New Designer and Developer Resources – September 2014

At Go Media, I’m a front-end developer, a podcaster, a content creator, a designer, and a maker. Just like you, I like to wear a lot of hats and I like to keep up on the current trends, tools, and resources that hit my inbox and Feedly every day. Almost once a week, I sign up to be a beta tester for a new app, or install a new extension to see if it betters my productivity on certain tasks. When I find something awesome, I share it with various members of our team of Cleveland website designers, depending on what issues it’s solving.

And, I figured it might be time to share that with you as well.

This Month’s Resources

Here’s what I found this month that has helped me in my daily work, both in and out of the office.

Easy and Efficient JPEG and PNG Compression with the force of an elephant

compress-jpeg

Just like last month, we needed to compress a huge file sent in from a client so that viewers could consume it. Instead of PDFs, though, this time we were working with full resolution photography. With the help of CompressJPEG.com, I was able to compress 12 photos from 30.7mb to 11.6mb.

Pixel Art is a thing.

pixel-art

Pixel art is making it’s way back into our daily lives. Seems like every time I check out Humble Bundle, there’s a set of new games using the old design style. I’m guessing the popularity of Minecraft helped that quite a bit. While I’m far from an illustrator, I’ve tried to pick up drawing as a hobby. And, creating pixel art would be a nice ability to add to my repertoire. The Kandi Runner tutorial on DesignTuts is a good one to start you off as it takes you from a sketch to pixel art.

Automatic Face Detection for Generating Cropped Thumbnails

wp-eyes

Ever wish you had more control over the thumbnails that WordPress generates for your media and featured images? My Eyes Are Up Here is a new plugin that helps you get the perfect crop, especially as it pertains to images with human subjects.Sarah Gooding of WPTavern

Holy crap. Where was this for any project ever?! And, it’s not just for photos of faces. You can use this plugin to customize the thumbnail a bit better without jumping through hoops.

How do you deal with UX problems?

uxporn

I love seeing what amazing developers and designers do every day. I’m thankful that there are sites like UXPorn to give me a great curated list of some of the best. Whether I’m needing some inspiration on a new design, or some help solving problems with current builds, sites like UXPorn help me move forward (and give me some new levels to strive for).

Muz.li is another great curator as well, and it lives inside of Chrome with a handy app. This pulls in the best from sites like Dribbble, Behance, and Awwwards.

Saving Images with the WordPress Media Uploader

As a WordPress development shop, we’re constantly building Custom Post Types. We also do a lot of work with custom page templates using meta boxes. And quite frequently, those meta boxes include image uploads. However, it’s always been a pain to bring the media library in multiple times on a page.

In this how-to by TutsPlus.com, you can see the step by step process of adding multiple featured images into a page.

Here’s another how-to that I borrowed from earlier this month to add a class name to the body tag.

On My Radar

Here’s a few more resources that I’ve bookmarked, but haven’t quite found a use for just yet.

Choosing the best project manager

pm

We’re in the process of deciding on a new Project Management app/service (BTW, we’re hiring a Project Manager. You should join the team.). Besides the mainstream few (Basecamp, etc), here’s a few others we’ve got our eye on:

92five App

Self-hosted, responsive, built on PHP, HTML5, CSS3, and backbone.js so it’ll with our hosting and with our developers. Plus, it’s beautiful.

Slack

Cross device that hooks into just about everything we use and more, this setup looks to be a BASECAMP KILLER in some respects. The best part is, we can still keep using what we have been, but be less dependent on them. Including email. Which will make things a lot less confusing as we transition.

Remote Video in your WordPress Media Library

remote-media

Quite a few of our clients post video from their YouTube and Vimeo accounts to their WordPress-powered blogs. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to do the embedding directly from WordPress without the need to going to YouTube and copy/pasting the URL into the editor? With the Remote Media Libraries plugin, you can do just that. It’s a real slick way to get the video(s) you want without having to leave WordPress.

Only problem I have with this right now is that it uses a shortcode rather than relying on WordPress’s built-in oEmbed technology. You could just paste the URL and be good to go. Hopefully in the future they change that.

And that’s it.

That’s this month’s resources and tools that I’ve found useful during my day to day goings on. Hopefully you find them useful as well.

If you’ve got something you want me to check out, leave a comment here on the Zine. You can also tweet me @bryangarvin and drop me an email.

About the Author, Bryan Garvin

Bryan Garvin

I'm a Web Designer and Front-End developer at Go Media. I have major crushes on Wordpress and jQuery. I'm pretty sure I have the best beard in Cleveland, OH.

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