Tilings and patterns in design

Recently while working through Grunbaum and Shephards’ Tilings and Patterns, I stumbled on a wonderful piece of software for generating tilings – Taprats. Taprats is based on the age old Islamic art of constructing intricate geometric art based on radially symmetric star-like figures. The software is a Java applet that runs on your desktop and is surprisingly small in size for its features. It has a built-in library of tilings that can be used to construct many famous Islamic designs. Also, the construction of these designs is parametrized across different variables so you can modify various parameters to create different designs from the base example. Finally you can export the designs to various image formats to be used in your designs.
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Printing selective DOM elements on a page

Printing web pages from JavaScript, although not a common scenario, can be easily accomplished with some simple code. On the other hand, selectively printing some elements from a web page – like a div or a paragraph, can be challenging. Fortunately there are libraries available that can make the task easier. One such useful jQuery plugin is jQuery PrintElement, which allows you to selectively print a DOM element. Usage is extremely easy; just select any element from a webpage and fire the ‘printElement’ method.
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Learning the Language of the Web

With the ever increasing presence of the Web, more people are interested in learning the language of the Web. Designers, artists, and newbie’s unfamiliar with Web development are eager to learn to code so that they can understand the Web better and create something original.

Learning through books can take some time and can be a major hindrance for people who find the learn-by-the-book method dry an uninspiring. In a bid to make learning the language of the Web more interesting, some designers and developers have come together and created some interesting and useful web projects.
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Source Code Signatures in PHP

This post is based on Ward Cunningham’s Signature Survey: A Method for Browsing Unfamiliar Code article. Ward suggests that when studying new and unfamiliar source codes, it is vital that a programmer get a intuitive sense of the code structure under consideration. One method he suggests is that of summarizing on a single line select punctuation characters from each source file. He calls this the file’s “signature”. This will help the developer gauge the complexity of the code base.

So for example, if we only consider using braces ‘{}’, and semicolon ‘;’ – one of the common punctuation elements in a PHP program, a programmer can get a feel for the structure of a source file. Usually braces delimit blocks and functions in PHP, and many other languages, so this can give a programmer a sense of the length of code blocks or function sizes.
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Internationalisation and Localisation of Web Applications

If you’re designing a web application, you may think that developing it in English will be quite enough. Remember, though, that only 22% of internet users speak English as their native language, and 85% of ecommerce consumers won’t buy a product if they can’t read about it in their native language, which leaves only one question to be asked: are you prepared to miss on those millions of potential customers?

Software developers worldwide know that a web application will only work the way it’s supposed to for its target market. Even if two countries speak the same language, there are plenty of other things to consider when it comes to localising an app. Take, for example, the UK and the United States. The date format in the UK is day/month/year, while the US uses month/day/year, which could be cause for problems if an app is not localised for its specific market.
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