ShooFlyBuzz

Welcome to ShooFlyBuzz, the company weblog. We use this space to talk about what’s happening with ShooFlyDesign, but more generally to talk about web design, the challenges we encounter, the tools we use, websites we like, and provide some training on the care and feeding of your own website.

If you want to send in feedback, leave a comment, send an email, or tweet @shooflydesign.

This was a very busy weekend. I spoke at WordCamp Orange County on how to use a debugger, and it went well. If you were there, or if you're just interested, you can view the slides here, and fork them on GitHub.

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I often use gulp to manage web files. If you've never heard of it, it's a JavaScript-based task runner similar to Grunt. I use it for many of the same reasons I've used (and sometimes still use) GUI tools like LiveReload and CodeKit: to process my Sass into CSS, minify and check JavaScript files for errors, auto-refresh browsers when I make a change, that sort of thing.

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Drupal has a very flexible taxonomy system for tagging and categorization content (and users, and anything else). This flexibility is one of its interesting differentiating features — you can create as many dimensions of categorization and tagging as you like, which is very attractive for librarians and other enthusiasts of organization. To keep that flexibility from totally bogging down the system, Drupal maintains an index table that maps those terms onto the pieces of content to which they're attached.

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In the WordPress world, there are a lot of plugins. No really. As I write this, there are more than 36,000 free plugins available on WordPress.org. So generally speaking, almost anything you want to do with your WordPress site, you can find a plugin to help. They're not always good, but often they are, and hey, they're free!

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Macaw is a new application for building responsive websites and prototypes visually. “New” in this case means less than a year old, having been released to the public in March 2014. You might have heard of its Kickstarter campaign, or read about it somewhere online, but statistically speaking, you probably aren’t familiar with Macaw yet.

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WordCamp Las Vegas happened this past weekend, and while I wasn't in attendance, it caused me to find out on Twitter that a talk I gave at WordCamp Los Angeles this past fall is now available on WordPress.tv now. I called it "Be Braver, Make Better Mistakes", and it's a quick overview on why you should try using version control, even (especially!) if you're a designer.

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Macaw is pretty excellent software for making responsive prototypes, and even full sites when you don't need the complexity of a content management system. It lets you design your pages visually, but unlike Dreamweaver or other old-school visual web design software, it generates HTML and CSS that is quite clean and responsive. It's only been available publicly for about a year now, and is quite good for its age.

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