For me, the tool I'd love to have would be a Photoshop-like design tool which would generate HTML + CSS rather than PSD files, and I've been thinking of writing something like that.
* Support: when a user has a problem I have to ask them for their browser, OS, etc. There are a few sites that I can send them to, but it would be nice if I could send them to a URL that automatically emailed me their info. Or, it would be nice if I put a js script in the page that recorded that info automatically for signed-in users.
* Design consistency: Sometimes it's hard to know if a change I'm making in the CSS affects other pages or views. It would be nice to be able to get screenshots of every page on my site after I make a change just to be able to double check it all.
* Textmate bundles: There a bunch Textmate bundles that do the same thing. It would be nice if there was a site that 1) kept track of the different bundles from different locations 2) let people vote & comment on them 3) made it even easier to install bundles you see 4) made it easy to keep your bundles up-to-date.
* Support: Often times users make a support ticket and the solution is for them to turn on cookies, or enable SSL or something. Every browser is different, and looking up this info can be a pain. What if you could send your users to automatic-support.com/turn-on-cookies, and the site would detect their browser and show them the correct instructions. This could be a wiki-like site, so other people could update the insructions.
* Avatars/profile pictures: I'm tired of re-implementing user avatars. Gravatar is great, but it's too complicated for most of my users. It would be great if there was a service that let the users upload avatars, maybe make new profile pictures from their webcam, and provided some nice default avatars (like Yahoo does). If all that could happen without people having to leave my site, that would be awesome.
* I've done a few sites where people upload and share documents and stuff. It would be awesome if there was a service that could give me thumbnail views of word docs, excel docs, pdfs, and other formats.
Have you tried SpriteMe? It allows you to combine all the images on your page into a single sprite and generates the CSS automatically. If you have tried it (or other similar services), what issues did you face with it?
> Support: when a user has a problem I have to ask them for their browser, OS, etc... it would be nice if I put a js script in the page that recorded that info automatically for signed-in users.
This should be quite trivial to achieve. Just add a hidden field to the login page which records the useragent string.
Something like this yes. I can whip up a layout and design rather quickly in PS, but assembling that to html+css, even with 960.gs is boring as hell.
Maybe better a tool that outputs really nice HTML+CSS out of PS/PSD. So only slicing would be left as a menial task. For most of the cases this could work fine, and for that small amount where it can't work there's always manual task of creating html+css. I don't trust PS output at all, to a point where I just code html+css directly and output image crops out of PS as I need them.
SGML, and therefore HTML, were designed for a completely different purpose, and are based on the decades-old recognition of the need for separation of content and presentation. While HTML contains much more visual elements than most other SGML languages, complete with CSS it's still all optimized for two particular use cases:
- you have content and want to publish it some way, style being a secondary question, or
- you have lots of one kind of content and you conclude that it's worthwhile to hone a nice presentation for that one kind.
Photoshopping websites just isn't supported by the philosophy of document markup languages, even if you can actually make the first 50% happen with the current HTML/CSS/JS.
Thus, system obviously works. Problem is that it is manual, since tool available for it is not reliable.
I had some success with it but really just prefer to rough code stuff by hand and then tinker with firebug.
That's one major pain point, yes. After a lot of research (when starting to do web work), I realized that no one uses tools like that because they usually suck. But a tool that actually worked well would be worth a lot to a rapid-prototyping guy like me.
Another pain point: CSS. It's a horrible language (IMO), and even though others have tried to make it better (e.g. "less"), if someone could fix it from the ground up, that would be worth a lot as well. For a simple example of what can be done, see how JQuery solved the browser-incompatibility issue almost completely. A similar framework for CSS would be great.
Have you taken a look at Compass/Sass?
"Why Stylesheet Abstraction Matters"
So for UIs, it's just better coding it manually. One thing that could be possible is Fireworks (since it already has vector support) that uses SVG elements (as yason pointed out). From there it should be simpler to produce quality and maintainable code.
That is all...
In addition, I'd love it if this tool had the following. Even if it only had one of these things, I'd probably buy it.
1. Way to easily deal with text. In photoshop, text is a pain to deal with, especially for things like navigation. If there was a way to easily style the text of a file with css in addition to a gui method, things would be much more pleasurable and efficient.
2. Decent ways to include header, sidebar, and footer elements. Currently, a designer has to duplicate these across multiple files which makes updating even a snippet of text an arduous process involving opening many files.
3. A common browser element palette. Currently the only solution (That I know of), is to get a psd with the elements pre-made and try and fit whatever you get with into a design, which makes things like adding decent amounts of text to buttons rather bothersome.
Same goes for anyone else -- the app is still a ways away from prime time, but if you'd like to play a part in the development and testing process, let me know.
I know there's some tools to do this already but I'm talking about all in one package and easy. It may not be for every programming language, but when I've got simple HTML/CSS or Wordpress (a good deal of small business work), I want it easy.
You kind of are talking about Rails, git, and capistrano.
Surely any version control system can clone code but I know git so I'll talk about how setting up repos is as simple as git clone, and then there's the greatness of http://github.com
Rails because you can use git to clone a starting environment with things like authlogic and then have clear development/testing/production environments.
Then use http://www.capify.org (which is defaulted to rails) to deploy to a staging/production path. With capify you really do literally change ONE command to deploy to a staging area, stop/start your application, and/or do rollbacks.
You can technically deploy any application (PHP) with capistrano but it's kind of a pain (I have done it, and you need to install and understand ruby).
The point is, yes it's a pain in the ass, but you really should just run Linux :p
Command line is your friend.
Linux, git, github, capistrano, ruby/rails, passenger = pretty decent!
Am I missing anything?
This can be as simple as some bash scripts cobbled together - or whatever you automation language of choice is - but it's an aspect of web development that is simply generally ignored completely.
Along with the suggested 'photoshop of css/html' we need the Flash IDE of html/css
I haven't had any luck finding a co-founder and I can't afford to hire anyone to do the work. I'm sure I'm not the only one. I don't know how you could solve a problem like this but it seems to be a recurring theme here on HN and in start-up circles in general.
When consulting, one of the 'fun' parts with visiting or speaking to a new client is finding out all the pain points in the business and then solving them (closely followed up with an invoice :)).
Anybody have any links to more threads like this one?
uhm, sounds ambitious to do well. wysiwyg editors have sucked since the days of frontpage.
In an easy manner, not with post commit scripts or so.
Here's an article that I found that explains how. http://blogs.sun.com/jkini/entry/how_to_scp_scp_and
Why not just whip something together, if it is outside of what services (i.e. drop.io) can do?