There have been a few occasions over the last few months when I’ve been standing at one end of my office and needed to keep an eye on the time. Each time I’ve pulled up What colour is it? on my browser. Because it’s fun.
What colour is it? is one of those really simple why didn’t I think of it ideas: use the time to specify RGB values.
How does it work?
RGB is a system for representing colours on a computer display. Red, green, and blue can be mixed in different proportions (on a scale of 0 to 255) to display any color in the visible spectrum.
A few examples:
rgb (0, 0, 0) represents black: no red, no green, no blue.
With so much personal data stored online, keeping your password secure is really important.
Troy Hunt, a Microsoft MVP for Developer Security has created a website that allows you to check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach.
Have I Been Pwned checks against 41 known data breaches, including 152,445,165 Adobe accounts, 4,789,599 Gmail accounts, 453,427 Yahoo! accounts.
The site is secure, and doesn’t ask for your password: just the username or email address that you’ve used to sign up for an online account. The site then checks it against a lists of compromised accounts.
As Troy Hunt says, “all the data on this site comes from publicly leaked ‘breaches’ or in other words, personal account data that has been illegally accessed then released into the public domain.”
The who what & why and FAQ pages provide a lot of detail about what’s going on behind the scenes, and answer a lot of questions about the security of this site.
I only use a couple of email addresses. Against one of them I’ve had no breached accounts—hoorah!
Against the other, though…
My main email address was involved in the big one: in October 2013 the data for nearly 153 million Adobe accounts was leaked. Adobe made it public pretty quickly and all users were encouraged to change their password, which I did.
I’m really impressed with this website: using leaked data for good, rather than ill. Check it out and find out if you’ve been pwned: Have I Been Pwned?
Note: the word ‘pwn‘ is geek-speak for ‘own’, implying that you’ve been dominated. It came about probably due to a typo as ‘o’ and ‘p’ sit next to one another on a QWERTY keyboard.
I do like a good Sublime Text 3 plugin, and this is one that offers functionality that I was missing since upgrading from ST2 a while back.
TodoReview scans the comments within your code (either open files, project files, or both) and builds a results page that allows you to easily open and jump to the appropriate lines in these files. It’s as simple as navigating to the appropriate line and pressing Enter.
The plugin has four common comment keywords built in, but using regular expressions these can be extended beyond:
Not only is this plugin useful for your own code projects, you can also use it to scan through third party open source projects to get an insight into their code. For example, WordPress 4.1.1 has 196 TODO: comments. My favourite is this:
Man o man is this ugly. WebKit is the new IE! Remove this if they ever fix it!
At lunchtime today Jane had a lunch appointment with a friend, so Isaac and I first went to Greggs to get him a sausage roll and a bottle of summer fruits juice.
“I’ll get points for that,” he said, gesturing towards the bottle.
And he was right: the boys get bonus points if they try something new.
We had a lovely time, sitting beside the Kinnessburn watching the ducks, some of whom came up to say hello. Then we took a walk along the stream to find more ducks, before heading up the hill towards my office.
We took a shortcut through the grounds of Dyer’s Brae, one of the School of Biology buildings,and popped up on Queen’s Terrace, opposite the Bute building where I work.
“Wow!” said Isaac, recognising where we were. “It’s like we teleported here!”
Well, we didn’t teleport again up to the office—instead, we took the lift.
And there he sat at my desk and we did some pair programming.
Well, I say ‘pair programming’. Isaac watched a Batman video on YouTube while I analysed our projects boards to determine where our business-as-usual, portfolio, project and consultancy tasks are all tracked.
In April of last year (2014) I received an email from someone from CodeLobster asking if I would be interested in reviewing their code editor.
They kindly, and promptly, sent me a registration code to unlock the full version, but I then went off sick, and then ran into relationship problems, and then I got even sicker, and finally a year later here’s my review.
Disclaimer: I don’t work for or with CodeLobster, I’m not being paid for this review (other than having been kindly gifted a full registration) and views expressed here are my own.
I did, however, used to use CodeLobster (the free version) as my back-up code editor when my primary editor was WeBuilder. I liked how fast it was, but I never really explored its capabilities.
These days I use Sublime Text 3, so it will be interesting to see how this editor compares: could I conceivably use CodeLobster as a replacement?
As I’m currently working mostly with WordPress, that’s what I’ll focus on in this review.
Three versions, multiple features
CodeLobster PHP Edition (which, incidentally, appears to be their only edition) comes in three versions: free, lite and professional.
The lite version adds to this code validation for HTML, CSS, Sass, Less and PHP; a SQL manager; and support for version control systems such as SVN, Git, etc.
What I like about the professional version is how modular it is, as it is simply the lite version (US $39.95, approx. GBP £26.80) with additional plugins (US $24.95–$49.95 each).
For example, if you only ever develop for WordPress then you can simply add the WordPress plugin (US $39.95): total price US $79.90 (approx. GBP £53.60).
If you plan to use more than one plugin then it seems to be generally more cost-effective to buy the complete bundle for a total of US $119.95 (approx. GBP £80.48), which is a saving of 70% compared with buying each plugin individually, which would come to US $379.45 (approx. GBP £254.60).
Installation was pretty simple. All three versions are bundled with the same installer; the various features are unlocked with an appropriate serial number.
I do like that the Help > Registration… dialog shows you exactly which plugins you have enabled, and in the case of trial versions how many days you have left.
In contrast to the minimalist interfaces of Sublime Text, Atom and Brackets, CodeLobster employs a more traditional multi-panel layout.
Each of the panels is tabbed, supporting multiple functions: file, class view, project, SQL, TODO, search results, bookmarks, errors, help, properties, map, etc. They are also collapsible, creating more space for the code editor.
Along the top of the application are optional toolbars, where you can also switch on or off the panel tabs. Unfortunately, the toolbars don’t appear to be customizable.
Having been using Sublime Text for the last few years the interface feels very busy, and really quite dated.
Unlike some code editors that I’ve used, CodeLobster’s autocomplete and code hinting capabilities are very quick, and rather quite helpful.
Hovering over a WordPress function, a speech bubble appears showing brief, but useful, documentation about it. It’s fast and it’s unobtrusive.
Having selected View > Autocomplete for… WordPress, autocomplete options pop-up very quickly whenever you start typing something that looks like a WordPress function or keyword.
On the right, double-clicking a function in the help panel opens the corresponding documentation in the WordPress Codex.
Creating local WordPress projects
One of the really nice features I like about CodeLobster is its ability to quickly set up a new WordPress project on your local server. This assumes you’re running a local dev environment such as XAMPP.
After filling in a few details (including database connection details) CodeLobster goes off to the local environment and sets everything up for you:
Download and unpack the latest version of WordPress to your local dev environment.
Create a new MySQL database.
Populate the basic settings (site title, admin)
I’ve tried this in previous versions of CodeLobster and each time I simply couldn’t get it to work properly. I’m not sure what I was doing wrong, but this time, in this version: it worked!
I tried it both with a database that I’d already created in phpMyAdmin, and without. It worked successfully each time. This is a really useful feature for quickly starting WordPress projects: it gets you up and running in no time.
So far, so good. But I have a few little niggles.
The interface does look quite outdated: the newest visual style it offers is based on VisualStudio 2005. It’s not a deal-breaker, but something a little more modern would be very welcome.
You cannot drag and drop files into the editor, you have to go through the File > Open dialog. I have two monitors. I often drag and drop files into Sublime Text. It’s a much quicker method than going through a dialog box.
To create new files, you cannot simply double-click the document bar, like you can with some editors. You have to go through the File > New dialog. It does mean that quickly creating temporary throw-away documents isn’t a particularly fast task.
Something that I do find frustrating is that I can’t quickly move the CodeLobster window from monitor to monitor. I use a utility called WinSplit Revolution that allows me to assign shortcut keys to move applications from one monitor to another, or even to reposition it on the screen. But it doesn’t work with CodeLobster. It’s the only application that I have installed that it doesn’t work with.
I have only just scratched the surface here, but it’s clear to me that CodeLobster is a powerful and capable IDE. It has a lot of built-in tools for generating, testing and debugging code, that certainly appear fast.
My biggest issue, though, as I’ve indicated is the user-interface. It now feels very outdated, which may put some developers off. But if you can work beyond that, there are some really powerful features inside.
That you can quickly create a development installation of WordPress on your localhost server is brilliant. And I’m so glad whatever issues there were previously have now been fixed.
To be honest, CodeLobster doesn’t currently offer enough to draw me away from Sublime Text 3; I love the speed and flexibility of ST3. But I have to say that if I was working on a PHP-heavy site, or a major new WordPress site then I seriously might consider using CodeLobster, for its code intelligence capabilities.
I have a project like that coming up soon. I’ll be sure to report back…