Review of the New BlueGriffon Web Editor

BlueGriffon is a free WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor powered by Gecko, the rendering engine inside Firefox. It is cross-platform with versions for Windows XP and Windows 7, Mac OS X and popular Linux distros. There is also a portable version (for Windows only).

Like its predecessor, NVU, BlueGriffon provides an easy to use interface and includes all the most common options to build web pages that comply with the W3C’s web standards (HTML 4, XHTML 1.0, HTML 5 or XHTML 5 / CSS 2.1 and parts of CSS3 already implemented by Gecko).

A handy wizard guides users to set up their canvas, starting with selecting the document type, filling in data for the property, picking the colours, adding a background image, and deciding on the page layouts.

The interface is intuitive and almost basic at first, as it closely mimics a word processor toolbar layout. Icons to the most common options are clearly laid out: adding a table, a single image or a thumbnail linking to a large image, a link, a video, an audio file or a form to a web page is easy. Switching from WYSIWYG view (where you can arrange objects visually) to the web page source code (where you can manipulate the web page by editing the HTML code) is done by clicking on the two buttons at the bottom of the page. Several web pages can remain open in multiple tabs, which makes it easy to quickly switch from one document to another, copy and paste, etc

Adjusting styles can be done through the style properties panel, which would require some coding knowledge for most functions other than the most basic ones though. For example, it is easy enough to change a font colour or adjust the style of a border but, while the style properties organises the numerous style options quite neatly, most of the style options available would probably not be understood immediately by novices: this makes BlueGriffon more adapted to intermediate coders.

Another drawback of BlueGriffon if you start building your first website layout is the lack of proper (offline or online) documentation yet. If you have previously used any decent web building tool or if you want to build a fairly basic page, this should not be too much of a problem. However, if you’re a beginner in website coding, you may find yourself stuck at some point without much help available. Let’s hope that BlueGriffon documentation will improve with time, starting by offering a few walk-throughs on creating new pages and sites and developing its forum.

On the other hand, one of BlueGriffon strengths is the add-ons: the most obvious one is the free FireFTP add-on to easily publish your page from BlueGriffon. Most of the other add-ons need to be purchased for a small fee though to support future development, according to the BlueGriffon website. The CSS Pro Editor extension for example is much more powerful than the default CSS toolbox and provides web authors with full control over their stylesheets. Some popular paid extensions are the Mobile Viewer add-on (to test your pages with a large number of mobile devices), the Eye Dropper (a colour picker which allows web authors to pick a colour from sources that are not directly viewable or editable inside the editor), the Project Manager add-on (a sync tool between a local directory on your hard disks and a remote directory reachable through FTP), the Snippets add-on (useful when manipulating the exact same chunk of HTML code or text inside the documents) and the Toolkit Manager add-on. It is possible to buy all add-ons at once at a discount price on the publisher’s website.

Clicking on the Preview button will open the web page in any browser of your choice (as long as it’s already installed on their system of course) which is useful for cross-browser testing, to check what your page looks like in Internet Explorer or Google Chrome for example. This is also useful to check your scripts since these won’t run directly in BlueGriffon.

The Markup Cleaner which can be found at Tools menu can help you with cleaning your HTML code. You can also spell-check your pages and BlueGriffon even integrates a small SVG editor (svg-edit, originally distributed as an add-on to Firefox and adapted to BlueGriffon) for quick drawing jobs.

BlueGriffon is a very promising open-source and cross-platform web editor. At only version 1.31, it can’t of course compete directly with massive and expensive web development applications such as Adobe Dreamweaver, but this is already a very nice application to create web standard compliant pages without too much effort. It also makes a great tool for educational purposes, such as teaching design students the basics of HTML and CSS. Documentation and online forums need to be improved but, once it gets traction and support from the community, it could quickly become much more popular.

In-Depth Analysis of Web Designing

Over the past few years, the web designing has changed drastically. Gone are the days, when static and very dull websites were in use. Off late, the web technology has gained momentum and now every business, whether big or small, requires very interactive websites.

What are interactive websites? These are basically the dynamic websites which provide amazing browsing experience to the users. In these websites, the web pages are fetched directly from the server. Let me discuss what you should keep in mind while designing a website.

Homepage

The most important web page of your website is the homepage. Whenever anyone types the domain of your website, then this page will get opened up. It is very important that this page will be designed in the proper manner so that the visitors get more memorable experience. What should you put on the website? Nowadays, the info-graphics are considered as the most engaging thing. These are basically the messages, carved on the banners in order to get the glance of the visitors. The banners and taglines should remain in sync with the theme of the business. Any mismatch will land you in big trouble.

Logo & Brief Overview of the Company

The logo, as well as overview of the company, helps in infusing confidence in the buyers. Though it is considered as a very simple job, yet these small things influence the mind of the buyers to the greater extent.

Navigation

Nowadays, every website contains a huge array of products. So, proper navigation is very important in this in order to move from one category to another. The linking should properly be provided so that users don’t find any difficulty during navigation.

Font family, text style and color combinations

Though the standard has already been defined related to the font family, yet the designers should offer much attention to the font size, styles and color combinations. These things help in providing amazing browsing experience to visitors.

Enquiry/ Contact Form

This is the most important thing which is related to the website. Using inquiry form, the visitors have the option to get the details of your products. This is a gateway to start communication. In most of the cases, contact form and enquiry form serve the same purpose.

Search Option

It is very important to provide the search option. The reason being every e-commerce website contains hundreds of items. The search box helps in providing the exact product to the buyers. Most of the people don’t have much time to scroll down and to navigate from one web page to other. So, this box saves their time.

These are certain things which are mandatory features of any website. If your website lacks in these features, then this will eventually affect your business. So, you should power your web with such features, if you want to offer the amazing experience to visitors.

Using Graphic Design Inspiration and Avoiding Plagiarism

One of the most difficult things to do is gain inspiration without copying or stealing someone else’s ideas. Because we are surrounded by designs and art in everyday lives, trying to find that fine line between inspiration and theft proves to be problematic at times. Especially when you take into account that all designs are essentially influenced by the earlier created works of art we are surrounded by. The Internet alone has millions upon millions of graphic design inspiration at your fingertips. These days, with so many resources so readily available, finding inspiration for a design is pretty easy. The difficult part is taking the idea and making something new of it. How do you do that, you ask; by merging various concepts, approaches and design features together.

When doing a search for graphic design inspiration, don’t stop at one idea. Keep your searches going for additional designs that are related or similar in color, content and structure to what you are looking for. The objective is not to choose one design and duplicate it, instead find a collection of elements that can work together in a different way. As you’re doing your search you should be looking at the design and picking it apart to see if any piece can be meshed with another to create something fresh. Your ultimate goal is to combine the best components of each of these, creating a new design that inspires you.

Once you’ve gathered some inspirational ideas, take a deeper look and study the fine details that really make them stand out and catch your eye. Look for typography, light effects and gradients; these are the subtle details that bring the design to life. You should be asking yourself, “Why do I love this design so much?” Once you have it pinpointed it will be easy for you to create a new vision with different concepts. When you’re finished, it should not look like an imitation of any of the other designs. It should be a renewed design created with the contribution of them all. You must work to fuse the different elements with common stylistic methods to transform your design into something brand new.

There is no guidebook that teaches you how to search for graphic design inspiration and not commit plagiarism, but there are some forthright ways to avoid it. By using the strategies mentioned above we can all help the circulation of new ideas, creating new inspiration for everyone.

The Role of Technology in Education

In the current age we live in, technology has become an important component. Every day there is some new gadget or software that makes lives easier and improves on the technology and software that already exists. Making lives easier is not, however, the only role technology plays in our lives.

Technology is playing an increasing role in education. As technology advances, it is used to benefit students of all ages in the learning process.

Technology used in the classroom helps students adsorb the material. For example, since some people are visual learners, projection screens linked to computers can allow students to see their notes instead of simply listening to a teacher deliver a lecture.

Software can be used to supplement class curriculum. The programs provide study questions, activities, and even tests and quizzes for a class that can help students continue learning outside the classroom.

Technology has also become part of many curriculums, even outside of computer and technology classes. Students use computers to create presentations and use the Internet to research topics for papers and essays.

Students also learn to use the technology available to them in computer and tech classes. This ensures that after graduation they will be able to use the technology in a work setting, which may put them ahead of someone who didn’t have access to a particular technology or software in their own school setting.

As technology advances, students have better access to educational opportunities like these. When something new and “better” is revealed, the “older” technology becomes more affordable, allowing it to be used in educational settings, even when schools are on a tight budget.

Technology has also advanced to help children even before they’ve started school. Educational video games and systems for young children helps them prepare for school and in some cases get a head start on their education.

There are people who may say children are “spoiled” by technology. Instead of being able to add a long column of numbers in their heads, for example, they turn to a calculator. Regardless of these arguments, technology is an important part of today’s society. By incorporating it into the classroom, students will be better equipped to transition from the classroom to the work place.