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7 Content Curation Tools For Bloggers

hongkiat.com - 7 uur 49 min geleden

There’s a lot of effort that goes into running a blog professionally. And the larger part of a blogger’s time is spent in researching and organizing information – often more than it takes to create the content itself.

But it’s possible to save a significant amount of time at this stage if you use the right curation tools.

Curation helps you filter out the signal from the noise and manage information more efficiently.

Here are a few such curation tools that can help you do this. One thing we kept in mind while creating this list that the tools should be aimed for use by individual users only and not enterprises, and consequently, a majority of their feature set must be offered for free.

1. Listly

Use it to: Create smarter lists that your readers can interact with.

Bloggers know that list-based stories work. That’s why we have so many "9 ways to…" and "13 things you need to know about…" posts flying around. Lists work because they’re easier to consume than a chunk of text. But what if you could crowdsource your list-making?

Listly brings a collaborative approach to list-making that is much more suited to online publishing than just standard, text based lists. Once a list has been created, readers can make additions to the list, vote the entries up or down, comment on an entry, share the list, and even embed the list on their own website.

2. Headslinger

Use it to: Find news that’s relevant to you faster than ever before.

Need a way to quickly browse through news headlines? Give Headslinger a shot. With Headslinger, you can follow the most popular publications on the Internet categorized under different sections such as arts, auto, tech, food, travel, health, humor, entertainment, and more.

You can sort your news sources and keep them in separate folders for better organization. At one glance, you are presented with all the headlines of any publication along with a small excerpt – from here, you can directly share these headlines on your social networks or "sling" them to be read later when you want to.

3. Utopic

Use it to: Easily save web pages with one click and sort them in folders.

Browser bookmark systems are often too basic to serve any real purpose. In most cases, we just click on the bookmark button and then lose track of it; the bookmarks just keep piling on in an endless list that we never end up using. But thankfully, better tools are available.

Utopic is a visual bookmarking tool with social features that lets you find, save, and sort web pages. Setup is really easy, all you need to do is sign up with your Twitter or Facebook account – and once inside, you can either use a bookmarklet or a Chrome extension to create your bookmarks.  If you’re looking for an alternative, check out Diigo.

4. Prismatic

Use it to: Get highly personalized recommendations of what to read next.

Prismatic is a beautifully designed news curation and discovery app that uses machine learning algorithms to filter content that aligns with the interests of a specific user. To start your account, you select and follow ten topics out of the many available such as business, television, health, technology, automotive, DIY, and more.

Once you’ve done that, you’re led to your Prismatic homepage, which presents stories from the topics and the people that you’ve followed. Once you start reading, liking, and sharing stories, Prismatic automatically and continuously serves up content best suited for you.

5. Protopage

Use it to: Set up your go-to page on the internet for information and task management

Protopage is an RSS reader, virtual desktop, and Internet start page. It’s an extremely feature rich tool that allows you to create a completely customize page just for yourself on the Internet. You can use it to read your own selection of blogs and news, create to-do lists, keep bookmarks, place sticky notes, add photos, manage your calendar, and more.

The basic organization on the page is done by creating, editing, and arranging widgets as per your needs. Protopage also optimizes content for viewing on mobile devices such as Android, iOS, and Blackberry.

6. Saved.io

Use it to: Create bookmarks easily without installing any resource-intensive extensions

Saved.io is the simplest bookmarking system that you will ever use. There are a lot of bookmarking tools out there, but almost all of them need you to install some sort of browser extension to work – and of course, if you use different browsers on multiple devices, you’ll need to find and install the right extensions for them all. No need for all that with Saved.io.

All you have to do is create an account and prepend "saved.io/" to any link in your browser and hit enter. That’s it. Your bookmark is now saved. You can create lists if you like, but other features such as tags and descriptions have been eschewed in favor of simplicity. Who’s complaining?

7. Kippt

Use it to: Collect design inspiration, tell stories, research new subjects, and much more

Kippt is a full-feature curation and archival tool that allows you to save links, read articles, watch videos, share notes, and much more. Your collections can be private or public, or shared with the people you work with. Kippt makes your information workflow and archiving effortless.

When you collect something to Kippt, the page and the content will be searchable, organizable, readable on your devices and easily sharable too.

So these were some tools that can help you save time, be more organized, and manage information in a more effortless manner. What are some tools apart from these that you use to curate information?

Editor’s note: This post is written by Vishveshwar Jatain for Hongkiat.com. Vishveshwar, a writer and editor for over 6 years, with experience in both digital and print media, is now a content marketer at AdPushup; which helps users optimize ad revenue generated from their existing ad units. Find him on Twitter.

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15 Lightbox Libraries For Mobile Responsiveness

hongkiat.com - do, 26/03/2015 - 14:01

Lightbox is one popular way to overlay images on the web. When you click on an image, the Lightbox pops up with some form of animation, and dims the background so your focus is on the image itself. The image is also larger in scale. Most popular Lightbox JavaScript libraries that we have known for years let you do this well on desktop, but not so much on mobile platforms.

Neglecting this, and the need for responsiveness, is not a good idea nowadays, which is why this collection of 15 responsive Lightbox libraries must be checked out.

More on Hongkiat:

PhotoSwipe

PhotoSwipe is by far my favorite ligthbox plugin. It’s light, touch-enabled, and most importantly modular which allows me to ditch a few parts that is not needed. It runs nicely in mobile browsers. You can swipe through images with your fingers as you would in a native app, and the transition runs really smooth.

  • Dependency: None
  • Browser Support: IE8+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and a couple of mobile browsers.
  • License: MIT license

MagnificPopup

MagnificPopup is another lightbox plugin, developed by the same person that gave us PhotoSwipe, Dmitry Semenov. It comes in the form of a jQuery/Zepto plugin, and also brings capabilities that are missing in PhotoSwipe such as support for Video, Map, and Ajax content. This is a great alternative for those who prefer having more features at hand.

  • Dependency: jQuery 1.9.1+, or Zepto.js
  • Browser Support: IE7 (partially), IE8+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
  • License: MIT license

SwipeBox

Swipebox is a jQuery plugin with touch gesture support for mobile platform. It also supports videos from Youtube and Vimeo aside from images. Swipebox is also downright easy to implement, and has a handful of options to customize its behavior. I think Swipebox is a great lightbox plugin for JavaScript noobs.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, IOS4+, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • License: Undefined

iLightbox

iLighbox is a jQuery lightbox plugins with a wide range support of media types: including videos, Flash / SWF, Ajax content, iframe and maps. This plugin also adds social media buttons on top of the media, allowing your users to share it to Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. Also check out the advanced section to see how iLightbox can be applied in different scenarios.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE7+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: Undefined

Lightbox for Bootstrap

Lightbox is one of the glaringly missing pieces from Bootstrap. This plugin fixes that. If you are using Bootstrap, I highly recommend using this library. The plugin is well-integrated with Bootstrap’s code-base.

  • Dependency: jQuery and Bootstrap Modal
  • Browser Support: IE8+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: GNU license

Nivo Lightbox

Nivo Lightbox is a flexible lightbox plugin. Several options are included to change the appearance into the way you like it to appear, such as changing the theme, the transition effect, and switching the navigation.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: MIT license

ImageLightbox

ImageLightbox is a lightbox plugin without the bloat. It is built specially for image hence the name given — no video or other media type supported. It also does not require extraneous HTML markup; the <img> element is sufficient. The plugin just works.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: Undefined

Mini Lightbox

Another lightbox plugin with none of the bloat. The library is only 2kb, and works only with images. It’s the perfect plugin if you only designate for the latest browser and do not need to overlay other media types like videos.

  • Dependency: None
  • Browser Support: IE10+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: MIT license

LightCase

Lightcase is a lovely lightbox plugin. It comes with several animations that makes user interaction come alive, like fade, elastic zoom and scrolling. Furthermore, it also supports various types of media including Youtube embed, HTML videos, SWF and input forms. The plugin also properly handles media cannot be reached or found errors

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: GPL license

Yalb

Yalb stands for Yet Another Lightbox — but it’s not. Yalb comes with a handful of APIs including custom events that allow you to identify lightbox states, such as when it is open and when it is close. Yalb comes in two version, Vanilla JavaScript and jQuery plugin.

  • Dependency: None
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: MIT license

FeatherLight

The 6kb Featherlight is a bare plugin for savvy developer and carries only the essentials. If you need, for example, to group image lightbox in a gallery, you can include the gallery extension. You can also develop your own extension for this plugin to fit in your project needs.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE8+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: MIT license

LightLayer

LightLayer is an easy to use lightbox plugin. It has a handful of options, custom JavaScript methods, and custom events. the plugin works with images, videos, maps, and external content. What’s more can we ask.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera
  • License: MIT license

LightGallery

LightGallery, another lightbox plugin with a lot of features added. It comes with more than 20 options to customize the tiniest of details of the lightbox.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE7+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone
  • License: MIT license

FluidBox

Fluidbox is an image lightbox plugin that is inspired from Medium. It works with images under various circumstances including floating image, image with absolute position, images that have border and padding, and galleries. Check out how it was built. If you need a WordPress plugin, there is one.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE9+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera
  • License: MIT license

StripJS

StripJS is a unique lightbox plugin. Rather than overlaying the image, the plugin slides the images in from the side instead, so that it won’t block the whole content. StripJS supports both image and video.

  • Dependency: jQuery
  • Browser Support: IE7+, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, iOS 5+, and Android 3+
  • License: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license

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Top 9 Free Photo Collage Makers for Windows 8.1

hongkiat.com - do, 26/03/2015 - 11:01

Photo collages have been around for a while but is a trend that is making a come back in a selfie-laden era. Showcasing multiple photos within the same frame to communicate a fusion of stories, collages may be awesome to look at but difficult to manually make without the right tools.

The good news is there are plenty of graphic editors that can help organize photos in a beautiful fashion and all without the fuss that usually comes with. In this collection, we find 9 free photo collage makers you can use on Windows 8.1. Some have preset styles, designs, frames, grid arrangements, the ability to add text and other features that you’d probably find use for.

1. El Collagero

El Collagero greets you with a superb list of collage templates including shaped collages, and classic and cool template collages. It comes with hundreds of these templates, and offers some of the best customization options for making the photo collage that best reflect your thoughts. You can also go for customization options like page layout, background, photo shape, etc.

2. PicsArt

PicsArt is a powerful collage maker, which offers three modes to create photo collages: Grid, Frame and Background. All three modes offer different sets of collage templates. Frame provides lots of collage templates like birthday, nature, travel, etc. It lets you add photos from various services other than your computer’s local storage, such as PicsArt network, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, Picasa, etc.

3. Fotor

Fotor is a photo editor for multiple platforms including the web but is also a great photo collage maker. You can customize the border, background, template and photo quality. Pick your photo collage using any of the three offered modes: Template, Freestyle and Photo Stitching or go with the Freestyle mode, which allows you to organize the photos in any form or style of your choice. Check out our in-depth review on it.

4. Phototastic

Want to make a photo collage for a lot of photos? Phototastic lets you group up to 25 photos in the same collage. Fetch your photos from local storage, straight from your camera, or from Flickr then use their grid templates to create your collage. On top of that, you can customize the border, photo shape, frame, background, or add text or stickers to the photo collage.

5. Atlantas

Atlantas provides two layouts to start with the photo collage: Smart layout and Advanced layout. The simple Smart layout offers fewer customization options (only border and layout options) and a grid-based result. The Advanced layout offers freestyle placement of images along with more customization option, such as shapes, templates, background, photo shape, photo groups, etc.

Cool Collage

Want to keep it simple? Cool Collage keeps things basic and simple, just add the photos, choose a background and photo size, adjust or arrange the photos, and it’s complete. It offers a freestyle collage template, wherein you can place the photos in any form or style of your choice. You can also share your collages with your friends and family via Facebook or the Charms Bar in Windows 8.

My Collage

My Collage not only lets you create photo collages but also customized e-cards for various occasions. Choose one of the many given collage templates, add your photos and that’s it, you’re done.

While there are few customizations, you can add text, which can be used to write custom greetings or quotes on the photo collage or e-card and make them more personal. Share your masterpiece on Facebook.

Photo Joiner

Photo Joiner cannot be any simpler. Creating a photo collage using this application is as simple as choosing the photos and setting some customization options. It simply joins the photos in a vertical or horizontal grid to make a photo collage.

It offers only the basic configuration options, and no fancy or advance options such as collage templates, text, stickers, etc. are provided as its competitors. It also allows to share your collage on Facebook and Twitter.

Tap Collage

Tap Collage is a simple collage maker, which is not only limited to photo collages but also offers to create e-cards. You’re limited to pre-defined templates for making collages as well as e-cards using this application.

There are templates for creating collages of various types and e-cards for special occasions. The only option it offers is background color and this make the whole process easy: you only need to choose the template and add the photos, and the collage or e-card is ready!

Bonus: Pic Stitch (Paid)

Pic Stitch, as the name suggests, lets you stitch pictures, i.e., join photos to create collages. It’s a premium application that comes at a small price for Windows platform.

Some of the offered features are stickers, photo effects, rich collection of collage templates, and various customization options such as texture and border layouts, photo aspect ratios, etc. You can also share your masterpiece on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

[Download]

Now Read:
20 Useful Microsoft Windows 8.1 Tips & Tricks

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33 Reasons Work From Home Parents Are Tougher Than You Think

hongkiat.com - wo, 25/03/2015 - 14:01

I work from home along with my husband. He’s a programmer and me, an organic web editor. We practice hands-on parenting with our two kids, a 6-year-old and a 7-month-old. Because my job allows me to work remotely, I do not have to (or get to) work from an office. I also cannot be a stay-at-home mom because well, I have two kids to feed. The only option left is to work from home, which isn’t as rosy as it sounds.

First of all, there is no office for me to hide away from diaper changes, milk feedings, questions about "how to be a princess" and "where do unicorns live". Due to my children’s regular attempts to get me fired, I bend and break so many HR rules, it’s a miracle I still have a job. My work schedule is such a mess, it shouldn’t be called a "schedule" and an abundance of my job is completed ad hoc.

Because my boss has a weird sense of humor, this post is going to shine the spotlight on my chaotic working environment. At the very least, it will take you inside what it’s like to be parents who try to juggle work and their children the way they know how. At the very best, it will give employers a good reason to cut us some slack and to have some faith in parents who choose to deliver results while working from home.

The Chaotic Life Of Work-From-Home Parents

Here’s an inside look at what working-from-home parents are up against (and some tips sprinkled here and there on how to cope).

1. You can throw “work-life balance” out the window because it means squat when you work from home with kids. Even if you can separate business from leisure, your kids can’t. They expect their parents to be available to them so long as they see them around.

2. You get interrupted and hence distracted a lot. And losing track of time becomes the norm. (Oh my Thor, is it Friday already?)

3. There is an unbelievably insane amount of things children need, from complicated tasks like help with their homework to simple things like brushing their teeth.

4. You cannot, under any circumstances, lose your temper. Being angry takes energy, which could be better used elsewhere.

5. You need a truck-load of patience because once you upset a child, you can kiss an hour of your life goodbye, trying to make her stop crying.

6. Try to not be too anxious about the time you are "wasting" waiting for your toddler to finish her broth or tie her shoe or go to sleep. I found staying calm allows you to last longer without breaking down.

7. Even if you are committed to deliver 8 hours a day to work, most of time you end up doing more, to make up for time lost to interruptions.

8. There is no distinction between weekdays and weekends anymore. It’s all a blur, unless you have something that breaks the monotony, like going to church or celebrating special holidays.

9. A majority of time is wasted looking for things: socks, trucks, pacifiers, milk bottles, the TV remote. The TV is the best invention ever. No, wait, the pacifier is.

10. You work in blocks of time because of interruptions. This means a lot of stop-and-go, and bookmarking is needed.

11. Before kids, a quiet house is when you can be most productive. Post-kids, when the house is quiet, you go into panic mode. “Where are the children?”

12. Stickie notes rule: you need to make notes for everything. It doesn’t matter if you use digital or paper notes. Just have them handy and nearby. Apologize to the fridge on a weekly basis.

IMAGE: designmom.com

13. You miss (not fondly) a lot of things like emails, calls, appointments (sometimes) and will need to apologize (often).

14. Expect plenty of rainchecks when it comes to appointments. Like they say, “sh*t happens”; sometimes with kids, that is literal.

15. You apologize a lot to your remote co-workers, and they make compromises for you too. “I have an hour before my kids wake up, we can talk like, right now.”

16. You love naptime: your own, and your kids’.

IMAGE: Pixabay

17. You’re always in a state of urgency – something needs to be done while your kids are napping. For me, it’s emails, spellcheck, a follow up with a writer, discussion for a new topic, and time’s up – they’re awake.

18. The house is always in a state of chaos because you can only clean up after the kids are asleep. Coincidentally, that’s also the time when you can do work that don’t appreciate interruptions, like write. #sophieschoice

19. Sleep is overrated. And your sleep debt is beyond replenishing. Sitting down initiates a nap (which I term “a crash” instead).

IMAGE: DanielleGuenther Photography

20. You take a lot of coffee. Then again, doesn’t everyone?

21. You roll your eyes when a friend who is single tells you they are tired from a gym session or because they didn’t get their full 8 hours of sleep last night.

22. You roll your eyes when someone offers you parenting advice that start with, “you should…”

23. Online shopping is possibly your favorite and only hobby. The toy section is your favorite category to spend hours on. Toys are the best invention ever.

24. You take entertainment where you can find them, because finding two hours of uninterrupted time to watch a movie is like finding Edward Snowden.

25. There is no such thing as a break. You fear weekends and school holidays but not as much as your child getting sick. Work comes to a halt when a child gets sick.

26. Watching the kids is a juggling act between you and your partner. To ensure World War 3 doesn’t happen, always offer, never assign. With a sick kid, both parents are needed to chip in. You might need to take leave from work.

IMAGE: DanielleGuenther Photography

27. Sometimes you feel like your partner is the kindest person in the world (for letting you sleep in), other times you want to murder them in their sleep (for saying things like, “your son is crying for milk again”.)

28. Even if your partner is okay with the idea of working and parenting simultaneously, other family members may have their own opinion. #tradition #itsthemothersjob

29. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help with your kids so you can take a short break from both them and work.

30. It is however a sign of weakness when you complain. Complaining weakens the resolve and makes you question your life decisions. You seriously don’t have time for that.

31. You need an extremely understanding and flexible boss. If you are a boss, and you have a work-from-home parent, be flexible.

32. The only way you can handle the needs of toddlers, babies and clients simultaneously, is to get everything done, one at a time.

IMAGE: Camilo Jimenez

33. If people don’t think you are crazy for wanting to be a work-from-home parent, you’re not doing it right. A good sense of humor goes a long way.

If things are so tough, why do it?

Many people would tell you that parenting is a big responsibility, what they fail to convey is how difficult, tiring and demanding this job is. Unlike a job job, you can’t clock out, you can’t protest, and you are at the mercy of your child’s pace (ever tried trying to make a child chew food faster?).

But here’s the thing. If having kids is in your family plan all this while, the first three years of a child’s life will be the ride of your life. The rate at which a child transforms from this small, fragile infant into a walking, talking, salivating machine (with boundless energy) all in 36 months is just amazing – and you’ll want to be around to see that and be a part of it.

Because, in case you forget, there is no rewind button.

IMAGE: nspcc.org.uk

Employers, Should You Hire A Work-From-Home Parent?

This revelation of how things are like for a work-from-home parent may put us parents at a disadvantage. While household conditions may vary and some parents cope better than others, all I can say is that we do have some strengths to offer:

We are pretty good at foreseeing the future (and what can possibly go wrong).

We are paranoid and thus are proactively prepared for the worst.

We are also pretty good working in the midst of chaos, stress, fatigue and conflicting priorities.

We are used to doing things in a way that is not because we want to but because we have to.

Most of all, we get things done. Family isn’t secondary to our work, they are the reason why we work, and there are few other motivations that are as, or more, powerful than that.

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A Crash Course on The Internet of Things

hongkiat.com - di, 24/03/2015 - 16:01

Imagine a world where everything is not just connected, but also automated. A world with a pet collar that not only lets you know where your dog is, but also lets you know through your smartphone if your furry buddy is hungry, sleeping, or sick. A world with a refrigerator that sends you a text message, saying that you’re almost out of eggs and butter.

Prescription bottles that remind patients to take their medicine, sensors that allow a patient’s biometrics to be read and captured even without the patient needing to be physically present, and electronic systems that check fire extinguishers in emergency situations.

IMAGE: Wikipedia

Welcome to a world where you won’t even have to think or worry much about things – where it’s the other way around, where things do the thinking for you. Welcome to the Internet of Things (IoT), a world that is steadily taking shape around us, even as you read this… a world where things will never be the same.

Connecting the Dots

Simply put, IoT pertains to an "intelligent" network of objects ("Things") that can interact with one another, send crucial information back and forth, and monitor every aspect of daily life – all without the need for direct human intervention. It’s a system that focuses less on how we communicate with machines and vice versa, and more on how machines communicate with each other.

The Beginnings

Some may argue that, believe it or not, the earliest threads of the IoT Web were spun the moment the electric telegraph was born in 1832.

Others may cite Jay B. Nash in Spectatoritis, where he wrote of "mechanical slaves" who "start our car; run our motors; shine our shoes, and cut our hair," and how they "practically eliminate time and space by their very fleetness." (Of course, Nash wasn’t really writing about machines – his book had absolutely nothing to do with them, as a matter of fact – but his words eerily echoed what the IoT would eventually bring to the table.)

As the years passed, more progenitors and building blocks of IoT began to take shape: the inception of the bar code in 1952, the first wearable computer – which was used to try to predict roulette outcomes – in 1955, the first message sent via ARPANET (essentially the grandfather of the internet) in 1969, an intelligent Coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982, a badge system that transmitted a person’s location via infrared in 1990, and so on.

Eventually, the term "Internet of Things" was coined by Auto-ID Center executive director Kevin Ashton, illustrating the concept of a global system of interconnected objects (and even people) for easier identification and management – a "standardized way for computers to understand the real world."

The Current State of Things

Right now, however, IoT as we define it – and as innovators and tech pioneers envisioned it – has already begun to take shape, in ways we may not even be consciously aware of. With the singular aim to combine all the aspects of a person’s everyday life into measurable, useful information, more and more companies and apps are embracing the IoT approach.

On a daily basis, we use smart devices with advanced connectivity features and apps, capable of communicating machine-to-machine, transmitting user data, and automating processes to make our lives easier.

An example of such an app is StreetBump, a city-commissioned app that helps road maintenance crews monitor the streets and keep track of potholes that need to be covered up immediately.

Another unique example is the fascinating Egg Minder, a "smart egg carton" that not only checks how many eggs you have left in the fridge, but also identifies which of them is the oldest.

A third marvel is Droplet, which calculates the perfect water dosage for plants based on atmospheric conditions, soil richness, and even the plants’ genetic information.

Virtually every field and industry these days is moving towards IoT: from environmental monitoring, to energy management, to healthcare systems, to even building and home automation, everything is being prepped towards changing the way data gathering and processing are handled.

In summary, IoT is really starting to gain momentum especially after attracting so much attention at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Experts are saying that this will lead to a home full of appliances and objects with microchips – only time can tell for certain if that future will to come to pass.

Movers and Thinkers

Tech companies seem to be quite determined in making sure that it does, though. Pioneers in the various fields that seek to capitalize on the growing IoT trend are at the forefront of ensuring that everything is connected. This was made abundantly clear at the 2015 CES, where companies featured self-driving cars, smart ovens that show recipes and instructional videos for cooking, and other fascinating tech.

Here are some of them.

Emiota

Emiota is a French startup company focusing on wearable technology for health and wellness, with the mission to develop wearable accessories that can help people understand their bodies more for their wellbeing. They want to achieve this not by inventing new accessories, but also by improving the things that people currently wear.

While their team is composed of not more than 10 people, they already managed to achieve quite the success at CES 2015 when they introduced Belty, a smart belt that gathers data from its wearer based on activity, or lack thereof. It also adjusts itself according to the user’s waistline.

Snaptracs, Inc.

Snaptracs, Inc., founded in 2010, focuses on developing GPS tracking systems for a wide range of products: toys, t-shirts, coffee mugs, ball caps, and most notably wearable tracking devices for pets. It is one of the few companies whose focus is to combine pet and technology industries for better pet management and to ensure security.

At CES 2015, they introduced Tagg GPS Plus Pet Tracker, a "smart" pet collar that connects to a smartphone app.

myBrain Technologies

French startup company myBrain Technologies describes itself as a company "closely linked to the medical and research communities," with a focus on developing "real-time evaluation tools of human mental states by measuring brain activity." Their goal is to alleviate the mental stress people suffer from on a daily basis by means of non-invasive wearable technology.

myBrain is set to offer consumers Melomind, an EEG headset that connects to a smartphone to send biofeedback to the user and aid in relaxation.

Smarter Applications, Ltd.

Smarter Applications is a London-based tech startup whose sole purpose, at least for now, is to solve the annoyances of coffee and tea drinkers around the globe. Smarter Coffee Kettle enables its users to control the brewing process through a smartphone application.

For sure, it would not be an overstatement to claim that nearly everyone appears to be excited for the potential of IoT. Companies such as Samsung are even counting on the day when everything in your house, from your bed to your refrigerator, will automatically gather and analyze relevant data to make your tasks (and your life) easier.

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Thinking Ahead

Information technology research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that, come 2020, about 26 billion IoT devices will be operational across the globe.

In an article on how this emerging behemoth of technology will affect commercial and process-driven interactions, Forbes predicts that the IoT will "shake up retail in 2015," using automated programming to handle home management, supply replenishment, and others in ways that, up until recently, were only the stuff of science fiction.

Conclusion

We are finally at a point where we can begin to embrace the full integration of technology into our every day processes. And while it is still impossible for us to predict where the road towards IoT will take us, these smarter machines were developed to improve the overall quality of modern life – is there any reason for us to stop this from happening?

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Freebie Release: 50 Pictograms Of Everyday Life

hongkiat.com - di, 24/03/2015 - 14:01

Pictograms are icons that depict anything under the sun in no context whatsoever – which makes it the perfect type of icon for any kind of use. The most common pictogram we all probably know by heart is the lavatory sign for men and women. But today’s freebie release designed by Freepik for Hongkiat readers extends into situations in a much wider variety.

From cleaning and baking, to construction work and mountain climbing, this set of 50 pictograms cover the many things that people do, in icon form. It’s fascinating to see how easy it is to depict a necktie, a baker’s hat, a safety vest or an oven, in just black and white (in this case, green) as shown by these pictograms.

To download the whole set follow the download link. All pictograms are available in SVG and PNG format. You can share, modify or use these pictograms for commercial or personal use but do give credit where credit is due.

Click here for more Design Freebies

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How To Create Stunning Flaming Text Effect in Photoshop CC 2014

hongkiat.com - ma, 23/03/2015 - 16:01

In this tutorial, we’ll be exploring the fantastic new Flame Filter, introduced for Photoshop CC 2014. The Filter creates procedural flame and fire effects which can be made to curl and follow around any custom shape. We’ll also be adding some realistic fiery sparks, courtesy of a handmade Photoshop Brush tip.

Here’s what we will be making with this tutorial.

More Tutorials on Hongkiat:

Step 1

Open a suitable background image on which you want to build up the flaming text effect. In this example we’ve used a 800 x 600 pixel distressed metal texture from doschdesigns but any reasonably dark background texture would work equally well:

Step 2

We’ll add some shading and colour adjustments to create a low key effect over our background. Select the Elliptical Marquee tool (M) and draw a large oval over the centre of the background.

Step 3

Use Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + I to select the inverse area in the document:

Step 4

Go to the Layer menu > New Adjustment Layer > Curves command. Click to add a custom midtone point on the Curve line and drag downwards to darken the image:

Step 5

To soften the edges of the vignette, we’ll add a blur to the Adjustment Layer Mask. Go to the Filter menu > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Increase the Radius value as required to create a nice soft feather for the edges of the ellipse shape.

Step 6

Go to the Layer menu > New Adjustment Layer > Hue and Saturation. Check the Colorize tickbox and apply the following values: Hue (30), Saturation (50), Lightness (-40)

Step 7

Select the Text tool (T) and click on the canvas to create a Type Layer. Use the Options bar to set the required font size and colour and enter the required character.

In the example used here, we’ve used the following character values: Font: MetroBlack LT Two Regular, Size: 400 px, Colour: 474747. When you’ve finished, use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + Enter to commit the Type Layer changes.

Step 8

In the Window menu > Layers Panel select the Background Layer containing the metal texture image. Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate the Layer and drag it above the Text Layer in the Panel.

Step 9

With the new texture Layer selected, use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + G to mask the copy image to the Text Layer beneath.

Step 10

With the Texture Layer selected, Go the Image menu > Adjustments > Curves command. Add a mid tone point to the Curve line and drag downwards to darken the texture overlay Layer.

Step 11

We’ll next add some Layer Styles to the Text Layer to lift it off the background. In the Layers Panel, click the ‘FX’ menu and apply the following Layer Styles:

  • Drop Shadow
  • Opacity:
  • Distance: 20px
  • Spread: 0 px
  • Size: 20 px
  • Bevel and Emboss
  • Depth: 1000%
  • Size: 5px
  • Angle: 130
  • Altitude: 48
  • Highlight Colour: fa8b09
  • Highlight Opacity: 95%
  • Shadow Colour: 000000
  • Shadow Opacity: 85%

Step 12

We’ll now create some digital fire to warp around our character, using the fantastic new Photoshop CC Flame Filter, and some custom Paths to indicate the placement and direction of the flames.

Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N to create a New Layer called ‘Flames’. Select the Pen tool (P) and in the document, draw out a path up one side of the text character where you want a flame to appear:

Step 13

When you reach the point where you want the flame to end, hold down the Cmd/Ctrl key and click anywhere on the document away from the Path points. To create another flame, draw another Path segment using the same steps, but remember to Cmd/Ctrl + click at the end of each Path segment so that the flames will be rendered individually:

Step 14

Go to the Filter > Render > Flame Filter. In the dialog box, set the following key values:

  • Flame Type: One Flame along Path
  • Width: 37 px
  • Flame Lines: 9
  • Turbulent: 66
  • Jag: 0
  • Opacity: 49

Step 15

The Filter dialog box provides a near infinite range of flame and fire effects, so you should also experiment with adjusting the above settings to create the flame look you want. Once you’ve adjusted the values, click OK to apply the Filter effect:

Step 16

Next we’ll add some extra shading to build up the glow around our flames.

In the Window > Layers Panel, select the flames Layer and use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate it.

Step 17

Re-name the copy Layer to ‘Flame Glow’ and move it below the Flames Layer in the Panel list.

Step 18

Change the Blending Mode in the Layers Panel to Color Dodge. Use the Move tool to offset the copy image a little to the right and down.

Step 19

Go to the Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur command. Adjust the Blur Radius to soften the edges of the glow effect. In the example used here, a value of 8.0 was used:

Step 20

To reduce the strength of the Color Dodge effect over the background image, go to the Image menu > Adjustments > Hue and Saturation command.

Step 21

Lower the Saturation slider to remove some of the colour intensity in the glow.

Step 22

Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N to create a New Layer. Name it ‘Extra Glow’. In the Layers Panel, move it below the Flames Glow Layer.

Step 23

Change the Layer Blending Mode to Color Dodge.

Step 24

Select the Brush tool (B). In the toolbox, click the Foreground Swatch and change the Colour to CAAF50.

Step 25

Use a large soft brush to paint in some extra glow details around the edges of the flames and over the text character.

The Color Dodge Mode works really well for building up vibrant glow effects, but it’s extremely sensitive to small changes in your paint colour. If the glow effect is too strong, or produces unwanted colour shifts, try reducing the Lightness and/or Hue values for the paint colour in the toolbox until you get the right result.

Step 26

For a finishing touch, we’ll add some sparks to the base of the flames using a custom made brush. Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl +N to create a new document In the dialog box, set the following properties and then click OK:

  • Name: Spark Prototype
  • Width: 50 px
  • Height: 20 px
  • Color Mode RGB
  • Background Contents: White
Step 27

Select the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and draw a small horizontal rectangle in the document.

Step 28

Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + I to invert this area to black. Use the shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + D to remove the selection.

Step 29

To add some movement to the spark prototype, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur Filter. Set the distance to 13px, the Angle to 0 degrees and click OK. To save a custom brush from the Spark image, go to the Edit menu > Define Brush Preset command:

Step 30

Now swap back to the Flaming text document. Select the Brush tool (B), which should now show our Spark Prototype as the active Brush tip. We’ll need to adjust some of the paint stroke properties for this custom tip to create some realistic spark like effects.

Go to the Window menu > Brush Panel and apply the following values to the Brush Properties:

  • Brush Tip Shape
  • Size: 10 Px
  • Roundness: 35%
  • Spacing: 350%
  • Shape Dynamics:
  • Size Jitter: 100 %
  • Angle Jitter 3 %
  • Angle Jitter Control: Direction
  • Scattering:
  • Scatter: 300%
  • Both Axes: Ticked

Step 31

Use the Shortcut Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N to create a New Layer called ‘ Coloured Sparks’.

Step 32

Set the Foreground Colour to White in the Toolbox. In the document window, start to paint in some sparks around the base of the flames. Start your paint strokes at the base and draw in the direction that you’d like them to travel in either in a straight line or curved arcs. As we’ve set the Angle Jitter Control to ‘Direction’, the sparks should always align to the direction of your mouse movement:

Step 33

As a finishing touch, we’ll add a few colour changes to some of the sparks. On the keyboard, press the ‘/’ key to Lock the Transparent areas of the Sparks Layer from change. Select a soft round paint brush preset, set the size value to 50 px.

Step 34

In the toolbox, set the Foreground colour to EB7E13. Begin to paint around the edges of the spark trails with the Brush tool to add some colour variation to the sparks.

You can continue to paint different orange and yellow hues into the sparks to build up a more complex colour palette as required.

Step 35

Marvel at your results.

Editor’s Note: This is written for Hongkiat.com by Ben Richardson. Ben is the director of Acuity Training, an IT training business based in Guildford, UK and is sharing some of the tips that delegates have found more useful from their Photoshop courses.

Now Read:
28 Fresh Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials

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40 Freebies &#38; Goodies For Web Designers &#8211; March 2015

hongkiat.com - ma, 23/03/2015 - 11:01

Here’s another round of neat freebies to help you keep up with constantly changing world of design. These resources are sure to help you stay ahead of the pack when it comes to style and technology. Get ready to discover some of the best vintage elements, GUI packs, mockups, printing templates, fonts and icons the internet has to offer in the last few weeks.

Don’t forget to drop the designers a line of appreciation when you download their resource, and help us spread their good will by sharing this post with your colleagues. Enjoy!

More on Hongkiat:

Vintage Elements

Hand-Drawn Rustic Elements

A set with over 60 elements used in outdoors activities. Perfect for adventure and travel projects. Available in PSD, AI and EPS formats.

10 Vintage Retro Labels

A cool set of classic label designs. As you can see in the examples, they mix tremendously well with bright colors and intricate textures.

Framelicious: Four Frame Pack

A nice pack with four different frame mockups to place pictures, designs or any other type of visual work. There are also some cool pictures accompanying the main element.

GUI Kits

iOS 8 GUI Pack

A big bundle of interface design elements aimed at iOS 8, Apple’s latest mobile Operating System. Free for personal or commercial usage.

Flat Web UI Kit PSD

An interesting collection of Web elements for your next project. The set contains elements for all types of websites in a very particular color palette, which you can always change from the original PSD file.

Simple PSD UI Kit

A user interface bundle with a very simple look, but a comprehensive collection of elements for your next design endeavor. Editable PSD file available for free.

Sketch Wireframe Kit for iPhone 6

Starting your app designs in the right way is vital for a successful process. This wireframing kit will help you achieve just that.

Mobile templates and Mockups

Samsung Galaxy S6 Mockup

A pair of vector mockups in black and white versions for Samsung's latest smartphone: the Galaxy S6.

Free 14 PSD iPhones Mockup

Over a dozen iPhone mockups featuring both iPhone 5S and iPhone 6. Ideal for business-oriented showcases.

The Ultimate Mobile Devices Pack

An incredible set of realistic mobile devices, available in SVG, PSD and AI format. It includes basically all major devices at the time, so there's no excuse for not grabbing this one.

Apple Devices Mockup Presentation

A neat trio of Apple device mockups depicting an iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro. They can be very useful to test-drive and present your website and app designs in various screens.

Apple Watch Frames for Sketch

A fun pack of Apple Watch frames to showcase your app designs. They come in both 38mm and 42mm sizes, with lined and detailed styles.

Flat Smartwatch Mockup

A simple smartwatch mockup design for Adobe Illustrator, also provided in EPS and PNG formats.

Printing templates

Business Card Deck Mockup

A neat business card mockup showing a single item above a packed stacked of more cards. The wooden table gives the resource an elegant touch, while keeping it minimal, as it was intended.

Professional Resume Template

A free CV template to get the edge over your competitors when applying for a position. Edit with Adobe Illustrator.

3 Jute and Tote Bags Mockup

A very lifelike trio of bag mockups to showcase your designs, whether it is for a company, store or anything else. Provided in PSD format.

Black Textured Flyer Template

A meticulously textured flyer template that you can use to promote events, restaurant, shops or any other initiative. You can edit with InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop depending on your needs.

Magazine PSD Mockup

A cool magazine mockup with a neat 3-page view, easily editable through Photoshop smart layers.

Branding-Stationery Mockup

Companies have many different common use elements in the office, and all of them need proper branding. Preview all of those designs with this complete stationery mockup.

Icons

Flat Security Icons

A very modern-looking pack of flat icons displaying all sorts of security-related elements: Cameras, viruses, emails, shields, etc.

Modern Flat Preloader Set

An awesome set with 12 flat-styled preloaders to improve user experience. They are provided in three different sizes and two formats for increased flexibility of use.

Gemicon V2.0 Tester

A bit of a test run of what will become a full icon collection under the name of Gemicon. Download the PSD to get a preview of what's to come, although these icons are pretty much ready to use.

Sketch 3 Vector Icons

A package with over 50 vectorial icons provided as vector shapes for you to edit in Sketch 3. They portray common UI elements for music, weather, chatting, alerts and more.

Littlebox

Littlebox provides a short way to create pure CSS icons, truly useful for high DPI displays. You can even animate the icons for fun little effects.

Photography Icons Set

More than 30 icons related to photography with a simple two-tone style, along with long shadows and available in AI, EPS and PSD formats for easy editing.

Flat Icons Bundle

A neat package of icons with a modern flat look, talking about various topics such as electronics, money, travel and more. Available for free in PSD format.

Fonts

Maxwell Free Typefamily

A very versatile font for edgy design work, coming in three different weights to match your needs as much as possible. It's mostly suitable for titles and headlines given its rounded edges and friendly appeal.

Erster Caps Typeface

An uppercase-only font with a very industrial-like font, as if it was forged in metal. It comes in two different styles: regular and bold.

Arkhip Font

A profoundly Russian font with stunning curves all over it, perfect for headlines and big sizes. Completely free to download and use.

Nordic Typeface

Inspired by ancient Norwegian runes, this font provides a mystical look to your titles and headlines.

Simply Rounded Font Family

A cute rounded font designed to be as readable as possible, making use of simple shapes that will be understood by any user.

Nickainley Font

A beautiful handwriting font with a somewhat old school feel to it. It can be of great use for more elegant designs such as wedding cards, labels, badges, etc.

Fabiolo Font Family

Fabiolo is a beautiful sans serif font that aims to provide a subtle and elegant appearance, suitable for many types of design.

Tauri Font

A subtle sans serif font, ideal for medium and small sizes given its high clarity. Tauri is meant to be enjoyed slowly, showing its qualities little by little as it is used.

Web Templates

iPress PSD Magazine and Blog Template

A very complete website template in PSD format, aimed at Magazines and blogs. It features a sharp, modern flat style and contains an impressive variety of components to achieve just the look and functionality you're after.

UpCloud Hosting Templates

A pair of concepts for a hosting company website coming in both dark and light versions. It features a predominantly flat look with bright details in strong colors. 

Freelance Photographer PSD Theme

Create a very image-oriented website with the help of this awesome PSD template. Created by Kike Escalante.

Shoebas Website Template

A cool concept for an online shoe store, although it can be adapted for any sort of project. It features a super clean look that gives the project an edgy feel.

Other

Low Poly Backgrounds Pack

A colorful pack of geometric images displaying landscapes, animals, famous places and other familiar topics.

Text Effects Pack

A cool set with multiple 3D text effects to really bring up the important parts of your design. Available to use in Photoshop.

Now Read:
Freebies & Goodies For Web Designers – February

Related posts:

  1. 11 Mixin Libraries For Sass Designers Should Get
  2. Fresh Resources for Web Developers – February 2015
  3. 40+ Freebies & Goodies For Web Designers
  4. Fresh Resources for Web Developers – March 2015








Bezoek Ambassadeur Sri Lanka

Carl decaluwé - vr, 20/03/2015 - 17:28

Z.E. de heer E. Rodney M. Perera, Ambassadeur van Sri Lanka, bracht samen met mevrouw Monique De Decker-Deprez een beleefdheidsbezoek bij de gouverneur. Aansluitend werden zij verwelkomd in het stadhuis van Brugge door burgemeester Renaat Landuyt. (20/03/2015)

Veiligheidsoverleg kustburgemeesters

Carl decaluwé - vr, 20/03/2015 - 14:18

Thema’s op het veiligheidsoverleg kustburgemeesters waren o.m. scheepvaartverkeersveilige dagen, de berging van de Baltic Ace. Ook het Bijzonder Nood- en Interventieplan Mass Rescue en de verdwaalpalen waren geagendeerd. (18/03/2015)

Raad van Bestuur en Algemene Vergadering VLIZ

Carl decaluwé - vr, 20/03/2015 - 14:17

De vergadering ging uitgebreid in op de diverse huisvestingsdossiers. Verder werden enkele personeels- en financiële aangelegenheden aangekaart, alsook de begroting 2015 en de voorlopige begroting 2016. Ook het activiteitenverslag 2014 stond op de agenda. (17/03/2015)

 

De Koningin bezoekt het Bednet-project in Menen

Carl decaluwé - vr, 20/03/2015 - 14:12

Samen met de burgemeester Martine Fournier, directeur Dehaene en voorzitter Kathy Lindekens van Bednet verwelkomde de gouverneur de Koningin. Bednet  biedt synchroon internetonderwijs. Hierdoor kunnen langdurige zieke kinderen thuis de lessen live volgen met eigen klasgenoten. (17/03/2015)

5 Facebook Features You Probably Don&#8217;t Know

hongkiat.com - vr, 20/03/2015 - 14:01

Last year, Facebook released Nearby Friends which tells you where you friend’s location is, and recently, Facebook is letting you make payments through Facebook Messenger. But did you know that Facebook keeps an archive of everything you have ever put on the social network, even stuff you’ve deleted before? Would you like to get a copy of this back?

We’ll show you how you can do this, plus a few other things — like how to make a donation to charity organizations, and save interesting stuff you find on your news feed to read later — you didn’t know you could do via/on Facebook.

1. Donate to Nonprofit Organizations

Did you know that you can donate to nonprofit organizations via their Facebook page? So far it is a small list of 19 organizations that include the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, World Wildlife Fund and Malaria No More among others. To make your contributions go to their page, click on More right below the cover photo and choose Donate Now.

Enter your donation amount and payment information. Choose to make this a one-time donation or a recurring one then click Donate. 100% of your donations go to the nonprofit organization of your choice.

2. Retrieve Deleted Content

Have you ever wanted to retrieve certain information that you have accidentally deleted off Facebook? Well, you can. Simply go to your Facebook Settings page and click the Download a copy of your Facebook data link.

Click Start My Archive (in green) and enter your Facebook password when asked. Click Submit.

You will see this prompt box, and will need to click Start My Archive again. Wait for Facebook working for a few minutes and send you an e-mail containing download link for your data. Before you can download it, you will be prompted for your password again. Here is the kind of data you would expect from this download.

3. Save Now, Read Later

Every time you open your Facebook you will get a lot of news in your timeline. While most of them may be of interest to you, you might not have time to read them all. Chances are, once you’ve passed them, you won’t be able to find them again (unless they are heavily shared by everyone). To help you with this, use the Save option. It is found in the list of options under the dropdown button.

You can save items like links, places, movies, TV, music etc to check out later when you have the time. All your saved items will listed as “Saved”, which you can access from the left sidebar of your news feed.

4. Sync Facebook Calendar with Google Calendar

If you use Google Calendar to schedule all your important events but also have plenty of goings-on on Facebook, here’s how you can synchronize your Facebook Calendar with your Google Calendar to keep all your events in the same place.

First of all, go to the Facebook Event, you will see several events that involve you there. Then look at the bottom right corner of the page, you will find links Upcoming Events and Birthdays.

Right-click either one and select “Copy Link Address” or “Copy Link Location”.

Now go to Google Calendar. On the left side of the page there is the “Other Calendars” option, click the dropdown arrow button and select “Add by URL”.

Paste the link you copied earlier from Facebook, and click "Add Calendar". When the process complete, you can see the Calendar that you have imported appear in your Google Calendar.

5. Convert your Facebook profile into A Page

Did you know that you could convert your personal Facebook profile into a fan page? This way you can keep all your friends and followers rather than start from scratch.

To do this, first go to Profile to Page Migration. Then, choose a category for your Page. On the next page, select a subcategory and fill in required information. Lastly, click Get Started and follow the instructions provided. That’s it.

Note that this convertion is permanent, so it is better that you download a copy of your Facebook data (see #2 above) before you start migrating anything.

Now Read:
Facebook Housekeeping: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now

Related posts:

  1. Share Facebook Statuses Easily With Status Snapper [Quicktip]
  2. Facebook’s New Page Insights: Everything You Need to Know
  3. 8 Things Researchers Learned From Your Facebook Use
  4. How To Deal With Facebook Game Invites (The Right Way)








10 Essential Magento Extensions You Need

hongkiat.com - vr, 20/03/2015 - 11:01

Magento is probably the most solid e-Commerce platform around. If you own an online store, you probably have given some consideration to using Magento on your site. Even big names like Nike, MotherCare, and Bazaar are on Magento. Still, Magento has a few features that could really be improved further, which is why sometimes you need to be proactive and check out what you can better achieve with extensions.

Magento Extensions is a collection of extensions that can add extra functionalities that you might want on your e-Commerce website. Whether it is to track your sales and invoices or to make checkout a lot easier for your visitors, these extensions can help you better manage your online business and more.

1. MageMonkey

MageMonkey is the official MailChimp extension that integrates with Magento. It will effectively improve how you communicate with your customers and potential customers. It allows you to create auto-responding emails for completed transactions, birthday wishes, reminders about abandoned carts among others.

2. Blog

Even if you have an e-Commerce site, you can still use a blog to announce promotions, news on upcoming products, write about your company alongside other relevant content about your business. This may help in attracting visitors to your online store. If you want to have a blog try Blogs.

The extension serves as a regular blogging platform including RSS, native WYSIWYG editor, and excerpt fields.

3. One Page Checkout

By default, Magento set six separate steps to complete checkout for the goods you are buying, which in truth may annoy some of your customers. This extension, One Page Checkout, simplifies the checkout process into just a single step.

The extension also comes with auto-complete feature that will fill the checkout for your customers. Try this if you want to uncomplicate the checkout process.

4. AddShopper

AddShopper adds social icons into your product so your customers can share them onto various social sites like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, this extension also provides a record of the number of products shared. You can see which products are the most widely shared, or most sold, from the social share as well as see the highest revenue-generating item.

5. MatrixRate

MatrixRate lets you adjust the shipping cost based on customer location, destination, ZipCode numerical ranges (e.g. 5000-6000), product price and number of items, cart weight, subtotal or quantity. If you want more flexibility on how you decide the shipping price, this is the extension to install.

6. Yopto

Shopping online may be convenient but there are people with reservations against trusting a seller that you haven’t seen in person. In cases like that, customers usually fall back on reviews by other buyers to help determine their purchasing decisions. Yopto improves the Magento review facility by allowing you to email customers after a purchase for a review and thoughts on their purchase.

You can also customize the email style and the Reviews widget.

7. Related Product Manager

Want to keep your customers scrolling on your page? Use this. Related Products Manager is an extension that generates related products, up-sells, and cross-sells automatically based on various data including previous purchases and views by customers. The Related Products Manager will display the related products randomly when there is no data to decide additional products to display.

8. Address Label Printing

Cubix Address Label Printing is a Magento extension that will allow you to print address labels — the kind you attach on a package before sending it out. This extension lets you print the label directly from the admin panel. You can determine the label size, layout, and pieces of information to include in the label.

9. Magento WordPress Integration

Magento WordPress Integration will integrate your Magento online store with your WordPress blog. You can easily switch to the WordPress dashboard with one click from Magento’s admin panel to start blogging.

This extension also supports a wide range of WordPress plugin integrations. WordPress and Magento is the best platform in their respective fields. With this extension, you can enjoy these two togetether seamlessly.

10. Fooman

For each completed purchase order, Magento will generate a separate numbering convention for the documents to the sale, documents such as the invoices, memos, and shipment notes. This could be very inconvenient when you need to find an invoice for a particular sale due to the inconsistent numbering.

Fooman helps you better manage your invoices by auto-generating these documents with consistent numbering, so you can easily find locate the document you need.

Now Read:
E-Commerce Tools To Understand Your Users Better

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Biggest Changes In Design Trends As Shared By 5 Design Professionals

hongkiat.com - do, 19/03/2015 - 14:01

Tons of people have predicted where the design industry is headed. That’s fine and wonderful, but what about reflecting on the big industry changes we’ve already made? Not only is it entertaining to poke fun at how old and obsolete things used to be, it is also educational to note where we’ve been.

IMAGE: Google Chrome

In addition to sharing mistakes they’ve made when launching their career and how they handled career transitions, several experts were willing to describe the biggest industry changes they’ve witnessed.

I asked them about the ways the web design landscape, trends, and industry have evolved over the years, what are notable changes they’ve encountered since the beginning and how these changes have affected them.

Here’s what they had to say.

Paul Boagboagworld

There has definitely been a significant maturing of the web design industry since I started in 1994. Back then, there were no rules, no best practice, and no standard operating procedures. Most of all, there was no precedent. We were starting from a blank canvas with only other mediums such as print or television to refer to.

For years, web design has been hobbled by design practices from print. We tried hard to make the web behave like print. We would design fixed widths and the fold just as we did with print, even though this did not apply to the web. The arrival of mobile has helped to change this mindset and encouraged us to break away from our print background.

But mobile is not the only thing that has changed the landscape of the web. Social media has made a significant difference too. Before the arrival of social media, websites dominated. Companies cared about only one thing, having a great website and ensuring that it was number one on Google.

Now companies recognize their website is only one small part of a multichannel digital strategy. Instead of expecting users to come to them and their website, they now reach out to users on various social media platforms.

This means the user experience encompasses much more than our websites. For those of us who wish to call ourselves user experience designers, we now need to consider these other channels too.

Casey ArkPlato Web Design

Over the past 10 years, there were two big trends. Most businesses now feel that they need a website just for the sake of having a website. This has led to a growth in our market, but also an influx of low-paying clients (if you don’t plan to use your website as a marketing tool, why spend too much money on it?).

The definition of a “really beautiful site” has gotten simpler and simpler. In 2005, if you wanted to design the best site on the web, it was all about providing the user more. More 3D graphics, more motion effects, more Macromedia Flash. Now, the “best” sites on the web tend to have flat design, with a large background image and overlaid text header.

This has made it much easier to become a “great” designer – but frankly, I’m a little worn down from all of these flat sites. Give me some more 3D!

Cory SimmonsTutsPlus

The first big change I saw in the web was the move from table-based layouts to div-based layouts. I remember when I started working at my first job and had a big ego about web-design. I designed something and my mentor asked me if I could recreate it without tables. It blew my mind.

The next big change I saw in the web was the introduction of mobile devices and responsive web design. Photoshop stopped being used to design websites and a lot of creativity was destroyed and introduced at the same time.

The last big trend I saw was flat design, which I think was less of a backlash against skeuomorphism and more of a byproduct of responsive web design. It’s easier to design a button that shrinks if your button has a flat red background than if your button is supposed to look like a tree branch.

Jarrod WrightSubtle Network

The biggest thing that’s changed since I started was the rise of CSS and easy-to-use CMS’s like WordPress. When I first started learning html, the standard was static table based designs. Now most everything in the under-5K range, which is where most businesses want to be, is built on WordPress or one of the other open source platforms.

What makes a good design is still the same as it ever was, but the starting point and the diversity of affordable options has exploded in the last 10 years.

Chris BankLever

Crazy dynamic interfaces was a huge change. Beyond the explosion of triggers in design (gestures are far more expansive than mouse controls’ on-click, on-hover, on-scroll triggers), many UI design patterns now make for a more layered experience than ever before. You can have hidden menus and buttons, nested views and lists, and so on – it’s really amazing.

Animations not only make for really playful and engaging interfaces, but they also help provide visual feedback to users so they can keep track of what’s changing on the interface as they move through it.

Both the art and science of design are gaining importance. A decade ago, most marketing budgets were still largely un-attributable – that is to say, it was hard to tie marketing efforts to actual results. Today, they’re very well-tracked.

Now that numerous companies are capable of building relatively similar products in core functionality, what sets many of them apart is their design in all aspects, not just a glossy UI.

Now Read:
5 Designers’ Secrets To Launching Your Career Right

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20 Inspiring Quotes That Will Change Your Life

hongkiat.com - wo, 18/03/2015 - 14:01

There are days when everything feels difficult. Nothing works. Whatever can go wrong, does. Extraordinarily. Your worse nightmares come to life in broad daylight (not another parking ticket, Mr Warden!); your hopes and dreams take a back seat to negative feedback (your request for a raise has been denied) and nothing seems to go your way (we’re out of coffee, ma’am).

If you feel like achieving far more but are at loss at what you should do next, perhaps these great people will be able to help keep your head straight. What they have to share are simple and light for some, but powerful and impactful for others.

These quotes cover topics like inspiration, problems, failure, success, motivation, giving up, hard work and dreams. When a simple, "don’t give up" may not suffice, we let the experts take over. We’ve also taken the time to recreate high-res images to fully feature these quotes and who are behind them – we hope you like it!

p.entry-image { margin-bottom:40px; } h5 { font-size:19px!important; text-transform:none!important; margin-bottom:15px!important; line-height:1.5em!important; } Even motiation needs replenishing.

Crawl, kick, climb. Resurface.

Just keep swimming.

That’s how barriers are broken.

No one wants to quit.

Stop dumbing down your goals; start breaking them up into baby steps.

There are things worse than failing.

Your talent is wasted if you don’t hone it to perfection.

Because why give them the satisfaction?

It is better to have someone notice and critique your work than to have no one notice at all.

And a dash of passion?

So what are you sitting around here for?

Every failure is a launchpad to the next big success, as long as you do not quit.

There is always a "but". Deal with it.

So dream. And dream big.

If a problem doesn’t make you get up and run around for a bit, then it ain’t a problem.

Only the lucky get down to work after they are inspired.

Stay tough!

Like everybody else on this list, he’s right.

Now Read:
20+ Inspirational Quotes As Wallpapers

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Bloom Makes Email Opt In Beautiful &#38; Less Intrusive [WordPress Plugin]

hongkiat.com - wo, 18/03/2015 - 11:01

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Elegant Themes.

Here’s the thing: your own website is subjected to the same vicious itch as any other. I’m sure your content is high-quality and the design is impeccable. But let’s face it, opt-in forms are the virtual salesmen that everyone hates. On the other hand, they’re also the best way to collect e-mails, stay in touch with your audience, and grow a strong community organically.

So how can you stand out from the crowd and make sure your audience doesn’t miss the chance to hear from you again just because you’re the 123,897th person who asks for their e-mail address?

Biggest Opt-In Mistake: Making it Pop-Up Only

The most surprising thing about successful opt-in forms is that they’re as subtle as they can be. Their design is beautiful, but not too flashy, and they’re so perfectly integrated into the website that they don’t interrupt users from their activity. In other words, they stand out… but they don’t POP! At least not in the classic way.

This is the most important feature of an opt-in form and that’s exactly what you should be going for, as well. But don’t worry, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here and get busy creating a new way of collecting e-mails that may or may not catch on.

There’s a new opt-in plugin that has already fixed every problem that made opt-ins insufferable so far. It’s called Bloom and it doesn’t just make these forms more attractive to the visitors on your website, it also makes it easier for you to manage your e-mail lists and measure the success of your opt-in campaigns.

Unlike most plugins, Bloom offers you the possibility to position the forms where you want them, and choose what triggers them to appear on screen. You have a bunch of tools at your disposal, all very simple and intuitive, that help you customize the perfect opt-in for your website.

There are 12 e-mail marketing integrations, 6 e-mail opt-in types, and the freedom to personalize forms for a wide range of contexts. And to make it as easy as possible, Bloom comes with a friendly dashboard that allows you to manage all these features without getting a headache.

Pleasant For Users, Simple For You

Bloom is designed to do everything for you in a smooth and time-saving manner, so you can create beautiful, perfectly-timed opt-ins that integrate on any website page and complement your content. This alone stands as proof that the visitors on your website will love it as much as you will.

Just as the dashboard is designed to save you time and brain cells by making the process of creating and managing opt-ins a piece of cake, it also brings users closer to you with non-intrusive, appealing opt-in forms that add value to your website instead of discrediting it.

This way, you show your occasional visitors that you understand how they like to consume online content (and by that I mean “uninterrupted”) and win their trust more easily. Instead of poking their eyes out with an inappropriate opt-in, you draw their attention with a well-placed form only when they’re ready to accept it.

How Does Bloom Work?

Before you can create a functioning opt-in form on your website using Bloom, you first need to connect the plugin to your email marketing software. Bloom works with several different systems, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, MadMinim, iContact, InfusioSoft, Feedblitz, Aweber, Campaign Monitor, GetResponse, SendInBlue, MailPoet and Ontraport.

Once you’ve done this, you can start working on your opt-in forms by using the tools available on Bloom. You have 6 e-mails opt-in types and a set of fully customizable forms to choose from, allowing you to adjust just about every aspect of your opt-in, from titles and body copy, to image positioning, borders, form styling and set-up, and even custom CSS tweaks for individual forms.

Whether you create a Pop-Up, Fly-In or Below Post, you also get to choose what triggers your opt-in. It can be the user’s inactivity on your website for a certain amount of time or the user’s comment on an article. You can time the opt-in to appear when the visitor gets to the bottom of the page or while scrolling, and you can even put locked-in content on your website that users can unlock only after subscribing.

If you’re not sure which type of opt-in works best, you can perform split tests (A/B tests) to see what attracts users most and pick the highest performing variation to be your main version.

Whatever you choose to do, you can rest assured you won’t have a hard time managing the plugin. You have short video tutorials to help you figure things out in just a few minutes. That’s all you need to start designing beautiful, non-intrusive opt-in forms that will help you grow your e-mail lists and create a powerful dialogue.

You can start using Bloom today to understand the needs of your audience and build a strong, long-lasting bond. Download the plugin now and customize all your opt-in forms to integrate perfectly into your website and you’ll will be able to create the loyal community you’ve been longing for.

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Onbedwingbare ambitie – 2 –

Carl decaluwé - wo, 18/03/2015 - 09:14

Beste lezer,

Tolstoj schrijft in een van zijn boeken over een man die zoveel land mocht bezitten als hij kon bereiken wanneer hij van zonsopgang tot zonsondergang liep. Alles wat binnen de afstand lag die hij aflegde, was voor hem. Wat denk je dat er met die man gebeurde? Die kwam nooit meer terug. De tragiek van ambitie is dat ze de natuurlijke neiging heeft om grenzeloos te worden.  Maar de mens is in staat ambities op hun kwaliteit te beoordelen en die grenzeloosheid in te perken. Gezonde ambitie is een doorleefde wil, voortkomend uit wat je echt wilt en waar je als persoon voor staat. Onze cultuur is echter vergeven van de blinde willers die succes definiëren als zichtbaarheid. Het is ook belangrijk om een stap terug te doen, even niet te willen, en langzaam te laten opkomen wat je echt wilt. Ambitie dreigt door te slaan in een moeten willen; dat geldt voor iedereen.  De aristotelische deugden zoals geduld, moed en matigheid moeten worden ingezet voor de wil om niet onbeperkt te willen. Iedereen heeft een basisdrift, die we tegenwoordig ambitie noemen. Maar die hedendaagse ambitie is niets meer dan een verkapte verschijningsvorm van onze angst om vergeten te worden. (‘Ambitieus maar dan anders’ in Filosofie Magazine, januari 2015)

Tiende verjaardag van de opening IOC project Office for IODE

Carl decaluwé - di, 17/03/2015 - 17:22

De gouverneur verwelkomde de deelnemers van het prestigieuze congres in het Provinciaal Hof in Brugge. België telt 1000 marine onderzoekers die in ongeveer 20 verschillende disciplines actief zijn. Als voorzitter van het VLIZ beklemtoonde de gouverneur het belang van de samenwerking op het vlak van zeewetenschappelijk onderzoek zowel op nationaal als internationaal niveau. The InnovOcean site in Oostende, waar het VLIZ en het IOC project Office voor IODE gevestigd zijn, is een goed voorbeeld van een dergelijke samenwerking. (16/3/2015)

Ultimate Guide To Building &#38; Publishing Your First iPhone App

hongkiat.com - di, 17/03/2015 - 11:01

Are you considering making your own app? This is what you need to know. Learn about the app ecosystem, programming languages, toolsets, and time and effort involved. Let’s not tell you what you should know, but rather explain how you can actually get started today to get an app published in the App Store.

For your quick reference, here are the shortcuts:

1. Building Blocks Of An App: The Basics

An app is just a piece of computer software running on a smartphone. It’s written by a programmer, and put together with graphic assets created by a designer.

Apps for iPhone are made with a Mac application called Xcode, and programmed in either Swift or Objective-C. Many apps are connected to the internet, which means that they have a back-end that allows storage of data in the cloud or functionality that interconnects users.

Xcode is the application you can use for making native iPhone apps, and it’s only available for Mac OS X. It includes Interface Builder, a tool to visually create the graphical foundation of your app. It’s a scaffolding tool: you can’t make a functional app with it, but you can lay down the groundwork for the GUIs of your app.

Xcode has many useful features, such as Auto Layout for making your interface work on multiple screen resolutions and an iPhone Simulator for testing your app without an actual iPhone.

In order to publish apps in the App Store you need a developer account from Apple. It’s available for $ 99 USD a year, and needs to be renewed each year. Apple has a comprehensive online toolset available for managing new and published apps, called iTunes Connect, as well as an extensive set of documentation.

Additionally, iTunes Connect now features a beta distribution tool called TestFlight. It can be used to distribute your app to beta testers.

2. The App-Making Process

Any app development process roughly follows these steps:

  1. Design. Make a mockup of your app and layout all the components on the screen.
  2. Develop. This step involves coding the app, tying up interfaces with if-this-then-that actions.
  3. Test. Send the app out to beta testers and gather feedback on its performance. Then, solve any errors that arise.
  4. Publish. Get your app past the review process and push it to production in the App Store.

Modern process management often work with iterations on a micro and macro level.

When you’re making a new feature, you always design it first, then code it, then test it, and then push it live. Whether it’s a small component or an entire new part of the app, follow this process.

3. On Swift and Objective-C

iPhone apps are all written in Swift or Objective-C. Swift is the new programming language invented by Apple, announced on June 2, 2014, and subsequently released as a stable 1.0 version on September 9, 2014. It’s a fairly new language and apps entirely written in Swift are just now hitting the App Store.

Swift is gaining rapidly in popularity and its features are highly acclaimed by both beginner and advanced programmers. The great thing about Swift is that it’s interchangeable with Objective-C. This helps the adoption of Swift by programmers, because they don’t have to rewrite their entire codebase to be compatible with the new language.

People that already have an intermediate-level proficiency in any programming language will need less time to pick up Objective-C or Swift. Especially those that have worked with languages that are similar to Swift, such as Java, PHP or Ruby, should have no problem learning Swift.

But which is better, Swift or Objective-C?

Objective-C is a little bit harder to tackle because it uses a unique syntax. For beginners, Swift is clearly the better option. It’s easier compared to Objective-C and removes overhead from the development process, making the barrier-to-entry for beginners considerably lower.

Despite that, Objective-C is still the standard in many firms around the globe, so legacy code will be Objective-C for the coming years. As an employed iOS developer, you’ll see more Objective-C than Swift.

4. Middleware: Build Once, Run Multiple

Middleware (or cross-platform) like Cordova or PhoneGap, is a popular choice for app developers, because it enables them to write code once and deploy it to both Android and iOS.

Apps for Android are written in Java and they’re not compatible with iOS apps. If you want to make an app for both platforms, but do not want to program the same app twice, middleware is a time-saving option.

Many of these cross-platform tools are based on web technology, such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

PhoneGap is the most widely adopted: it’s being used by 400.000 app developers. PhoneGap has its own build tools and technically it exports an app that can be run and built inside Xcode, making it a "hybrid app"native components combined with HTML5.

PhoneGap now features PhoneGap Build, which replaces the Xcode compiler with a cloud-based solution. PhoneGap is free and released under the open-source Apache Public License v2.

Alternatives to PhoneGap include:

PhoneGap outperforms these alternatives by supported devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, Ubuntu and Firefox OS) and supported hardware (accelerometer, camera, etc.).

Downsides To Middleware

Using middleware such as PhoneGap has two major downsides.

Since such tools are all based on web technology, they’re unable to make use of hardware-accelerated native components. Animations, transitions and high-resolution graphics don’t work as well as in a native app, which makes it impossible to use for games or visually intense apps.

Also, using middleware requires good knowledge of compilers and build tools, which makes it an inconvenient option for beginner developers.

5. Design: How Your App Is Used

Not all that is apps is programming. Graphic design is big in the app industry; it’s a requirement for any app that wants to be taken seriously. Are you considering programming your own apps? If your budget allows it, hire a graphic designer. There’s plenty of those around on outsourcing sites like Elance or oDesk.

That being said, you don’t need a graphic designer if you’re just starting out. On iOS, you can work with the many pre-fab components that Apple is using in their own apps and throughout the operating system’s UI. The standard iPhone user interface components don’t look exceptional, but they’re not bad either. It’s a great way to get started without spending too much time on the graphical look of your app.

Tools and Resources

Human Interface Guidelines gives you a good overview of available components and how to use them.

Icons: Consider using an icon kit such as Glyphish (commercial). They’ve put together hundreds of icons, optimized for iPhone apps, including social media icons, play/stop buttons, and symbols for app-related tasks such as new, edit, and send.

Mockups: Another tool you definitely must use is Balsamiq Mockups (free trial, commercial). It’s a point-and-click editor for making mockups of your apps. A mockup is a rough sketch and it shows and explains how your app works and what it does. Never just start programming: take a step back and rethink your apps UI and layout by making a mockup.

Did you make a sketched mockup, but can’t get a feel for how the app will actually look? Work with the design PSDs from Teehan+Lax (free). They’ve extracted all the GUI components from iOS and made them available as vector graphics. Perfect for making a graphical mockup!

6. How To Enable An App For The Internet

Is your app connected to the internet? Creating a custom back-end with server-side languages like NodeJS, Ruby or PHP can take up lots of time, money and effort. It’s easier to use a Platform-as-a-Service tool, such as Parse.

Parse is a cloud-based solution for storing data offline and online in your app. Say, you’re making a social app with a stream of pictures and status updates. You could use Parse to store that data in the cloud and use their SDK to get it from and to your users.

Using a tool such as Parse completely removes the need to build a custom back-end. Parse’s basic usage tier is free, subsequent tiers start at USD100/month.

Alternatives to Parse are Appcelerator (middleware + PaaS, commercial) and App42 (PaaS + analytics, free tier).

7. Going From Beta To Live

Before an app gets published in the App Store, you need to upload it with iTunes Connect. You enter your app’s basic information like a description, app categories and what app icon to use.

Your app then enters the review process, a requirement from Apple. A reviewer from Apple checks if your app adheres to the Review Guidelines and whether it has bugs. It’s a quality check to ensure only good apps enter the App Store, and from the point of uploading it takes about 2 weeks to get your app reviewed.

More on Hongkiat:

10 FAQs to Creating Your First App

Of course at this point you might still have some burning questions related to creating your very first iOS apps. We’re going to take a look at the top 10 questions new app developers are concerned about.

1. How much does an app cost?

The cost of development of an app can really differ from one contracting company to the other. Outsourcing freelancers can create a simple app for around USD3000. Bigger companies can ask from USD25,000 to USD100,000 for a complex application, including graphic design and back-end programming. Companies like Tinder, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. can spend hundreds of thousands to millions on developing and marketing one app. Just like anywhere else: you get what you pay for.

2. I’m stuck with a programming bug. How do I get help?

A lot of beginner programming questions have been asked already on sites such as StackOverflow. Search for the error message or bug you found, and you’ll most likely find a solution. When asking a question yourself, always search first, and make sure you explain your problem thoroughly and tell the steps you’ve already taken to solve it. Quora is a good medium for asking non-technical questions, such as about business and UX/UI topics.

3. I have a brilliant idea for an app. Where do I start?

If you’re serious about creating a business based on an app, don’t start with programming immediately. First, validate your business idea by pitching to your target audience.

Get in touch with potential customers and survey them, asking for feedback.

Keep in mind that most successful apps solve an immediate problem, in such a way that customers want to pay for it. When you’ve validated your idea, and created a relationship with your first customers, proceed with design and development of the actual app.

4. Do I need an iPhone to create apps?

No, but it’s recommended. Xcode has an iPhone Simulator, that runs your apps just like a physical iPhone would. Holding a real iPhone with your app in your hands is different from seeing it on your computer’s monitor, so testing your app on an actual device is recommended.

Keep in mind that Xcode only runs on Mac OS X.

5. I’m not good at maths, do I need it for programming?

Yes, and no. It’s an urban myth that to be able to code you must be good at maths. A lot of programming principles find their roots in mathematics, but they’re not required for a basic understanding of how to make apps. When you dive deeper and become more proficient at programming, you’ll find that you have picked up some maths skills along the way.

6. I work for a company. Do I pursue my app idea with the company, or in my own time?

It depends on the company and your position. Are you an engineer and is your company’s core business online, digital or closely related to apps? Then you might want to build a prototype and convince your supervisor or employer to pursue the idea.

If you think your employer won’t see the value, you can pursue the app idea in your own time. Be mindful of your contract with your employer. Inventions made during your time with the company could be regarded as the company’s intellectual property, not yours.

7. My app idea already exists in the App Store. What do I do now?

The fact that it exists doesn’t mean it’s a good app. You can always create a competing app and make it better than what’s already out there.

Likewise, the fact that an app doesn’t exist yet doesn’t make it a good idea to create it. It could well be that an app has been published multiple times, but was pulled from the App Store because there was no need for it.

Always validate your app idea by the problem it is solving and the value it has for its users.

8. Why is the iPhone sometimes called iOS?

There’s a slight difference: iPhone is the name for the actual hardware smartphone and iOS stands for “i Operating System”. Going back into Apple’s history, the iMac computer was the first product to have the prefix “i”. Later on, they’ve followed this style and created more products: iTunes, iPod, iPad and iPhone. It’s only natural to call the operating system that runs on the iPhone, iOS.

9. How do you effectively market an iPhone app?

Entire books have been written about this question! It’s a hard one, but not impossible to answer. All successful apps solve one problem, in such a way that people want to pay for it.

You can either come up with a problem and find people that need your solution, or find an audience and survey them for problems you could make a solution for. Keep in touch with this customer group and give them a way to tell others about your product. Referrals and word-of-mouth is an effective and cheap marketing machine.

10. What’s the worst way to learn programming?

Giving up is one of the worst ways to learn programming. Learning a new skill has ups and downs, and you can only keep going by celebrating the ups and seeing through the downs. Giving up is not part of the equation.

Also, find out what your learning style is. There’s no point in watching videos, when writing code and trial-and-error suits you better.

Finally, don’t randomly pick a book on programming from the library but find a proven learning method or path. When learning Spanish, you don’t start with reading a dictionary, right?

Learning Resources To Get Started

If you still want to go through with creating your first iOS app, this section is where you find all your learning resources to get started.

App development involves a lot of components, and when you’re new it can be quite a challenge to get acquainted with all the tools. Fear not! You can make your first app in a day at max, with no prior programming experience. The only thing you need is a good resource that shows you the ropes and focuses on one toolset at once. There’s plenty of beginner tutorials on the internet, as well as premium courses.

The Learning Process: In Brief

What’s your learning style? Consider that before you pick a resource.

When you’ve built your first app, it’s a great plan to briefly dive into a number of components after one another. Learn about:

  1. Using navigation controllers, such as tab bars and hamburger menu’s
  2. Using hardware, such as the camera and accelerometer
  3. Using layouts, such as the table view controller and the page view controller
  4. Working with animations and view transitions
  5. The app lifecycle
  6. Compilers and build tools

Most of these topics require a couple of days (24 to 32 hours) of tinkering, trial and error, and looking up resources.

Once you got the basics figured out, get straight into working with internet sources and cloud-based solutions such as Parse. All apps are connected to the Internet one way or another.

Regardless, those who are used to learning new things often can outline their own learning plan and do not necessarily need to follow a program such as a course or a book.

Wrap Up

Wouldn’t it be great to have your own app in the App Store? You now have a basic outline of the tools involved in making apps, and what it takes to learn how to make your own apps. Get started with Swift by reading a book or following a tutorial, craft a great looking interface with Balsamiq, get yourself a developer account and publish that app!

Full Reference List:

Editor’s note: This is written by Reinder de Vries for Hongkiat.com. Reinder is an entrepreneur and app developer, who believes that there are not enough app makers in the world. He has developed 50+ apps and his code is used by hundreds of thousands of users all over the globe. When he’s not coding, he teaches aspiring developers how to make their own apps at LearnAppMaking.com.

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