Monday, July 21, 2008

My Essential Firefox Add-ons

Been too long since I last wrote here. Tizra has been pretty busy picking up a ton of enthusiasm from customers and prospects (see Tizra Blog). That means, of course, a pretty busy time... :-)

I recently had to do a complete reinstall of my development environment. My laptop went dead and I had to get a new that leads to the typical "absolutely essential" I reinstalled all my Firefox Add-ons. The good thing about reinstalls is that you cut the fat accumulated throughout the years and the absolute musts get installed first. Here is my list of absolute musts (in no particular order):

  • Selenium IDE: if you're doing any kind of serious development, you want to have a good test coverage. Selenium is a really cool tool to allow you to build automated UI and system integration testing. Selenium IDE makes your life *a whole lot easier* (although not dead-simple). You still have to tweak a lot of the generated code but hey, it's a really great start. And if you have not seen Selenium yet, you have to go take a look. It is not necessarily simple to get into but well worth it!
  • User Agent Switcher: really nice for that kind of testing that involves user agent can even "roll your own" agent identification for test purposes.
  • Web Developer: a really essential set of tools for web development. CSS inspection, changing, DOM information, source viewing, browser resizing, you name it, it's probably here.
  • Live HTTP Headers: a nice tool to let you see the header flow from and into your browser. Sometimes essential for analysis of behavior.
  • Firebug: you can't say you do web development and not know about Firebug. Simply brilliant. If you have not seen it yet, tell no one about that and go check it out for yourself.
  • Delicious Bookmarks: currently addicted to You can see my bookmarks here.
I'm always open to suggestions on new add-ons...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Google APIs, XML, Ajax and some pretty cool pictures!

This is what happens when you join in a single "package" an artist and a techie...Marcelino Martins had already assembled a pretty cool site filled with really impressive pictures (see here). With Brazil Pictures, Marcelino joins his photographic artistic talent to his techie talent...he has already developed some pretty cool packages like Treeview...Now he's been playing the Google APIs, XML, Ajax...the result is the really interesting Brazil Pictures. And take a look at his implementation notes for a very interesting read.

Very nice....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AgilePDF is live!

I am pretty excited to see the first set of AgilePDF sites go live...we (Tizra) are indeed live at this point. You can now see the results of this effort at the following sites.

Francisco Assis Rosa's Publications. Now, would I not be eating my own dog food ? I honestly find the system pretty cool and am publicly using it to store and offer my publications online. Privately I keep a copy of the system on an internal network where I keep all my favorite tech reading. It is really handy to be able to search through the full collection of my favorite texts and get relevant results *to the page*....nice. guides. Some pretty cool eating and shopping guides...smartly written, gorgeously presented.

Rate It Green. Live access digital edition to "Green Building 101".

Why do I feel so excited about this ?

  • These customers were able to hop on online without any significant investment. We are talking days instead of months between agreement and go live (and that with full design customization!), we're talking about revenue from online selling in the first couple of days. Yup, they did not have to wait six months to see a dollar, or even more to get their money back from the site building investment.
  • The technology set used in this system is a pretty exciting technology allowing us to take advantage of a lot that's good out there...
  • I could see a nice use for personal users like me that have some content that want to distribute online. Either free or for name it.
As far as system features go, these are some of the items that make me believe AgilePDF is cool:
  • End-user page-at-time PDF rendering, allowing for getting back web usability that was taken back by the placement of unwieldy PDFs online (50Mb PDF downloads to read *one* page anyone? Make that over slow connections ?).
  • Full text search over the content of the site/sub-site/single document with results returned at the page level (again, instead of result pointing at full PDF).
  • Full fledged configurable access control over your content.
  • Full ecommerce configurability. Whoever owns the site can create their own products (including products resulting from combinations of pages from different documents in the site), create their own selling offers and just put it out for the test. We allow hooking up to PayPal and Authorize.Net right now but as requests come in we will be expanding the list of payment fulfillers.
  • Full site design configurability. We offer some out-of-the-box designs you can use but you can change all the look of your site by dragging and dropping site blocks around your pages...and if you really want to go crazy on your design, just upload your CSS and you can do what you want (just compare Francisco Assis Rosa's Publications to Rate It Green to guides!).
  • Full site structure configurability. Via the administration web interface you can create sub-sites based on filtering of meta data in your documents. When I said "full site design configurability" in the previous item I really meant it, you can even have these sub-sites look completely different from the main site and/or other sub-sites.
  • Google crawling, analytics and adsense integration...speaks for itself! ;-) can always drop me a line if you wish to use something like this...

This is just our first release...we are and will continue to work on this...

We are live! :-)

I'm still alive! ;-) ;-) ;-)