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Mind-Boggling Anamorphic Art by Sergio Odeith [Showcase]

hongkiat.com - vr, 27/05/2016 - 17:01

Sérgio Odeith is a master of graffiti art and has been commissioned to produce incredible mural art like the ones featured here. But since 2005, Odeith has been wowing fans with another type of his work, which he names anamorphic art.

Painting on more than one surface, sometimes on walls lined at 90 degrees, other times from the ceiling to the floor, Odeith creates 3D illusions from his artform, the sort that pops out at you when viewed at a specific angle. He has been producing anamorphic artwork in Portugal, where he lives, as well as internationally. Check out some of his other work here.

Here are just some of his stunning work.

Here’s a video to give you an inside look into the creation of this anamorphic art form.

You can find more of Odeith’s work in this gallery and his Facebook page, or contact him via his website.

How to Verify PayPal Account With a Virtual Visa Card

hongkiat.com - vr, 27/05/2016 - 15:01

While you don’t need a credit card attached to your Paypal account if you are receiving money, you will need one linked if you are sending money. Instead of your regular bank card, you can link a Virtual Visa Card or bitcoin debit card instead.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can use a bitcoin debit card issued by E-Coin with your PayPal account. The bitcoin debit card can be issued virtually and is linked to Visa.

Before I start, note that this tutorial works best for those who already have bitcoin, as the card cost of $3 must be payable in bitcoin and you need at least $3 in the card for the Paypal verification process (this is reimbursable).

About E-Coin and Wirex

E-Coin is a leading bitcoin debit card provider, which gives users an easy way to convert currency between traditional and bitcoin using a bitcoin wallet. You can order up to three E-Coin cards in 3 different currencies: USD, GBP, and EUR. The E-Coin card is also a Visa card.

There are two forms of card to order: you can get a virtual card sent to you via email, or opt to have a plastic card delivered to you by mail. The physical card is accepted worldwide and in over 100 countries, at any place that has the Visa/Mastercard accepted" sign displayed.

Because of a name dispute (plenty of other businesses share the same name), e-Coin is rebranded as Wirex. Wirex is available as an app at the Play Store and App Store.

Step 1: Register an E-Coin Account

Go to the E-Coin website, click sign up and fill in your email address and password. A time-sensitive activation email will be sent to you; click on the link and your account is opened.

You can also perform the same process via its mobile app, which is supported for Android and iOS.

Step 2: Get a Virtual Card

Once you are registered, you can view your account page where you can see your bitcoin wallet. To order a virtual card, transfer some bitcoin into your bitcoin wallet first.

For the purpose of PayPal verification, you need at least USD6 worth of bitcoins in your wallet. I suggest you add a little extra since the bitcoin price can fluctuate (sometimes to your favor).

To transfer bitcoin into your bitcoin wallet:

  1. Click View address and a bitcoin address will be generated.
  2. After your bitcoins arrived, order your card by selecting Request new card.
  3. Select the currency you want, select Virtual and key in your name, date of birth and address.
  4. You will need to make a $3 bitcoin payment for the card. The virtual card will then be sent to your email inbox.

In your main E-Coin account, you will now be able to view your virtual card account. Time to add some funds into your virtual card:

  1. Click on Load card to convert your bitcoin to your card currency.
  2. Select your card, insert an amount of at least $3, and click on Submit.

You now have money in your virtual Visa card.

Your card comes with 4 key information: your name, card number, expiry date, and CVV number. Next, let’s verify your PayPal account.

Step 3: Link The Virtual Card To PayPal
  1. Login to your PayPal account and click on Add A Card > Add Another Card.

  2. Fill in your name, your E-Coin card information (make sure to get the virtual Visa card instead of the plastic MasterCard, or it won’t work), and your address. Once done, click Add card.

  3. PayPal will ask you to confirm the new card. Click Confirm my card and PayPal will begin a series of transactions to verify your card.

  4. You will be asked to enter a PayPal code. Now go to your E-Coin account. Under Card Transactions, you will see a 4-digit code from PayPal. Take note of it. Note: You can also view the code from the Wirex app.

  5. Go back to your PayPal account and insert the 4-digit code. Your E-Coin card is now linked to your PayPal account.

Editor’s note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by Suraya Zainudin. Suraya specializes in personal finance, bitcoin, FinTech and nonprofits. She writes about how she spends, saves, earns and invests money in a personal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

Visual Studio Code: Increasing Productivity via Key Binding Management

hongkiat.com - do, 26/05/2016 - 17:01

Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s lightweight source code editor introduces keyboard-only navigation that’s not only an advanced accessibility feature, allowing users to navigate within the editor without a mouse, but also speeds up coding.

In today’s post, we’ll delve into how to effectively manage key bindings in VS Code, have a look at a curated list of the most commonly used keyboard shortcuts, and see an example on how you can create your own custom keys.

Find Key Bindings Quickly

You don’t necessarily need to learn keyboard shortcuts by heart right when you begin to use VS Code, as there are two easy ways to quickly find them.

In the top menu bar, you can find the preset key binding next to every menu point (1), and the Command Palette (F1) also lists them next to each command (2).

Visual Studio Code displays key bindings that match to your operating system by default (so on a Windows machine you’ll see the Windows commands, on a Mac the Mac commands, and on a Linux box the Linux commands).

If you don’t mind to leave your code editor, you can also find the full list of preset key bindings in the VS Code Docs.

Preset Key Bindings

Visual Studio Code provides developers with many key bindings, in the following list I curated those I’ve used the most often while edited JavaScript files. You may find that others fit better to your own workflow, so it’s also worth browsing the full list by yourself.

All key bindings can be customized in VS Code, we will have a look at how to do that in the last part of this article.

Now let’s see 36 frequently used keyboard shortcuts, respectively for the 3 main operating systems (Win, OS X, Linux), many of which may be familiar from other Microsoft softwares.

Navigation
  1. F1 (Win, Linux, Mac) – Command Palette, shows all commands of which you can select one, or you can also type a command by yourself
  2. Ctrl + P (Win, Linux), Cmd + P (Mac) – Quick open, Go to file
  3. Ctrl + Shift + O (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + O (Mac) – Show a list of all symbols (such as functions, prototypes, etc.) in the current file
  4. Ctrl + G (Win, Linux, Mac) – Go to a specific line
  5. Ctrl + Shift + M (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + M (Mac) – Show all errors and warnings
  6. Alt + Left (Win), Ctrl + – (Mac), Ctrl + Alt + – (Linux) – Go back, the cursor jumps back to its previous location
  7. Alt + Right (Win), Ctrl + Shift + – (Mac), Ctrl + Shift + – (Linux) – Go forward, the cursor jumps forward to its next location
  8. ? (Win, Linux, Mac) – Commands that are available for the current file inside the Command Palette (before using this, you need to open the Command Palette (F1)
File and Editor Management

You can find the full list for this section in two different places in the VS Code Docs, in Editor/Window Management, and in File Management.

VS Code can open 3 editor panes at the same time, Commands #5 to #7 only work if more than one editor panes are open.

  1. Ctrl + N (Win, Linux), Cmd + N (Mac) – New file
  2. Ctrl + O (Win, Linux) – Open file
  3. Ctrl + S (Win, Linux), Cmd + S (Mac) – Save
  4. Ctrl + \ (Win, Linux), Cmd + \ (Mac) – Split editor
  5. Ctrl + 1 (Win, Linux), Cmd + 1 (Mac) – Focus into the first editor pane
  6. Ctrl + 2 (Win, Linux), Cmd + 2 (Mac) – Focus into the second editor pane
  7. Ctrl + 3 (Win, Linux), Cmd + 3 (Mac) – Focus into the third editor pane
Basic Editing

To make the key bindings below work, you don’t have to highlight the whole line, it’s enough to navigate the cursor anywhere in the line you want to edit.

  1. Ctrl + X (Win, Linux), Cmd + X (Mac) – Cut line
  2. Ctrl + C (Win, Linux), Cmd + C (Mac) – Copy line
  3. Ctrl + Shift + K (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + K (Mac) – Delete line
  4. Alt + Down (Win, Linux), Option + Down (Mac) – Move line down
  5. Alt + Up (Win, Linux), Option + Up (Mac) – Move line up
  6. Ctrl + I (Win, Linux), Cmd + I (Mac) – Select current line
  7. Ctrl + ] (Win, Linux), Cmd + ] (Mac) – Indent line
  8. Ctrl + [ (Win, Linux), Cmd + [ (Mac) – Outdent line
Rich Languages Editing

Currently, as of May 2016, VS Code has built-in rich editing support for JavaScript and TypeScript, but you can download language support extensions for many other languages from the VS Code Marketplace.

Here in the Docs you can check out the options you have for the language you want to use. Note that as VS Code is still in its early days, rich editing support may come for other languages as well.

  1. Ctrl + Space (Win, Linux, Mac) – Trigger suggest
  2. Ctrl + Shift + Space (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + Space (Mac) – Trigger parameter hints
  3. Alt + F12 (Win), Option + F12 (Mac), Ctrl + Shift + F10 (Linux) – Peek definition
  4. Shift + F12 (Win, Linux, Mac) – Show references
  5. Ctrl + Shift + X (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + X (Mac) – Trim trailing whitespace
Display
  1. F11 (Win, Linux), Ctrl + Cmd + F (Mac) – Toggle full screen
  2. Ctrl + = (Win, Linux), Cmd + = (Mac) – Zoom in
  3. Ctrl + – (Win, Linux), Cmd + – (Mac) – Zoom out
  4. Ctrl + B (Win, Linux), Cmd + B (Mac) – Toggle sidebar visibility
  5. Ctrl + Shift + D (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + D (Mac) – Show Debug in the sidebar (on the left)
  6. Ctrl + Shift + E (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + E (Mac) – Show Explorer in the sidebar (on the left)
  7. Ctrl + Shift + G (Win, Linux, Mac) – Show Git in the sidebar (on the left)
  8. Ctrl + Shift + F (Win, Linux), Shift + Cmd + F (Mac) – Show Search in the sidebar (on the left)
How to Customize Key Bindings in VS Code

Customizing key bindings can be useful for three main things.

Firstly, if you have already got used to certain keyboard shortcuts in a different code editor, you don’t need to learn new ones.

Secondly, some of the preset key bindings are just too hard to remember, for instance take the Ctrl + K + F12 Windows shortcut for the command Open definition to the side.

Thirdly, there are also unassigned key bindings in VS Code, such as Open User Settings, and Open Workspace Settings (find them here in the Docs) you may want to use them.

You can customize key bindings with the help of a JSON format configuration file, in a way similar to how you can customize User and Workspace Settings. The file you need to edit is called keybindings.json, and you can open it by clicking on the File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts menu in the top menu bar.

When you click on it, VS Code opens two editor panes next to each other, one for the default keyboard shortcuts on the left, and one for your customized key bindings on the right.

You don’t have to do anything else, just copy-paste the keys from the left to the right maintaining the JSON format, and rewrite the key to the custom one.

Let’s see a quick example. Say you want to easily access the Show Installed Extensions command that doesn’t have an assigned key binding by default. In this case, it’s not enough to only copy-paste from the left side to the right, as unassigned keys aren’t included in the default list.

You’ll need to stick to the syntax key bindings follow in Visual Studio Code:

{ "key": "", "when": "", "command": "" }

Check out some real-life examples on how to properly set keyboard rules. The when part is optional, you don’t have to use it to set global key bindings, it’s only used when a certain shortcut is bound to a certain screen or mode, such as in the case of inDebugMode.

In our example, we will set a global key binding, which means we only have to set the values of “key” and “command” in our custom keyboard rule.

First, let’s look up the command id that belongs to the Show Installed Extension command. We can easily do this in the docs, that shows us that the command id we need is workbench.extensions.action.listExtensions.

The other piece of data we need is the key. The custom key we will bind to the Show Installed Extension command cannot be used by any other key binding rules, and must follow the proper key syntax, which means it needs to be made of a modifier (see the accepted modifiers by OS), and the key itself.

As I work on a Windows machine, I’ll choose the Ctrl + F6 key, as it meets every requirement, but you can choose any other key that suits your needs the best.

My keybindings.json file will look like this:

// Place your key bindings in this file to overwrite the defaults [ { "key": "Ctrl + f6", "command": "workbench.extensions.action.listExtensions" } ]

The new rule takes effect at once, as Visual Studio Code updates the rules at runtime. You can test it without restarting the editor, you just need to press Ctrl + F6, or the key you chose, and a list of your installed extensions will pop up in your editor.

In the screenshot below, you can see my testing results, on pressing Ctrl + F6, I got a list of the two extensions I currently have.

You can add as many rules as you want to your keybindings.json file. Just follow the regular JSON syntax, which means you need to place each rule inside a pair of curly brackets, and separate them with a comma, as you can see below.

// Place your key bindings in this file to overwrite the defaults [ { "key": "Ctrl + f6", "command": "workbench.extensions.action.listExtensions" }, { "key": "Shift + f6", "command": "workbench.extensions.action.installExtension" } ]

Why You Should Avoid Being Overworked at 25 [Op-Ed]

hongkiat.com - do, 26/05/2016 - 15:01

Judging by all those posts you read on social media, I’m a millennial or in other words I’m in the 18 to 34 year old range when this post was written. I wrote a post on being 25 and overworked, brandishing advice that I feel would benefit fellow millennials who may be en route to where I am now.

The idea was that overworking has become a recurring theme among young people who are just starting out on their careers. Interns on Wall Street are expected to pull 90 to 100 hour weeks. It begs to consider if overworking at the start of one’s career is actually worth it.

I shared my opinion on the subject in my post. And while reviewing my submission, my editor asked me to get more opinions from people who are older than me, preferably from another generation.

About John and Jane

The plan was to pick two people from two other generations, who may have a different views of jobs, careers and life decisions. So, I spoke to John (not his real name) who is in his late 50s and Jane (same here) who is in her late 30s about things they wished they had known when they were 25.

They are two of the most successful people I personally know: John works at a law firm, and Jane is the head of an international IT company based in the Phillippines.

Note: Their answers were translated from Filipino language to English.

1. No one is going to die if you stop working today.

Unless you work in a hospital, clocking out after 8 hours is okay. No one is going to die. The world will keep on spinning. Plus, the agreement with your employer is that you will dedicate ⅓ of your time each day in exchange for compensation. Not 12 hours, not 16.

"But I love my job and stopping what I’m doing will ruin my flow!", is probably what you are thinking. And that is true, you should love your job and care for your flow and while it may really be difficult to get back to your groove after taking a break, maybe, just maybe, this is just sign of a lack of discipline.

But that’s just me. What does John and Jane have to say?

JOHN: I don’t want to get emotional, but I really missed a lot of things in my life because I worked too much during my youth, and even though I want to catch up with the lost time, now, I can’t.

JANE: Working really, really hard during my early 20s has its pros and cons, it’s more on the positive side, now that I think of it. The only negative thing I could think of from doing too much work way back then is that I’m now lacking in the “family” department – but I’m currently working on it.

If I didn’t work that hard though, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now (not that it’s grand or anything).”

2. The company you work for is a business.

You are engaged in a business with your company. That means that you should not invest your personal time into your work, because the things that you pass up on – such as birthdays, holidays, night outs with friends, and so on – are all things that the company you are working for cannot give you.

Remember: you are human with emotions. Allow yourself to enjoy your own time.

JOHN: I remember working really hard for the second job I held back when I was 27 or 28. I was fished over to another law firm to be an associate. To me, that was like climbing the tower of success using an elevator.

I spent 18 hours a day working, even sleeping in the office, and I no longer knew who married whom among my friends and what season it was outside. Before I knew it I was already in my mid-30s and the only people in my circle of friends are the ones I see daily at work. The kind where we never really shared any intimate moments like going on vacations, clubbing, and the like.

JANE: I think it depends on the company you are working for. The first company I worked with actually treated me nicely and gave me enough leeway to learn and experiment and live my life to the fullest. Yes, they run their business in order to earn more money with your help, and that’s why it’s important to understand their Mission and Vision.

Not so much for the second one as I was laid off even though I was dutiful. So yes, always keep in mind that the company doesn’t have your best interest in mind – they want money (and I’m saying this as a top-level manager).”

3. You are an expendable resource.

You can be replaced. What your company wants from you is to utilize your skills without expending too much resources. What does this mean for you, the individual? They could care less about who you are. Because at the end of the day, you are just another number and figure in their charts.

JOHN: Back in the day this wasn’t the case. However, I notice a trend nowadays with contractual workers who are not even reaching regularization after their 6 months of interning.

If the company you are applying for or working for has a big rate of turnover rate (where employees keep getting replaced), then the problem might lie with the company and not the employees. You should avoid working for companies like that.

JANE: Sadly this is the case. I worked in HR several years ago and our unwritten motto was to hire cheap labor with passable skills and if possible replace (harsh, I know) those who demand higher salaries. It was all economics and the orders came from the upper floors.

My advice to the younger generation is to find a startup or a small or medium-sized company where they can actually demonstrate their value, and I’m saying this because I experienced this myself.

Small and medium-sized companies take better care of their employees and treat them as actual humans, not expendable resources.

4. It’s okay to say no.

It’s a common pitfall for newbies to just keep on saying yes to their employers or superiors because they want to please them and keep their job. But what will happen is that work will pile on and extend beyond your job description. Soon, you’ll be taking on other requests that are way out of your scope.

JOHN: Definitely, but with one catch: if you are new to the company then you might want to be low-key for some time and just go with the flow, as long as everything is legal and you won’t get in trouble (or anyone) of course.

Once you gain people’s trust and you feel that you “belong” to the team, that’s most likely the sign that you can speak up for yourself.

JANE: Yes, it’s okay to say no, disagree, or offer an alternative. If you agree in everything your boss says, you’ll soon be (probably) seen as boring and not able to come up with creative solutions. This is particularly true today.

Everyone’s looking for that employee who will bring good contributions to the company, and they are the ones who shine the brightest. If the task given to you goes against your ethics and principles, by all means say no.

5. Do not become irreplaceable.

It may seem alluring to become a prized star employee. Who wouldn’t want the fame and the glory of being the only person in the company who can do that one specific obscure thing? Actually, this is not what you want to happen.

What you want to happen is that you want to get promoted. And how do you become promoted? Train someone to become better than you at your job while polishing your own skills for the next level. Rinse and repeat.

JOHN: Is that so bad? I mean, if your goal is to be financially stable and… powerful, then this is actually one of the best things that could happen in your career. You can use that to negotiate more perks, plant your roots deep within the company, ask for a better salary, basically it’s like having the best possible cards when playing poker.

But if you want to gain title and further recognition, well, that’s a different story.

JANE: About a month ago I received an email from HR (I was CCd) where they discussed Employee X’s employment. Turns out he’s been looking for a promotion and transfer (to another department) for several months now but can’t get one due to the nature of his job: he’s the only one skilled and experienced enough to handle the position.

Being irreplaceable has its pros and cons. You do get a steady paycheck though.

6. Document everything.

It’s not rare for co-workers to pin the blame on each other when something goes wrong. This sometimes lead to someone losing their job. In whatever it is that you do, never allow yourself to be cornered in a sticky situation.

Request or send e-mails for clarification that will serve as proof that you had verbal discussion and agreement over a task beforehand. Be vigilant and cover your bases. Otherwise, you might end up overworking yourself for nothing.

JOHN: Back in the day when we didn’t email each other regularly it was easy to get lost in the myriad of tasks we had. Who ordered what were somewhat easily forgotten. So during my early days, my mentor taught me to write down everything on a pad with the time and date on it and have it signed by my superiors. I’m that careful and I was made fun of it.

I remember one time I was asked to clean up an empty office and shred the documents in the cabinets because they weren’t going to be used anymore and they were just taking up space. A few months later I got grilled for doing that but I had proof that I was only acting on orders from the big boss.

If your superior specifically asked you to do things off the record, you should get worried.

JANE: Yes, definitely. It’s one of our policies actually, to get everything in email. During meetings there’s always the secretary writing everything down and he would post it on our company’s private forums for everyone to see and confirm. Same goes for the smaller teams. You really need to “cover all your bases” as you put it. It never hurts to be vigilant.

7. It’s okay to quit.

Often, people would keep on working for their company even though there are better opportunities out there, not because they aren’t confident of their skillset or fearful of starting a new career in a different company or industry, but because they have developed personal attachments to the place.

Remember, you are working in order to advance your personal and financial agenda. If you resign from your current job, you can still stay friends with the people you are working with. After all, you are not getting any younger and every moment you spend working should be spent with one thing in mind: growth and your personal pursuit of happiness.

JOHN: Of course. Don’t stay for the sake of staying. If you are no longer happy, then find a better place to dedicate your time on. I can honestly say that if you follow happiness, you won’t fail. You will succeed if you just keep on walking – even if that means quitting

If you are not confident about finding a different job as soon as you quit, then stay on for a couple more months while you polish yourself. Then only you quit.”

JANE: Yes. What’s stopping you from quitting? Sweet words from your boss who says you are an important person in the company? If your boss says that but you don’t really feel it, they’re just buttering you up because it’s difficult to find good employees, with screening, interviewing, testing, training, and such. It just takes too much time.

If you believe that you would do better if you quit, then by all means quit. You can’t stay under the same company for several years if your needs aren’t being taken care of properly.”

To End

In your mid-20s, it is important to develop a good foundation first before venturing out into the wild and this may need working extra hours and engaging in different tasks that are outside of your scope. But you shouldn’t forget that sometimes you need to tend to your own needs as well.

Lastly, we should play the long game: growth doesn’t happen overnight. While it is absolutely fine to love the job you have, understand that you should never ever sacrifice pieces of your life for your company.

Because at the end of the day, no matter how much personal time you sacrifice for work, your company will not build a statue for you.

Beautiful Typography Logos for Your Inspiration

hongkiat.com - wo, 25/05/2016 - 17:01

A logo is an essential part of corporate identity. yet it is mind-bogglingly challenging to create a simple yet easy-to-remember logo. Getting back to basics and using nothing more than a typeface to create a logo may be the brilliant solution you are looking for. A smart use of colors, letter arrangement, and a few selected design elements can create a creative logo fit for the masses. In short, you should try a typographic logo design.

Let’s take a look at how these artists choose to display their favorite typographic logo designs. Some of them are simple and elegant, others are loud and over-the-top – representing the vibe of the brand they are featuring. Versatility makes life fun after all.

14 Mobile Apps to Track & Compare Prices for Shoppers

hongkiat.com - wo, 25/05/2016 - 15:01

In the world of online shopping, manually tracking prices, deals and discounts are a daily routine for hardcore shoppers. The good news is the technology to help automate this process is already here. There are plenty of price comparison and price-tracking apps out there that can help you find the best prices for your favorite wishlist items.

These apps take the legwork out of the process, leaving you with only the "hard work" of deciding how much of your hard-earned money you are willing to part with to take advantage of said deals.

Here are the best Android and iOS apps to track and compare product prices from a wide variety of retailers, online and off. Also included are apps that bring the best deals in hotel, restaurant and flight bookings.

BuyVia

BuyVia is a shopping assistant that helps you discover coupons or discounts and compare prices for thousands of items from your favorite retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Kohls, etc. Organize favorite products on your shopping list and the app constantly tracks their best prices.

When you are out shopping, BuyVia even geo-locates you the best offers from nearby shops.

Download BuyVia: Android | iOS

ShopSavvy

ShopSavvy takes into account prices from both online and local retailers to present the best deal for a product. Daily or weekly deals from your favorite stores and big retailers like Walmart, Macy’s and BestBuy are delivered to you automatically through the app based on your preferences.

The app also lets you scan barcodes and QR codes to find the products easily and effectively.

Download ShopSavvy: Android | iOS

Purchx

Purchx is a product-buying assistant, which compares features and prices of products from numerous popular categories and stores. Packed with a powerful search engine, you can look for products using a combination of keywords and compare their prices.

Purchx finds relevant products matching your search query alongwith their best rates, and it also provides user reviews to guide you in making the right choice.

Download Purchx: Android | iOS

ScanLife

ScanLife is one of the finest apps to discover great deals and discounts from Amazon, BestBuy, Macy’s, Target and more. Its barcode and QR code scanning features instantly provide users with product information, prices as well as reviews.

Using the geo-location feature, it can alert you about local stores offering excellent prices for a product you are looking for.

Download ScanLife: Android | iOS

ShopAdvisor

ShopAdvisor is a personal shopping guide that monitors everything about your favorite products – from their availability to prices. The app displays products from over 16,000 online and offline retailers and lets you compare prices easily.

It also offers personalised recommendations based on your search history and sends notifications about new products through the app.

Download ShopAdvisor: Android | iOS

Walmart

The popular retailer, Walmart’s shopping app compares product prices with your local retailers and lists best prices for you. This award-winning app is known to provide faster results than other apps while providing updates on special savings and discounts on the products per your interests.

Walmart’s app can geo-locate local stores around you and even find products instantly using QR codes.

Download Walmart: Android | iOS

NowDiscount

NowDiscount is another competitive shopping assistant for shopping aficionados seeking exciting deals and offers on their favorite products. This app lets you save money with its price comparison tool and discounts, and also offers a barcode scanner for finding products instantly.

NowDiscount gets products’ information from online stores as well as local shops to get you best product prices.

Download NowDiscount: Android | iOS

TTPM

TTPM displays the latest price comparisons and expert reviews by just scanning a product’s barcode. With this app, you can find up-to-date product pricings from online retailers and local stores.

You can shop for products from various categories and stores of your choice and even bookmark products in TTPM app to make instant purchases in the future through this app – easily and quickly.

Download TTPM: Android | iOS

pic2shop

pic2shop lets you compare prices and check out product’s information with its simple barcode scanner. The app works with major online shopping platforms including Amazon, eBay, Barnes & Nobles, Walmart and more along with numerous local stores.

pic2shop lets you create a wishlist of your favorite products and the app constantly tracks the fluctuating prices of the wishlist items.

Download pic2shop: Android | iOS

SkyScanner

SkyScanner is an award-winning flight comparison app that monitors upcoming flights and their prices from numerous flight-booking platforms. Using this app, you can get instant price change alerts about millions of flights from the best airlines.

SkyScanner offers powerful search and filter tool to help you find the cheapest flights based on flight names, class and arrival or departure locations.

Download SkyScanner: Android | iOS

KAYAK Flights

KAYAK Flights monitors flights, hotels, and cabs for the best deals and lets you bookmark travel information for instant booking and tracks changing prices and deals. The app send notifications about current deals based on your preferences.

Along with a travel fee calculator, KAYAK Flights displays reviews on hotels and car rentals too.

Download KAYAK Flights: Android | iOS

Shopular

Shopular makes you an efficient shopper by bringing weekly deals and coupons from your favorite stores. The app updates available coupons regularly and offers a comparison chart featuring the best available prices for your wishlist items.

Moreover, Shopular updates you with notifications about the changing prices of your favorite items.

Download Shopular: Android | iOS

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is a top-notch travel app to find great travel destinations without leaving you with a hole in your pocket. The app offers you the lowest fares on hotel bookings, car rentals and restaurants.

You can also take advantage of its active community that deliver millions of genuine reviews that can help you make better travel decisions.

Download TripAdvisor: Android | iOS

Liligo

Liligo is another travel finder that finds amazing travel options for you at the best rates. Liligo searches for the best deals in flights, hotels and car rentals for you. The app not only displays detailed information on hotels and flights but also allows you to filter results based on your choices.

Fares from multiple travel agencies are available on this app, giving you the flexibility to make your choice.

Download Liligo: Android | iOS

How to Make an Animated SVG Speedometer

hongkiat.com - di, 24/05/2016 - 17:01

A gauge meter is a tool that visually indicates a value within a given range. In computers, a “disk space indicator” uses a gauge meter to show how much disk space is used from the total available. Gauges have zones or regions across its range, each differentiated by its own color. In front-end development, we can use the <meter> HTML5 tag to display data within a specific range.

In this post, we’ll make an SVG gauge meter of semi-circular shape, and animate it. Take a look at this preview GIF that shows how the final version will work in Firefox:

The meter’s range is 0-100, and it displays three equal zones in yellow, blue and red. You can change the range and the number of the zones according to your needs.

For explanation purposes, I’ll perform manual calculations, and use inline SVG attributes/properties in the following steps.

My final demo, however, uses CSS and JavaScript for the calculation and insertion of SVG properties in order to make it more flexible.

1. Draw a circle

Let’s draw a simple circle in SVG. HTML5’s new <svg> tag allows us to add SVG right into the HTML code. Inside the <svg> tag, we add the <circle> SVG shape like this:

<div id="wrapper"> <svg id="meter"> <circle r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%"></circle> </svg> </div>

In CSS, let’s add width and height properties to the wrapper, both greater than or equal to the diameter of the circle (it’s 300px in our example). We also need to set the width and height of the #meter element to 100%.

#wrapper{ width: 400px; height: 400px; } #meter{ width: 100%; height: 100%; } 2. Add outline to the circle and remove fill

With the help of the stroke and stroke-width SVG properties we add an outline to the circle, and by using the fill="none" property we remove the circle’s fill as well.

<circle id="low" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F" stroke-width="60" fill="none"></circle> 3. cover only half of the circle

The stroke-dasharray SVG property creates a dashed outline, and takes two values, dash length and gap length.

For the semi-circle outline, the dash length value needs be equal to the circle’s semi-circumference, so that the dash covers half of the circle’s circumference, and the gap length value needs be either equal to or more than the remaining circumference.

When it’s more, it will be converted to the remaining circumference by the browser, hence we will use the full circumference value for the gap length. This way we can avoid calculating the remaining circumference.

Let’s see the calculations:


circumference = 2 × π × r

where r is the radius. For a radius of 150, the circumference is:




circumference = 2 × π × 150




circumference = 942.48



If we divide it by 2, we get 471.24 for semi-circumference, so the value of the stroke-dasharray property for a semi-circle outline in a 150 radius circle is 471, 943. This semi circle will be used to denote the Low Range Zone of the meter.

<!-- Low Range Zone (Yellow) --> <circle id="low" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none"> </circle>

As can you see, it’s upside down, so let’s turn the SVG up by adding the transform CSS property with the value of rotateX(180deg) to the <svg id="meter"> HTML element.

#meter { transform: rotateX(180deg); } 4. Add the other zones

The middle zone (blue) has to cover the ⅔ portion of the semi-circle, and ⅔ of 471 is 314. So, let’s add another circle to our SVG by using the stroke-dasharray property again, but now with the value of 314, 943.

<!-- Low Range Zone (Yellow) --> <circle id="low" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none">< /circle> <!-- Average Range Zone (Blue) --> <circle id="avg" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#7CCCE5" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="314, 943" fill="none"></circle>

The final zone (red) has to cover the last ⅓ part of the semi-circle, and ⅓ of 471 is 157, so we will add this value to the stroke-dasharray property of the third circle.

<!-- Low Range Zone (Yellow) --> <circle id="low" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- Average Range Zone (Blue) --> <circle id="avg" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#7CCCE5" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="314, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- High Range Zone (Red) --> <circle id="high" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#E04644" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="157, 943" fill="none"> </circle> 5. Add The Meter Outline

Let’s add a grey outline to the meter in order to make it look better. The dash length of the outline circle needs to be equal to the semi-circumference. We place it before all the other circles in the code, so that it will be rendered first by the browser, and therefore will be displayed beneath the region circles on the screen.

The stroke-width property needs to be a little bit greater than that of the other circles, in order to give the appearance of a real outline.

<!-- Meter Outline (Grey) --> <circle id="outline_curves" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#f6f6f6" stroke-width="65" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- Low Range Zone (Yellow) --> <circle id="low" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none">< /circle> <!-- Average Range Zone (Blue) --> <circle id="avg" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#7CCCE5" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="314, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- High Range Zone (Red) --> <circle id="high" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#E04644" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="157, 943" fill="none"> </circle>

Outline Ends

As the outline doesn’t cover the ends of the semi-circle, we also add 2 lines of about 2px to the ends by adding another circle with a dash length of 2px and a gap length of the semi-circumference minus 2px. Therefore the value of the stroke-dasharray property of this circle is 2, 469.

<!-- Outline Ends (Grey) --> <circle id="outline_ends" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#f9f9f9" stroke-width="65" stroke-dasharray="2, 469" fill="none"></circle>

Mask

Now let’s add another circle after the low, average, and high range zones. The new circle will function as a mask to hide the unnecessary zone regions when the gauge meter will be operated.

Its properties will be the same as those of the outline circle, and its stroke color will also be grey. The mask will later be resized with Javascript to reveal the zones beneath it in response to an input slider.

The combined code so far is as below.

<!-- Meter Outline --> <circle id="outline_curves" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#f6f6f6" stroke-width="65" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- Low Range Zone (Yellow) --> <circle id="low" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- Average Range Zone (Blue) --> <circle id="avg" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#7CCCE5" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="314, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- High Range Zone (Red) --> <circle id="high" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#E04644" stroke-width="60" stroke-dasharray="157, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- Mask --> <circle id="mask" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#f6f6f6" stroke-width="65" stroke-dasharray="471, 943" fill="none"> </circle> <!-- Outline Ends --> <circle id="outline_ends" r="150" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#f9f9f9" stroke-width="65" stroke-dasharray="2, 469" fill="none"> </circle>

If we want to reveal a region under the mask, we need to reduce the size of the mask’s dash length. For instance, when the value of the stroke-dasharray property of the mask circle is 157, 943, the arcs will stand in the following state:

So, all we have to do now is to adjust the stroke-dasharray of the mask using JavaScript for animation. But before we do that, as I mentioned before, for my final demo I used CSS and JavaScript to calculate and add most of the SVG properties.

Below you can find the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that leads to the same result as above.

HTML

I added a needle image (gauge-needle.svg), a range slider (input#slider) to the user input, and a label (label#lbl) to display the slider value in the range of 0-100.

<div id="wrapper"> <svg id="meter"> <circle id="outline_curves" class="circle outline" cx="50%" cy="50%"></circle> <circle id="low" class="circle range" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#FDE47F"></circle> <circle id="avg" class="circle range" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#7CCCE5"></circle> <circle id="high" class="circle range" cx="50%" cy="50%" stroke="#E04644"></circle> <circle id="mask" class="circle" cx="50%" cy="50%" > </circle> <circle id="outline_ends" class="circle outline" cx="50%" cy="50%"></circle> </svg> <img id="meter_needle" src="gauge-needle.svg" alt=""> <input id="slider" type="range" min="0" max="100" value="0" /> <label id="lbl" id="value" for="">0</label> </div> CSS

The CSS code below adds style rules to the SVG, as SVG shapes can be styled the same way as HTML elements. If you want to read more on how to style SVG with CSS, take a look at this post. For styling the slider, check out this post.

#wrapper { position: relative; margin: auto; } #meter { width: 100%; height: 100%; transform: rotateX(180deg); } .circle { fill: none; } .outline, #mask { stroke: #F1F1F1; stroke-width: 65; } .range { stroke-width: 60; } #slider, #lbl { position: absolute; } #slider { cursor: pointer; left: 0; margin: auto; right: 0; top: 58%; width: 94%; } #lbl { background-color: #4B4C51; border-radius: 2px; color: white; font-family: 'courier new'; font-size: 15pt; font-weight: bold; padding: 4px 4px 2px 4px; right: -48px; top: 57%; } #meter_needle { height: 40%; left: 0; margin: auto; position: absolute; right: 0; top: 10%; transform-origin: bottom center; /*orientation fix*/ transform: rotate(270deg); } JavaScript

In the JavaScript, first we calculate and set the dimensions of the wrapper and all arcs, then we add the appropriate stroke-dasharray values to the circles. After that, we will be binding a custom event to the range slider in order to perform the animation.

/* Set radius for all circles */ var r = 250; var circles = document.querySelectorAll('.circle'); var total_circles = circles.length; for (var i = 0; i < total_circles; i++) { circles[i].setAttribute('r', r); } /* Set meter's wrapper dimension */ var meter_dimension = (r * 2) + 100; var wrapper = document.querySelector("#wrapper"); wrapper.style.width = meter_dimension + "px"; wrapper.style.height = meter_dimension + "px"; /* Add strokes to circles */ var cf = 2 * Math.PI * r; var semi_cf = cf / 2; var semi_cf_1by3 = semi_cf / 3; var semi_cf_2by3 = semi_cf_1by3 * 2; document.querySelector("#outline_curves") .setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", semi_cf + "," + cf); document.querySelector("#low") .setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", semi_cf + "," + cf); document.querySelector("#avg") .setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", semi_cf_2by3 + "," + cf); document.querySelector("#high") .setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", semi_cf_1by3 + "," + cf); document.querySelector("#outline_ends") .setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", 2 + "," + (semi_cf - 2)); document.querySelector("#mask") .setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", semi_cf + "," + cf); /* Bind range slider event*/ var slider = document.querySelector("#slider"); var lbl = document.querySelector("#lbl"); var mask = document.querySelector("#mask"); var meter_needle = document.querySelector("#meter_needle"); function range_change_event() { var percent = slider.value; var meter_value = semi_cf - ((percent * semi_cf) / 100); mask.setAttribute("stroke-dasharray", meter_value + "," + cf); meter_needle.style.transform = "rotate(" + (270 + ((percent * 180) / 100)) + "deg)"; lbl.textContent = percent + "%"; } slider.addEventListener("input", range_change_event); The Custom range_change_event() Function

The behaviour of the meter is performed by the range_change_event() custom function that is responsible for the adjustment of the mask size and the animation of the needle.

It takes the slider value (user input) which’s between 0-100, converts it to the semi-circumference equivalent (meter_value) of a value between 471-0 (471 is the semi-circumference for radius 150), and sets that meter_value as the dash length of the mask’s stroke-dasharray property.

The range_change_event() custom function also rotates the needle after converting the user input (coming in the 0-100 range) to its degree equivalent of 0-180.

270° is added to the needle’s rotation in the above code because the image I used is of an upright needle and I had to initially rotate it 270° to make it lie flat to its left.

Finally, I bound the range_change_event() function to the range slider, so that the gauge meter can be operated with it.

Check out the demo from our Github repository, or take a look at the source code there.

How to Extract Text & Images Easily from MS Office Files

hongkiat.com - di, 24/05/2016 - 16:01

We may come across the need to extract images or text from a MS Word or MS Powerpoint file. Usually this may include manual copying and pasting, one page at a time, and with mega-large files, this is going to take quite a bit of time.

Well, we have a simple trick to help you extract images and text from files of the new format ie DOCX, PPTX, XLSX whereas with files of the older format ie DOC, PPT, XLS, all you need is a free software to help you quickly and easily extract images.

Note: For the purpose of demonstrating this post, we will be using only an MS Word file. The process is the same for MS Powerpoint and MS Excel files.

Here’s what this article covers:

  1. How to extract images & text from DOCX, PPTX, XLXS files
  2. How to extract images from a single DOC, PPT or XLS file
  3. How to extract images from multiple DOC, PPT or XLS files
  4. How to extract images with “Save as Web Page” method
  5. How to extract plain text instead of XML
How to Extract Images & Text from DOCX, PPTX, XLXS Files

Before following the steps, open the folder containing your files. click Organize > Folder and Search Options > View and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types. Now, you can see the file extension with each filename.

  1. Locate and select the file you want to extract images and text from (note: it is better to make a copy of said file). In this example, our target file is named Sample File.docx.

  2. Press F2 to rename the file and replace the extension name with .zip.

  3. A warning will be shown to confirm the change of the file extension. Click Yes.

  4. Right click on the ZIP file and click on Extract files.

  5. Locate and open the folder containing the extracted data and then open the word.

  6. In it you will see a few folders and XML files. In the media folder you will find the extracted images. For the exracted text, open the document.xml file with notepad or XML Notepad.

Here’s what you will find in the media folder.

How to Extract Images from a Single DOC, PPT or XLS File

If you want to extract images from MS office files with older formats, the above method won’t work with the images. You need a free tool called Office Image Extraction Wizard for this purpose. The tool works with MS Office files as far back as 2012 and it works with one or multiple MS Office files in one go.

  1. Download and install Office Image Extraction Wizard.

  2. Choose the document you want to extract images from (for this example, we’re doing it to a folder I named Ch1.doc), and select the output folder. You can opt to have a folder created to house all your output images by ticking the option Create a folder here. Once you are done, click Next.

  3. Click Start to begin the process.

  4. Once the image extraction process is finished, click on Click here to open destination folder and it will open the output folder.

  5. As you can see below, the program has created a Ch1 folder.

  6. Inside the folder are the extracted images.

How to Extract Images from Multiple DOC, PPT or XLS Files
  1. For extracting images from multiple files of the DOC, PPT or XLS formats, tick the Batch mode option found at the bottom left.

  2. Click on Add Files and then select the files you want to extract images from. Hold the Ctrl button to select multiple files in one go. After selecting the files, click Next.

  3. Click Start.

  4. When the process is completed, locate and open the output folder. Here, you will see two folders with the original filenames. Open these folders to see the extracted images from their original MS Office files.

How to Extract Images with "Save as Web Page" Method

There is another method that will work with both newer and older MS Office files.

  1. Open the DOCX or XLSX file and click on File > Save As > Computer > Browser and save file as Web Page.

  2. Locate the folder with the filename you saved the Web Page in. Here, you will see all the images extracted from the file.

How to Extract Plaintext Instead of XML
  1. Open the DOCX file and click on File > Save As > Computer > Browser. Choose to save file as Plain Text (for XLSX files, save it as Text (Tab delimited)).

  2. Locate and open the text file with the name you have used to save it. This text file will contain only the text from your original file without any formatting.

If you know any other method or tool to extract images from MS Office files, please mention in the comments section.

How to Pick The Right Outsourcing Team

hongkiat.com - di, 24/05/2016 - 14:50

You can save your time, have your project looked at from a new perspective and thus learn and grow as a company, but where do you go to find the right team? Let’s assume you have an IT project, but no IT department of your own. What should you expect and pay attention to when looking for an outsourcing company?

We’re going to look at a few things the perfect team should be able to do, including:

1. They Understand the Business You are in

You need to find some talented people (that’s always a must) who understand the business. It’s not only about understanding the functionalities you describe; it’s crucial that they know what’s behind them, what they are for and what are the expected effects. This way they will be able to provide the solutions you really need.

Seek out the companies that hire both talented developers and agile communication and project managers. Remember that money, goals, investments and business advantages that are important to you translate to class abstraction, methods universality and code semantics to the developers.

It’s crucial to have somebody that understands both sides and can manage the communication.

2. They Can Be Considered Peers You’d Love Working With

Always look for the people who you can consider your real business partners. If you treat them as equals, not just as your employees who follow the orders, you will clearly benefit from the cooperation.

They have the experience and can suggest to you what to do and what to avoid. Of course you can also share your own opinions but having peer discussions is a whole lot more effective than letting one side make all the decisions.

3. They Plan the Right Moves for All your Requirements

It’s also essential that the people you cooperate with have a plan, a clear idea on how the work should be carried out. This seems obvious, but many people overlook it. Brainless coding without asking a single question is not the best way of developing large and complex projects.

Your developers and project managers should listen to your requirements and be able to suggest, for example, to divide the project into stages.

Of course the right approach to your project will vary depending on whether you’re a startup or a large company. It’s difficult to be more precise here, but I believe that you’ll be able to tell whether the team knows what they’re doing when you talk to them.

4. Discuss

Avoid the companies that follow your orders without discussion. Many clients know this and expect the developers to take the initiative and generally get involved in the project as equal partners, but some can be fooled by deceptive smoothness of their project’s workflow.

Appreciate it when a developer wants to discuss an issue with you, even though at first it may seem to delay the work. The discussion will pay off in the long run, reducing errors and preventing mistakes that are easier to nip in the bud than to clear away near the end of the race.

Companies that follow your instructions to the letter will also be less creative and prone to point the finger at you when something doesn’t come up to mark.

Conclusion

Of course the above list is only a starting point. Each company has its own requirements and it may actually turn out that you need a separate team for each project. If you haven’t worked with anyone abroad yet, don’t worry – globalisation did its job. Apart from some cultural differences (like different ways of refusing, managing a discussion or negotiating), we’re on the same page.

However, if you and your team are in different time zones, project management can be challenging, but almost all obstacles can be overcome with enough good will and patience on both sides.

Editor’s note: This is a post written by Filip Jaskiewicz for Hongkiat.com. Filip is the COO of Magently, a reliable and experienced development agency for the Magento eCommerce platform.

8 Powerful Visual Studio Code Extensions for Front-end Developers

hongkiat.com - ma, 23/05/2016 - 17:01

Although Microsoft released the first stable version of Visual Studio Code, its powerful code editor only a few months ago, by March 2016, it already has many extensions available that can take coding experience to the next level. The official Visual Studio Code extensions are hosted in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace, many of which can be a great help for web developers.

For this post, I tested a bunch of VS Code extensions related to front-end development, and made a list of those I found the most intuitive, easy-to-use and convenient. It’s not an ultimate list by all. Take the time to browse the marketplace for yourself, and see what else it can offer to you, especially since many great extensions are yet to come.

How to Install VS Code Extensions

Installing an extension is pretty straightforward in Visual Studio Code, as you can do it within the code editor. In the VS Code Marketplace every extension has its own page, and you can find the command you can install the given extension with on top of this page.

The command always begins with the ext install term. To install an extension, just press CTRL+P inside VS Code to start the Quick Open panel, copy-paste this command into it, and finally restart the code editor to make the new extension work.

8 Powerful Visual Studio Code Extensions
  1. HTML Snippets

    If you want to frequently write HTML in Visual Studio Code, the HTML Snippets extension can come as a handy tool, as it adds elaborate support for HTML. Although VS Code has basic support for HTML, such as syntax colouring, the HTML Snippets extension knows much more.

    Probably the most useful feature of this extension is that when you begin to type the name of an HTML tag (without the starting angle bracket), HTML Snippets quickly displays a list of the available options with a short information about each.

    When you click on the element you need, HTML Snippets adds the full HTML5 tag with its most common properties. For instance, if you want to add a link (anchor tag) to your document, just type an a into VS Code, choose the right option in the popup box, and HTML Snippets will insert the necessary <a href=""></a> snippet into your editor without any hassle.

    The author of this extension also pays attention to remove deprecated elements, so if you want to use an HTML tag that you can’t find in the popup list, it’s worth to check out whether it’s still valid or not.

  2. HTML CSS Class Completion

    HTML CSS Class Completion can be a helpful extension if you need to use many CSS classes in your project. It frequently happens to us developers, that we are not completely sure in the exact name of a class, but it just sits at the back of our mind as passive knowledge.

    This smart extension gives a solution for this problem, as it fetches the names of all CSS classes in the current workspace, and displays a list about them.

    Let’s say, you want to create a site using Zurb Foundation, and you want to use the small grid. You don’t remember how the classes are exactly named, but you know they have semantic names.

    With HTML CSS Class Completion you only need to start to type the word small, and the available options appear on your screen at once, so you can easily select the one you need.

  3. View in Browser

    View in Browser is a simple but powerful extension for Visual Studio Code. It can facilitate front-end development by allowing you to have a quick look at the result of your work in the browser while coding. You can open your HTML file in your default browser directly from VS Code by pressing the CTRL + F1 keyboard shortcut.

    Note that View in Browser only supports HTML, so if you want to see your site you need to have the HTML file open. You can’t directly access the browser from a CSS or JavaScript file.

  4. Debugger for Chrome

    Debugger for Chrome was built by Microsoft itself, and it’s currently the 4th most frequently downloaded Visual Studio Code extension.

    Debugger for Chrome makes it possible to debug JavaScript in Google Chrome without leaving the code editor. This means that you don’t need to work with the transpiled JavaScript the browser sees, but you can perform the debugging right from the original source files. See this demo to see how it works.

    The extension has every feature a decent debugger needs, such as breakpoint setting, variable watching, stepping, a handy debug console, and many others (see the feature list of the first release).

    To use this extension you need to start Chrome with remote debugging enabled, and set up a proper launch.json file. This latter may take for a while, but you can find detailed instructions on GitHub on how to properly do it.

  5. JSHint

    Visual Studio Code’s JSHint extension integrates the popular JSHint JavaScript linter right into the code editor, so you can be informed about your errors as soon as you commit them. By default, the JSHint extension uses the default options of the linter that you can customize with the help of a configuration file.

    The usage of this extension is quite straightforward, as JSHint marks the errors with red, and the notifications with a green underline. If you want more information on the issues, just hover over the underlined parts, and JSHint will float a label with the description of the problem at once.

  6. jQuery Code Snippets

    jQuery Code Snippets can greatly speed up front-end development in Visual Studio Code, as it lets you quickly write jQuery without basic syntax errors. jQuery Code Snippets currently has around 130 available snippets you can invoke by typing the right trigger.

    All jQuery snippets but one start with the jq prefix. The one exception is the func trigger that inserts an anonymous function into the editor.

    This handy extension is a convenient help when you are not completely sure about the proper syntax, and want to spare the time to check the documentation. It also makes it easy to quickly scroll through the available options.

  7. Bower

    The Bower VS Code extension can make your web development workflow more intuitive by integrating the Bower package manager into Visual Studio Code.

    If you put this extension into use you don’t have to switch back and forth between the terminal and the editor, but you can easily perform your package management tasks right inside Visual Studio Code.

    The Bower extension leads you through the creation of your project’s bower.json file, and you can also install, uninstall, search, update packages, manage cache, and perform many other tasks with it (see full feature list).

    You can access Bower-related commands by starting the Command Palette by pressing F1, typing “Bower” into the input bar, clicking on the “Bower” option in the dropdown list that appears, and picking the appropriate Bower command.

  8. Git History

    Git History makes it possible to follow the changes of a Git project inside Visual Studio Code. This extension is especially useful when you want to contribute to a bigger Github project, and need a way to quickly check out the modifications other developers made.

    With the Git History extension installed you can view the history of an entire file, or a particular line inside of it. You can also compare previous versions of the same file.

    You can access the commands related to Git History if you type the word “Git” into the Command Palette (F1), choose “Git” inside the dropdown list, and finally select the command you need. Note that you need to open the file of which you want to see the history before you can perform any actions on it.

12 Private Search Engines that Do Not Track You

hongkiat.com - ma, 23/05/2016 - 15:01

Private browsing using the supposedly private or incognito modes on your regular browser does not give you the level of privacy you think it does. You might not want to be tracked and have made it clear to your default browser as to the fact, but you know that’s not the case when ads that are related to your recent searches turn up on Facebook or inside your Gmail.

When in doubt, opt for private search engines instead. Private Search Engines are the search engines that do not store your queries or track your steps on the Internet.

There’s actually quite a number of them with a range of features and methods to keep your searches safe. Most of these search engines are not much to look at but they’re not here to look pretty, they’re here to give you a safe way to search for things that matter to you.

  1. DuckDuckGo

    DuckDuckGo is one of the most secure search engines that never tracks your searches while providing you an enhanced search experience. It’s purposely built for people who love to remain private, and delivers instant results without tailored ads on the search pages. This search engine serves 10M+ searches a day.

  2. WolframAlpha

    WolframAlpha is a computable search engine that provides accurate answers and offers open knowledge. It’s a knowledge-packed private search engine which nonetheless does not track what you search for.

    This private search engine performs dynamic calculations using inbuilt algorithms and delivers expert knowledge about people, calculations, health & medicines, money & finance, music & movies and much more.

  3. Startpage

    Startpage works powerfully to provide search results while protecting your searches and avoiding tracking your steps. It offers browsing through a proxy server to help protect you from websites tracking your IP address or location. You can add it to your browser, on Chrome or Firefox, and even change its color theme.

  4. Privatelee

    It’s not much to look at but Privatelee enables secure searches and strict filters if you need it. This search engine doesn’t keeps your search keywords to be used for ads or surveillance. Privatelee offers ‘PowerSearch‘ commands that lets you configure the search source and more. It is also known by an alternative name Qrobe.it.

  5. Yippy

    With Yippy, you can manually filter the results category-wise and flag any inappropriate result. Unlike some engines, Yippy allows searching of many types of content including web, images, news, jobs, blogs, government data, etc.

    Yippy also lets you view cached pages (like Google) and filter results by tag clouds, sources, websites. It does not track your search queries and doesn’t show customized ads.

  6. Hulbee

    Hulbee is a private search solution that delivers instant searches while not tracking your search or location history. Hulbee provides intelligent information yet never analyses or stores its visitors’ information.

    Your searches are all encrypted for security against middleman attacks and data leaks. Among its options: choosing a region for most relevant search results and even lets you ‘clear your activity‘ to avoid leaving any trace overall.

  7. Gibiru

    Gibiru offers fully uncensored yet encrypted search engine to prevent data leaks to any third parties. Gibiru works faster than most private search engines because it uses ‘Google Custom Search‘ to provide its service. It does however remove all tracking methods used by Google.

    It also offers a free Firefox/Chrome search bar to help you make anonymous searches right from your browser.

  8. Disconnect Search

    Disconnect Search uses content search assistance from major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo but never tracks your online searches or activities or IP address. Disconnect Search lets you surf by location so that you can get location specific relevant results based on the location of your choice. It clearly informs about the tools that which are protected and unprotected, letting you choose which to use.

  9. Lukol

    Lukol uses a proxy server to deliver customized search results from Google using its enhanced custom search yet conserves your privacy by removing traceable entities. Lukol is considered as one of the best private search engines that protects from online fraudsters and keeps the spammers away by safeguarding you from misleading or inappropriate sites. It ensures full anonymity of your searches.

  10. MetaGer

    MetaGer lets you make confidential untraceable searches that leave no footprints. It also integrates a proxy server so that you can open any link anonymously from the search result pages and yet keep your IP address hidden from the destination server. It also never tracks your keywords.

    This prohibits third parties or advertisers to target you for ads or any of malicious attacks. Its default language is in German.

  11. Gigablast

    Gigablast indexes billions of web pages and provides real time info without tracking your online searches or browsing history. It is considered as one of the best private search engines that keeps you almost entirely hidden to marketers and spammers.

    Gigablast offers searching with certain customizations and optional parameters like searching by exact phrase, languages, terms, filetypes and many more.

  12. Oscobo

    Oscobo is an anonymous search engine that allows no tracking of any type. This search engine does not store or track user data in any way, nor does it let any third party hack or misuse users’ data.

    Like a few of the private search engines here, it lets you search for information, images, videos, news, etc. It also offers a Chrome extension for making searches.

Which is your favorite private search engine? Let us know via comments section below.

Ten Wireframe Kits You Can Download For Free

hongkiat.com - do, 19/05/2016 - 17:01

As a designer, you will pass through several steps while you work on your project, from designing your ideas on paper, through creating wireframes, to finally refining your prototype. If you have many projects it will take some time to make everything from scratch for each.

In this post we collected 10 wireframe kits that can assist you in the wireframing process. By using these kits, you can work faster and more effectively, and from now on, you can also kickstart your project and speed up your UX design workflow.

  1. Material Design Wireframe Kit

    This Material Design Wireframe Kit has become so massive a compilation, the creator has to host it on a Dropbox to make it available for all. So far, there are 41 screens provided including the contact screen, e-Commerce, text content, page settings, and more. Download the Sketch file here.

  2. Moon wireframe kit

    Here are 50 screens that are ready for use in your next app design project. The kit contains splash screens, login and signup elements, menu, setting, feed gallery, item details and more. This awesome kit made by George Frigo. The files available on Sketch and the zipped file can be downloaded here.

  3. Mobile Wireframe Kit

    The Mobile Wireframe Kit contains the most commonly used UI element in mobile app design, consisting of 20 screens and 50 mobile UI elements. The screens such as “Sign Up”,”Create Account”, “Walkthrough”, “Profile Page”, “Dashboard”, among others will help you quickly start your app design. Download the Sketch 3 file here.

  4. Carbon Material Wireframe Kit

    Carbon is great wireframe kit using Material Design, designed for use on your next mobile e-Commerce app. It contains 15 e-Commerce screens and over 30 elements in a separate file, as well as layers and the Roboto font included. You can download this kit in Photoshop and Sketch or get it in a bundle.

  5. Flowchart Kit

    This wireframe kit helps designers to quickly show clients the interaction between pages and works well for quick zoning and sitemaps. The kit includes assets like arrows and symbols too but doesn’t come with the Google free font Open Sans, which you should get first before opening the kit. Download the Sketch file here.

  6. Snap Kit

    If you want to build an app for iOS 8, then Snap Kit is the right wireframing tool for you. It contains 22 mockups and even more elements that you can customize and use for your app design mockup. Snap is available on Sketch format. Download this kit here.

  7. Apple Watch Wireframe Kit

    This wireframe is specifically designed for app that are built for the Apple Watch. It is in AI format. Included in the kit: 20 minimal watch screens, components, size guidelines, and a Apple Watch mockup. You can download the kit here.

  8. FlowiOS Wireframe Kit

    Here is clean wireframe kit for an iOS app made by Vineet Kumar. It features sidebar menus, gallery, feature page for products, cart, settings page and more. You can download the Sketch file contains of 12 screens to kickstart your app design. Download the Sketch file here.

  9. Platforma Ultimate Wireframe Kit

    The Platforma Ultimate Wireframe Kit gives you 20 wireframe layouts in 4 categories, headers, contents, features and footers for free. The files come in three formats: Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Sketch. The full version of the kit contains more than 200 layouts, and is available for $68. Download the free version here.

  10. Wireflows

    Lingo is set of mini web wireframes to help designers with mappped out user workflows on an app. With this kit you can can design prototypes faster. However, you need to use the Lingo app to open the files, which in turn requires Mac OS X 10.10+ to work. You can download the Lingo resource kit here.

How to Customize Visual Studio Code

hongkiat.com - do, 19/05/2016 - 15:01

Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s new open-source code editor provides developers with many awesome features that significantly facilitate the process of source code editing. Besides, Visual Studio Code also makes sure users won’t be bored when they work with it, as it allows them to customize several parts of its appearance, such as colours, fonts, spacing, and text formatting, just like many functionalities, such as linting and validaton rules.

In this post, at first we will have a look at how to change the looks of the Visual Studio Code workspace, then I will show you how to customize the default settings with the help of two JSON-formatted configuration files.

How to Set a Colour Theme on VS Code

Visual Studio Code allows you to set a custom colour theme for your editor.

To put a pre-made theme into use, click on the File > Preferences > Color Theme menu in the top menu bar. When you hit “Enter”, the Command Palette pops up, and displays a dropdown list of the themes you can choose from.

You can achieve the same effect if you press F1 to open the Command Palette, and type the Preferences: Color Theme command into the input field.

As you roll over the options in the dropdown list, the appearance of the workspace changes real-time, so you can quickly see which theme fits your needs the best.

I chooe the “High Contrast” colour theme, as my eyes are not the best. Here’s what my view looks like.

How to Install a Theme from VS Code Marketplace

If you don’t like any of the colour themes VS Code offers by default, you can download many others from the VS Code Marketplace.

Here you can take a look at the themes the Marketplace currently has. If you want to install a theme from the Marketplace, hit F1 right inside your VS Code editor in order to open the Command Palette, then type the ext install command into the input field, finally choose the Extensions: Install Extension option from the list that pops up.

When you click on this option, a new instance of Command Palette pops up. Type the "ext install theme" command into the new input field, and you will get a list of all the themes that are available from the VS Code Marketplace.

I choose the theme called “Material Theme Kit”, and install it by clicking on it. To have the new theme in the Color Theme list, in the same place where the other default themes are, you need to restart VS Code. After restarting, the new theme appears in the theme list, and you can set it from the Command Palette.

With the new Material Theme, my editor now looks like this:

You can go back to the previous theme (like I did, because I still prefer that theme) or you can play around some more with other themes to see which is the most suitable for you.

If you want, you can also create your custom theme, and publish it on VS Code Marketplace by using the vsce extension manager tool.

Change User and Workspace Settings

VS Code doesn’t only allow you to set a custom theme, but you can also configure many other settings, such as formatting rules, usage of different features, crash reports, HTTP settings, file associations, linting rules, and more.

You can do this by editing two configuration files, both in JSON format. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro, as VS Code offers a pretty straightforward and intuitive way to quickly add your customizations.

At first, let’s see what is the difference between the two configuration files. VS Code has two scopes (global and local) for settings, hence the two separate files:

  1. the global settings.json, in which the configuration rules are valid for each workspace
  2. the workspace-related .vscode/settings.json, that’s only related to an individual workspace

The global settings.json file can be found in the folder where your operating system stores every other app-related configuration files, respectively:

  • on Windows: %APPDATA%\Code\User\settings.json
  • on Linux: $HOME/.config/Code/User/settings.json
  • on Mac: $HOME/Library/Application Support/Code/User/settings.json

The workspace-related settings.json file is stored in the folder of your current project. By default, this file doesn’t exist, but as soon as you add a custom Workspace Setting, VS Code creates a .vscode/settings.json file at once, and places custom workspace-specific configurations into it.

So when do you use the settings.json files?

If you want VS Code to use your custom configuration rules in all your projects, put them into the global settings.json file.

If you want your settings to only be valid in your current project, place them into the workspace-related settings.json file.

Workspace settings override the global settings, so be careful.

Global settings are called “User Settings” in VS Code. Open them either by clicking on the File > Preferences > User Settings menu, or by beginning to type the expression “User Settings” into the Command Palette (open it with F1).

VS Code opens two panes next to each other: the left one contains all the options that are possible to configure, and the right one displays the global settings.json file. You need to place your custom configuration rules into this file.

As you can see, you don’t need to do anything else, just copy-paste the settings you want to change from the left side to the right, and add the modified values.

Let’s have a look at a short example (but you can make any other modifications according to your individual needs). I will change the font family, reduce the length of a tab from the default four spaces to two, reduce the maximum number of working files from nine to five, and change one of the CSS linting rules concerning duplicate styles from "ignore" to "warning".

After copy-pasting, my global settings.json file looks like this:

// Place your settings in this file to overwrite the default settings { "editor.fontFamily": "Courier New", "editor.tabSize": 2, "explorer.workingFiles.maxVisible": 5, "css.lint.duplicateProperties": "warning" }

After saving the modified settings.json file, the looks of my editor change at once (on the screenshot below only the change of the font family is visible):

You can change the Workspace Settings similarly. Now you need to click on the File > Preferences > Workspace Settings in the top menu bar to access the workspace-related .vscode/settings.json file.

Workspace Settings have exactly the same configuration options as User Settings, and you can use the same copy-pasting technique. There are only two differences, the scope (local instead of global), and the settings.json file into which your custom configurations will be saved.

Ten Multipurpose WordPress Themes for Versatile Designers

hongkiat.com - wo, 18/05/2016 - 21:01

Unless you focus on a specific type of website design, so it makes sense to invest in a multipurpose WordPress theme. Multipurpose themes give you the flexibility you would need to be prepared to take on any assignment that comes your way.

The multipurpose WordPress themes featured here have everything necessary to address any website type or topic. Some are e-Commerce oriented, but they have the flexibility you need to take on any task you may have to face. It would be nice to say that your choice will be an easy one, but when faced with a star-studded lineup of premium themes, where each one seems to be equal to or better than the next, reaching a decision isn’t going to be easy.

What we can say is this; whichever one you select will get the job done, and will do it well. To help you narrow down your choices, ask yourself these questions:

  • What size are my typical websites?
  • Do I need e-Commerce functionality?
  • Do I want responsive websites?
  • Do I need to make frequent changes?
The Core

The Core is massive. It consists of 16 themes in 1 – with more on the way. It’s loaded with features, including the advanced Visual Builder, plenty of shortcodes, fonts, sliders, and headers, and more. Its demos, which can be auto-installed, have been hand-built to ensure the various themes and topics they address have been attended to.

There many more useful features that we are unable to list here, but you are certain to appreciate the multiple types of portfolio showcases available, the custom Google Maps feature, the easy-to-add animations, and a built-in events calendar you can incorporate to keep users up to date. There’s even a backup module to protect you in case of a crash.

Bargain priced at $59, this multipurpose theme is definitely a sound investment. Feel free to give it a free test drive in the Test Lab.

BeTheme

BeTheme is known for its 200+ pre-made layouts and their one-click installation. If you’ve looked into BeTheme previously, you may have noticed that the number of pre-made layouts keeps on increasing. Since these pre-made layouts are totally customizable, they address every conceivable website type, theme, or topic.

Whether your next project is a portfolio site, a blog site, or a business or e-Commerce site, BeTheme is a great choice. You can use either or both of its two highly popular page builders, Muffin Builder 3 or Visual Composer. When you combine either with the Muffin Options Panel/Shortcode Generator duo, you’ll experience the utmost in website flexibility.

As an added bonus, these and Be’s other core features are powerful, reliable, and extremely user-friendly. BeTheme is a multipurpose theme well worth looking into further.

The 7

What does it take to create the most customizable theme on the market? The 7’s answer is its 630+ theme options. Combine these options with the ever-growing library of ready-made designs, and an enhanced version of the ever-popular Visual Composer, and you can rapidly come up with any design you can envision.

As an added bonus, you can choose a header layout, upload your logo, specify backgrounds, colors and fonts, and let The7’s Design Wizard complete your page designs automatically.

Using The7 is easy, it’s fun, and it’s the smart thing to do if you enjoy creating professional-grade sites without ever having to touch a line of code. A WooCommerce plugin comes with the package, so you can set up an online shop in no time at all, and fine tune it by applying The7’s extended shop layout and appearance settings.

The7 comes with an extensive user guide, and frequent updates and first-class customer support

Enfold

Enfold’s library of demo files cover everything from business sites to portfolios and blogs, and everything in between. The beauty of this theme is it allows you to select design elements from as many demo files as you wish while building a page.

More than a few users tend to work mainly with the Enfold Default Demo, which has become somewhat of a classic. It’s a multipurpose demo, but you can still use any of the design elements from any of the others. It’s also worth of mention that Enfold is extremely easy to use and is the highest rated top seller on Themeforest.

Uncode

Uncode’s layouts, or concepts as their authors call them, come in 5 categories: classic, creative, portfolio, blog, and shop. As an example we suggest you check out their Creative Agency concept. Several versions of five important pages (About, Contact, Services, Product, Utility) are also included to help you with your design efforts.

With the aid of an enhanced Visual Compose, and with Uncode’s hierarchical options system, you can design whatever comes to mind, and make that design pixel perfect in the process.

Divi

Smart, flexible, and with a box-full of features sums up Divi. Anyone can create beautiful and unique website designs with this extremely user-friendly multipurpose WordPress theme using Divi Builder, Divi’s premium page builder.

Divi Builder was designed and developed based on user feedback. Together with Divi’s 46 ultra-customizable content modules, the Builder transforms design elements into visual building blocks, making Divi the most flexible theme Elegant Themes authors have produced to date.

Divi doesn’t require coding, but if you insist on using your coding skills, its Custom CSS tab won’t hold you back.

Kallyas

Responsive, lightweight, no coding required, drag and drop page building – you name it, Kallyas has it all, as 17,000+ users will attest to. More than just another premium multipurpose WordPress theme, Kallyas is a complete website design toolbox.

It’s not at all complicated to use. The Visual Builder page builder makes it super easy to build almost any page you can think of. 150+ video tutorials, together with a library of user articles and the dedicated support forum, will help you along. If you have a pre-purchase question or two, just click on Live Chat to get the answers.

Shopkeeper

Shopkeeper is precisely what you need to not only build, but to manage your online store. Because of its inventory management system, you never have to leave your WordPress site, and Shopkeeper even allows you to feature upcoming products not yet in stock.

Shopkeeper comes with a ton of pre-built layouts, design elements, and customizable options. It is truly a multipurpose theme you can use to build business, creative, or corporate websites as well as e-Commerce sites, or to publish your blogs or your portfolio.

Merchandiser

Merchandiser has all of the features needed to successfully complete your design work, yet it doesn’t load you down with having to manage a variety of bells and whistles. It’s a minimalist theme in which the authors have done an excellent job of following a philosophy of prioritizing decisions over features.

Instead of attempting to cover all the bases with a multitude of features, the authors based this theme’s functionality on shop owners’ actual needs and based their features on user feedback from surveys and from their other themes. As a result, by choosing Merchandiser you get simplicity, not complexity.

X Theme

Stacks, Extensions, Cornerstone, and the Customizer summarize what X Theme has in store for you. Four stacks; Integrity, Renew, Icon and Ethos, allow you to choose from a multiplicity of unique designs with the click of a mouse.

The 20 free extensions (plugins) can be instantly downloaded, and they are updated for each purchase. Cornerstone is X Themes 100% front-end page builder, and the Customizer allows you to manage your website building using a live previewer. There’s much more of course, but the bottom line is you’ll find X a total pleasure to work with.

Conclusion

We believe you’ll agree that these multipurpose themes have something for everyone, and we trust you have found the one that is a perfect solution for your web design requirements.

Flexibility, ease of use, and excellent support will never be issues no matter which of these themes you select. Even those that are oriented towards e-Commerce website designs, and the themes built that around a minimalist concept, are in every sense of the word true multipurpose themes because of their flexibility.

Coding is never a requirement, although it can be an option, and pixel-perfect results are a given with any of these themes.

20 Free & Useful Photoshop Plugins All Designers Must Have

hongkiat.com - wo, 18/05/2016 - 17:03

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful platform for creatives to brush up their work, but sometimes it is lacking in a lot of features that can help improve productivity, workflow and make life just that much easier. Luckily for us, Photoshop supports extensions or plugins, which help extend their capabilities. And lucky for you, we’ve collected some of the best, must-have Photoshop plugins available out there.

These plugins help you save time, cut steps, automate tedious processes and more. They help you work faster, and more productively, and they are absolute must-haves in your designer toolkit.

  1. Lorem Ipsum Generator

    The lorem ipsum command finally comes to Photoshop CS6 but hold the celebrations, the generated text still lacks variation. For those of you who need variation, try the "Lorem Ipsum Generator".

    With this plugin, you can customize options to generate words, sentences or paragraphs with a simple click. The service is provided by lipsum.com, which is used by numerous designers for years. It only needs to be installed once, and then can be used within multiple Adobe applications.

    Compatibility: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver CS5 – Download

  2. Cell

    How do you manipulate multiple smart objects on Photoshop? It would be great to have a way to create or break multiple smart objects with just one click. Cell lets you do that. It is a plugin that can compress multiple selected layers and groups to multiple Smart Objects plus the ability to decompress, which will break multiple Smart Objects to Layer groups in one click.

    The Save action is also very useful: now you can save multiple Smart Objects to a single PSD or PNG file. This is a smart way to save multiple Smart Objects directly as PNG assets!

    Download Cell

  3. Swatchy

    Swatchy is a simple and elegant swatches manager fot Photoshop that makes it possible for you to organize color swatches into folders. The swatches can be chosen as foreground or background colors. This way you can save and easily access your color schemes, and preview colors you use often.

    Let’s say you want to design an app or website, this free plugin can help you create alternate color schemes by simply selecting colors swatches and organizing them into a couple of folders. It’s handy and a real time saver.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CC2015 – Download

  4. Interface Tools

    Navigating through Photoshop to find the tools needed is annoying. It takes time to go from tool to tool. Centering elements is also a hassle if you didn’t use the correct tool. To take all that annoyance away, you can use this little free plugin, Interface Tools. This plugin places all the necessary tools and quick shortcuts that can be accessed, all on the same spot.

    It does a lot of simple things very well. Turn snapping on and off, horizontal or vertical centering, trim a document or "save for web" with one click. It’ sa huge time saver and is highly recommended as the plugin to have when you want all your tools pooled together.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC – Download

  5. Flaticon

    How often do you need to leave your working environment just to search for the right icon? Why not use the FlatIcon plugin to quickly find the icons you need. There are more than 40,000 icons available and the database always stays in sync – no manual updating required. This free plugin will place a new panel in Photoshop that allows you to search for any icons, and directly place it in your document.

    Since they are vector shapes, you can resize and edit them without losing quality. Having a collection of arrows and typical web elements is worth the install alone. You can also download the icons individually from from the site.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CS5, CS6 – Download

  6. Layrs Control2

    Layrs Control 2 is a collection of seven scripts that make your layering work on Photoshop that much easier. It is a practical solution for layer management, and will be handy especially when working on complex design projects with tons of layers to deal with.

    It provides seven main features, including renaming layers and folders, removing unused effects to optimize your project, flattening all layers effects, throwing away empty layers and rasterizing smart objects. On top of that you can also convert layers into individual smart objects and find similarly named files and folders.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CC2014 – Download

  7. Random User Generator

    When making a mockup design, we waste time looking for random photos of people to put into the mockup. Another time-wasting event is creating a believable username. If these problems plague you, now you can skip through the hassle with the Random User Generator Photoshop Plugin which does this quickly and easily for you.

    You can drag and drop random male or female, user images and generate sample names directly into your PSDs. Then just click and drag the profile photo into your Photoshop document or copy and paste the image and name that you want. To go with the flow and generate a new random user, press the “New Random User” button.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS6, CC2014, CC2015 – Download

  8. Cut & Slice Me

    Cut & Slice Me is a plugin that will export the assets you need as PNG files, will all transparent pixels trimmed out. All you need to do is add @ to the end of your layer name and it will do the rest. The plugin also organizes and groups the layers as if they are objects. When you want your file to be exported in a fixed size, you can create a rectangular vector as the first layer then name it #.

    The final group will be exported in the size you want. This also works great with button states. If you have any problems using this just check out the FAQ section, and enjoy the creator’s sense of humor when giving answers to common issues users faced with the plugin.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS6, CC – Download

  9. Guideguide

    The GuideGuide Photoshop plugin makes it easy to have pixel-accurate columns, rows, midpoints and baselines based on your document or selection. It allows you to save frequently the used guide sets you may need for future use. You can also use multiple types of measurements.

    With the plugin, you can measure exactly how wide a navigation element should be to fit evenly across the width of a site, as well as create baseline grids and element padding. You can try it for free, or buy it for Photoshop CC or newer for only $10.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS5, CS6 and CC – Download

  10. Transform Each

    The "Transform Each" command is a nice feature from Illustrator that is missing in Photoshop. It allows you to transform groups of layers, as it was transformed individually. It feels great to when you’re able to resize, rotate and reposition multiple elements without having to reposition each one each time.

    It also has the option to scale styles and constrain proportions. Keep in mind to always use the Preview button to peek at the end result before clicking OK button.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS5, CS6, CC2014, CC2015 – Download

  11. Long Shadow Generator 2

    Creating the "Long Shadow Effect" looks easy to do, even for the a beginner-level Photoshop user. But it will be a nightmare to edit if your client doesn’t like the end-result. To prevent this, try out this Photoshop extension called Long Shadow Generator 2.

    As the name implies, this plugin able to create long shadow with one click. From its panel setting, you can adjust the shadow length, shadow opacity, flatten or gradient shadow, black or white shadow and shadow angles.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CC2014, CS6 – Download

  12. Ditto

    If you want to allows photoshop the use of variables for attributes like colours, text, font sizes and visibility, you should try Ditto. It supports variables for fill colours, strings of text including special characters, visibility, font sizes, font family, font colours, line heights, X position and Y position. Every variable requires you to specify its type, name and value.

    For those who don’t have the plugin, they will see a group in the layers panel called dittoVariables but will otherwise be unaffected by it. A layer can have multiple variables and they do not dictate the naming of layers at all.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC2015 – Download

  13. CSS3Ps

    CSS3Ps is a Photoshop plugin that converts layers into CSS3 style. You just need to select layers and then click the CSS3Ps button. The plugin directs you to the CSS3Ps webpage where the output is generated. CSS3Ps plugin supports multiple layers, vendor prefixes for cross-browser compatibility, SASS and SCSS.

    It also supports styles such as border radius, gradient overlay, bevel and emboss, stroke, shadow and glow, satin and more. It’s worth noting that in order for the plugin to convert appropriately, you need to use the correct Photoshop effects.

    Compatibility: CS3 and above, CC, CC2014, CC2015 – Download

  14. Breeezy

    Breeezy is a Photoshop extension that adds multilayer export functionality to Photoshop, giving you the ability to export multiple graphic elements from your PSD in one click. This makes it quick and easy to prepare graphics for app development, websites or flash banners.

    It features the ability to save a layer’s transparency when exporting, pass layer names to files, and organize all exported files and assets in one folder.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS5 and higher – Download

  15. Pixel2Vector

    Pixel2Vector is a very impressive tool that can convert any pixel graphic to a fully scalable vector shape with only one click! The Vector Shape function will convert every chosen layer or layergroup into a vector shape. When it’s done, you can edit the vector like every other vector shape, scaled without loss or easily recoloured.

    Another function is the Custom Shape Tool, which converts every chosen layer or layergroup into a Custom Shape Tool. You can find the shape by selecting the Custom Shape Tool at the bottom of the shape palette.

    Compatibility: CS5, CS6, CC, CC2014, and Photoshop CS3+ (as action set) – Download

  16. Font Awesome

    Another robust icon finder, Font Awesome plugin will help you to search and insert an icon right inside Photoshop. This free plugin add a new panel, which will enable us to search for any icon by typing the desired keyword.

    Search for an icon and click to create a new layer shape which you can easily edit. It’s a real time-saver, highly recommended if your daily routine revolves around working with icons.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC – Download

  17. Renderly

    Render.ly will export screens, assets and detailed design specs for you. Only elements that have changed are exported. You just need to use a proper prefix, and Render.ly will handle all the hard work. Render.ly allows you add variants to screens, manage assets, detailed design specs and in the end automatically export all of them with a one click.

    To keep your icons as vectors, add the ico prefix; name a group with "btn"; create a state by adding e.g. ":hover" at the end of the name inside that group; to export images, add “img” as a prefix; the image will be exported as a raster graphic.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC2014, CC2015 – Download

  18. Griddify

    Thanks to Griddify, we’re now able to compose custom grid systems, vertical rhythm, and do more with guides in Photoshop. Griddify adds an intuitive panel to Photoshop that includes three simple but wide-ranging options called Griddify, Divide, and Wrap.

    Enter a pixel value and hit "Griddify" and a guide will be added at the intervals you’ve entered. You can play around with it for more columns and gutters, or change the orientation to create a baseline. The "Divide" option is great for responsive sites, splitting the selected area into the number of sections you want. The "Wrap" option adds guides to the edges of your selection.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS6, CC – Download

  19. Save Panel

    Save Panel is a file-saving Photoshop plugin that lets you configure save options with your favorite settings. For example, you might need to save an artwork with different sizes for different purposes. With Save Panel, you can select the destination folder (either absolute or relative), image dimensions, file type and filename.

    There is no limit to the number of buttons you can create and customize with Save Panel. To set it up, simply save presets created in the options dialog. Each preset will then be represented with a button on the panel, giving you quick access to your favorite settings.You can even share images within Photoshop with the help of cloud storage services like Dropbox.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CS5, CS6, CC, CC2014 – Download

  20. UberColumn

    In Photoshop, it’s a royal pain when you’re mocking up a website to have to set two separate text layers and align them when you want multiple columns of text. In this case, UberColumns is a Photoshop plugin that can help. It allows you to convert a single block of text on a layer to a specified column layout, as well as to customize the gutter width.

    To use this plugin, simply drag a textbox out using the Type tool and enter your text normally. After committing the text, open the Columns panel from Window > Extensions > Columns. Set the number of columns and gutter space, and hit OK. Your text should now be converted to columns.

    Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CC2014, CC2015 – Download

Bonus: 2 More Plugins Layer Craft

With this free plugin, you can easily export selected layers directly into iOS or Android, with the options for scaling up to 200%, scaling down to 50%, duplicating, trimming, and removing empty pixels for PNG files. The CC2014 plugin also allows you to set the output folder and turn your live shapes into regular paths.

Compatibility: Photoshop CC, CC2014, CC2015 – Download

Composer

When you have multiple layer comps, sometimes things can get mixed up easily. Composer gives you total control over making changes, changing positions and visibility of layers all at once. Just select the layer comps you want the changes to be applied to then choose any of the four commands: Update Layer Style, Update Position, Update Visibility or Update All.

Compatibility: Photoshop CS5, CS6, CC – Download

Editor’s Note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by Jayan Saputra. Jayan is a graphic designer and book author from Indonesia. He love designing, and you could find his recent work in deviantart.

The Basics of Object-Oriented CSS (OOCSS)

hongkiat.com - wo, 18/05/2016 - 15:01

Frontend development moves quickly with many new techniques added every year. It can be a struggle for developers to keep up with everything. Between Sass and PostCSS it’s easy to get lost in the sea of development tools.

One newer technique is Object-Oriented CSS, also termed OOCSS for short. This isn’t a tool, but rather a CSS writing methodology that aims to make CSS modular and object-based.

In this post, I’d like to introduce the core fundamentals of OOCSS, and how these ideas can be applied to frontend web work. This technique may not catch on with every developer, but it’s worth understanding new concepts to decide if your workflow could benefit from it.

What Makes CSS Object-Oriented?

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm that focuses on creating reusable objects and establishing relationships between them, as opposed to procedural programming that organizes the code into procedures (routines, subroutines, or functions).

OOP has become widely-used in both JavaScript and backend languages in the last few years, but organizing CSS according its principles is still a new concept.

The “object” in OOCSS refers to an HTML element or anything associated with it (like CSS classes or JavaScript methods). For example, you might have a sidebar widget object that could be replicated for different purposes (newsletter signup, ad blocks, recent posts, etc). CSS can target these objects en-masse which makes scaling a breeze.

Summarizing OOCSS’ GitHub entry, a CSS object may consist of four things:

  1. HTML node(s) of the DOM
  2. CSS declarations about the style of those nodes
  3. Components like background images
  4. JavaScript behaviors, listeners, or methods associated with an object

Generally speaking, CSS is object-oriented when it considers classes that are reuseable and targetable to multiple page elements.

Many developers would say OOCSS is easier to share with others and easier to pick up after months (or years) of inactive development. This compares with other modular methods like SMACSS which has stricter rules for categorizing objects in CSS.

The OOCSS FAQ page has a bunch of info if you’re curious to learn more. And the creator Nicole Sullivan often talks about OOCSS and how it ties in with modern web development.

Separate Structure From Style

A big part of OOCSS is writing code that separates page structure (width, height, margins, padding) from appearance (fonts, colors, animations). This allows custom skinning to be applied onto multiple page elements without affecting the structure.

This is also useful for designing components that can be moved around the layout with ease. For example, a “Recent Posts” widget in the sidebar should be moveable into the footer or above the content while maintaining similar styles.

Here’s an example of OOCSS for a “Recent Posts” widget that in this case is our CSS object:

/* Structure */ .side-widget { width: 100%; padding: 10px 5px; } /* Skinning */ .recent-posts { font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: #2b2b2b; font-size:1.45em; }

Notice that layout is managed with the .side-widget class that could be applied to multiple sidebar elements as well, while appearance is managed with the .recent-posts class that could be also used to skin other widgets. For instance, if the .recent-posts widget were moved to the footer, it might not take the same positioning, but it could have the same look and feel.

Also take a look at this sidebar example from CodePen. It uses a distinct separation of classes for floats and text alignment so that replication will not require extra CSS code.

See the Pen OOCSS Sidebar Example – Completed by Julie Cameron (@jewlofthelotus) on CodePen.

Separate Container From Content

Separating content from its container element is another important principle of OOCSS.

In simpler terms, this only means that you should avoid using child selectors whenever it’s possible. When customizing any unique page elements like anchor links, headers, blockquotes, or unordered lists, you should give them unique classes rather than descendant selectors.

Here’s a simple example:

/* OOCSS */ .sidebar { /* sidebar contents */ } h2.sidebar-title { /* special h2 element styles */ } /* Non-OOCSS */ .sidebar { /* same sidebar contents */ } .sidebar h2 { /* adds more specificity than needed */ }

Although it’s not horrendous to use the second code format, it’s heavily recommended to follow the first format if you want to write clean OOCSS.

Development Guidelines

It’s tough to nail down exact specifications because developers are constantly debating the purpose of OOCSS. But here are some suggestions that can help you write cleaner OOCSS code:

  • Work with classes instead of IDs for styling.
  • Try to abstain from multi-level descendant class specificity unless needed.
  • Define unique styles with repeatable classes (eg floats, clearfix, unique font stacks).
  • Extend elements with targeted classes rather than parent classes.
  • Organize your stylesheet into sections, consider adding a table of contents.

Note that developers should still use IDs for JavaScript targeting, but they’re not required for CSS because they’re too specific. If one object uses an ID for CSS styling it can never be replicated since IDs are unique identifiers. If you use only classes for styling then inheritance becomes much easier to predict.

Moreover, classes can be chained together for extra features. A single element could have 10+ classes attached to it. While 10+ classes on one element isn’t something I’d personally recommend, it does allow developers to amass a library of reusable styles for unlimited page elements.

Class names within OOCSS are somewhat controversial, and not set in stone. Many developers prefer to keep classes short and to the point.

Camel case is also popular, for example .errorBox instead of .error-box. If you look at class naming in OOCSS’ documentation you’ll notice camel case is the “official” recommendation. There’s nothing wrong with dashes but as a rule it’s best to follow the OOCSS guidelines.

OOCSS + Sass

Most web developers already love Sass and it has quickly overtaken the frontend community. If you haven’t already tried Sass, it’s worth giving it a shot. It allows you to write code with variables, functions, nesting and compilation methods like mathematical functions.

In competent hands, Sass and OOCSS could be a match made in heaven. You’ll find an excellent writeup about this on The Sass Way blog.

For instance, using the Sass @extend directive you can apply the properties of one class onto another class. The properties aren’t duplicated but instead, the two classes are combined with a comma selector. This way you can update CSS properties in one location.

If you’re constantly writing stylesheets this would save hours of typing and help automate the OOCSS process.

IMAGE: Sean Amarasinghe

Also remember that code maintenance is a big part of OOCSS. By using Sass, your job gets easier with variables, mixins, and advanced linting tools tied into the workflow.

A key attribute of great OOCSS code is the ability to share it with anyone, even yourself at a later date, and be able to pick it up with ease.

Performance Considerations

OOCSS is meant to operate smoothly and without much confusion. Developers try their best not to repeat themselves at every turn, in fact that’s the premise behind DRY development. Over time, the OOCSS technique can lead to hundreds of CSS classes with individual properties applied dozens of times in a given document.

Since OOCSS is still a new topic, it’s difficult to argue on the topic of bloat. Many CSS files end up bloated with little structure, whereas OOCSS provides rigid structure and (ideally) less bloat. The biggest performance concern would be in the HTML where some elements may accumulate a handful of different classes for layout structure and design.

You’ll find interesting discussions about this topic on sites like Stack Overflow and CSS-Tricks.

My recommendation is to try to build a sample project, and see how it goes. If you fall in love with OOCSS, it may radically change how you code websites. Alternatively, if you hate it you’re still learning a new technique and thinking critically about how it operates. It’s win-win no matter what.

Get Busy Writing OOCSS

The best way to learn anything in web development is to practice. If you already understand the basics of CSS then you’re well on your way!

Since OOCSS doesn’t require preprocessing you could try it with an online IDE, such as CodePen. Simple projects are the best for getting started, and improving your knowledge from there.

Take a look at these resources to further your research in the evolving field of OOCSS.

20 Tools for Startups Who Can’t Afford Design Teams

hongkiat.com - di, 17/05/2016 - 17:01

In the beginning, there was you, and your laptop. As entrepreneurs, we’ve all been there: nurturing a larger-than-life vision of what our app/product should be and struggling to convey that to the masses. Because you don’t strike up on your own with a design team on hand, you do it in the risky, lonely waters of a rented desk in a shared office space.

Sure, you can get design on tap from the numerous freelance networks out there like Upwork, but if a shot in the dark or, really, a coin toss, is not something you’re willing to risk, that kind of glut available there is not an appealing option.

So, ditch your training wheels, say adieu to any learning curves, just dive into design with these 20 tools for marketers and entrepreneurs alike!

  1. Freepik

    This aggregator is a comprehensive choice for the average Joe moonlighting as a designer in training. Run and populated by a team of designers, developers and other digital professionals in Spain, the site is your go-to place for finding icons, vectors and even photos – everything you’d need to patch together into a site or/and app.

    Use it in conjunction with Pexels, Pixabay or whichever of the tens of more robust free stock photo providers out there and you’re in business.

    Pricing: Though the site’s resource base is free (for up to 60 downloads a day, for personal and commercial use), you’ll be expected to correctly attribute the files you use to Freepik.

  2. Pablo

    Buffer’s little helper for socially-engaged startups (meaning yours, if you’re smart) is a free online tool that allows you to share visual quotes to all of your social networks in one fell swoop. Link it with the popular social sharing tool Buffer and you’re good to go.

    Pablo automates your design process by providing both quotes and pictures – all that’s left for you to do is mix and match to fit your purpose. If you want to wield even more power, and are willing to "sacrifice" a few seconds for it, Pablo lets you add your own background image for the quote you’re aiming to share with your followers and fans, then adjust its contrast and even add a blur effect for extra pizzazz.

    Pricing: Pablo is free to use.

  3. Pexels

    Good design doesn’t only consist of graphics, it also includes high-quality images that can be a cachet of quality. But finding these eye-popping hi-res images for your blog/site can be hard in this copyright-saturated world of ours, so, unless you’re planning on winging it and risk smearing your image even before you’ve built it properly, Pexels is the way to go.

    It offers up a wealth of photos that are covered by the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, meaning you can use, modify and distribute them for personal as well as commercial purposes, without needing to link back or to attribute them in any way.

    Pricing: Pexels is free to use, though it will prompt you to donate whatever spare change you can via PayPal on download. Considering the money will go to improving its hosting capacity, is the least you can do.

  4. Instapage

    A leader among landing page builders, with over 250,000 users worldwide, the Instapage platform is a complete easy-bake oven for pages you might want to add to your website.

    Whether they be signup forms or contest info pages, Instapage has a large number of versions you can try out till you find the best fit. Once you’ve settled on one, all that’s left is customizing it with your brand logo and your message, as well as any images and/or fonts that will make your image pop.

    You can even A/B test and tweak your pages, with studies conducted by the Instapage team (and others) showing that staying on top of conversions for each variation will improve your numbers by a considerable margin.

    Pricing: Instapage offers a free plan which won’t include a mobile-responsive version of your page (and, as we know, that’s frowned upon by Google Search), and a few other features that are available on the other, paid plans.

    So you’re better off choosing between the Basic ($29 /month), Professional ($79 /month), and Unlimited ($179 /month) plans, which will offer a lot of bang for your buck. The paid route will also keep you from getting locked out of your dashboard (the home of your stats!) when the page reaches the 100-visitor limit on free.

  5. WhatTheFont! and font repositories

    If you’re a newbie without any design skills to your name, you can mimic a designer’s eye by snatching up the fonts used on pages you come by online – that’s where WhatTheFont comes in. It’s a free-to-use tool that lets you pop an image into the uploader and churns out the font used within.

    Your image should consist of no more than 50 characters, as widely spaced out as possible, and there are a few other tips on choosing the best image to load into the program. Once you get the font name, search for it in FontSquirrel, Google Fonts or 1001 fonts.

    Pricing: WhatTheFont and other font repositories online are free, but be sure to check that the font you download is also free for commercial use.

  6. Redraw.io

    If you’ve got some design chops, a desire to get on the groundfloor of mobile themes and 10 minutes on your hands, you should check out Redraw.io. This theming platform lets you build mobile themes for any Android phone and monetize like a whole pro team of mobile designers.

    Best of all, there’s no code required and even with minimal design skills, you can still make a windfall on the app stores. If you’re not into theming, you should nonetheless remember that most of your visitors will be steering clear of your website and looking instead for a mobile version or a mobile app, so get on that ASAP! .

    If you’ve already got a website and want an app, you can use the "instant appification" tool DWNLD.

    Pricing: You can use Redraw.io to make skins/themes free of charge while you can build an app with DWNLD for free – with mandatory ads of which you forfeit the revenue – or for $15 per month, where you have access to more metrics and you get to keep 90% of the ad revenue, should you choose to enable them. (Disclosure: I’m co-founder of T-Me Studios, which makes Redraw.io.)

  7. Adobe Color CC

    Formerly known as Kuler, this is the tool to have if you’re colorblind, color-challenged or just can’t be bothered to create a color scheme from scratch.

    The idea behind it is to use the color wheel to pick the best four colors for your site, blog or a particular page, graphic image, infographic, you name it, that go together with your chosen one color to a tee, based on the rule you select in the upper left side of the screen.

    Or, if you’re hard-pressed for time, the tool also comes with an exhaustive "Explore" tab that lets you browse through, copy, edit and save to your library other users’ read-made schemes.

    The other great thing about this handy tool by Adobe is it gives you the ability to import your new theme to Illustrator, Photoshop and/or InDesign. You’ll need an Adobe account to make the best use of your themes, so if you’ve already signed up for one, you’re good to go.

    Pricing: Adobe Color CC is free to use (and ditto for the Adobe account).

  8. Coolors.co

    The finest color generator around with paint chips so wonderfully large a blind bat could see them, Coolors also boasts a browsing feature, much like Adobe Color CC above (though they do boast "the largest color schemes collection," in their Instagram bio).

    Complete with HEX codes (generated or that you can put in yourself), adjustable color components and toggles for brightness, temp, hue and saturation, it really is, like "a slot machine for harmony.

    If you’re going to do some reverse engineering – i.e., some color scheme online grabbed your eye and you’re trying to get the exact codes to punch into your own website with ease – pretty much all photo editors can fix you up and there are a bunch of sites online (plus an iOS app called Quolor) that could provide that color picker functionality.

    Pricing: Coolors is free to use.

  9. Design Seeds

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Design Seeds, whose owner is pretty adamant about how much she disapproves of color generators like Coolors. As she explains it, it takes talent and an artist’s eye to really get an expressive, emotion-inducing palette.

    But if you’re not an artist with an eagle eye trained over decades, you can still use Design Seeds to get inspiration and attendant HEX codes for your brand image.

    Each of the swatches you see on the site are "individually mixed" by the artist in Illustrator, and posted side by side with the photo they inspired/were inspired by after last touches are added in Photoshop.

    A lot of painstaking tinkering comes into this site, so make your choice of palette wisely, be mindful of the artist’s work!

    Pricing: Design Seeds is free to browse through, and the owner does freelance on the side, so you can turn to her in a pinch (and at a cost).

  10. Pixlr

    In case you’re not about to shell out for Adobe’s monthly fee or put down a lump sum for a software you won’t be using that often past the point of building a logo and some other graphics for your startup image, Pixlr is a free online Photoshop alternative to consider.

    With a clean UI and a user experience not that different from what we get from Photoshop, this editor stands out as it can be counted on to manipulate any photo or design into a work of art without headache or much in the way of skill.

    You’re even able to save your creation as TIFF, among other popular formats, which will prove a valuable move in time, when you get a design team on board and they’ll need the high-quality file to tinker with your it further.

    Pricing: Pixlr is free to use, as is the mobile version, though that’s nothing to write home about yet.

  11. BeFunky

    BeFunky is an online editor that takes tools even further than Pixlr, rolling the power of a collage maker, photo editor and designer into one site, a one-stop-shop for most of your startup needs.

    Each branch of this mammoth web app has its own interface, with a real-time viewer front and center and tons of resources (icons, templates, fonts etc.) in the left-side panel.

    Whether you’re trying to get your photo to pop or looking for an editable template for pretty much any purpose (event invites, menus, infographics, "Thank You" cards and more), you’ve hit the jackpot with BeFunky.

    Pricing: While they come with plenty of freebies, that’s not to say BeFunky’s giving away all its goodies. While many of the tools are free to use, you’ll need a pro account ($4.95/mo or $24.95/yr) if you want access to all, ad-free and unlocked premium templates, stickers and frames.

  12. Lucidpress

    Lucidpress is suitable for print and digital outputs, but it shines when you’re fixing to create the latter: with static and interactive templates (allowing for slideshows, YouTube embeds and more), drag-and-drop functionality, and streamlined collaboration, it allows you to climb to designer status in the eyes of your customers. They’ll be none the wiser.

    Pricing: Lucidpress is free to use with limited functionality (a cap on 60 objects per document, and 3-page documents max), or you can shell out $7.95, $15.95 or $40 for a basic, pro or team account, respectively. These paid plans come with the ability to save a ready-to-print file, view analytics, embed documents and more.

  13. Freebbble

    Dribbble is the largest showcase-site for professional graphic artists, so you’re bound to get time-sucked into it. Eventually you realize that most of the exhibitors are top-notch artists on four-figure payrolls and agencies.

    If you’re looking to quench your thirst for great design made by Dribbble’s community of artists, head on over to Freebbble, where all the content given away for free on Dribbble is neatly ranged and classified by license type as well as resource type.

    This offshoot isn’t affiliated with Dribbble, it only parses it for great free resources – which they all are – so you’ll need to check again with the original dribbbler that it’s OK to use their freebie and that his/her intended license is properly tagged.

    Pricing: Freebbble is free to use.

  14. Withoomph

    Your logo should encompass or at the very least hint at your values, your product, your brand with as little text and graphics as possible. Enter Withoomph, an online logo generator that can deliver countless beautiful logos, from just your company name and a few descriptive keywords for what it does.

    Also, it creates a nice display of logo-watermarked items prior to purchase, so you’ll know exactly the look you’re buying. As a first-iteration logo, for an MVP or the like, what this automated method spits out based on algorithms will suffice, until you can find the money/time for writing a brief and employing a designer to rework it.

    Pricing: A digital-ready logo generated with Withoomph will cost you $30, the print-ready version is double, while both in one purchase will go for $75. That’s a bargain, considering the going rate for a designer-made logo runs in the hundreds of dollars.

  15. The Best Designs

    There’s a steep learning curve to getting the most out of Upwork or Freelancer, so if you’re trying to hack it on your first go, that’s finding a great designer, you’ll probably get to taste disappointment before you hit the jackpot.

    But if you’re looking for designs that inspire, look no further than TBD, which showcases a great number of them, together with their work, and where you can find them.

    The curation and classification by budget you’re willing to spend, provider profile (freelancer vs. agency), and the wealth of filters that neatly organize the work itself – the sum of this "tag-cloud" is a tool that’s definitely helpful for someone just dipping their toe into the vast seas of designer work chaotically available online.

    Pricing: TBD is free to browse, but contracting the designers showcased here won’t come cheap.

  16. 99Designs

    As opposed to other sites that list designers, writers and candlestick makers (not really) lumped in together without providing a way, aside from reviews, to verify credentials, this one is your best bet to getting the work you need done at a professional level.

    The brilliant idea of getting designers to battle it out has resulted in an all but foolproof experience for everyone involved: the bidding wars produce great results, even when the contest is "blind" (which it should be, so as to get fresh ideas and not to let the designers be influenced by your rating or each other).

    Since using this site does take some know-how, remember these key facts to get you started: make your contest blind and get a discussion going, offer feedback to your first ten designers who enter, in order to be given the option to guarantee the prize money – that’s what will make your contest attractive to the topmost designers of the 99Designs community.

    Pricing: Running a contest on 99Designs will set you back a few hundred dollars (to be sure, less than an agency would charge), and can run up to over a thousand, depending on the design work you’re outsourcing (logos, web pages, book covers, anything really) and the prize money you’re offering (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum).

  17. Easel.ly

    Everyone knows content marketing is (supposedly) replacing old-school ads (banners and the like) as the only way to get eyeballs on your product. But engaging users at this time of rampant ADD and short attention spans isn’t as easy as writing blog posts; the only type of content that’s actually got a shot at breaking through the noise is visual.

    Easel.ly is the DIY home of infographics that offers a ton of templates, objects and images to pick from, and Visual.ly sets you up with a designer that can make all kinds of visual materials for you: you’re free to chose between them based on your needs, possibilites and time.

    For what it’s worth, Easel.ly’s platform is highly intuitive, letting you drag-and-drop just about any kind of content you want from their extensive library (from charts to images, icons and more) or even upload your own.

    Pricing: Easel.ly’s free to use with a pretty restrictive cap on images and fonts you can add to any one infographic (60 and 10, respectively), but the Pro plan is a bargain at $3 a month.

    Visual.ly, which is basically a meeting place between freelance designers and brands aimed at finding the best fit for the needs of the latter, will set you back more, while providing all kinds of visual content aside from infographics.

  18. Creative Market

    The popular market where designers can strut their stuff is a boon of inspiration to anyone starting out, with tons of graphic resources, even 3D, on hand: templates, icons, wallpapers, wordpress themes, brushes and other Photoshop add-ons, and more.

    The "Simple License" that covers most of the items sold on here basically allows for both personal and creative use (within some common-sense limits) and, on top of that, every week six resources go free. Sign up for their newsletter to be alerted when the freebies get released.

    Pricing: Creative Market is free to browse for inspiration and the items on sale are decently priced. Also, if you load your CM account with $100 or $200, you’ll be getting 10 or 22 free credits respectively, for use in the marketplace.

  19. UXPin

    Though this might be a little out of our league, it never hurts learning a new skill, particularly with so few (and so pricey) UX designers out there. So, if you’re thinking about prototyping your app/website and don’t know the first thing about it, UXPin is your next pitstop.

    Aside from letting you wireframe any interface, whether on desktop or mobile, this platform boasts a user-friendly dashboard interface itself, easy prototyping of the user’s experience on site/in app, nifty collaboration functionality to get a friend to test-drive it for you and more.

    It’s also worth taking a look at its knowledge base, where there are tons of white papers to get you started.

    Pricing: while the learning resources are free, to actually use the UXPin platform you’ll need to set aside $19, $29, or $49 every month, depending on which package you find more up your alley here.

  20. Canva and Canva for Work

    Here is a great online tool for the hard-up startup of one that can help you create anything from social media covers and posts, to event invites (like the launch event you’d want to get the press to with a cool image and a savable calendar link in tow) and more.

    It makes it as easy as drag-and-drop to load their templates up with your own images, or you can buy most of their graphic resources for as little as 1$.

    Canva for Work packs the power of the free Canva, but it’s better by orders of magnitude in that it allows you to create a brand kit with consistent colors and fonts, to customize templates, to share photo folders, and to resize designs.

    Pricing: A subscription to Canva for Work will run you USD12.95 a month or, on an annual plan, USD9.95 a month. A paid image on both Canva products will set you back one US dollar or 10% less if you purchase credit for a bunch of them in advance.

How to Find Out All Photos Someone Liked on Facebook

hongkiat.com - di, 17/05/2016 - 15:01

Let’s be honest, if you use Facebook, you probably use it to stalk or spy on your friends, your favorite idol, your crush (ahem, we know), your ex, your boss etc. If you have a large list of friends, it may be hard to keep track of what everyone else has been doing so far. That’s a lot of Timelines to go through.

But wait. There’s actually a much easier way to see all the photos your friend, or anyone else for that matter, has liked. Think of it as a Like collection, and this is the way you can access it, even without their consent. You can even find out what photos they have liked today, yesterday, within this month or last month, or even this past year.

Are you up for it? Let’s do this.

The Holy Grail

I’m a fan of Robert Downey Jr. If you’re not you’re probably on #teamcap. Anyways we’re going to find out what RDJ’s likes look like.

Enter either of the following command in the Facebook search box to see every photo Robert Downey Jr. has liked:

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr"

"Photos that Robert Downey Jr liked"

Both commands do the same trick. It returns you a handful of photos RDJ has ever liked. Click ‘see more’ at the bottom of the displayed photos, and keep scrolling for more.

More Detailed Searches

Now photos are no big deal, but with the right search query, you can even hone down the photos liked from a particular year. These two work the same:

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr that are from 2016"

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr from 2016"

You can also just using generic words like:

  • "this week"
  • "last week"
  • "this month"
  • "last month"
  • "this year"
  • "last year"

Here are some examples:

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr from this week"

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr that are from this month"

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr from last year"

If you want to go back to specific period, you can go with a particular month of a year:

"Photos liked by Robert Downey Jr August 2015"

The queries can get more specific and well, more personal:

"Photos of Chris Evans that Robert Downey Jr liked"

Note: After the first results are displayed, on the left sidebar are options that let you further filter the results by Person (you, friends, group), Location, or Date. The results are the same as the search queries used above though. On top of that, the sidebar doesn’t show for some people, some of the time.

Run a Self Check

Know that using this seach you can also run a check on the photos that you yourself liked at any point in time. Just use the same queries but change the person to I or me.

"Photos I Liked"

"Photos liked by me"

Conclusion

With this method, the photos that turn up in the search result are those that are available based on the permission settings.

If you are friends with Robert Downey Jr, the query returns photos that he has been set under Friends only permission. Otherwise, you get only photos shared under the Public setting.

This means that you won’t be able to access photos that are shared under Only Me or images that have been shared in Closed Groups.

Understandably, the larger your pool of mutual friends, the more personal photos you might stumble upon.

So there you have it, with these commands, you may start on a searching saga. But before you begin, you probably want to start reviewing what you yourself have liked first.

35 Freebies & Goodies for Web Designers

hongkiat.com - ma, 16/05/2016 - 17:01

This compilation is back with more amazing freebies and goodies for our fellow designers. The list this round includes free mandala logo PSD files, a Lightroom presets pack of 12 , a periodic table for WordPress plugins you should totaly check out, a plugin for animation-made-easy and a cool 8-view mockup to feature your newly published book.

Also included in this compliation are beautiful UI kits for iOS, Windows 10 and Android, wireframe kits for iOS and mobile, stunning fonts, responsive themes, PSD templates and a whole lot more.

Book Mockup Views Set. Need to feature a book? Rather than take actual photos, use this mockup instead. The mockup allows light and shadow control, smart objects and full editability in 8 different views, in a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels. Available in PSD. [Download]

Elegant PSD & AI Brand Identity Pack. Quite an elegant branding mockup for restaurant-branding projects. Available in white, black and gold color schemes. [Download]

9 Mandala Logos Set. An amazing set of 9 Mandala style logos/badges that come in 3 separate PSD files featuring color, black and white, and dark background colors. [Download]

12 Free Adobe Lightroom Presets Pack. A nice preset pack featuring black and white to HDR and desaturated presets you can use. JPG and RAW images are included. [Download]

AnimateMate: Sketch Animation Plugin. Perform animation of items with this fun to use plugin. Check out the animated demos on the download page to see what you can do with it. [Download]

PSD Branding Stationery Mockup. A mockup with customizable stationery elements, created in PSD format. Objects, shadows and background colors are separated for easy editing. [Download]

Flow: iOS Wireframe Kit. Flow is quite a neat and professional wireframing kit for iOS devices featuring 12 different screens for app intro, get started, sign in, create account, off-canvas side menu, and more. [Download]

Windows 10 Vector Sketch UI Kit. This is a neatly crafted UI kit for Windows 10 in Sketch format that comes with all of its elements in ready-to-use vector. [Download]

Mobile iOS UI Kit. Like purple? Then try this mobile UI kit that features a consistent pastel purple scheme which has several screen designs for iOS in a resolution of 750×1334 pixels. [Download]

Full Android M Sketch UI Kit . A kit featuring Android M User Interface elements containing icons, and screens in Sketch format. You'll find lock screens, keyboards, status bar, notifications sections, and more. [Download]

Illustrator GUI Bootstrap 4 Elements Pack. A quite complete pack of Bootstrap 4 GUI elements available in vector AI format containing elements from 17 different categories completely editable and scalable. [Download]

Mobile Wireframe Sketch Kit. A free well-rendered kit in Sketch featuring a flowchart, made easy to modify and create new ideas to include in personal or professional projects. [Download]

Dripicons V2 Vector Set. A great set of 200 icons crafted in a minimal style featuring general purpose items. Get it in SVG, PSD, Sketch, AI, WPS, PDF, and webfont formats. [Download]

Barista And Coffee Vector Icon Set. If you love your coffee, you might like this cool set of 50 minimal coffee icons, crafted in a grid of 128 pixels, inspired by the barista and coffee industry. [Download]

iOS Icons Kit. An awesome set of 52 beautiful & lightweight flat-styled and pixel-perfect designed icons to do with activities. It is delivered in AI, Sketch, EPS, SVG, PNG, and PDF formats on a 60px grid. [Download]

Point & Square Color Icons Pack. A nice set of square, points, colored line icons designed in a clever way by combining colored and gray lines for their composition. Available in AI, EPS and SVG format files. [Download]

Elegant Themes Sketch Icon Set. A cool set of 310 minimal line and filled icons in several colors all in a single Sketch format file. [Download]

Squid Ink: Mini Icon Pack. A cool set of 1000 minimal style designed icons for use in user interfaces, package labels, stickers, mobile applications, and more. Available in AI, EPS, PNG, PSD, SVG formats. [Download]

Flat Transport Icons. Here’s an impressive set of transport-type vector icons crafted in a nice flat style. It is available in PNG, AI and SVG formats. [Download]

Peace Font. Peace is a beautiful bold sans font that features curves carefully crafted, supporting several languages like Baltic, Cyrillic, and Romanian, and providing full glyphs support. [Download]

Pixe Lute Font. Pixe Lute is a cool display font that features a urban-like style by counting on a handmade look for its uppercase and numeral characters. [Download]

Halogen Font. Halogen is a cool futuristic and industrial looking typeface that features squared edges in two versions; fine and rough-edged ones. It includes uppercase, small caps, numerals, and glyph characters. [Download]

Break: Thin Line Stencil Typeface. Break is a typeface that features a stencil style composed of ultra-thin lines in 5 different weights. The typeface includes: uppercase, lowercase, numerals, and glyph characters. [Download]

Wayward: Free Handmade Font. A brand new, handwritten stylish font, perfect for casual designs and several other purposes such as headings, signatures, logos, t-shirts, labels, posters, badges among others. [Download]

Little Cutie: Brush-Lettered Font. An artistic and elegant font, featuring beautiful brush-lettered typeface and providing an authentic feel to your projects.[Download]

Panshi: Restaurant & Cafe One Page PSD Template. Panshi is a neatly crafted one-page template for restaurants featuring a perfect combination of open sans and great vibes fonts as well as professionally designed menus and galleries. [Download]

FitApp: Modern Landing Page PSD Template. A nice PSD landing page template for mobile application presentations that features a minimal and clean style featuring a big header, several features sections, and an engaging footer to get the app. [Download]

Responsive Landing PSD & Sketch Template. This is a template for landing pages that feature responsive designs for hand-held mobile, tablet, and desktop devices, delivered in PSD and Sketch format. [Download]

Photo Management App Design. A cool PSD template of a web dashboard for managing photographs, featuring a nice style with rounded corner thumbnails, and a left sidebar menu. [Download]

VK Social Network Page PSD Design. A simple flat redesign of rising social network VK with bluish and rounder changes, including profile pictures, defined icons, and more. It is made available in PSD format. [Download]

Kontrast: Magazine WordPress Theme. An amazing WordPress theme for magazine websites, featuring a neatly and carefully designed layout for a great user experience featuring several size thumbnails and full responsiveness. [Download]

Zoner Lite: Real Estate WordPress Theme. A simple WordPress theme for real estate businesses, designed with Bootstrap that features parallax effects for its header slider, and four main pages; home, blog, documentation, and support. Here’s the demo. [Download]

Drento WordPress Theme. Dreanto is a minimal and clean style blogging theme for WordPress that features a cool right sidebar, off-canvas menu buttons, big thumbnails with cool hover animation, and more. There’s a free and a pro version. Check out the demo here. [Download]

The Periodic Table of WordPress Plugins. An amazing collection of 108 great plugins for WordPress laid out on a cool periodic table-like interface showcasing most popular ones, ranked by the number of active installs. [Download]

Vulnerability Checker WordPress Plugin. A great plugin for WordPress that constantly keeps you posted on any vulnerability that your website may have and provides you with what-to-do-next actions. [Download]

5 Types of Professional Writing You Can Start a Career In

hongkiat.com - ma, 16/05/2016 - 15:01

In today’s modern world, everyone is a writer. You complete homework and college assignments, research papers, lab reports or give post-mortem feedback, type up meeting notes, memos, emails, send out greeting cards during special occasions. On social media alone, that’s a lot of typing and hashtagging done right there. If you do any of that, how can you not be a writer?

But everyday writing is very different from professional writing. If you want to make a living being a writer (that means you put food on the table by writing every day), know that there is a great demand for professional writers in almost every field.

In this article we are going to shed some light on some of the most common types of professional writing and how easy (or hard) it is for you to start a writing career in each of these types.

Type 1: Academic Writing

Academic writing is one of the most rapidly emerging types of professional writing. It involves writing scientific ideas and research in a simple, understandable and authentic manner.

A majority of academic writing jobs are online and cater to freelancers, and so freelance job portals are crammed with academic writing jobs.

It is important to know that there is little or no room for creativity in it, and academic writers need to follow some specific styles of writing and layout (the famous APA style, for instance) and use academic rhetoric in their writings.

An academic writer’s responsibilities spreads across tasks like compiling research from textbooks and journals etc., and shaping that research into a complete report. They are also required to compose summaries of different essays, dissertations and researches, which can consequently help the client as basis of their own research.

Apart from writing, academic writers may also be required to edit or proofread already composed academic assignments, researches or dissertations.

To know more about academic writing and useful tips, look into Good Academic Writing and Writing for an academic journal: 10 tips – The Guardian

Type 2: Business Writing

Emails, memos and notices are some of the things that come under the umbrella of informal or casual business writing.

However, professional business writing, also known as business communication covers an array of elements including; business plans, business models, project proposals, project reports, brand manifestos, business letters, presentations and marketing campaigns etc.

Every year, hundreds of freelance and on-site employees are hired or contracted for conducting tasks related to business writing and communication, in big and small organizations alike.

Apart from the business communication on organizational level, business writing also caters to the communication at a personal level. For instance, writing resumes, cover letters, experience letters or recommendation letters etc. for the clients.

For further guidance and know-how go to Top Business Writing Websites and help yourself with the diverse information.

Type 3: Creative Writing

Creative writing is perhaps the most interesting and diverse type of professional writing. It goes beyond the bounds of all other forms of professional writing by allowing the writer to play with his inner creativity, originality and innovation.

Another distinguishing factor is that while other kinds of writing are objective and are based on facts, creative writing is, most of the time, subjective to the expression of the writer’s inner thoughts, feelings and opinion.

Creative writing is such a vast field that it has its own subbranches:

  • Writing Literature (fiction and non-fiction)
  • Screenwriting
  • Dramatic writing
  • Poetry
  • Comics
  • Autobiographies

Journalistic writing is also often considered a part of creative writing, especially when it comes to newspaper articles, features and op-eds.

Even so, to make it in the creative writing field takes a great deal of hard work, a whole lot of spirit, and often, the willingness to take big financial risks. As Harper Lee once said, "I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide."

Certain useful sources like, Writer’s Digest, Writing Forward and Writer’s Relief can help you hone your craft of creative writing.

Type 4: Technical Writing

Technical writing comes into play when a description, instruction or explanation of a certain subject is required. Its basic aim is to simplify complex operations or technicalities for it to be understandable by a common man.

Although, technical writing is basically about creating operation manuals, product catalogs and how-to guides for devices and software, however, it goes beyond that, covering any field or industry where complex ideas, concepts, processes or procedures need to be communicated in simple language.

Most product manufacturers, service industries and software companies have either a department for technical communications or seek a freelance technical writer for this purpose. If you are savvy in a certain field and have a good grip on writing skills then technical writing can be an interesting option for you.

To know more about technical writing, its scope and useful tips check out Tech Whirl and I’d Rather Be Writing.

Type 5: Copy/Content Writing

Like creative writing, copy/ content writing is one of the most branched out type of professional writing.

Copy writing or content writing are two overlapping concepts that are similar in terms of their basic theme i.e. promote and educate. The elements that involve copy/content writing are advertisements, marketing and promotional materials, website write-up and blog articles etc.

All the freelance and on-site job portals are flooded with jobs in the field of copy/ content writing. An amalgamation of creativity, language skills and general knowledge can vouch for a thriving career in copy/ content writing.

Take a look at some useful Content Writing Tips and Copywriting Tips and Tricks to get some more useful insight.

Difficulty Level

For better understanding of the subject, I will rate all the mentioned professional writing types in terms of difficulty level on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being least difficult and 5 being most difficult)

  • Academic Writing – 3 (moderately difficult)
  • Business Writing – 3 (moderately difficult)
  • Creative Writing – 5 (most difficult)
  • Technical Writing – 3 (moderately difficult)
  • Content Writing/Copywriting – 4 (quite difficult)

Academic writing, business writing and technical writing have been rated as moderately difficult because they are almost always accompanied by a set pattern or writing style with pretty much fixed rules (like citations, jargons and layout etc.). Therefore it is easier for a beginner to hone these craft by keeping within these bounds.

Also, as there is not much space for creativity and flowery sentences, and anyone with a relatively fair grip on the language can master it.

However, for some, the difficult part is the bounds. One has to work in a specific word limit, should keep the message simple, understandable and effective and never, ever mess with the facts, numbers and statistics.

Creative writing has been rated most difficult owing to the vastness of its canvas. I personally feel much more comfortable if my imagination is allowed to flow in any direction, however for the newbies it often becomes difficult to focus their imagination and use it to produce great results.

Also, for professional creative writing one needs to have a strong grip on the language.

The rating for copy/content writing is on the "quite difficult" level because is it, in my views, an amalgamation of creativity and bounds. For instance, in copywriting, what is explainable in a thousand words must be written in a single sentence or even in a mere few words (taglines and slogans etc.).

Finding Writing Work

Finding work in the field of writing was once considered quite difficult. However, in the era of internet technology, there are hundreds of opportunities online. All you have to know is where to find one that suits you best.

Online freelancing websites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer etc. are full of professional writing projects in all the five types of writing. Such online portals are reliable and can prove a good launchpad for beginners.

As for offline jobs, there are considerably good opportunities too. For example almost all service or manufacturing industries have a separate corporate communication department where technical writers or business writers are required.

Similarly, copy/content writers can find good jobs in advertising agencies, media houses or web development companies.

As for jobs in creative writing, the spectrum of opportunities is as versatile as the field itself. For instance, for journalistic writing jobs, you can look into writing opinion columns or features for newspapers. Likewise, script or screenwriters can seek a job with television or radio channels.

I am personally of the view that in the field of creative writing, beginners should commence their career with apprenticeship, in order to learn the most of the craft.

Conclusion

Writing itself may seem easy. After all, we have been doing it since we were toddlers. Also, no other profession offers more career options than writing. But to actually develop a career in writing is easier said than done.

Every type of writing requires its own talents and skill set, nonetheless, it is up to you to assess which field will suit you most on the basis of your own interest and your specific forte. The point to remember is that no matter which profession you choose, never stop learning.

After all, as Hemingway said, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."

Further Reading

Pagina's