for that matter).

Silverlight does nothing more then Flash does at the moment. I do believe the programming environment and framework is superior to that of Flash (in sense of userbase, language development etc.).

On the ohter hand Flash has the edge when it comes to animation software. And although the Silverlight player runs much smoother then the legacy, and security risks plagued, Flash player, more the 90% of web users have the Flash player installed (at max 25% has Silverlight right now).

Another important factor to keep in mind is the target group of designers and animators that Microsoft would like to see creating Websites with Silverlight. A lot of Flash animators and designers simply love Flash. They won't run away from one of their daily tools overnight.

As you have read, Microsoft hasn't convinced me yet. I'll still use HTML / CSS and JavaScript for most of my Web development. If I'm not able to use these technologies I would still prefer Flash.

Only reason for me to use Silverlight right now would be if I was asked to create a compelling intranet site that would be maintained by C# developers... Or when my boss tells me too... ;-P

— Written on the 30th of November 2009, filed under Memo's.