Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How I authored a technical book?


Here is the reason why I have not been writing over the last 6-8 months! I was busy writing my first technical book - Mastering jQuery Mobile with +Chip Lambert and what better subject to choose than jQuery Mobile. I have been extremely lucky to get the opportunity to author a book with Chip.

This project started off about a year back, when I was approached by Packt Publishing to review this book that was being written by Chip. I instantly grabbed this opportunity, as I was getting a chance to review some work on a framework that I totally love. Chip had about 4 chapters complete at this time and I had provided my comments on the content of these chapters to the best of my knowledge. I was waiting for the further chapters, when I fine morning, I received a mail from the content editor of the book...

I thought that it would be the next chapter for review. But nope! It was him asking me if I would like to author this book with Chip, to speed up the process as Chip had fallen ill. Now this was a big decision to make, so many unknowns, the original code was not written by me, I did not know what was going to be a part of the further chapters, so basically I would be completely shooting in the dark! I brought up these things with the publisher and I was assured that the on-boarding process would be made very smooth. I finally decided to take the plunge!

Over the next month, I received a whole lot of documents and the contract was signed between the publisher and myself. The work began. We split the pending work between Chip and myself and started working on our parts. The process went through several discussions and delays between managing our work and completing this project. However, we were able to complete the first drafts of all chapters of the book in the month of June.

This was followed by proof-readings and error checks and then a couple of rounds of reviews and then finally the book was uploaded to the printers. The book was finally published on July 31, 2015. The book is now available for purchase at Amazon. In case you wish to purchase your copy or copies in bulk, you can reach me and we can figure out some discount on the total price based on the number of copies needed. If you already have purchased a copy, please take a moment to give us a review on Amazon.

I also signed my first copy and that was such an awesome moment. Never in my life had I dreamt of writing a book, leave alone signing one as an author. But it happened when one of my colleague bought a copy and asked me to sign it for him.


Hope you enjoy the book and learn enough from it, as much as we enjoyed working on it and getting it out to you all...

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Annual Retrospective - Welcome to the new year 2015!



    The curtains are about to fall and another year will have gone by. A brief interval, the curtains go up and we would be looking forward to the next year - 2015! This past year, I wrote comparatively few posts, but some really good ones. Though I have shared a few posts this year round, I have learned new things and techniques this year. I have upgraded my skills and am looking forward to put these to use in the new year and share new things with you all.

    I did a retrospective of what I shared during the last year and the data has revealed the top-shared and read posts over the last year. I present to you the top 5 posts of the last year.
  1. Exploring Jquery Mobile 1.4.0
  2. Material UI, Google Polymer & Web Components
  3. Difference between word-break: break-all versus word-wrap: break-word
  4. The bitter divorce of PSD and HTML
  5. Setting up a Sandbox for Google Polymer
    This year Spatial Unlimited crossed the 300K visits mark. All thanks to you readers and all of you who wanted to learn something new and liked what I shared. A heart felt thank you to all of you readers! Keep reading and giving your feedback. I also have set up a Facebook page for Spatial Unlimited and you can stay connected with me here as well. You can share new things on this page, ask questions and we can try to find solutions to some problems and issues in front-end web development together.


    So far I have been writing from India and now am writing from a new postal address in USA. It's a new year, new techniques, new skills and a new place. A perfect recipe to share some great techniques and articles with the community. Things are looking bright and I am hoping to write more this year! Hope you all had a great year too and wish you all a very happy new year 2015! Stay tuned for more updates and new things. See you in the new year!

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas

    Hello everyone! Its been a long time since I last wrote. Got real busy with some exciting projects and exciting opportunities. It has been a crazy and really exciting and knowledgeable journey this year. Hope you all had a great year and are looking forward to the holiday season! I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas!

    As you all relish the goodies, decorate every nook and corner of your home and enjoy the get-togethers... May the joy and festivities continue to radiate in your lives, long after Christmas is gone! Stay safe, enjoy the holidays and get refreshed to join me on an enriching journey in the new year! I'll make sure that I write consistently and write about new things I learn.

    Signing off for the holiday season!



If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Crisis tool for Jammu & Kashmir floods

    To further aid the rescue efforts in Jammu & Kashmir, Google has launched a crisis map with updated satellite imagery showing the incredible extent of the flooding. Let's hope that this crisis map helps the rescue agencies, volunteers and others involved in the rescue efforts to respond to the crisis by identifying the flood zones, evacuation routes and weather conditions.

Flooded area of central Srinagar near the Jhelum river

    Please share the word and do your bit to speed up the rescue efforts in Jammu & Kashmir.

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The bitter divorce of PSD and HTML

    Today's article is an interesting post that I read. The original post in Portuguese and authored by Fabricio Teixeira can be found at arquiteturadeinformacao (Now don't ask me pronounce this =)).


    Some are calling it the death of PSD but I prefer calling it a "divorce". PSD and HTML are both healthy and living strong, just that they do not live together anymore. "PSD to HTML", which for years was the most accurate and sometimes the only right path to web design process, seems like has its days counted.

    Firstly you draw a page in Photoshop; impeccable layout, representing exactly how the web pages would appear when opened in a browser. After a sign-off on this picture (PSD) from the client the front end developer transforms these pictures into HTML, CSS and Javascript. The assets are cut, one by one, exported from the PSD and integrated into the HTML. Plugins and new tools are created in the process and some companies even charge upto $100 to do this process for you.

    As articulated by Nick Pettit on the treehouse Blog, PSD to HTML is a process that makes perfect sense at first glance. It can be a difficult process to start working on the development of a web page without knowing exactly how the designers hope to get the final result. Experience in PSD first and then create a final product seems to be a very reasonable process.

    It turns out that the scenario has changed considerably in recent years. The direction in which the web design is heading brings some aspects that make this process of PSD to HTML to start getting outdated. Among the major changes are:

Design in CSS

    After CSS3, many of the visual effects that were earlier achieved only with the tools of Photoshop (shadow, rounded corners and gradients among many others) started becoming available by mere use of CSS code. Previously, if a box had rounded corners, then the developer had to export the edges as images and make them fit to the pixel. Most modern browsers now support the CSS to implement this. Rare are the scenarios where we still have to support the troublesome Internet Explorer.

Responsive Design

    If you are a front end web developer, you are pretty much aware of the challenges involved in designing websites that run on all resolutions available in the market - especially after the rise of smart phones, tablets, phablets and the chaos by the lack of standardization of the screen sizes by the manufacturers of these devices. The Responsive Design comes as a very effective solution to these problems. Now back to the example of rounded corners. It is almost impossible to make these fit perfectly on all resolutions available in the market and it deceives those who think that its ok to support the 3 or 4 most common breakpoints and chuck the rest.



Flat Design

    With the trend of flat design setting in, interfaces without much shadow, bevel, emboss and all that jazz allow more and more sites to be designed using CSS alone using images for photos and specific backgrounds only. This has resulted into greatly reduced use of Photoshop visual effects.

Market Maturity

    Over the years, the web design industry has matured significantly. Designers and developers have begun to learn what works well and avoid what does not. In most companies, designers are expected to have an accurate knowledge of what is achievable with the currently available technologies. No crazy solution is proposed which hasn't been tried and tested earlier.

Does that mean Photoshop is dead?

    No. Definitely not. Photoshop is still very important in web design. However, it is now more of a sketchbook than an actual step in the process of web development. Designers test solutions in Photoshop to determine the harmony of the page and display the visual identity for customers and other stakeholders. The layout also serves as a discussion tool for everyone to come a consensus on the look that the product should have.

Designing in the browser

    Brad Frost is one of the programmers who has captured this shift in thinking. According to him, the best way to design a website in a browser is to get the developer to code on the same day the designer starts thinking on the branding. Below is a interview in which he tells a bit about the process that he usually applies in the projects he participates in.


    This is how the sketch board looks now a days for the developers while the designers create the branding for the customer.


    This is how a once popular and sometimes the only method to generate good functioning web pages is slowly and steadily making way for a more developer oriented web development with little to no dependency on Photoshop assets and layouts.

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Setting up a Sandbox for Google Polymer

    In the last article, we got introduced to Google Polymer which implements Google's Material Design for the web. Google Polymer is based on the concept of Web Components and provides users with 2 types of components that can be readily utilized - the Polymer Core Elements and the Paper Elements.

    Polymer's core elements are a set of visual and non-visual utility elements.They include elements for working with the layout, user input, selection and scaffolding apps.


    Polymer's paper elements collection implements material design for the web. They are a set of highly visual, highly interactive elements that includes things like controls, layout, hero transitions and scrolling effects.


    We will be taking a look at the implementation of the Paper Elements in the next few posts, but before that we need to set up a sandbox to try out Google Polymer on our local systems. Follow the steps below and you can successfully set up your Google Polymer sandbox.
  1. Download the zip file of Polymer Paper Elements from the link - http://www.polymer-project.org/docs/start/getting-the-code.html
  2. When you download a component or components (we are downloading the entire components set for development) as a zip file, you get all of the dependencies bundled into a single archive. You need not install any additional tools.
  3. Extract the zip and add the folder to your local web servers home/htdocs folder.
  4. That's all that you have to do get Google Polymer components and set it up on your local system.
    You need to set the paths of the platform js file, the Roboto font and paper-elements html in the head section. Refer to the code below to get an idea.


    Do not worry about the code above as of now. We will take a look at it in detail from the next post onward, where we take a look at each Paper Element in detail. Stay tuned for the fun!

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrating 200K visitors!



    I’m so excited that I have finally reached this milestone. 200K blog hits! Yes, we have crossed 200K visits.

    I never thought when I started this blog in November, 2010 that I would have much to offer that people would appreciate so much. But today with more than 200,000 page views, more than 500 followers and several Likes and +1s the response to this blog has been nothing short of amazing. Now I have the added responsibility of contributing better code samples and better articles.

    At the end, I would  like to thank all visitors and members for making this blog successful. I am so happy to have readers such as you. Thank you all who have been reading. If you are a regular reader, or if you just dropped by today, do comment and tell me what you liked about the blog!

If this post has helped you, leave a comment or show your love by liking the Spatial Unlimited Facebook page. You could even consider buying me a coffe! Till next time; happy coding!