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User Experience

CSS Formatted Table

On 28, Feb 2007 | No Comments | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

Much like my previous post about CSS buttons, here is some ultra-lean code for making tables look nice with CSS. And as with the previous post, much smarter code ideas can probably be found at the Yahoo! UI Library.

Screenshot:

CSS Formatted Table

Some simple XHTML/CSS for tables. CSS Formatted Table (HTML)

The number you are dialling is annoying

Since the great 416/647 split of 2001 most of us living in Southern Ontario have become accustomed to dialling 10 digits to make local calls. I haven’t.

While I rarely forget to dial the area code (416, 647 or 905), I often mistakenly dial 1 first as if I were dialling long distance. In either instance, I am informed of my mistake by a robot and forced to hang up and dial again.

Dear POTS head executives:

  • In the instance of a superfluous 1, why not connect me anyway? (warning optional)
  • In the instance where I neglect to include the area code, why not assume I mean my area code and proceed with the call? (warning optional)

OS X’s Spotlight: The modern Whack-A-Mole

On 22, Feb 2007 | 9 Comments | In Apple, User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

SpotlightI love how Spotlight in OS X can find information I need inside files I had long forgotten about. All I need to do is type in a few letters of what I’m looking for and then prepare for the unpleasant experience of modern Whack-A-Mole. Spotlight returns files immediately in its pulldown menu, but also begins sorting, reordering and removing them before the loading is complete. Much bobbing and weaving required. What’s worse, if I have the patience to wait for the results to fully load, I am unable to reveal a selected file with the typical ⌘-R shortcut. I don’t always want to open files I’m looking for, and if i do, I don’t always want them opened in their default applications. I need to bring up a separate window, then perform ⌘-R. Why can’t I just have my right-click? And can’t the sorting and grouping be optional?

Apple, how did you ship Spotlight like this?

Code of the Year

On 22, Feb 2007 | 3 Comments | In User Experience | By Ryan Feeley

Like most people, I have difficulty writing my first cheque of the new year. I always write the wrong year. Apparently, I am also like most web sites.

Many big, respectable and seemingly well-maintained sites show a previous year in their copyright footer. Some are painfully out of date.

If this was something that must be done manually, I could understand. But the content on a web page is not written with a Bic Grip Roller. It’s generated by a computer that knows the current year.

Here’s some code you can use to keep your copyright current. Examples for Perl, Python, etc. are appreciated!

In Javascript:

<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
//<![CDATA[
var mydate = new Date();
var year= mydate.getYear();
if (year<2000){year+=1900};
if (year>2100){year-=1800};
var time = ( year );
document.write(time);
//]]>
</script>

In PHP:

<?php echo date("Y");?>

In parsed HTML (aka SHTML, must be enabled in Apache):

<!--#config timefmt=" %Y" -->
<!--#echo var="DATE_LOCAL" -->

In Java (JSP, thanks to Tim!):

<%= (new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy")).format( new Date() ) %>

In Smalltalk (thanks to Tim!):

^Date today year asString

In Ruby (thanks to Scott Boms):

add the following to a helper (eg. application_helper)

def copyright_year t = Time.now t.year end

then in the view file, just put <%= copyright_year %>