Adobe’s Promising New Animation Tool

Last month Adobe launched a long awaited preview of its new standards based animation tool branded Adobe Edge, it’s like Flash for HTML. Edge promises to make animating web content easier for designers who are not that code savvy. Because its output is standards based and uses web kit, HTML5 and CSS3 it doesn’t require a plugin so animations will run in any modern browser including Safari on iOS devices like the iPad. I have finally found time to play with the app and am pleased so far with its simplicity. I’m not much at programming or hand coding so this kind of tool is great for me. The timeline interface is easy to use and understand and the properties panel makes tweaking and experimentation efficient. One of my favorite features is that you can open an existing html file in edge and start animating its elements. Pretty much any property can be animated, size, position, color transparency etc. What you will not find in this preview are complex drawing tools, support for creating CSS3 gradations or shadows or the ability to add interactivity but you can add those features to your elements before or after you animate in Edge. The program does not alter your existing html code much either other than adding some Javascript and CSS  include files to the head to manage the animations. Although it’s a limited preview this is already a handy tool for me and I look forward to a more robust release. Here’s an example of a page built in Dreamweaver and animated with Edge with minimal effort.

Get things done with Remember the milk

I have used several ways to track my to-do list.  Ranging from paper to outlook to separate tools, and nothing has really worked for me until I found Remember the Milk.

If you need to get organized with your to-do list, check out remember the milk

Also check out these advanced tips

Concatenating Multiple Data Fields for the DataTextField Property

Many, many times I’ve had the situation where I want to bind a data-set or data-view to a DropDownList, CheckBoxList, or other ListItem-based control, but I need the display text set through the DataTextField property to use multiple data fields from the result set, and not just the 1 field that it is designed to support.

For example, I might have a user’s name separated into 2 distinct data fields: User_Name_First and User_Name_Last, but I want it displayed in the DropDownMenu as “User_Name_Last, User_Name_First”.

Maybe you can relate.  What are the options?

1.  Modify your database query to merge the fields in the SELECT.  This is likely the most efficient solution, but not always the most practical depending on your environment.

2.  Add a new DataColumn to the result set, enumerate through the results, and set the value of the new DataColumn upon each iteration.  Does the job, but not very efficient or elegant.

How about this… go ahead and add a new DataColumn to the result set, but make it an Expression Column.  Example:

oDataSet.Tables(0).Columns.Add(new DataColumn(“MyNewFieldName”, System.Type.GetType(“System.String”), “CurrentField1 + ‘, ‘ + CurrentField2”)

I finally stumbled upon this solution (as simple as it seems) and it is such a relief!  I feel like a goof since it  never occurred to me until now, but its not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last.  Many online searches yielded several comments on the first 2 options above, but not much else.  Now that I am on this side of the fence, I find it curious as to why there isn’t much discussion on this technique.  Maybe there is a lot of overhead to it?  Not sure, but certainly seems better than iterating through the result set record-by-record.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.