Viget Labs on Structure for ExpressionEngine

A Whole New Wooooorld: Structure + ExpressionEngine:

Even with the EE 2.0 release in December, I think the best ExpressionEngine event in 2009 was the rise of Travis Schmeisser’s Structure. While 2.0 lays the groundwork for a bright future, in the short run it’s more of a step backwards because so few of EE’s amazing community-built addons have been ported so far - even with new functionality, a 2.0 upgrade takes away far more than it gives at the moment.

In contrast, the Structure module immediately makes major improvements to your site’s UI, construction, and template codebase, and it also plays nice with other addons, creating a faster, smarter EE experience. No software I installed last year saved me as much time and effort as Structure did, and Travis deserves all the credit for that (and he got quite a bit, including Devot:ee’s Module Of The Year award).

I couldn’t agree more with that last sentence: Structure has quickly become an indispensable EE add-on, one that I use on almost every one of my EE sites.

N.Design Studio

N.Design Studio

If there’s one design-related skill that I wish I was much more proficient in, it would have to be illustration. Oh sure, I can fire up Illustrator or Freehand and put together a couple of vectors, and I’ve done fair share of sketching in notebooks, but there’s a knack there that I just don’t have. As such, I’m both incredibly jealous and incredibly in awe of someone who really and truly knows their stuff. Which brings me to Nick La and his recent redesign of N.Design Studio, which serves as his blog and design portfolio.

When done right, illustrations can add a nice organic touch to a website design/layout, and that is precisely the case with La’s site. As you travel through the site, you’ll see bright, richly detailed illustrations with a decided Asian bent to them, lending the site both an organic and an exotic look and feel.

But the attention to detail doesn’t end with the illustrations. It continues on through the playful typography in the headers, the tiny icons used for rollover effects in the main menu, and the navigational flourishes. However, there are times when there’s so much detail that the design becomes a little overwhelming and cluttered (e.g., the layout of the blog entry comments).

But overall, a very lush and gorgeous design that, as I mentioned before, leaves me both insanely jealous and very much in awe.

Related: Process of Redesigning N.Design

The Panic Blog

The Panic Blog

You might primarily know Panic as the maker of such fine Mac software as Coda and Transmit. However, they’re also the proprietors of a very fine corporate blog. Now, honestly, I tend to skip most software developers’ blogs. But Panic’s is quite different.

For one thing, the design is one of the more clever and enjoyable ones I’ve seen in awhile. At first glance, it doesn’t appear to be that special, but look a little closer, and you’ll see that it’s chock full of little design details that prove to be rather delightful. Utilizing the latest in CSS3, such as CSS-based rotation, Panic gives their blog a look that is delightfully—and literally—off-kilter, adding to the overall feel of a company bulletin board. (You must be using the latest version of Safari, Firefox, or Chrome to see the effect.)

And there are other little details as well, such as the 3D effects applied to the blog header and “older/newer” navigation at the bottom of the page, or the design of the different types of posts (e.g., company announcement, technical/engineering, list of quick links). Again, it all just adds to a casual, fun, and informative feel.

Which, by the way, ties in with and enhances the overall vibe that I’ve always had concerning Panic: namely, that they’re a company that loves what they do—making “Shockingly Good Mac Software”—and they have a great sense of humor. How else do you explain something like their “lost” retro artwork from 1982, this page chronicling all of the rip-offs of their icons and artwork, or their comparison of Japanese and American snacks?

German government warns against Internet Explorer

Second verse, same as the first.

The German government has warned web users to find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security.

The warning from the Federal Office for Information Security comes after Microsoft admitted IE was the weak link in recent attacks on Google’s systems.

Microsoft rejected the warning, saying that the risk to users was low and that the browsers’ increased security setting would prevent any serious risk.

40 Excellent Websites Showcasing ExpressionEngine

Webdesigner Depot has posted a list of “40 Excellent Websites Showcasing ExpressionEngine”, and as the title implies, they all look excellent.