Once more I find myself spending lots of time not posting on the blog, a shame really. Basically I have way too many things going on right now, which naturally takes time away from writing about developing (or any other rant area). While that's bad for this blog it's great for me though.
I do feel like posting a quick thought, though. I'm currently working on
a nice project, fairly big - building a site from scratch for a specific
community. I'm also doing the design for it (rather, my fiancee and I
are doing the design) and as part of this I've been struggling with
Ubuntu. So far, for designing, I've been using Gimp. It's a great tool
but there are some areas in which it really lags far behind other tools
of the trade. To name just a couple: layers (no grouping capability) and
text (if you want a piece of text to have different formats, you have to
break it into several pieces each of which must be formatted separately
- as far as I can make out). So, while making a design is more or less
ok, tweaking it on the other hand is massive pain.
I've specifically come up against this in the project I'm working on now. I've got some content boxes, round corners with some drop shadows. Changing the size of these boxes is the least fun I've tried for a long time. With Gimp you can lock layers with respect to each other so that you can move things around - but there's no way to easily stretch or shrink a box; you have to manually modify every little thing inside it.
Naturally that makes a developer look for solutions that allows for working more clever. What I found makes me rather happy: first, in CSS3 there are possibilities for having rounded corners and drop shadows using just CSS. This is not really news as such as CSS3 has been on it's way for a while. Previously, it wouldn't even have made more than shrug but when you add the stats from http://www.w3counter.com/globalstats.php into the mix you get a nice combo: the major shares of the "good" browsers support the features in CSS3 that I need. Of course, one should still make sure things look good in IE, but as far as I can tell this is fairly easily done using IE specific styling (filters as it happens) and should work without problems on IE7+ (and likely IE6 too but given the usage stats for that I don't even have to care any more). That means tweaking mockups much faster than using apps like Gimp - just move an element or two around a bit and tweak some CSS properties and done.
Am I a happy camper? Yes!