Some stuff about Web and .NET development
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  • Using Google Docs to translate your projects

    Posted on January 30th, 2011 Thibaut 75 comments

    At work, we’re currently building a business application using Silverlight 4. One of the requirements is the support of multiple languages. Google Docs proves to be very useful in this context. Just create a spreadsheet, and using GoogleTranslate formulas, you’ll get your translations.

    First step : create a new spreadsheet

    Google docs

    Second step : create GoogleTranslate formulas

    Google translate

    Use the formula below to obtain your translations. More info on the official documentation page.

    =GoogleTranslate(”text”, “source language”,”target language”)

    Conclusion

    While you shouldn’t rely at 100% on these translations when putting your application into production (to have correct translations, you need a context and the best way is still to get your translations from a person or company specializing into that), Google Docs is a very useful tool for the development stage. This way, you can test that your multilanguage support works correctly without having to wait for translations to be completed by third parties.

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  • Microsoft WebCamps Brussels - Summary

    Posted on January 30th, 2011 Thibaut 5 comments

    WebCamps

    Last Monday was organized the Microsoft WebCamps event in Brussels. Dedicated to Web developers and UX designers, this one day event enables you to stay up-to-date with the latest stuff. Topics covered included HTML5, jQuery, ASP.NET MVC 3, … And I’m going to share some of my notes here.

    Opening keynote

    By Scott Hanselman

    • Presentation of WebMatrix and the Razor syntax. For “get it done” developers who want, for example, to install and configure a website powered by a CMS for some customer in only a few minutes
    • jQuery adoption is so big that Microsoft continues to invest into this library : jQuery UI will also be part of the .NET framework
    • Presentation of the new features of ASP.NET MVC 3. ScottGu has written some very interesting articles on the subject, be sure to check them out if you’re interested in MVC 3
    • NuGet is a very powerful package installer. With just a few commands, install nInject, Entity Framework, … Time to learn PowerShell has come ;)

    How about HTML5 today ?

    By Katrien De Graeve

    • Slides of the presentation
    • Use shims to use HTML5 today (the JS script to make IE recognize the new HTML5 tags)

      <!–[if lt IE 9]>

      <script src=”http://html5shim.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js”></script>

      <![endif]–>

    • Use a reset CSS (typically to make some of the new elements display as blocks
    • Download HTML5 instellisense for Visual Studio
    • Use Ray Bango’s templates for Visual Studio
    • CSS3 : more control over color (RGBA, …), borders and shadows, fonts (use FontSquirrel to integrate custom fonts on your website)
    • Use IE9 developer tools (F12) to change the document mode (to IE8, IE7) to test against previous versions of browsers
    • Modernizr : great JS library enabling you to target specific browser functionality in your stylesheet, so you can take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3 while having a compatible site for older browsers
    • <video> tag : different codecs supported by browsers. Be sure to create multiple encodings of the same video (by using VLC Media Player for example) or provide a fallback in Flash or Silverlight.

      <video controls>

          <source src="foo.ogg" type="video/ogg">

          <source src="foo.mp4">

          <object/> <!– Silverlight or Flash –>

      </video>

    • Canvas : drawing using JS. Example of application : Pirates love Daisies, a game written using Canvas.
      Pirates love daisies
    • Use Ai to Canvas to convert Adobe Illustrator files to a canvas compliant format
    • Canvas (bitmap) != SVG (vector)
    • General guidelines :
      • Use feature detection VS browser detection. For each new version, browsers implement more and more the HTML5 spec. So browser detection isn’t a good approach at all
      • Start using HTML5 now ! Don’t wait for the spec to be complete (you would still be waiting for the CSS2 spec to be complete then…)

    Come in as a jQuery zero, go out as a jQuery hero

    By Gill Cleeren

    • Intro of jQuery (selectors, plugins, …) : I’m not going to rewrite the complete course here, just google, the web contains loads of tutorials about that hot subject

    OData : open data for the web

    By Scott Hanselman

    And that’s it ! Have fun playing with that exciting stuff ;)

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  • Book review : CSS3 for web designers

    Posted on January 13th, 2011 Thibaut 108 comments
    CSS3 for web designers CSS3 for web designers is the second book from A Book Apart, a new publishing company specializing in writing brief books on various web topics. All those books are about 100 pages long, laser focused, covering only essential topics. This book, written by CSS expert Dan Cederholm will teach you the essential topics of CSS3 that can already be used today. Covered topics include a presentation of CSS3 and the core properties already implemented by the majority of web browsers (border-radius, text-shadow, opacity, RGBA, …), transitions, hover-effects crafting based on the development of a mini-website, transforms (rotate, skew and translate), multiple backgrounds (including techniques such as parallax scrolling), forms enrichment (kickass buttons in pure CSS, pulsating glow effects on field inputs, CSS gradients and keyframe animations) and finally links to some of the best CSS3 resources on the web are provided.

    Pros

    • Very brief book, making effective use of our time
    • Relevant decision to cover only a portion of CSS3, but in depth because it’s widely implemented by web browsers and thus usable today, instead of covering more topics that might even not be ratified by the W3C
    • Full color book

    Cons

    • Quality of the book itself (cover paper) is pretty poor. The thinness of the paper makes it a book that gets easily damaged
    • Currently available only from A Book Apart. Took me 3 weeks to get it from NYC to Belgium

    Conclusion

    Very interesting introduction to CSS3. Gives you what’s needed to know to improve the experience of your websites or web applications starting from today.

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  • Book review : HTML5 for web designers

    Posted on January 11th, 2011 Thibaut 181 comments

    HTML5 for web designers

    HTML5 for web designers is the first book from A Book Apart, a new publishing company specializing in writing brief books on various web topics. All those books are about 100 pages long, laser focused, covering only essential topics. This book, written by Jeremy Keith (author of DOM Scripting, that I reviewed here), will guide you through the hot new stuff that HTML5 offers and how to harness its power from now on. Covered topics include a brief history on HTML markup, the design of HTML5, rich media (canvas, audio & video tags and the different options, …), the new features of web forms (new types of inputs such as calendar, sliders, …), semantics (microformats, new HTML5 tags such as header, footer and nav, content models, outlining, scoped styles, …) and finally how to use HTML5 today with an introduction of the different tools and libraries to help you out in this task.

    Pros

    • Great idea to write brief and laser focused books. This is a change from the traditional bibles of hundreds (thousands sometimes) of pages taking decades to digest
    • Very interesting introduction to HTML5, covering essential topics and explaining how to use them already based on current browser support
    • Full color book

    Cons

    • Quality of the book itself (cover paper) is pretty poor. The thinness of the paper makes it a book that gets easily damaged
    • Currently available only from A Book Apart. Took me 3 weeks to get it from NYC to Belgium

    Conclusion

    Very interesting book for web developers and designers planning to learn HTML5. Be aware that, due to its very small size, this book is rather an introduction than a course. A good starting point before digging further into HTML5. Would be great if the quality of the paper and distribution channels could be improved.

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