A few weeks ago I was approached by a good friend with information of a local Paintless Dent Repair technician, who was looking to move into the digital era. Martin was looking for a simple clean interface on his website, with the ability to handle requests from potential customers for estimates of works.
Working from a mock up Martin and Alex had developed I put together a very simple interface for the site http://www.dent-remover.co.uk the sire was developed in Macromedia Dreamweaver, and is linked to a database backend which is used for storing the enquiry details. Hidden away to the right of the page is a jquery login window for Martin to login to the site with.
This is a simple example of my work, not the most technically advanced sites I have built – but it’s suits it’s purpose perfectly. So if you are looking for a estimate for a dent to be removed from your pride and joy why not give him a try.


The Mac operating system comes with some pretty powerful tools out of the box. One of which, I am a big fan of. The Mac ‘Automator’ is a basic almost script editor which uses workflows to automate common tasks, and with all tools like this they can be manipulated to replace full blow applications.

A long time ago applications which downloaded entire websites at the click of a button became very popular. However they lively hoods are now hanging in the balance.
Using the automator tool you can replicate the way they used to work. I do often find myself browsing through galleries of images and needing to download all of them on the page. 
To build up such a script all you need to do is launch the Automator application, from the templates window select the Workflow option:
 
Now, using the options on the left hand side, highlight the Internet icon in the library. Then from the ‘actions’ pane double click the ‘Get Current Webpage from Safari’. You should find you will now have a new item in the workflow on the right hand side. This item does what it says on the tin, it will capture the URL of the webpage you are currently viewing in safari.
Next you will need to double click the ‘Get Image URLs from Webpage’. This item will crawl the webpage and grab a list of URLs of any pictures included on the page.
Now select the ‘Download URLs’ item from the list. It’s although worth noting at this stage you will need to specify a destination for your images to be downloaded to. As you can see below I rip my images to a folder aptly labelled ‘Rip’ inside my images folder. I use this as a temporary holding area.
The next step in my workflow in a simple ‘Growl’ notification. This could be expanded on if you so wished, to include a script to email you on completion or something similar. Once done you should find your workflow looks something similar to the one below:
To save you having to build this from scratch, click here to download the workflow.


OnewayWell ok.. Perhaps that’s going a step too far.. However oneway offers a quick and easy way of uploading files to either FTP or SSH sites direct from your ‘right click’ context menu.

The application is a tiny 1.6MB download, and has barely any foot print at all. Once installed all you need to do is find the file you want to upload, right click on the file and choose Upload To.. from your context menu. This will then launch the connection creation form, where you can specify what you want to connect to and which remote folder you want to upload to:

Once completed, the details added are stored and a new context menu is added to the list. The next time you highlight a file and click it Oneway will automatically upload the file to the directory. 

This really is a quick and simple way to upload large or small volumes of files.

You can download OneWay here (Requires OS X 10.5 or higher)



DropBox
Online storage solutions seem to be popping up all over the place thick and fast. Each featuring it’s own good and bad points. One of my favourite’s is Dropbox. As with many online storage solutions drop box features it’s own feature rich desktop client. The client is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and some mobile devices. Some of the clients features include: File Sync, File Sharing, Online Backup and Web access. For a complete list of features check out the website.
One of the best points of the Dropbox client is it’s ease of use. The local Dropbox file system is just like your native file system and fits in seamlessly with it’s surroundings. The only give away being the slightly different icons and different context menu. 
The context menu (right click) gives you access to some of Dropbox’s main features from inside your local Dropbox location. Features include ‘grabbing’ the public URL, navigating to the Dropbox webpage and reverting to a previously backed up file.
DropBox FileEach file stored inside the local Dropbox folder contains an addition to it’s icon, in the form of a tick. This is a quick and easy way of checking the status of files in your local and remote Dropbox locations.
For example, Dropbox has the ability to make files you place inside the ‘Public’ folder available to download by anyone who you pass the link onto. So if you copy a file into you local DropboxPublic folder, wait for the green tick to appear then right click on the file and click ‘copy public link’. Your clipboard will now contain a link to a public version of the file you have uploaded. An example of this is a PDF file stored in my public dropbox:  http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4204803/burgerking.pdf this is a collection of promotional vouchers for a popular fast food chain. This method works with almost any file and on any version of the Dropbox client.
The Dropbox service also offers a web-based front end to your ‘Dropbox files’, thus giving you the ability to access your files from anywhere in the world with an active internet connection. This combined with the ability to Sync the contents to as many devices as you want creates quite a powerful collaboration solution, for groups of people who work on large numbers of files.
The sync’ing also gives you a seamless background backup solution, ensuring that all your critical data is backed up without you having to do a thing!
The online storage can even be used to host a simple website which you can share with your friends and family.
Dropbox accounts are completely free if you are happy with the 2GB’s of storage, however if you are hungry for more you can upgrade your account to either 50GB or 100GB’s of storage space for a small monthly fee.
If you are interested in finding out more information about Dropbox, or in signing up for an account you can find their website here.


NetBeans 6.7

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Upon switching to Mac OS X I needed to find a new development studio for my PHP works. I searched high and low and read many tutorials from many forums around the world. However, I have finally settled with NetBeans. NetBeans is an open-source application, which is not only capable of syntax highlighting PHP but Java, C/C++, Groovy, Ruby and many many more. It supports many platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS C and even Solaris.

The latest version (6.7) includes integration with Project Kenai which is a collaborative environment for developers working on open-source projects.
The NetBeans website also contains many hands on tutorials and how-to’s to get you started with the NetBeans environment. Developed by the NetBeans community, it’s becoming an excellent resource. Not only for NetBeans usage but also general developed tips and tricks! They even offer online training courses!
The NetBeans developers promote plugin development and host a portal boasting a massive collection of application plugins.
So, what are you waiting for? Download your NetBeans IDE now!



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