After Denver WordCamp back in November and a really well-done presentation by Jeremy Green, I decided it was finally time to dive into Git.

As a mostly-solo developer, I’ve felt ambivalent about it, but I know that it’s very important, if not critical, when working with a larger team. So…

I got my OS version of Git here. I’m not much of a command-line person so I also checked out some of the GUIs – the one that I liked (not knowing anything about it yet except that it had a pretty nice UI) was SourceTree from Atlassian. Jeremy had talked about BitBucket being a good choice for hosting private repos, and Atlassian also makes BitBucket. Seemed logical.

Then I looked at some resources and started with this one: TryGit. I liked ts friendly UI and the step-through examples, it was easy to get going but it quickly got into more advanced areas (I’m not there yet). This was a good starting point.

So in the next WordPress project, I resolved to just jump in and do this. Note: this is super-basic – I’m only using this on my local machine at the moment, so bear with me. This is for total newbies.

I opened up GitBash (the included SSH editor), navigated to my project folder and typed in:

This creates a fresh new repository (repo) of project files.

Then I’ll work on stuff for awhile. I can check out what’s happening with Git by typing:

This will show me a list of all the files in my project that have either not been added to Git, or have changed since the last time I added them. To add a file to Git so that it’s monitored, type:

But it’s easier to just add all the files at once:

Then check status again and you’ll see a list of files that are staged – they’re ready to commit, which means adding them to the repository. To commit all the files in staging:

Name your commits anything you like, just make it descriptive. You can view all your commits with:

Then I work some more, and when I get to a point where I feel I can give my commit a different name (i.e. I’ve finished a task), I type:

And so on. That’s it – very easy, not too intimidating with the command line, and you’ve removed so much risk with just these simple steps. I actually haven’t used the SourceTree GUI yet – for what I’ve done so far, I’m now happy with the command line.

Now that this process has become fairly automatic for me, my next step is going to be setting up a remote repo, probably with BitBucket, and learning how to do those parts of Git. And how to make branches.

Stylify Me offers an easy way to generate a very light style guide. It will show you a site’s background colors, Typography (fonts, sizes, colors and text samples) and a screenshot of the home page. It also shows sample image dimensions, but it looks like it only pulls a few images from the home page, so that’s kind of confusing. Also if your type is white, it doesn’t show since the page background is white.

May be good for very basic use, but it doesn’t replace a detailed style guide by any means.

Reading this article about Android color apps for designers a few days ago, I discovered the awesome little ColorGuide app for Android.

ColorGuide screenshotColorGuide

Although very twitchy (i.e., you have to hold it almost impossibly steady to save the current palette without it changing), it’s fun tool for walking through a store or down a street and capturing color palettes off displays, clothes, packaging, buildings, you name it.

Point the camera at anything and you’ll see a 5-color palette displayed on the screen. Click the Menu button and you can save it to the gallery. That’s all it does; pretty simple.

The photo at right shows a sample live view and the generated palette below. Click the camera icon on the left to freeze the palette, then the Menu button to save it.

Real Colors

Real Colors exampleIf you need something a little more stable, try Real Colors.

Take a photo or choose one from your Gallery and Real Colors will generate a palette – see the image at right, it’s a photo I took.

You can edit the palette in HSB or RGB modes, export or share it, or (with the Pro version) create wallpaper for your device.

The Pro version is available for $3.99 and is worth it if you’re a professional designer. It will allow you to export palettes to Adobe Swatch Exchange files, plus it automatically generates palettes using color theory rules (complementary, analogous, monochromatic, triad, tetrad and split complementary).

I really like that it provides hex values for each color. Real Colors is a well-put-together app that I’ll be using a lot.

I’ve been using ActiveCollab for years, but today I discovered something that might change that. Trello is free, and is super-easy to set up and customize for any kind of use. I signed up and created a board for a sample WordPress project in about 10 minutes.

Trello sample project

There is no built-in chat tool, but there is a ‘subscribe’ option for every task, or ‘cards’ in Trello speak. Subscribe notifies a member of the board whenever the chosen card gets updated.

Tasks or cards can be anything, and contain lots of info:

  • a color-coded label
  • a set of members assigned to the card
  • checklists
  • uploaded files and images
  • due dates

I like the simple interface – a board consists of a set of lists, each list has one or more cards (tasks) assigned to it. Cards and lists can be rearranged by dragging and dropping, and cards can be archived when the task is complete.

Here’s a sample board with a general web design process theme, and another that shows Trello’s own development flow

I’m going to try Trello for my next project; I think my clients will have an easier time with it than with ActiveCollab.

Oh – almost forgot. There are mobile apps for iPhone and Android too; the Android one looks pretty good. I don’t think you can upload files/images into a board on a mobile device, but that’s the only difference I see so far.