May 29, 2010

Site Refresh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Wilcox @ 9:59 pm

When I first designed the Wilcox Development Solutions website it was meant to say one thing, stylistically: I design simple, clean websites that look functional.

It was 2003 after all: things should look simple. We still have people on 56K modems, running Internet Explorer on the Mac, and nobody’s really figured out a good way to do layout, anyway

About a year ago I noticed that these problems were solved: a whole lot more people got broadband, we have hyper-modern browsers now, and gosh is there some good looking websites out there (thanks in part, I think, to Blueprint CSS. And the world revolves around web apps way more than it did in 2003.

So, time for a refresh. I work towards the refresh in September, 2008.

Ever heard that saying, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes”?. Yeah, it’s like that.

Tonight I put the finishing touches on the site and deployed it.

Because people are curious, here’s how it used to look:

And how it looks now:

Mostly the same content, but with a much more pleasing layout. The old layout had a good, 7 year, run, but it was time for this refresh.

In addition to BlueprintCSS, I have to thank my other partner in crime: Webby. This made (and will make) layout level changes so much easier

The cobbler’s kids now have nice looking shoes!

May 22, 2010

Turbogearn 2.1: installation, for the impatient, using virtualenv and pip

Filed under: ResearchAndDevelopment,Turbogears — Ryan Wilcox @ 9:33 am

I’m playing with Turbogears 2 more and more, and as part of this process I wanted to improve and codify my process for getting a new TG2 app up and running.

I also really like virtualenv, and am learning to love pip (mostly for the ease of requirements.txt).

I also know that the Installation for the Impatient make me, well, impatient. Ughh, 5 commands.

So I wanted to see if I could make this slightly better with pip, and I kind of did:

$ pip install -E tg2env -i
$ source tg2env/bin/activate
$ paster quickstart my_wonderful_app

Two issues I found when trying to install TG2:

  • You want tg.devtools, not Turbogears2: tg.devtools includes the tools to make new projects, where as the Turbogears package just includes the code to run a Turbogears app.
  • Ultimately leaving out the -i part should work, but I ran into problems that way (had version conflicts with repoze.who), so ended up having to specify the package source with -i. It could be that these are solved by the time you read this.

or, to install the latest beta (at this point, 2.1b2)

$ pip install -E tg2env\
-e 'hg+'\
-e 'hg+'

Ok, it’s still a lot of commands, but it can be done.

Hope this helps enable great Turbogears apps!

May 9, 2010

Announcing Email Form Relay

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Wilcox @ 9:35 pm

The other week I created Email Form Relay: a Google App Engine app to make it really easy to implement a “Contact Us” style form.

As web developers we find ourselves coding “Contact Us” forms alot. In addition to having the form to write, we also have the backend logic to deal with: gather up the TO information, from, subject, body and send it off.

But that means configuring sendmail email servers, testing the sending capabilities, and making sure you don’t leave yourself open to spammers. Then making sure that email gateway stays up.

But we’ve made that easy: sign up with your Goggle API, register your site. Get an API key, put that in a hidden field, and point your form action to Email Form Relay’s server. On submit, Email Form Relay will do the email sending and redirect the user to a page of your choosing.

And that’s it: you provide the form, we provide the email sending.

So check it out: I hope it speeds up your contact form creating experience!