I’ve found something to dislike about Chrome – the white flash when transitioning between pages. On the dark photography site I’m working on now, it’s incredibly irritating – like a flashlight shining in your eyes in a dark room.

If I didn’t have the full-page background image I could apply a background color to html in the stylesheet and that would (I think, from what I’m reading on forums) fix it, but I have such an image so I’m stuck with the white flash.

This is enough to make me consider going back to Firefox. Is there a fix for full-page backgrounds?

It’s been about a week since I decided to switch to Chrome. I’ve been very good about not automatically launching FF, though I noticed I still have it as the default browser. Here are my impressions so far.

The good:

  • It’s really fast. So much faster, it’s a pleasure to use – I’m not sitting here waiting on everything.
The not-so-good-but-I-found-a-way-around-it:
  • Searching in the address bar seems weird, so I got the Search Box extension that gives me a little box for searching on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Ebay and Amazon.
Still not-so-good-but-improving:
  • I find the built-in developer tools to be a little awkward but I’m getting used to it – I like the ability to look back through the cascade and see what CSS rules are impacting the element I’m looking at, but it’s not intuitive yet. The Web Developer Toolbar for Chrome is missing a couple of the tools it has in FF, and a few times this week I’ve found myself opening FF so I could quickly see what was happening with a site.

There isn’t really anything I don’t like about Chrome – it’s just a matter of getting used to it. I do miss FF but the speed difference is huge and has made work a lot easier this week.

I love Firefox. I’ve been using it as my primary browser for years – but FF7 is just too slow.  I run the minimum number of extensions that I need as a web developer: Web Developer Toolbar, Firebug, Measureit, Colorzilla and a couple of others, that’s about it. It’s just gotten way too slow.

So today I started looking around for similar extensions for Chrome, my second-favorite browser. I found a good set that will take care of most of the things I was doing in FF plus a few other things I wasn’t doing in the browser, like screenshots. It’s definitely going to take some getting used to, but the speed difference is huge even with more extensions. Here are the web design-related ones I picked:

  • Chrome Sniffer – see what CMS or Javascript libraries are being used on a website
  • Eye Dropper – a nice color picker
  • Firebug Lite – a lightweight version of Firebug designed to be used with Chrome Developer Tools
  • MeasureIt! – an invaluable ruler tool to get pixel dimensions of any web page element
  • Web Developer – the Chrome version of my go-to FF extension. Not sure if I’ll need it with Developer Tools, but it’s familiar and easy to use
  • YSlow – Yahoo’s page loading speed tool

I wasn’t thrilled with the native bookmarks so I installed Neat Bookmarks, a popup bookmark navigator. I also got TabJump which provides a popup list of recent tabs and most-used tabs, and Chrome Toolbox that has a lot of quick-access functions (like opening all the tabs in one bookmarks folder on an Alt click).

Here are some other collections of web designer/developer Chrome addons:

It feels weird (see! I’m typing this post in FF because I just open it without thinking). But I’m going to try to get used to it and see if it will work for me.

I’ve read opposing views, as a designer, about focusing on one specific industry vs. marketing to and working with companies in a variety of industries, and I’m a strong believer of the latter. The variety is what makes it so interesting!

And while it is true that if you specialize in one or a very small number of industries you’ll become a true expert in them, I find it just as valuable to bring ideas to the table for a client that may have come from a totally different type of company. While every business website is different, there’s a lot of crossover and features like blogs can serve lots of different purposes – not just ‘the company blog.’

That said, I was really happy this week to be picked for a WordPress conversion project by a print design company that specializes in an industry that’s totally new to me. It’s a good way to get exposure to a different type of thinking and I’m looking forward to getting started next week – and hopefully establish an ongoing relationship providing CMS development for their design clients.

During a recent large project, I had a subcontractor who had a lot of experience with custom fields and from her I learned how to do them without a plugin. It’s actually quite easy, these are the steps you follow to add a custom field and display its contents in a WordPress template.

  • Create a custom template, upload it and apply it to a page in your site. If you upload and don’t see the template in the list in the editing page, try switching to the default theme and back, this usually will do the trick.
  • In your custom template page, you’ll need to do two things.
    • First, define the variable for the new custom field in a PHP statement.

    • Then add some PHP to display the contents of the custom field if it’s in use in the page.

  • Then in the WordPress page editor, under Custom Fields, click on Add New Custom Field and enter the name of the field in the left box, and the value in the right box
  • Update the page and take a look at it. You should now see your new custom field value in the page.

Dead simple, once I had to do it myself, and no need to add yet another plugin. You can create custom fields for any section of a page so that clients know where to enter what data.