Posts Tagged ‘elliot jay stocks’

Elsewhere: A better Photoshop grid for responsive web design

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I’ve been coding for over twenty years now, and I still hate math. With responsive designs, you end up with a lot of awkward numbers. Thankfully, Elliot Jay Stocks has provided a handy little PSD for designing for responsive grids in Photoshop.

Compare that to a container that has a width of 1000px. 1000 is a nice, easy, round number. Dividing by 1000 results in clean percentages and better still, dividing by 1000 is something we can do in our heads: just remove the zero. A 140px column inside a 1000px container is 14%. A 500px column in a 1000px container is 50%. 320px is 32%. Easy!

Check it out.


Comic Update: Veritas Sciurus – Must Web Designers Code?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Today’s comic features a gruesome shootout between Ethan Marcotte, Andy Budd, Ian Lloyd, Eric Meyer, Jeffrey Zeldman and the duo of Elliot Jay Stocks and the squirrel. Jeff Croft also makes an important appearance. Cast in the light of a rather enjoyable action film, the sequence mimics the spirit of a Twitter throwdown that Mr. Stocks ignited this February with one simple tweet: “Honestly, I’m shocked that in 2010 I’m still coming across ‘web designers’ who can’t code their own designs. No excuse.

As you can imagine, this sort of statement created a charged atmosphere in the web designer tweet zone. People had opinions, they shared them. Those were just a few examples. In general, things got a bit tense. It’s rather reminiscent of the last time I saw this topic come up during October ’09 (I’d joined in with a post about it which you can read here).

Should web designers know how to code in order to be taken seriously?

Jeff Croft’s response to the reignited brawl is to the point (warning – profanity-laced): You can read it here.

It’s always a very fascinating argument when this topic comes up. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it: Should web designers know code? (Elliot later discussed the topic himself in more detail here. Take a gander.)

Comic Update: Slowing Down at the Pilcrow Public House

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Today’s comic features a rather large cast of web designers (Eric Meyer, Ethan Marcotte, Dan Cederholm, Elliot Jay Stocks and Jeremy Keith) doing nothing involving the web. Rather, each of them has traveled to the Pilcrow Public House for a tall drink and a leisurely respite.

Although I’m deeply in love with the Internet and its delicious offerings, I find that the 21st century is running at a pace that is accelerating and doesn’t allow for much leisure, even during your leisure time. My own plate is rather full, even outside my work hours, with various online and offline activities that result in my bitter laughter when someone asks what I’m doing with my spare time this week.

If, as a web developer, I were to fashion a pub, I’d probably call it the Pilcrow. I’m blaming all the typography nuts that are in my feed reader. Hence it plays stage for a look at what I imagine leisure would be like in the middle of nowhere, preferably without any wifi or 3G signals, leaving you with no choice but to put down the phone and look at who’s next to you.

True to the premise of slowing down, this comic was inspired by some older posts on the blogs of the notables above. When Dan Cederholm updated the design of SimpleBits, he spoke briefly in his post Woodpress about his desire to start writing posts more often, and not for search engines or tutorials, but for conversation.

Ethan Marcotte picked up the thread in an entry by the same name, complimenting Dan’s redesign and realizing that his “quasi-tumblog” wasn’t entirely cracked up as he wanted it to be.  He then quoted a sentence from this post by Merlin Mann that really hit me where it counts: Jesus, I miss paragraphs.

Amen to that. I love Twitter. It’s a great way to get an idea out quickly, to share links and views among peers when time is short or when dealing with a keyboard the size of my thumb. But sometimes I feel like I’ve lost the ability to take my time and write at length because of that need to get the ideas out quickly.

The clincher for me was Elliot Jay Stocks’ contribution to (the web designer’s advent calender) entitled A Pet Project is For Life, Not Just For Christmas. It’s a great read, discussing the need for our own pet projects as a form of relieving work pressure, collaborating with friends, and improving our quality of life. I couldn’t agree more. CSSquirrel is in essence a pet project, but lacks that collaborative nature that can be so addicting. I need to find some quality geeks and a wacky idea and get rolling. To me, these sort of projects are an equivalent the fixer-uppers in the garages of our fathers. They’re there for some peace and the opportunity to play with your toolset.

So I don’t know about you, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to find a way to slow down where it counts, and tinker more where it doesn’t. Or the reverse of that. I’m not sure which.

(Regarding Meyer and Keith’s presence in the comic: Eric Meyer wrote on Twitter about applying to truck-driver’s school on a day off. Fictitious or real, I found it hilarious. I also recently re-discovered the Salter Cane website, featuring a band including one Jeremy Keith on bouzouki. I’ve found the music rather enjoyable, and may have to purchase one of their albums.)

Comic Update: Typekit Comes To Font-Face’s Rescue

Monday, August 17th, 2009

What I don’t know about typography is quite immense. I entered the web design/development world from the viewpoint of a coder, not a designer. So when it comes to the wild world of fonts, my lack of knowledge is so large that I could be commanded to construct a mighty ark to contain it all.

So when it comes to @font-face, and all the licensing hoopla that accompanies it, it’s best to disclose that I’m the sort of person that is extremely dangerous to introduce to a limitless set of fonts to unleash upon the world. I am inclined to make use of a font because it “looks radical”, rather than because of some sort of carefully constructed reasoning that sounds like how people taste wine, with words like “bold” and “stately”.

Despite this, I still want to see @font-face become widely used. I’m not a fan of a web where only eight or so fonts get to play in the pool. If we want our sites to continue to mature, we need all the tools the print guys get to use.

Of course, the print guys have less problems when it comes to ensuring security. Hence the whole problem with @font-face, it makes fonts easier to steal. Jeffrey Zeldman just today put up a post on Web fonts and standards, talking about where we are and where we’re going with font support. It sums it all up much more intelligently than I could ever manage.

One of the current (well, near future) solutions is a new batch of “middlemen”, as he terms it. Web services that secure fonts enough to make foundries feel safe, but provide web authors with the @font-face access we love and crave. Typekit and Fontdeck are two of these on-the-horizon matchmakers. I’ll admit, I’m intrigued by their service. Elliot Jay Stocks talks about Typekit in The Font-as-Service over at i love typography, which sums up the pros and cons that Typekit represents as a font solution. I found it a very good read, and I think if you’re interested in what these services will offer that you should go read it as a primer of sorts.

Today’s comic settles firmly on one point he mentioned that worries me the most: price. I’m the sort of person that, for better or worse, prefers concrete purchase to subscriptions. Although I find Netflix to be a neat way to rent, I’d really rather own Big Trouble in Little China outright, rather than leasing it for all time. In the world of websites, I worry about being dependent on a middleman for all time to keep my site looking pretty. Although I don’t know what the rates that Typekit and its peers will charge, I can only imagine that over a period of years, it’ll add up to the point where I’d rather just have owned the fonts outright. What if someone came back to CSSquirrel ten years later, and a number of rich fonts I’d used via Typekit were no longer present, replaced once again by mundane Arial or such? Will it represent the vision I had?

For that matter, with client sites, will studios be able to convince their clients to pay a monthly fee after their site is built, just to keep the font? I’m not running screaming from the concept of font-as-service. I’m just concerned about how renting will impact the bottom line.