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Understanding MVVM – A Guide For JavaScript Developers

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about plugins

MVVM (Model View ViewModel) is an architectural pattern based on MVC and MVP, which attempts to more clearly separate the development of user-interfaces (UI) from that of the business logic and behaviour in an application. To this end, many implementations … href=”http://addyosmani.com/blog/understanding-mvvm-a-guide-for-javascript-developers/”>Continue reading class=”meta-nav”>→
AddyOsmani.com | Articles for developers


Simple Photo Touch-Ups In Photoshop

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about jquery

This tutorial deals with plain photo editing, involving the deepening of colors in an image and enhancing their genuine appeal without changing the original image by too much.

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Good-Tutorials: Newest Tutorials


SearchCap: The Day In Search, April 11, 2012

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about html5

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Reports: Google CPCs Continue To Decline And Yahoo/Bing’s Rise While Spend Overall Grows In Q1 By all accounts, paid search spending rose in Q1 2012 as…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.




Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing


What’s new for designers, April 2012

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about photoshop

class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-31820″ title=”thumb” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads/2012/04/thumb.jpg” alt=”whats new for designers april 2012″ width=”200″ height=”160″ />The April edition of what’s new for web designers and developers includes new web apps, jQuery plugins, blogging platforms, coding resources, productivity and business tools, responsive design resources, and some really great new fonts.

Many of the resources below are free or very low cost, and are sure to be useful to a lot of designers and developers out there.

As always, if we’ve missed something you think should have been included, please let us know in the comments.

And if you have an app or other resource you’d like to see included next month, tweet it to href=”http://twitter.com/cameron_chapman”>@cameron_chapman for consideration. id=”more-31817″>

Story Wheel

href=”http://storywheel.cc/”>Story Wheel is a new app that lets you take your Instagram photos and tell the story behind them. Just connect it to your Instagram account, then record your story, and create a nostalgic slideshow you can share with the world.

href=”http://storywheel.cc/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/storywheel.jpg” alt=”" />

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TriggerApp

href=”http://www.triggerapp.com/”>TriggerApp is a project, team, and client management app that includes invoicing. It’s cloud based and powerful, yet incredibly easy to use.

href=”http://www.triggerapp.com/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/triggerapp.jpg” alt=”" />

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Anchor CMS

href=”http://anchorcms.com/”>Anchor CMS is a PHP5-based content management system created specifically for art-directed blogging. It has a powerful but simple theming engine, an uncluttered admin interface, and is completely free.

href=”http://anchorcms.com/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/anchorcms.jpg” alt=”" />

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Ingrid

href=”http://piira.se/projects/ingrid/”>Ingrid is a fluid, lightweight CSS layout system that makes it easier to design re-flowing responsive layouts. It’s extendable and easy to implement, and doesn’t get in the way of your creativity.

href=”http://piira.se/projects/ingrid/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/ingrid.jpg” alt=”" />

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Instagram for Android

href=”http://instagr.am/android/”>Instagram has long been available for iOS, and it’s definitely among the top apps Android users seemed to want their own version of. Now it’s here: Instagram for Android. It’s a fast and fun way to share your photos. Just take a picture, choose a filter, and then post to Instagram (you can share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, too).

href=”http://instagr.am/android/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/instagram.jpg” alt=”" />

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15Five

href=”http://15five.com/”>15Five is a web app that makes it easy for upper-level management to keep track of what their employees are doing, without being obtrusive. Employees just take 15 minutes at the end of each week to write a report that can be read in 5 minutes. The reports can then be condensed into a single report for the CEO (or other top-level managers).

href=”http://15five.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/15five.jpg” alt=”" />

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Billable

href=”http://billable.me/”>Billable is probably the easiest to use invoicing app on the market. Just edit the invoice that appears on the screen when you load the page, and then either save it (you can only save the current invoice, from what I gathered), export it as a PDF, or print it.

href=”http://billable.me/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/billable.jpg” alt=”" />

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Invoicebus

href=”https://invoicebus.com/”>Invoicebus is an easy to use app that lets you create invoices and quotes via a WYSIWYG editor. It supports all currencies and partial payments, lets you email docs or save them as PDFs, send payment reminders and get alerts when a client views a document you sent, and more. There’s a free plan that allows up to 3 clients, or paid plans for more.

href=”https://invoicebus.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/invoicebus.jpg” alt=”" />

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Wookmark jQuery Plugin

href=”http://www.wookmark.com/jquery-plugin”>Wookmark is a jQuery plugin for creating dynamic column grid layouts that automatically rearrange based on the browser’s viewport. Just download the JS file, include it on your site (along with jQuery), and run it on your content. From there, you can adjust the container, offset, and itemWidth.

href=”http://www.wookmark.com/jquery-plugin”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/wookmark.jpg” alt=”" />

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Adipoli jQuery Image Hover Plugin

href=”http://jobyj.in/adipoli/”>Adipoli is a simple jQuery plugin that gives you a variety of transitions for hovering over images. There are more than 20 transitions available, including grayscale to color, popouts, and many more!

href=”http://jobyj.in/adipoli/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/adipoli.jpg” alt=”" />

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Backstretch

href=”http://srobbin.com/jquery-plugins/backstretch/”>Backstretch is a jQuery plugin for adding a dynamically resized background image to your pages. It resizes as the browser viewport changes, making it ideal for responsive designs.

href=”http://srobbin.com/jquery-plugins/backstretch/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/backstretch.jpg” alt=”" />

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PageScroller

href=”http://pagescroller.com/”>PageScroller lets you add animated page targets to your website for smooth scrolling between content. You can choose to have left or right side nav, top nav, and next and previous buttons, and it comes with eight elegant skins!

href=”http://pagescroller.com/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/pagescroller.jpg” alt=”" />

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Rhinoslider

href=”http://rhinoslider.com/”>Rhinoslider is a flexible jQuery slider/slideshow plugin. It offers multiple effects, each of which can be applied to run in different directions. New effects can be created by adjusting the settings of existing effects.

href=”http://rhinoslider.com/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/rhinoslider.jpg” alt=”" />

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CSS3 Responsive Slider

href=”http://csscience.com/responsiveslidercss3/”>CSS3 Responsive Slider is an image slider/carousel that resizes automatically based on the browser viewport, all without JavaScript! It works in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari, with partial support in IE9.

href=”http://csscience.com/responsiveslidercss3/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/css3responsiveslider.jpg” alt=”" />

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Fontomas

href=”http://nodeca.github.com/fontomas/”>Fontomas is an icon font generator that makes it easy to create a font that only contains the icons you want to use. Just select your icons, rearrange them, and then save. You can even load fonts (SVG/Cufon) from your own computer.

href=”http://nodeca.github.com/fontomas/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/fontomas.jpg” alt=”" />

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Intype

href=”http://inotai.com/intype/”>Intype is a text editor for Windows that offers advanced editing features like smart column selection, snippets, and multi-selection. Extension bundles let you add snippets, themes, or even language grammars (there are several already supported, including HTML, JavaScript, CSS, PHP, Ruby, and more).

href=”http://inotai.com/intype/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/intype.jpg” alt=”" />

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SearchMeme

href=”http://www.egrappler.com/jquery-plugin-for-on-demand-search-box-seacrhmeme/”>SearchMeme is a free jQuery plugin that generates a small search button that expands into a text box when clicked on. Place it in your sidebar, your header, or anywhere else on your site.

href=”http://www.egrappler.com/jquery-plugin-for-on-demand-search-box-seacrhmeme/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/searchmeme.jpg” alt=”" />

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SnipSave

href=”http://snipsave.com/”>SnipSave lets you create an account and save code snippets from anywhere. You can then edit or delete those code snippets from the easy-to-use interface.

href=”http://snipsave.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/snipsave.jpg” alt=”" />

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Akordeon

href=”http://www.egrappler.com/a-stylo-modern-jquery-accordion-akordeon/”>Akordeon is a free, lightweight jQuery plugin for creating accordion layouts. It’s fully customizable and can display large chunks of content in a limited space.

href=”http://www.egrappler.com/a-stylo-modern-jquery-accordion-akordeon/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/akordeon.jpg” alt=”" />

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Morris.js

href=”http://oesmith.github.com/morris.js/”>Morris.js is a lightweight library that makes it easy to draw time-series graphs that actually look good, using jQuery and Raphael.

href=”http://oesmith.github.com/morris.js/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/morrisjs.jpg” alt=”" />

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Via.Me

href=”http://via.me/”>Via.Me is a new way to share photos, videos, stories, and sounds. There’s a web interface as well as an iOS app, and you can sign up with Facebook or Twitter.

href=”http://via.me/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/viame.jpg” alt=”" />

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Noty

href=”http://needim.github.com/noty/”>Noty is a jQuery plugin for creating alternative alert and other notification messages (such as success, error, and confirmation). Notifications can be placed in a variety of areas, and the API allows you to customize the text, animation, speed, buttons, and more.

href=”http://needim.github.com/noty/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/noty.jpg” alt=”" />

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PSDCovers

With href=”http://www.psdcovers.com/”>PSDCovers, you can create 3D product mockups in Photoshop using your 2D designs. You just choose and download the product shot you want to use, locate the appropriate Action, run “Step 1″ to create a template, position and scale your 2D design on that template, and then run “Step 2″ to generate the 3D result.

href=”http://www.psdcovers.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/psdcovers.jpg” alt=”" />

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Comcure

href=”http://comcure.com/”>Comcure offers forever free backups for your website. Just set up the automatic backups, and then forget about it. Comcure will run backups according to schedule, and will email you if there’s ever an issue. It even backs up your MySQL databases, and your backups will be stored at two of their five worldwide datacenters!

href=”http://comcure.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/comcure.jpg” alt=”" />

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Slidedeck2

href=”http://www.slidedeck.com/”>Slidedeck2 is a WordPress content slider. It lets you create photo and video galleries, post sliders, social feed sliders (for Google+, Instagram, and Twitter), and more.

href=”http://www.slidedeck.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/slidedeck.jpg” alt=”" /> class=”save-timestamp hide-if-no-js button” href=”post.php?post=31817&action=edit#edit_timestamp”>OK

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The Creative Finder

href=”http://thecreativefinder.com/”>The Creative Finder has a new look. And along with it they’ve added more features, including new account types, mobile portfolios, and more.

class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/thecreativefinder.jpg” alt=”" />

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Breezi

href=”https://breezi.com/”>Breezi is a new website builder that makes it easy to design, edit, and launch beautiful websites in minutes. One of Breezi’s best features, and what sets it apart from most other website builders, is that it has exceptionally well designed templates to get you started. And through the end of April, when you sign up for a new site, you’ll get it free!

href=”https://breezi.com/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/breezi.jpg” alt=”" />

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Twitter Follow Box

href=”http://jobyj.in/twitter-follow-box-widget/”>Twitter Follow Box adds a facebook-like box style widget for Twitter. It’s a simple jQuery plugin, but has enough options to customize the widget to match your site’s design.

href=”http://jobyj.in/twitter-follow-box-widget/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/twitterfollowbox.jpg” alt=”" />

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Nagasaki (free)

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Nagasaki-free-font/3556703″>Nagasaki is a free typeface designed by Sasha Iacob, inspired by the ’57 poster “Hiroshima”, which was designed by Wim Crowell. It’s perfect for posters, flyers, and other pieces where you need a big, bold display font.

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Nagasaki-free-font/3556703″> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/nagasaki.jpg” alt=”" />

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Sablon Type (free)

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Sablon-Type-Free-font/3486161″>Sablon Type is based on din-bold outlines using the add and subtract circles around the edges. It’s a handmade EPS font that’s licensed for both personal and commercial use.

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Sablon-Type-Free-font/3486161″> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/sablontype.jpg” alt=”" />

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Average (free)

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/AVERAGE-Free-Google-Web-Font/3392755″>Average is a new, free Google Web Font designed by Eduardo Rodriguez Tunni. It’s a serif font that was created after extensive research into text typeface families from various periods in history.

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/AVERAGE-Free-Google-Web-Font/3392755″> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/average.jpg” alt=”" />

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Bobber (free)

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Bobber-Typeface/3371595″>Bobber is an alternative slab serif typeface with its own distinct style. The font is available as an .ai archive.

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Bobber-Typeface/3371595″> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/bobber.jpg” alt=”" />

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Henry (free)

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Henry-free-font/3486527″>Henry is an all-caps, vintage style typeface based on vintage cars and fonts from the 1960s.

href=”http://www.behance.net/gallery/Henry-free-font/3486527″> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/henry.jpg” alt=”" />

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Silver Fake (free)

href=”http://fontfabric.com/silverfake-free-font/”>Silver Fake is a free slab serif typeface. It’s simultaneously modern and retro, with unique letterforms and some alternatve characters.

href=”http://fontfabric.com/silverfake-free-font/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/silverfake.jpg” alt=”" />

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Hem and Haw ()

href=”http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/stellasfonts/hem-and-haw/”>Hem and Haw is a stitched sans serif display typeface, designed by Ray Larabie for Stella Roberts Fonts. It was rebuilt from the former freeware design “Stitchen”, now with a more complete character set, including punctuation and currency symbols.

href=”http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/stellasfonts/hem-and-haw/”> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/hemandhaw.jpg” alt=”" />

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Taco Wagon ()

href=”http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/tension-type/taco-wagon/”>Taco Wagon is a distressed display font inspired by Mexican hand-painted lettering. It includes a separate file for the drop shadow, so that it can be colored independently.

href=”http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/tension-type/taco-wagon/”> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/tacowagon.jpg” alt=”" />

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Sunset Strip ()

href=”http://marketplace.veer.com/fonts/JBT0001075″>Sunset Strip is a pretty script font designed by Jason Walcott for Jukebox Type. It includes a full collection of characters, including alternates.

href=”http://marketplace.veer.com/fonts/JBT0001075″> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/sunsetstrip.jpg” alt=”" />

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Sanchez (6)

href=”http://marketplace.veer.com/fonts/UMT0002030″>Sanchez is a slab-serif typeface that strongly resembles Rockwell, except with rounded edges. It includes 12 variants, and is the first display typeface family from Linotype.

href=”http://marketplace.veer.com/fonts/UMT0002030″> src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/sanchez.jpg” alt=”" />

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Sansational (9)

href=”http://marketplace.veer.com/fonts/JBT0001079″>Sansational is a display sans serif typeface that includes six variants. It’s a casual font, with a playful touch, designed by Jason Walcott for Jukebox Type.

href=”http://marketplace.veer.com/fonts/JBT0001079″> class=”image-border” src=”http://netdna.webdesignerdepot.com/uploads6/newapps-4-12/sansational.jpg” alt=”" />

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Written exclusively for WDD by href=”http://cameronchapman.com”>Cameron Chapman.

Know of a new app or resource that should have been included but wasn’t? Let us know in the comments!


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The Art Of Launching An App: A Case Study

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about css3


  

You’ve made your first app!

Now what?

Anyone in the app business knows that marketing an app is tough. And according to a recent article on TechCrunch, “Getting a mobile app noticed in the increasingly crowded mobile app market is more difficult than ever.” Some titles and concepts are truly unique. Angry Birds? Its title and screenshot alone were enough to catapult it to number one in Finland, according to Mikael Hed, CEO of Finnish game studio Rovio, which develops the game. Some apps are downright genius. Who doesn’t loath maintaining a to-do list? But now with Clear, it’s astonishingly fun! Who in the media wouldn’t cover something this clever? These two special cases were a shoe-in for the coveted feature page.

OK, so we have two apps that have leaped the giant “feature” hurdle and scored attention, much to the envy of countless wannabe developers. But not every app is an Angry Birds or Clear. And any developer surely knows that they are in extraordinary company — 91,754 iOS apps and 122,220 Android apps were released between 16 May and 8 September 2011, according to a recent Mobilewalla report. The researchers also found that during 2011, the number of available iOS apps increased from 338,000 to 589,148, while Android apps also more than doubled, from 115,000 to 319,774.

So many apps
(Image credit: florianplag

The app world is becoming like one giant forest, millions and millions of trees. So, if one of those trees falls and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Sure, there are SEO tricks, word-of-mouth marketing tools and built-in demographic identifiers that might help move your product up the ever-growing search list of apps, whether the list is for books, games or lifestyle tools. Moreover, thousands of companies in the market today make extravagant claims of being able to get your app noticed.

Many developers fall into the trap of allocating tight budget dollars to quick “tech” fixes in a desperate attempt to lift their app above the crowd. However, in this age of digital distraction, one mechanism to help that tree stand out is a tried-and-true PR marketing campaign. And the best initiatives are those that involve choosing strategic partners, creating clever story angles that dovetail with newsworthy occasions, and running a cause marketing campaign and contest. This case study will cover some of these tactics and offer some of the lessons we learned along the way.

Case Study: David and Goliath

According to a recent article in Publishing Perspectives, “The children’s market is a huge opportunity within the digital publishing arena.” Jumping Pages, a children’s app developer, decided to enter this market with an expertly produced book app for children, the first interactive app version of the epic tale of David and Goliath. Based on the work of the team of artists, animators and programmers, the iPad app is filled with vivid graphics and 3-D and 2.5-D animation that runs with interactive components at the same time on the same panel. The reader is able to interact with hundreds of original assets: shoot arrows, catapult burning weapons, populate flowers. Shake the iPad to awaken the sleeping Goliath; sway the iPad to swing a hanging lantern; turn the iPad to change the character’s points of view.

David and Goliath App

The quality of the work was undeniable, so it was imperative to the developer that the app get attention. But how would the app be differentiated to the consumer, considering that a David and Goliath book app for kids already exists. Strike one. Moreover, regardless of its quality, the likelihood of the app landing on a feature page was slim, considering that most retailers are reluctant to highlight stories with religious overtones. Strike two. A final dilemma was how to make a story that has been around forever feel relevant in the crowded world of kids book apps. Strike three?

Not so fast!

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

From a production standpoint, the David and Goliath for iPad app was ready to launch in July 2011. The only thing that wasn’t ready was a plan of action on how to make some noise for a story that, for all intents and purposes, already exists as an app. This scenario holds true for many developers who are ready to submit improved versions of models that exist in various categories; there is a plethora of apps for weather, productivity and games (Who’d like to wager on the best poker app?). Many developers spend countless hours designing, programming and shaping their apps. They become so immersed in the product that they often drink the Kool-Aid, so to speak, and believe that their superior work will speak for itself and that word of mouth about their amazing app will spread quickly. Many developers with this mentality simply see no need to create a cool marketing plan around the app. Sounds like buying a lottery ticket.

Launch!
(Image credit: stevendepolo)

Being proud of and confident in your product is nice, but better to be realistic about how to introduce it into the marketplace. Thus, after careful thought and shuffling around scarce budget dollars, Jumping Pages re-examined the landscape and decided to be smart about launching. The company set out to create a targeted and focused consumer marketing strategy. It decided it needed to implement an effective campaign in order to rise above the other book apps that were entering the fray in increasing numbers and to set itself apart from a version of the story that was already available. And because of budgetary constraints, it had no time for a protracted strategy. It’s first swing had to be a hit.

Finding the Perfect Partner

First, the company wanted an effective “marketing” partner, a narrator for the story who would help sell it. Ideally, the narrator would have a back story that was relevant both to the biblical tale and to the targeted demographic, and who would have broad media appeal (in order to be newsworthy). Jumping Pages reached out to baseball star and 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein to narrate the app. As many sports fans know, Eckstein has had a noteworthy career, overcoming his relatively short stature to achieve glory at the Major League level. Hence, the back story: a modern-day David whose life story mirrors that of the biblical David.

Upon arranging for his participation and partnership, the company moved the launch date of the app to October to coincide with the start of the World Series. Coincidentally, October 2011 marked the five-year anniversary of Eckstein’s World Series MVP performance; so, Jumping Pages created an “MVP Edition” of the book (same app, different narrator), which would be released to dovetail with the newsworthiness of the fall classic.

Newsworthiness Needed

Being newsworthy is key, particularly when you’re trying to generate media coverage. Many developers view the mere existence of their cool app as being newsworthy in itself, but while the launch might be exciting to the developer, 99 times out of 100, it means nothing to a reporter or blogger. The main objective of a reporter is to speak to their audience’s interests and tie those interests to current events — presidential election, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, the Final Four, the Oscars. Timing is everything when pitching a story. (Coincidentally, given the baseball spin, this article is timely because the annual spring opening of the Major League Baseball season in the US is a newsworthy event.)

Pinpointing an Audience

Additionally, in order to successfully market a new app, particularly a kid’s app, the developer has to strike a balance between reaching kids and their parents. David Eckstein fits the bill — a baseball hero to dads and sons who enjoy baseball together. Moreover, Eckstein was featured in the film Champions of Faith, so he appeals to those interested in biblical narratives.

Had Jumping Pages stuck with its original version of the app, the launch would have been too general, and the company would not have had an opportunity to reach a specific demographic. Many app developers feel that their apps are good for everyone — all moms or all kids, for example. Whittling down your audience to a very precise demographic is imperative. Reaching a niche audience, one that will respond positively to your app, is enough to spark word of mouth.

Triple Play and “A” Reviews

With David’s cooperation, Jumping Pages had a narrator whose back story matched that of the story’s protagonist — a star athlete tied to an newsworthy sporting event and who resonates with a specific demographic. Eckstein made for a triple play and thus gave the developer an opportunity for multiple story angles. The app was featured in over two dozen outlets using a variety of angles to appeal to enthusiasts of sports (Yardbarker), religion (The Christian Post), baseball (MLB.com) and technology (Wired and GeekDad).

Also, the timeliness of the World Series gave app reviewers a reason to talk about the app in October. The strategy was effective, and reviews were posted far more quickly than normal. All developers appreciate how important early reviews are, given the usual time lag. The app was praised: “like watching a Disney production,” “… animation is picture perfect and it made me want to read the story again and again,” “…is outstanding with fantastic, vibrant animations and images….” It continues to receive impressive reviews.

David and Goliath App

Cause, Demo and Contest

In addition, through Eckstein’s involvement, Jumping Pages had an opportunity to incorporate a cause marketing component into the launch. Eckstein’s charity of choice, Bags of Hope, helped promote the app to its members and Facebook fans. Next, with Eckstein’s involvement, a public reading and demo of the app was arranged, part of a post-launch strategy that would keep the app top of mind during the approaching holidays. A demo and reading of the app featuring Eckstein and his wife, Ashley, took place on November 30th in a Manhattan Apple store, during the start of the hectic holiday shopping season.

Finally, Jumping Pages sought a contest partner to run an iPad giveaway (iPad being the number one requested gift for the holidays and the platform of the David and Goliath app). It approached Smart Apps for Kids, a leading review website for children’s apps, to be a partner. The contest, which ran the week before Christmas, garnered over 1,500 new fans for Jumping Pages’ Facebook page and generated excitement for the app and for the developer during the critical last-minute holiday shopping period.

Hits the Mark on the First Shot

The founding of Jumping Pages and the launch of the David and Goliath app were a success. The high praise, along with the company’s achievements in development and marketing, have enabled the company to move forward on two forthcoming apps: an original interactive story that teaches kids and parents respect for the home, and an interactive musical app for kids, both set for release in the spring of 2012.

Rather than haphazardly launch its app or throw precious dollars at risky online maneuvers, Jumping Pages has demonstrated that a thoughtful, strategic and patient approach usually works best. Many app developers rush their product to market without considering the consequences. These days, with the overwhelming amount of information and the number of apps, the more carefully a developer plans their strategy, the more likely their product will launch successfully. And like David, they usually have just one shot at getting it right! Thanks to its partnerships, creative story angles, newsworthy connection, cause component, contest and patience, Jumping Pages did it right.

Lessons Learned

Keep these points in mind when planning your strategy:

  • Partnership
    Launches work best in pairs! Choose a partner whose background gels with your app. For example, Ruckus Media just announced a unique partnership with New York City’s PBS station for the “Cyberchase” app in its math series.
  • Relevance
    Find a way to tie your app to a current news or seasonal story. News outlets themselves know this better than anyone: just this month, the Washington Post launched a presidential election iPad app.
  • Audience
    Don’t play to a stadium. Rather, cater to an small meaningful audience. Talking about specific audiences, there are even apps for nose-pickers — as well as lawsuits for alleged patent infringement on those nose-picking apps!
  • Cause
    Share the wealth by helping a needy organization that fits your app’s demographic. This one really woke me up: did you know you could donate .25 to charity every time you hit the snooze button?
  • Relationship
    Incorporate unique ways to address and engage your audience. Self Magazine, a leading women’s lifestyle publication, is unveiling a mobile app game of its annual Self Workout in the Park, featuring fitness, health, fashion games with avatars, virtual goods and puzzles.

(al) (fi)


© John Casey for Smashing Magazine, 2012.

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Manage Events Like A Pro With WordPress

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about css3


  

If you’ve ever tried working with, coding for or just thinking about anything to do with events, you know they are a total nightmare in every possible way. Repeating events, schedules, multiple days, multiple tracks, multiple prices, multiple speakers, multiple organizations, multiple payment options — the list goes on on for quite some time.

Today we’ll show you how to make event management an easy — nay, enjoyable — task by making WordPress do the grunt work for you. We’ll be looking at out-of-the-box WordPress features, plugins and themes and a DIY approach to managing events. Please do let us know if you have more or better ideas.

In A Nutshell

I know some people don’t like to read lengthy reviews, so here are my recommendations in the shortest possible form. We’ll look at all of these recommendations in depth, so read on if you want to know more about them.

If money is not an issue or you just want the best possible combination of products, I recommend using Event Espresso to manage the events and Eventure from ThemeForest to display them. This will set you back at least 5 (more if you need add-ons for Event Espresso), but it will give you one of the most powerful event-management setups you can get without touching any code.

If you don’t need a payment gateway, multiple-day event-specific options or other advanced features or you’re on a budget, you could use Events Manager Free Version, Event Espresso Lite or Events Made Easy. These are all free and easy to use, providing roughly the same functionality. You might also want to purchase a theme to display your events nicely, which will set you back at least , but this is in no way required.

Event Management Features

Before we get to specific tools, let’s look at some of the features we get from an event-management system. You might not need all of these, but looking at them is useful when planning your system.

Events

Obviously, our event-management plugin should at least support events. The ability to create events that are separate from your regular posts is a powerful feature, allowing you to add events to your website’s existing content.

Event Taxonomies

Regular posts can be ordered into taxonomies — categories and tags. Having separate taxonomies for events (i.e. event categories and event tags) is useful for separating them from your regular content. If you organize Web development conferences, you might want to differentiate between design- and coding-related ones, or you might want to single out JavaScript- and Ruby-related ones. Your regular content might have nothing to do with Web development, so having separate taxonomies would come in handy.

Registrations

Allowing people to register for events right there on your website can greatly boost attendance. The path a user has to take from discovering your event to participating becomes that much shorter, which translates into a better user experience and more registrants.

You will also need to be able to manage registrations through the back end. Registrants should be listed somewhere, with easy access to their details.

Payment Gateways

The ability to accept payments online breaks down another barrier between your events and potential attendees. A feature that allows you to accept the widest variety of payment methods would be ideal.

Speaker Management

As a software programmer, I don’t like when I enter data somewhere and it’s not stored in an easily reusable way. The ability to manage speakers across your events is a big plus because it opens up access to powerful features later on. This feature should include the ability to add biographies and photos of speakers to the website.

Venue Management

As with speaker management, having all your locations stored properly will make them ease to reuse in future. If you need to schedule another event at the same venue, there’s no need to reenter the details; just select it from a menu, and off you go.

Participating Organizations

Another nice feature is being able to attach companies to events. Companies will often host events, and giving them some recognition for it is a nice thing to do in return.

Sponsors

Almost all major events have sponsors that contribute in some way (usually with money). They often require you to add their logo in various places. Being able to add the names, descriptions and logos of sponsors for an event would be handy.

Notification Management

There are two kinds of notifications we might want to control. On-site notifications are shown to users once they perform specific actions. When a user successfully pays for a ticket or encounters an error while registering, an on-site notification should pop up to let them know what’s going on. Being able to tailor the language of these to your style would be a nice feature.

The second type of notification are email messages to participants. Confirmations, reminders and so on would all be customized to your style.

Form Management

Controlling the information to gather from registrants is key to finding sponsors and making the lives of users easier. Being able to control this on an event-by-event basis would be best. Some events require less information from users, others more.

Coupon Management

Many events offer coupons for promotional purposes. If you want to engage users beyond your website, then giving coupons for third parties to distribute is a great tactic. Creating multiple coupons for various events would enable you to manage a full-blown coupon campaign.

Price Management

Another way to persuade visitors to register is to offer different price options, such as early-bird pricing, student discounts, last-minute offers and so on.

Multiple Day Events

Many events have so much going on that splitting them into multiple days is the only way to go. Being able to control this from the administration section would be a great plus, especially when coupled with price-management options (such as registration for one day only).

Repeating Events

If you are organizing a repeating event, you wouldn’t want to have to create it from scratch a hundred times a year. Scheduling and repeating tools would help minimize your effort.

Powerful Global and Miscellaneous Settings

A great event-management system has to have great global and miscellaneous settings. Settings for creating an events listing page, changing currencies, setting time zones and so on are all part of a complete system.

Complete Solutions

All of the WordPress plugins in this section are paid plugins, but if you’re running a serious operation, then the first two listed here are well worth the money.

The three best plugins around are Events Planner, Events Manager and Event Espresso. Event Espresso is by far the best of the lot, but all three are versatile and under constant development.

Event Espresso

Event Espresso is the cream of the crop. It has built-in support for almost all of the features mentioned above (except perhaps sponsor management) — and much more! It enables you to set up multiple forms of payment, multiple event dates and times, multiple prices, discounts, promotions (coupons), locations (even virtual ones) and emails. It also creates posts for events automatically and does so much more!

Event Espresso also has a free “Lite” version, which gives you a taste of the solution. The lite version is actually pretty robust and can be used for simple situations. It includes event and attendee management, automated emails, customizable registration and PayPal Standard Payment.

You can easily tailor the design of event listings to your current theme. If you are willing to dish out the money for this plugin, I recommend getting a premium website theme as well and modifying that as needed.

Event Espresso is not cheap, but its feature set is top notch, so the price is justified. The basic version costs .95, which contains all of the features that 95% of people will need. From there, you can download free and paid add-ons to the basic system. Some free add-ons are for payment gateways, social media and calendars.

MailChimp integration, recurring events management, developer customization options, WordPress integration, Groupon integration, multiple event registration and shopping cart integration (coming soon) is available at between and a pop. Most of these are well worth their money, although getting the WordPress members integration for free would have been nice, because that’s not a huge programming leap.

A gallery will be added here with 3-4 images of how an event is displayed by default, a screenshot from the admin, etc. The images can be found in the images/gallery/ folder of this draft

Events Planner

Events Planner is another well-rounded system. It doesn’t have all of the features of Event Espresso, but it does give you a lot to work with. Event categories, tags, instructors, locations, companies, notifications, payments, registrations and more can be managed with ease.

The main difference between Events Planner and Event Espresso is that the former’s UI is less polished, and some features found in both are not as well implemented in it. Despite this, Events Planner remains extremely flexible and robust. If you don’t want to part with almost a hundred bucks, you’ll be able to grab Events Planner for , plus another if you need plugins that supports advanced date- and time-specific functions.

Events Planner does not have a lite version, but you can create a custom installation yourself and test drive the pro version. This is a little unusual for plugins, but it does mean you can fully test it before purchasing.

A gallery will be added here with 3-4 images of how an event is displayed by default, a screenshot from the admin, etc. The images can be found in the images/gallery/ folder of this draft

Events Manager

Events Manager is very similar to Events Planner in many ways. Some features have a better UI in Events Planner, while others are better in Events Manager. Were the price not so different, it would be a matter of preference, but because Events Manager costs a lot more than Events Planner, I would not recommend this solution.

Events Manager will set you back , and the price buys you only one year’s worth of upgrades. There are no plugins or add-ons here (which could be a good thing), but the higher price and losing access to updates after a year seems a bit cheeky at this price point.

Events Manager has a free version that gives you a lot of functionality. It supports event and booking management, recurring events, locations and more.

A gallery will be added here with 3-4 images of how an event is displayed by default, a screenshot from the admin, etc. The images can be found in the images/gallery/ folder of this draft

Final Verdict

Of the three, Event Espresso is the clear winner. It supports every feature the other two do and a lot more. It also has handy (albeit slightly expensive) plugins, with more to come. Even at , if you run a successful business (or plan to), it isn’t a high price to pay for the features you get.

If you can’t spend that much on a plugin, then Events Planner is a very capable alternative that will not leave you wanting. When all is said and done, it does cost less than half of Event Espresso and still has 80% of its features. I would still heartily recommend it.

If you don’t need payment options, however, and you need a free solution, the free version of this plugin might be your best option. Have a look at the partial solutions below.

Partial Solutions

Quite a few solutions do not offer advanced features such as payment gateways and coupon management but do allow some flexibility and customizations for events.

The best options for a simpler approach are All-in-One Event Calendar, Event Organiser and Events Made Easy, as well as the free versions of Event Espresso and Events Manager. In a showdown, it would be a close call between Event Espresso and Events Manager.

All-in-One Event Calendar creates a new post type for your events, allowing you to keep blog posts and events side by side. It supports event categories, tags and a few other options. Because it allows you to create a calendar page, it’s a great solution if you need something simple and workable in minutes.

Event Organiser has all of the same functions plus a lot more! It has permission settings, permalink settings, importing and exporting options and even venue support. In addition, it has an admin calendar view that gives you a useful overview of your events.

Events Made Easy has all of the features of All-In-One Event Calendar (except event tags), and it supports registrations and locations. If you absolutely need to support on-site registration, this would be the easiest to use. The UI is the least polished, though, so it won’t look as pretty in the administration section, but the features are solid.

Final Verdict

Despite the great features offered by these plugins, I would stick with Event Espresso Lite or the free version of Events Manager. Apart from offering more functionality, they will also ease your transition if you need the full-blown system later on.

Using WordPress Out Of The Box

If you don’t need to manage data for each event, WordPress’s core functionality will do just fine. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use posts to store events.
  • If you want to be able to have regular posts as well, distinguish them using categories.
  • Create top-level categories for distinguishing organizations, sponsors and venues.
  • Use your website’s registration functionality to manage past attendees, or use it as a master attendee list if separate registration is not required for your events.
  • Create pages for important information such as payment options.
  • Use PayPal buttons in event posts to let people register and pay directly through PayPal.

Many of these features are far from optimal for event-intensive websites, but if you just need something simple that you can set up in 10 minutes, give it a go.

If you do choose this option, pay close attention to consistency. If your goal is expansion, you are guaranteed to want a better system later on, and consistency will ensure that you can make the switch without a hiccup.

Comparing All Of The Options

There is a lot to learn and a lot of options if you want to get started with event management. To make your life easier, here is a table with all of the features discussed, along with the solutions that support them. Click on the image to go to the large version (it’s a bit small to look at here).

Event-Friendly Themes

While the plugins do a nice job of helping you manage events, they are not designed to make your website pretty, which is equally important. No matter which route you take, you will need to do some work to make things fit perfectly, but some premium themes out there will shorten this process.

Eventure

| Large screenshot | Live preview

Diarise

| Large screenshot | Live preview

Events (from Elegant Themes)

Large screenshot | Live preview

Eventure

Large screenshot | Live preview

Conclusion

Whichever solution you choose, you will have to put in a few hours of work to make your website work well and look good. I usually advise using free software whenever possible, but this happens to be one of those areas where I would go with a complete solution. Getting it right from the get-go will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

If you can afford to spend over 0 on managing events, go for Event Espresso, coupled with one of the premium themes mentioned above.

If you want to spend as little as possible, then try Events Manager Free Version, Event Espresso Lite or Events Made Easy. If you don’t plan on expanding a lot or you need multiple price points, go with Events Made Easy because it is completely free, with no paid version, so supporting the developer by using his product would be a nice gesture.

If you do plan on expanding, go with Event Espresso Lite because the pro version will have everything you need when you’re ready to buy it and you won’t have any migration or data problems.

(al)


© Smashing Editorial for Smashing Magazine, 2012.

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Page To Anti-Trust Critics & Others: “Actions” & Google+ Are An Essential Part Of Search

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about html5

Google’s taken flak over the past year from critics about how the company has been integrating actions such as booking flights or hotels into its search results. It’s also faced criticisms that it is leveraging its search dominance to build its Google+ social network. I found it notable…



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Create a Melting Photo Frame in Photoshop

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An article I was reading about jquery

In this tutorial, we will learn how to create a wooden background with a melting photo frame in Photoshop using the Liquify filter and the turbulence tool.

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Design a brushed metal icon using Photoshop

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An article I was reading about jquery

We will design a nice Apple style brushed metal, aluminium looking icon from scratch, using Photoshop.

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Do It Yourself A/B Testing

Posted on by Portsmouth Media in archives, Blog Comments Off

An article I was reading about html5

I always start marketing interviews with a phone screen of some variant of the following question: “Let’s say this is your first day at Urbanspoon and I show you the following data. We’ve just launched an A/B test of that I’d like you to evaluate. [The example can be almost anything you want to…



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