Okay, so here’s a motley collection of useful links I’ve found lately.

Since I moved office to Donegal Town I’ve found myself with a 20 minute each way commute.  No big deal, but I had no desire to extend my working day to regain those 40 minutes – and my day is anyway constrained at one end by the school run and at the other end by my desire for some dinner – so I wanted to make sure I used those 40 minutes at least reasonably well.

So, I turned to look for some podcasts.  Outside of the excellent Boagworld, which I already knew all about, I found the superb Big Web Show curated by none other than Jeffrey Zeldman and kept on track (mostly) by Dan Benjamin.  It’s excellent – truly valuable insight into the workings of a design agency from one of the industries founding fathers, really.  They also have interviews etc. but the ones I like best are just Zeldman and Dan chatting away.

Screen-shot-2011-09-20-at-11.12.07-300x163

Then, in .net magazine just today – there’s a good list of web design podcasts which has a few I hadn’t heard of.  It’s nice to be able to use my time effectively.  (I also consider listening to the new Laura Marling album an excellent use of my time).

So, also with .net magazine – an interesting article on coding better CSS using SASS.  SASS builds on CSS frameworks but, importantly, takes a more programmatic approach to writing CSS – it allows for variables and mixins, giving much greater flexibility to your style sheets and – hopefully – speedier coding.

Sass is an evolution of the CSS syntax that has been enhanced to provide sophisticated tools for intermediate and advanced CSS developers. These tools make it easier to create and maintain style sheets over time by giving greater expressiveness to the style sheet itself.

What else, what else … oh yes, Mulberry – a mobile framework for app development.  I’ve not had a proper play with it – and I don’t know when I will, but it looks quite interesting.  When these things come along I always get slightly nervous about the learning curve but this seems to build on what I already know (HTML5, jQuery and CSS3) to streamline the process of mobile development … although I’m always wary of frameworks promising to ‘transform’ anything of mine into something else.  It’s a bit ‘oooh, the mystery!’.

Mulberry helps web developers rapidly create content-rich native mobile applications. Powered by HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript and built on top of PhoneGap, Mulberry transforms your content and data into a responsive, native, cross-platform mobile experience

Check it out.

Finally, I’m the only web designer in the world who has an interest in responsive web design and hasn’t yet name checked the Boston Globe’s responsive re-design.  I am genuinely excited about this … it seems to be the first major, corporate sponsored, launch of a website using responsive techniques to serve content to all devices.  Nice stuff – and there’s a good write up of it in .net magazine (again!).

The screenshots below show 3 different sizes (although the images themselves have had to be resized – they roughly correspond to screens of 1024px wide, 700px, and 410px) – this is the same content just in differently sized browser windows.  There’s no server side trickery to achieve this – this is all done with CSS media queries.  Good stuff.

Full Screen:

Boston Globe - full screen

Next size down:

tabletscreen - boston globe

And then for mobile / small screen devices:

mobilescreen - boston globe

Right, that’s quite enough from me …