Crucial skills for people who work on the web

Sideproject has written up a great list of skills for people who work on the front end of websites. It includes learning a CMS (I favor WordPress, in case you hadn’t noticed,) taking a thoughtful approach to front-end frameworks and CSS preprocessors, learning the details of Responsive Design instead of just how to hide pictures and change the navigation, and more.

We’re all working in a time when the role of a front-end developer is expanding. Being pretty good at HTML and CSS doesn’t cut it anymore. Sideproject’s post is a great guide toward beginning to think about the other skills you should master in order to be a highly versatile and employable designer/developer.

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Programming Cheat Sheets At is a web gallery of cheat sheets related to programming. It’s got rating features bolted on which, with any luck, will help you find the best cheat sheet when there are several available for a given language or technology.

I haven’t owned a printer in something like 8 years, and that makes getting the most of QuicklyCode difficult for me. I may start making routine trips to FedEx Kinkos though, because I do love a good printed sheet of quick documentation.

Web-Based MySQL Administration with SQL Buddy

I always find it interesting to see what software people are using to build websites. I’m always open to new applications that might make my job easier or less stressful. With that in mind, I’ve decided to start posting reviews and tips about some of the software that I use. Today I’ll be writing a mini-review of an application that I’ve started using to perform routine database maintenance tasks on my development box.

SQL BuddySQL Buddy is a web-based MySQL Administration tool that’s free, open-source, and easy on the eyes. I’ve installed it on my development machine and I’m loving it so far. Most web developers are probably familiar with PHPMyAdmin, and this does pretty much the same thing, but it does it while looking quite a bit nicer. It’s also got some tasteful interface enhancements (yes, that’s code for AJAX minus the abuse) to make the whole thing feel a bit faster. I haven’t done proper benchmarking, but it sure feels faster than PHPMyAdmin on my machine while managing my little databases. And the interface seems pretty well considered. It allows you to easily edit multiple records on a single screen.

It was REALLY painless to install. The download for the program is only 167KB zipped. To install it just unzip and drop it on the server. That’s it. Then point your browser to wherever you placed it and log in as one of your MySQL users. Easy.

I only have minor issues with SQL Buddy. The interface for browsing records in a database looks so much like a regular desktop application that I expected it to work like one, allowing me to click on rows and edit the data in place. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. You have to check a box and then hit the edit link to edit all selected rows on another page. It’s a minor issue but I’d like to see it changed. Due to the open-source nature of SQL Buddy I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone adds edit-in-place.

SQL Buddy is a nice, simple piece of software that allows you to easily edit your databases from the web browser. I don’t know if it will ever be more popular than the deeply-entrenched PHPMyAdmin as the de facto standard database editor for web hosts and developers, but it’s quickly become my favorite web-based editor. Highly recommended.

Conditional CSS

Conditional CSS is a server side script which allows you to target particular browsers within your CSS files. The script detects a visitor’s browser and then parses your css files, removing the conditional statements and any lines that aren’t meant to go to that browser. I think I like this more than traditional browser filters but less than using conditional comments to serve an extra stylesheet with overrides to Internet Explorer. I haven’t tested it to determine how much of an issue the additional processing overhead is, so I’m not sure how usable it is. It’s an interesting technology and is available for multiple platforms including PHP and C. The C version is apparently very fast.