High Sierra Safari

With this post title it almost sounds like I’m getting in an open topped vehicle in Africa to shot something, though I never would, instead I talk of Apple’s latest browser release with macOS 10.13 High Sierra.

One welcome feature addition to the browser for me is that of stopping those pesky auto play videos. One of the news sites I regularly visit here in Australia employs these and gives you but three seconds to cancel its play, barely enough time. Now, with this latest version of Safari I can let it go as the video will never play without my interaction, thank you Apple!

They also saw fit to include a no tracking feature, I only wish they could go further and recognise ads and strip these out. I’ve read many posts from advertisers and site owners concerned by this move, but from my perspective not getting these targeted ads is wonderful, I plain don’t want them and have never clicked one.

Other than speed improvements I can’t say I’ve noticed much else, a good upgrade.

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What a week

It has been a busy week in this party of one.

Last week I was told I would be working on refreshing the Research Ethics manuals that are currently under review. My part involves redesigning and making these manuals look fresh, they’ve licensed similar manuals from another university and wanted to use these as a basis for improving our own. The source documents are particularly wordy, especially the comment insert boxes which I think are over-the-top wordy. I sent through an initial design for the first document on day one just hoping for some feedback, little did I expect glowing feedback and no requests for changes, does this ever happen?

The most challenging issue I have with these documents, apparently there will be 46 in total, is that they will all interlink, and will be PDF’d. I did an initial test after creating the second document the following day, queue alarm bells, it just didn’t work within Microsoft Word, the links were trying to call the word documents and in specific locations. Perhaps it is my lack of knowledge within this area, I don’t typically need to do such things. Another annoyance was how the footer was behaving, on some pages text would but up against, on others there would be a decent gap, it was bugging me on so many levels.

I decided today I would move to InDesign and see how this application handled interlinking, I knew for sure I was not going to have the footer issues. It took me hours to get my document in, build the hyperlinks up, and get the commentary boxes in place; it is certainly nowhere near as fast to get the document to the same state as it was in Word, but the look is far better for the extra effort. I now need to prepare the second document to allow me to check linking between the two and InDesign performs – CROSSING FINGERS!

I met this afternoon with representatives of our IT department to discuss process mapping I’d been working on recently within our department. I’ve worked within Visio for a few years, however I’ve always done so without any formal training, they will be training me to work to their formal EPC specifications and storing the diagrams within their server. All is still created within Visio, however to a formal structure with naming conventions to maintain consistency across diagrams. Some of the diagrams we have outside of their system are highly detailed and difficult to read when scaled to fit an A3 page, I noticed they mentioned breaking down but it will be interesting to see how they go about this – will be appreciated by all the ability to read once more.

Been a bit of tiring week too, worked a 14 hour day Wednesday between work, then working at home for one of the schools on their website… utterly exhausted after that one, slept like a log. I am grateful for the weekend now and chance of a sleep-in. Thank heavens is winter and sun not rising early right now! Enjoy the weekend, I shall, not raining – woot!

Sometimes the web is so archane

We are now at the tail end of what has been an almost 5 month upgrade process to our research administration system. The process has been complicated for us this year due to the university having also externalised its serves to a cloud services provider, their having very rigid rules that caused our vendor repeated problems maintaining their access.

We’ve also had repeated problems with our vendor when patching the system, no sooner had one problem been fixed when another would be introduced. Such was the case the other day when our eForm as a tab suddenly developed a nasty case of dual scrollbars whenever hidden sections were revealed. The fault lay with an <iframe> height growing to larger than the height of the containing <div>, thus it is told to scroll. We’ve now been forced to submit a ticket to request this be looked at, it’s not a good look when launching to users with this (lack of) functionality and telling them to work around it, we’re likely to get more than a few complaints.

It is such annoyances that truly highlights the real limitations of the web and how constricted it is, that javascript hacks are require to cover for HTML faults when an <iframe> gets used. Why can’t the container just adapt without added help?

Dreamweaver 2017

I was sitting at work waiting for a lunchtime appointment to arrive the other day when finally the wifi kicked in on my MacBook Air to the on-campus network, yet despite I wasn’t able to connect to my personal emails, that I was needing for the meeting. Suddenly though my creative cloud app came to life announcing updates for most of the apps I have installed, photoshop, illustrator, bridge, indesign and dreamweaver. 

I took advantage of the on-campus network’s speed of course to download the multi gig update, downloading at home would have taken hours instead of 20 minutes or so. When I got home that night I checked out what had changed, and didn’t Dreamweavet 2017 just get perhaps its biggest update since Adobe bought Macromedia many years ago and took stock of the app. 

One of the biggest complaints about Dreamweaver has often been how bloated the application has become, it was often very slow and no matter the platform you were often faced with pauses for one reason or another. On my Mac I’d no sooner start the previous version up and be hit with the beach ball for 20-30 seconds, I’d honestly started using Coda and Textwrangler to do a number of edits wherever I might avoid using the app. 

The latest version has done away with the in-app preview mode, instead it is now providing a live preview mode connected with web browsers, as you update within Dreamweaver you can see your changes reflected in the browser itself. The effectiveness of this change really is limited I think to dual screen setups, however I don’t know that we developers truly need to see realtime changes, so laptop use is doable. 

Changes to the code editor are also very nice, and it would seem Adobe has been taking a big look at their competitors here, I did notice in one of their preview vids the ability to enter code across multiple lines, I can’t recall the product off-hand but I do know there is an editor that has offered this functionality for a few years. Updates to code hints are also quite nice. 

It will be interesting to read the reviews of this latest version and to see industry reaction to the changes, many had led ones upon those who’d used Dreamweaver as lesser developers for doing so, I wonder would this update shift their thinking at all?