[experiment] Timeline.js – Revolutionary User Interfaces

This is an example of Timeline.js displaying the change of user interfaces over time.

[Rails] How to install Thoughtbot’s Suspenders

Suspenders by Thoughtbot

I’m a HUGE fan of the team over at Thoughtbot. I’ve been looking over a couple different Rails templates as a means to speed up new project setups, so I decided to try on their Suspenders.

Unfortunately, following their installation instructions may get you to where I was: Nowhere Land.  I kept getting these wonderful error messages anytime I would create a new project:

fatal: remote error:   Could not find Repository thoughtbot/suspenders-gem

From the code, it appears the trout file was trying to checkout from their old repository. Their latest code on master seems to be the best place for updates, so a quick fix was to just build the gem from there (code found in the Rakefile):

git clone git://github.com/thoughtbot/suspenders.git
cd suspenders
mkdir -p pkg
gem build suspenders.gemspec
mv suspenders-.gem pkg
cd pkg
gem install suspenders-.gem

I use RVM (as you should too), and before I performed this I switched to my 1.9.2@rails3.1 gem set that I use in the directory that I start in for all my projects. Something you may want to consider as well.

Booom! Suspenders in full force! Enjoy.

Learn to Code Interactively with Codecademy

Codecademy

Codecademy

When it comes to learning how to program, let’s face it: Learning by example is best.  The greatest tools I’ve used to learn a new language have always revolved around some sort of Interactive Environment.  From Ruby’s IRB to PHP’s Interactive Shell.  Heck, Python’s interpreter uses one by default!

Codecademy has learned this fact as well, and has brought to the masses one of the greatest tools to just plain learn how to code.  They’ve combined the interactive shell with good ‘ol fashioned competition.  Using their site, you can not only track your progress, but you can compare your progress to your friends; and make sure you blow them out of the water 😉

Add the Rails console to your browser!

Rack/Rails web-console

Rails web console

[UPDATE]:  Please note, this gem is for DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES ONLY.  Do not use in production.

I came across an awesome gem today: rack-webconsole.  As the name suggests, it adds the rails console to your browser!  No more switching back and forth between the terminal.  This gem is awesome!  This has to be the easiest installation too.  Just add this line to your Gemfile:

gem 'rack-webconsole'

Once you’ve bundled:

bundle install

Just restart your web server and you’re up and running.  Bingo!  Unity.

If you really don’t understand how useful this is, then you really need to read the Secrets of the Rails Console Ninjas.

Zerply comes out of beta – what they learned

Zerply Infographic #2 - beta stage

Zerply beta stage

Zerply, an awesome “new” service to get a quick professional profile, recently released an infographic with some pretty cool statistics they gathered from their pre-release beta phase.  According to their study:

  • 10,879 users joined during the private beta
  • 77% of users stuck through to the public release
  • Sundays were lame for signups
  • People generally signed up during the middle of the week.  Especially on a Thursday.
  • 40% of beta user signups were viral (users inviting users via Twitter and Facebook)
  • The top services people listed were: 1. twitter, 2. facebook, 3. linkedin, 4. skype

Awesome stuff!  A tip of the old hat for you Zerply.  Check me out.

11 Fundamental Guidelines for E-Commerce Checkout Usability

Smashing Magazine recently posted this awesome summation of a research report by Baymard Institute, to help uncover many issues related to abandoned shopping carts.  The study uncovered several nothings that you should avoid to optimize your conversion rates.  Here’s a brief summation of the 11 fundamental guidelines for e-commerce checkout usability from Smashing’s article:

  1. Your checkout process should be completely linear
  2. Add descriptions to form field labels
  3. Avoid contextual words like “Continue”
  4. Visually reinforce all sensitive fields on the payment page
  5. Don’t use an “Apply” button in your form
  6. Format field for expiration date exactly as it appears on credit card
  7. Use only one column for form fields
  8. Use shipping address as billing address by default
  9. Use clear error indications
  10. Registration should be optional
  11. Don’t require seemingly unnecessary information

The full report is available for purchase from Baynard’s website.

[facebook] How to add all friends to an event

So you’re on Facebook, you’ve created a new event, filled out all the details, and you click the button to invite all your friends. Oh wait, there is no “add all friends” button! Those user-interface Nazis over at Facebook make you slave over the pain of clicking on each and every one of your 800 friends.

Well my friends, Nazis never win. Using your favorite JavaScript console (I used the one that comes with Google Chrome), you can copy & paste the below code to select all your friends.*

* before you enter the below code, you have to first go to edit the event, and click on the button to invite your friends. When the window with a list of your friends pops up, open your JavaScript console and enter the following:

// First get the container with all your friends
var friends = document.getElementById('all_friends');

// Now we go through and select each friend
for(var i=0; i < friends.childNodes.length; i++) { fs.click(friends.childNodes[i]); }

Bam! Just like that, your friends were selected. Well, depending on how fast your computer is, or how many friends you have, you might need to wait up to 30 sec. For the script to run.

Enjoy the freedom 🙂