Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BBEdit and "Text Factories"

I recently used a very powerful feature of BBEdit, the venerable text editor from Bare Bones Software for the very first time, and wanted to share this because it is so cool.

I had several hundred CSS files and I needed to do a series of 6 search and replaces on each file. I also had several hundred HTML files that needed a chunk of code inserted into the <head> element of each. After spending about an hour learning about BBEdit’s Text Factories feature, I was able to set it up and process all the files in a matter of minutes.

The Text Factories feature lets you create a list of text “transformations” such as changing case, adding prefixes or suffixes to lines, complex GREP find/change, sorting, fixing quotes, and more.

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 3 30 14 PM

Once you’ve created your list, you can apply it to the current document or selection, or to a specific list of files and folders.

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 3 37 30 PM

Subfolders within a folder can filtered, so you can specify certain top-level folders, but then restrict the text factory to only specific types of subfolders or files.

Screen Shot 2015 09 30 at 3 30 27 PM

As part of this project, I also used a little program called Hazel from Noodlesoft to solve another challenge. I was given a folder that contained thousands of files and subfolders. I needed to delete all the files of certain types within the folders, move certain files to new locations, and rename certain files. Hazel let me set up rules specifying what should be done to what type of file where, and then with a single command make it so. Very handy! 




Monday, September 14, 2015

My thoughts on the just announced iPad Pro

On September 9 Apple unveiled the iPad Pro, announcing that it will be available “in November”. Here are my initial thoughts on this device (before having an opportunity to see or test one), and its potential impact on digital publishing.

Of course the screen size and quality is the primary specification that we care about in Digital Publishing. The screen on the iPad Pro is 12.9” measured diagonally, or "78% more display area than an iPad Air 2” according to Apple, with a resolution of 2732 × 2048 pixels, .

The screen is the same 4:3 aspect ratio found in all previous iPads. What is interesting is that the “short side” of the iPad Pro is the same number of pixels, and the same dimension, as the “long side" of an iPad Air 2. So the “retina” resolution, or the number of pixels per inch on the iPad Pro is the same as the iPad Air and Air 2.

The biggest bonus of the consistent aspect ratio? Digital publications designed with InDesign for Adobe DPS or other digital publishing solutions shouldn't require any rework to display beautifully on the iPad Pro screen.


It will be interesting to see what it is like to read digital publications on this large device. Apple says it weighs 1.57 pounds. The first model iPad weighed 1.5 pounds, which feels incredibly heavy when you lift one today, compared to the relatively light iPad Air 2 at .96 pounds. It is remarkable how much of a difference a half a pound makes. Will it be comfortable to “curl up” with this device and read?

I’m most excited about with the new iPad Pro as a content creation tool. I love what Adobe is doing to deliver creative content creation tools such as Adobe Comp CC, Adobe Illustrator Draw, and Adobe Photoshop Sketch on tablets. But using these tools on a 10 inch tablet has always seemed awkward and confining to me. The expect that the extra screen real-estate on a larger iPad will make these apps much more compelling.

Apple Pencil, announced with the iPad Pro, is the icing on the cake. Up until now, Adobe Ink comes the closest I’ve seen to being a precise, responsive pen for use with the iPad. But Apple Pencil could be more precise, responsive and integrated with the hardware and OS. If Apple Pencil works as well as it appears to in the videos, it could turn the iPad into an amazing content creation/ideation platform for illustrators, artists, and designers.

The iPad Pro is expensive. But if a great pen and great software turns it into a serious content creation/ideation platform, it could become an essential, must-have tool for illustrators, artists, and designers. Start saving those pennies!