Adobe Offsetting: January (belated) 2015
Sorry for the delay of 2015’s Adobe Offsetting. I wish that not procrastinating was one of my resolutions for the new year. 2015 is going to be a year that I focus more on web projects at work and thought that it would be great way to start my donations. Bluefish Editor is a great text editor for doing anything code related.
When artists code
I’m only speaking for myself when I say that coding is not my strong suit. I graduated from college in 1994 and the buzz technology was interactive CDs and kiosks. As a result, I learned a lot about Macromedia Director and Lingo in school. These skills were never used in the real world. As soon I graduated, the short-lived trend for interactive CDs was already dead. I was able to transfer a lot of the Lingo language and program interface knowledge to Flash and Actionscript in later years.
The internet started to emerge commercially with the advent of AOL disks and Netscape, replacing the need for Director. At the time, teams were forming to tackle web needs—graphic designers, web designers, and web masters. By the early 2000s, teams started collapsing into single positions where one person would have the skill sets for every aspect of work covered in web production. As technologies progressed, expand again with diverse titles like, web producer, UX designer, UI designer, front-end developer, and back-end developer. I’m glad that the industry reclaimed the value of specialized talents instead of being a jack-of-all trades.
No matter what part of the spectrum you fall in web production, it helps to understand the basics of coding and how all of the text markup/languages integrate to create a user experience. It’s been a while since I had to sit down and actually code a site, working with HTML, CSS, and JQuery. I’ll leave PHP, Java, and Drupal to the experts!
Years ago I discovered Bluefish when I was working at a school as a program director. I was looking for a good text editor that I could use across platforms, from Mac to Linux. Of all the editors that I tried, Bluefish felt the most comfortable to me. Again, I’m not big on coding, but Bluefish fit my needs.
A touch of class
Olivier Sessink, Bluefish’s developer, has been great at maintaining the software with fixes and new features. A couple years ago, I was using Adobe Dreamweaver at a client’s for creating a Kindle edition of their magazine. Dreamweaver has never been a go-to editor for me. It crashes on and off without auto-saving, making it possible to lose large amounts of work.
I tried formatting the Kindle files in Bluefish and ran into a little bit of trouble. Some of the articles, like feature stories, ran super long. In order to format paragraphs quickly, I needed to see line/paragraph breaks at a glance. Dreamweaver has a way to see line breaks when hidden character are made visible but Bluefish didn’t. This made working in Bluefish slower and more cumbersome.
I sent Olivier an email in the hopes that he could include line breaks visibility in Bluefish. He was quick to respond, asking me why I would need the feature. I told him about styling Kindle files and being able to easily see line breaks for formatting paragraphs. Within a day or two, Olivier had made the change in Bluefish and send me a link to a new version to install. That sort of response from a developer is stupendous and should be compensated in some way.
Bluefish is for me
From my personal experience with Olivier to the program’s ease of use, Bluefish is a no-brainer for me. It’s never crashed on me and the hints and multiple features are helpful for non-coding designers like myself. Bluefish makes it easier to get under the hood and comfortably tinker.
What I wish is that Bluefish would get a bigger following. I’m always surprised that people don’t give it more love. Even the logo makes me smile. Thank you Olivier for making it easy for me to embrace coding with open arms!
As part of my monthly contribution, I am also a subscribing member of the Blender Cloud with a reoccurring monthly donation. If you are first learning Blender, this site is a wonderful resource of videos for learning modeling and animation techniques. They also have access to all the art and assets from their upcoming open-source animation, The Gooseberry Project.