Author Archive

Nick Winters

Nick Winters is the Web Marketing & Graphic Designer for Wenatchee Valley College and owner of Pixel to Press, LLC. He enjoys many outdoor activities, such as: Skiing, Snowboarding, Mountain Biking, Wakeboarding, and Wakesurfing. Never not working, never not having fun.

Validated by the Validator

W3CI remember when I first started making websites, I lived by the Validator. It was code up a site, check the validator, make adjustments, check the validator; Validate, Validate, Validate! It more or less became this goal to slap a W3C logo on the footer of every site I made.

To my dismay, I learned that just about every client has no idea what W3C validation means, nor do they really care as long as their site looks good in all major browsers. I’ve done a bit of reading on this topic over the last year as well as my fair share of podcasting (listening) and  I’ve sort of come to grips with the fact that the little W3C badge really isn’t as cool as I thought it was.

Truth is, not everything has to validate. Some of the newest/groundbreaking coding methods often don’t. The validator isn’t going to guarantee that a site will look the same on all browsers, it’s just letting you know of any syntax errors that may be present.

Don’t NOT use the Validator

Now, I’m definitely not saying that one should avoid using a site validator.Validation helps with cross-browser/future compatibility, enhances search engine visibility, shows signs of professionalism, as well as a level of web standards that we can all follow. It’s just important to keep things in perspective. I liked what Jeffrey Zeldman stated in an episode of Shop Talk Show:

Site validation shouldn’t be looked at as a badge, but rather as an available tool.

We should use the validator as a tool to help create clean code and troubleshoot issue areas, but don’t live or die by it. If a site is proper, modern code, or  a snippet that acts as a nice workaround but doesn’t validate, so what? As long as the webpage looks great in all major browsers, is clean and doesn’t reflect usability issues, validation shouldn’t been seen as critical.

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Coda 2, Where Have You Been?

codaAfter finally trying out Coda 2 a few months back I feel like I’ve been living in a cave for the past few years. My workflow used to be as follows: design a mockup, open up text-wrangler, code up a site, and then FTP away. Before that I was even on Adobe Dreamweaver *chuckles*. These methods got the job done, but quickly become overwhelming whenever I would start working on a medium/large site. So many files on the desktop, switching back and forth between applications!

Then I tried Coda 2

I was a little hesitant at first because Coda 2 is not free. I know, I know I’m a cheapskate! The application costs somewhere around $75 – $100 depending on if there’s a discount. However, let me just beat a dead horse and say, you get what you pay for.

Right out of the gate I was immediately impressed with Coda’s fantastic UI. I was equally impressed with it’s ability to organize my sites too. Everything nicely organized in a visual layout much like an iPhone or iPad. And iCloud syncing? Yeah, pretty awesome.

coda dashboard


Probably the most game-changing feature for me is how Coda 2 not only works as an editor, but as an FTP client as well. Basically, set up your site’s profile in the app for FTP and then start coding away; Command + S for save (Mac) and the file you were working on is immediately transfered via FTP, SFTP, Git, etc. Pretty slick.

It also allows you to have multiple files open at the same time and displays them all nicely in a top nav row. Change Coda’s visual appearance for those tired eyes with various plugins and completely customize each code type by color.

Coda Workflow


Diet Coda

Coda 2 also has an additional iPad app  called, Diet Coda. It can be downloaded for  a small fee of $20 bucks and is basically Coda’s attempt at AirPreview. A feature that sounds awesome and could be great, but unfortunately, in my opinion, it falls short.

Diet Coda is a great concept, but for some reason it just doesn’t work well for me. There always seems to be some little hangup, or I’m not able to see a live preview properly. It also doesn’t want to sync with iCloud, so you have to manually setup all your sites again! Long story short, if you’re looking to buy, just save some cash and purchase Coda 2.

Other Methods

I’ve also heard a lot of talk from a couple back-end developers about Sublime Text. A lot folks really seem to like it. I plan to explore the world of Git/Github here soon, so perhaps I’ll do a little digging on Sublime. As for now, Coda 2 is where it’s at.

Update via Epic Serve

Regarding this sentence … “Command + S for save (Mac) and the file you were working on is immediately transfered via FTP, SFTP, Git, etc. Pretty slick.” I’m not sure that’s even possible. I’m pretty sure you need to commit your changes locally to a Git repository, before you push them up.

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Letterpress for iPhone


I’ve been pretty hooked on a new iPhone game called Letterpress. If you’re a scrabble player, or just like fun word games in general, you’ll love this. It’s sort of a mix between scrabble and bananagrams; two already awesome games. Letterpress is all about using up all the tiles and coloring the spaces with your color. Find words using letters in any order, steal tiles, and color the board! Get a few games going simultaneously with some friends and this game is hard to put down.

So, the next time you’re bored or just trying to pass the time, check out Letterpress for the iPhone. It’s definitely one of my favs.

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Drafted. Finally…

DribbbleSo, recently, after nine months of sitting on the bench, I was drafted on Dribbble. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dribbble, it’s basically a social network for designers. You start out as a prospect, create a profile, post your website/portfolio to your account, sit, and wait. Wait to be drafted by an actual dribbble player that is. And what does player status entail exactly? Well, basically you get to post nifty little 400 x 300 pixel snapshots (now 800 x 600) of your latest design projects. Theoretically, other players will then “like”or comment on your work, and if you’re lucky, give some constructive criticism which can be pretty helpful.

Pick Me Coach!

Jeffrey ZeldmanI waited a long time to get drafted and it came about in sort of an odd way. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Shoptalk Show, a few months ago and guest speaker Jeffrey Zeldman was on. Zeldman is a pioneer in the web community. He’s the founder of Happy Cog, A List Apart, and An Event Apart. A pretty big deal if you’re into the whole web design thing.

A listener had submitted a a question about how to get going on Dribbble. Zeldman gave a few hints and tips and then more or less invited the listener to just shoot him an email and he’d return a player invite. Pretty awesome. So, I thought “hey, I should do that!”.  And I did. I sent Mr. Zeldman a little email and within a day or two, BOOM!

I’ve sent you a Dribbble invite. Do us both proud, kid!  😀

And well, there you have it. Pretty stoked to not only be on Dribbble, but also about getting an actual response from a Podcast guest. I tip my hat to you Mr. Zeldman. Thank you good sir.

My Dribbble Profile.

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Hello world! For real…

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Don’t tell me what to do, WordPress!

Ok fine, here it goes…

What’s up world? This is my first notebook entry on the ol’ WordPress engine. It took me long enough, but I finally decided I had better come up with some sort of blog or portfolio and brand myself a bit. Practice what you preach, right?  I decided to go with the WordPress Content Management System, just because I typically build Joomla, Perch, and static sites. So, I  decided to change things up a bit.  Savvy?

Out of the Box

It’s been years since I’ve actually set up a WordPress site; college days I think? There are a lot of things to like about WordPress. First off, it’s a fantastic blogging platform and the codex library is extremely well documented, which makes creating custom themes pretty nice. It’s also pretty convenient that it has a built-in, sophisticated comment system; probably one the better ones I’ve seen. The plugin library is also pretty impressive and the download integration is quite convenient too.

There are some things though that I haven’t figured out yet, or simply don’t get about WordPress. First off, why do I need to download a plugin to allow my menu items, or “Pages” to work as an external link? Am I missing something, or is this feature just not included out of the box? Also, the whole sidebar/widget concept just seems more difficult than it should to me. One thing I can’t understand is why each widget, by default, can’t select which page you’d like it to publish to. Instead, they all seem to display on all pages unless you hardcode an exception, or download another plugin. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Joomla’s module system.

Aside from a few minor frustrations, overall, I’m pretty happy with WordPress. Because after all, “there’s an app…er…pluggin for that.”

Moving on.

Bootstrap Scaffolding

In addition to building on WordPress, I decided to give Twitter Bootstrap a shot, because responsive web design is all the rage these days. For those not familiar with the responsive concept: responsive design basically means that your website will shrink and re-organize itself based on the the users screen size. This more or less eliminates the need for a separate mobile site, which is awesome in my opinion.

Bootstrap has been an experience, but once I got past the initial intimidation factor, it has been pretty amazing. I’m currently building another site on it as we speak. So far no major hangups.

What’s up with this Design?

Pixel to PressAs for the design, I came up with this Pixel to Press brand idea a little while back. I really became quite attracted to these old school / retro logos that have been resurfacing lately. There’s something about this old look that just says hardwork and quality to me. So, I just sort of started sketching from there. I incorporated a cog as the base of the logo just because that’s sort of the role I play most of the time. A few vintage fonts and a grunge texture later, well, there you have it.

The pixel to press brand sort of translated into this website idea, but in a non-committal fashion. This site is more of a testing-ground for me, so I kind of wanted it to feel like a sketchbook.

Well, I guess that about covers it. Until the next post.

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