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Mobile-responsive tables

Many mobile websites have tables, but they are usually really hard to use on mobile devices. Either the table is too wide which makes the text too small, or it's zoomed in and you can't see the entire row at once. Here's a solution that uses a combination of CSS and Javascript to create CSS styles that will take any table row and display it with its headers all in one vertical block.

Contenteditable text editor in a web browser

Early this year I experimented with the contenteditable tag in html as a way to build a web-based text editor with local autosave and the ability to play with multiple files that I called Cowriter. It's designed for writers, so there are few formatting options. For the most part it was to learn about how localStorage and local database queries work in HTML5. But the cool thing is what I did after this.

HTML CSS3 3D Panorama viewer with accelerometer and compass in the stock

I built a panorama viewer a while back to figure out CSS3D transforms. It's pretty cool on a desktop, just click and drag to move it anywhere (assuming you've got a browser that supports CSS3). It's mind-blowing on an iPad, just wave it around to get a window on the virtual environment.

Circular rotation in Javascript

I really hate math. I'm not very good at it. What I am good at, however is Googling things. I am convinced that this is the key to being a good programmer. Since you can't be good at everything you do, Google lets you pretend. So I pretended to know something about sine, cosine, and tangent formulae and this is what I came up with.

How to stroke text in Illustrator: A tutorial

Conventional designer wisdom holds that you never stroke text in Adobe Illustrator.  It strokes the inside of the letter forms which deforms their shapes. The 'professional' way to add a stroke is to paste a copy of the text behind and add twice the stroke to that.  But then you have to edit two layers of text if there's a change.  This is dumb, and I know a better way.  But first, let me tell you a story.

How I saved a client $60,000 (or, Where To Tap)

Long ago--in a more steampunk age--there was a rich factory owner whose factories were sitting silent.  The boiler that powered all of them was broken. He hired expert after expert, consultants and scientist with rooms full of scientific-looking testing equipment. None of them could figure out why the boiler wouldn't hold any pressur

One day, as the factory owner was getting very desperate, an unassuming boilerman with a very small toolbox came to his office.

"I hear you're having trouble with your boiler," the boilerman said.

"I am," the owner replied, "but all of the best boilermen have been through here and none of them have been any help. What makes you any different?"

"Probably nothing," the boilerman said. "How about I take a look at it. If I can't fix it, you've lost nothing."

The factory owner thought for a moment, sighed his resignation, and led him to the boiler. The man looked at it for a moment and opened his bag to reveal a small rubber mallet, a piece of chalk, and nothing else.

"That's it? Where is all of your equipment?" the factory owner laughed.

The boilerman nodded, smiled, and marked a small 'X' on the side of the boiler. He picked up the mallet and tapped on the chalk mark, and the boiler roared to life. The owner was surprised but very excited. 

A few days later, he got a bill from the boilerman for $1000. He called the boilerman into his office.

"What's this?" he shouted. "All you did was tap it with your little hammer! I'd like for you to itemize this bill for me, please."

The boilerman returned with another bill. The owner read it.

"For tapping with the mallet, $15. For knowing where to tap, $985."


How much does a website cost?

Unless your web designer is some shady website selling ready-made HTML templates, this question can only be answered by one number: 42.

Use htaccess to rewrite URLs with query strings

I recently had to update my site from ColdFusion URLs with a query string to search engine-friendly URLs. A lot of those blog entries were being hit every day, so I wanted to port them over and rewrite the URL as a 301 redirect so Google results would still point to the right place. What I discovered is that your friendly neighborhood htaccess file is up there with regex as some of the most misunderstood arcana out there.


I sacrificed a few chickens, and here is what I learned.

Ian Tregillis web site

Very few people would notice this, but my magnum opus of websites, iantregillis.com, has gone through some incredibly significant changes lately.

Web design as an art form

Maybe if people started seeing web design as an art form they'd realize how many crayon drawings are floating around out there.

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