Templates! Gusto! Mirabelles!

This morning I left the (metaphorically) sunny shores of England for the (actually) sunny shores of France (the fact that both starting and ending points are inland I’m ignoring because it ruins the poetry). Which gave me a lovely couple of quiet Eurostar hours to do some Creative Pact work, so I fired up Gusto on the iPad and proceeded to see what it could do.

QUICK REVIEW: My verdict is that this is a very neat and useful little app. Of course it’s limited in what it can do, but for anything that just requires simple text edits, well, it does the job nicely. I would say that a certain amount of patience is needed – typing on the iPad’s keyboard is never the easiest, especially when symbols and numbers are regularly employed, but the developers have done a great job of making this easier than it would normally be by including a quick-access bar above the normal keyboard, including brackets and quote marks and other symbols commonly used in web development. From my work today I can say that this is a fantastic addition and what makes Gusto actually usable. For my part, I’d like to see =, : and ; added to the quick access bar, but it’s hardly a complaint – I mean, they even included a tab key so I can keep my code neat! It does lack some of the niceties of desktop editors still – no automatic indenting, for example, and syntax highlighting is yet to be implemented (although it’s apparently in development) but then, it’s not really a rival to desktop systems anyway. As a way to keep working on a project while travelling without carrying tons of equipment, though, it’s just grand. The FTP setup has been great and very easy to use (although the one crash I experienced was when I tried to download a large folder of files into Gusto, so I’m trying to keep the number of files I transfer at a time to a reasonable level) and it also let’s you preview locally, so it’s genuinely useful for making changes offline, unlike using any other random text editor. Overall, I’m pretty impressed – it’ll be very interesting to see how far future updates take this one.

Review done, now back to the Creative Pact stuff. Today on the Eurostar I was working mostly on getting templates ready so that I can forge ahead this week dumping content from the old site into the new and tweaking it to be new and improved. And the result is two templates ready to go, plus the sub-items of the main nav all in place, styled up and working. At the moment the show/hide for these is CSS-driven, but as it’s going to break in IE6 (ah! Adjacent siblings!) I’m thinking I’ll replace this with a PHP-driven approach to include or remove sub-sections according to the section the requested page belongs to. That’s going to have to wait till I get back to London though, as will turning the nav, footer and header into PHP includes, because I’ve not done any PHP in a while and I don’t trust my brain to get it right without a book (plus if I do that, it’ll look broken while I’m previewing the content locally, which would be annoying). I did find a PHP class yesterday to import tweets from my @caitlinrowley Twitter account which I’ve dropped into place in the homepage today, using the demo files as examples, but it seems to be throwing an error and rejecting my login, so I’ll need to look at that a little more closely too.

In unrelated news, today I ate my first mirabelles! I believe they’re a sort of plum, but they tasted more like tiny unfurry apricots. We also indulged and bought some girolles for our evening omelettes. And some awesome cheese. And yummy bread. And Beaujolais. Looking forward to breakfast now!

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