Posted on Mar 15, 2012 in Data Generator, Fun Stuff | 1 comment

I will, well and truly, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die (what a weird expression), return to in the coming months. I know I’ve said this half a dozen times, but this time I MEAN IT. Honest.

So, apologies to the people who’ve emailed me – I’ve logged all your bugs & feature suggestions and I’ll bring that site back from the grave. The new beta is freakin’ awesome and I really cannot believe I never got around to releasing it. My bad.

- Ben

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PHP Smarty Template mode for CodeMirror 2

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 in Code, Form Tools, JavaScript, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

A Smarty syntax highlighter for CodeMirror has long been needed for my Form Tools script, so this weekend I finally took a few hours to put one together. It’s not been reviewed by the CodeMirror developer yet (Marijn Haverbeke), but will hopefully find its way into the main script at some point. I also plan on developing a HTML-JS-CSS-Smarty mixed mode, which will be useful in many places.


[UPDATE: Marijn accepted my changes and it's now part of the CodeMirror repository].

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Big ol’ life decisions

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

After a great, great deal of thought, I’ve decided to make a few changes this year. A bit late for New Year’s resolutions, I’ll admit, but perhaps that just makes the decision the more legitimate.

For the last two years, I’ve been devoting almost all of my time to Form Tools, a PHP/MySQL script that I’ve worked on as a hobby for – good lord… almost seven years. It’s exceedingly cool. Very big, very advanced, and even after all this time I only feel that it’s starting to become the script I want. I could happily pour all my energies into that script for years to come. But when I take a step back, I realize all my other interests have fell by the wayside. Poor, for example, has fell into relative obscurity. It’s a great script, and the beta version – which I finished over 2 years ago – never got fully released. This website, which I was at one point fairly pleased with, is now so desperately in need of an overhaul it’s positively embarrassing. The various open source scripts I release on this site need updating and pruning; the ones that still have value need moving to github. Basically I have a lot of other stuff I need to get to, and Form Tools is getting in the way. Sad, but true.

So for the next few months I’ll be finishing up work with Form Tools to get it to the point where it’s relatively stable and won’t need too much attention. I’ll never leave it entirely alone, but it will be put largely on the back-burners for a year or so.

Come June I’ll be job hunting. This has been a terrific year, but the benefits of having a day job ultimately outweigh the drawbacks of working independently – despite the mobility… And on that note: I’m off traveling! Tomorrow I’m off to Fiji, NZ and Australia for a few weeks, then Costa Rica in late March. For April/May I’m toying between Alaska and Europe. Probably Europe, I think… we’ll see. I want to cram in as much traveling I can before returning to work.

Anyway, the point is: times they are a changin’. Except a great deal more activity on this site the coming year.

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Simple Responsive Design Test Page – bookmarklet

Posted on Jan 28, 2012 in HTML5 | 4 comments

@lensco made an excellent post a couple of days ago that showed off a simple, but elegant responsive design test page that loads the same content into multiple iframes for easy viewing. See:

Great idea. Here’s a bookmarklet version of the same code that lets you use it on any webpage:

EDIT: I got stuck waiting for a flight today, so I update the script to add a little JS goodness. Now it lets you specify which viewport sizes you’re interested in (or supply your own dimensions), and generate a custom bookmarklet. Neat.

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Form Builder module video demo

Posted on Nov 19, 2011 in Form Tools, Fun Stuff | 0 comments

Hi all,

Demo time! Ordinarily I post screenshots of upcoming features and modules for our Form Tools script, but this time we thought I’d utilize some of this crazy “modern video technology” I keep hearing so much about.

Click the image to the right to watch a quick intro and demo to the Form Builder, showing how it can be used to create a simple “Contact Us” form on your site.

It’s a REALLY exciting new module, and the demo only touches on the base functionality. There wasn’t time to cram in all the really cool stuff (multi-page forms, validation, cool field types), so if people want more info, I can always do more videos.

Also, depending on what people think of them, I could start using them more in the documentation to explain and demonstrate the various Form Tools functionality. Personally, I think they’re a pretty great way to explain things – far better than mere screenshots. The one drawback, of course, is that you have to listen to me drone on and on, but hey, there’s always a downside.

View Demo

- Ben

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