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Archive for the ‘Software & Tools’ Category

Adobe AIRAdobe AIR has clearly became the standard on creating desktop applications for web developers.

Besides the offline applications, it can combine the richness of web with the simplicity of desktop & offer very functional tools.

At WRD, there were 2 other posts that had shared web designer/developer focused Adobe AIR apps.:

Since then, various new tools are built & here are 15 new Adobe AIR applications for designers & developers:


colrful - Adobe AIR Flickr Search Tool

colrful is a beautiful application that enables you to make color-based searches in Flickr. Any number of colors can be mentioned, they can be viewed as thumbnails/originals & downloaded.

Another feature is the ability to mention an image URL & get similar images from Flickr.


Google Analytics Adobe AIR Interface

The application is a desktop interface for Google Analytics (free version works with 1 website).

It offers most of the features of Google Analytics including visits, pageviews, reports, Google Maps report & more..

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Divine is a fresh & free Photoshop plug-in for converting Photoshop files into WordPress themes.

It works by selecting spots in design files & marking them as WordPress variables like:

  • post title
  • post text
  • author link
  • etc..

PSD To WordPress Photoshop Plug-in

It produces valid XHTML-CSS code & themes are automatically widget-ready.

Divine has an integrated FTP-client & it is a very ideal plug-in for anyone who is not that into coding and/or WordPress theming.

For any designer with significant amount of Photoshop brushes installed, it is always a pain to navigate through the brushes & find the one you need.

ABRView is a free software that makes this process much easier. It allows you to define the folder(s) where brushes are installed & preview them.


Also, once you download a brush, although you have an opinion on how it looks, you can not be sure until installing it, running Photoshop & checking the look from the brush palette. As ABRView can display brushes from any folder, you simply save time on seeing how they look.

It has an .exe version for Windows & .jar version for Mac & Linux.

Adobe AIR LogoWith the ease of development & multi-platform support, Adobe AIR is a getting-popular choice for creating desktop applications.

There are many beautiful applications built with it including the ones that are functional for the designer & developer community.

Months ago, a post published at WRD was sharing 27 Adobe AIR Applications – Handy For Web Designers. Since then, there are various great applications created.

And here they are, 16 Fresh Adobe AIR Applications For Designers & Developers:



ImageSizer is a batch image processor tool which can resize, optimize and rename multiple JPG files.

Once the images are processes, they can be exported as a single .zip file.



A batch image resizer that works with drag'n drops. It enables users to define different presets in advance & creates resized images instantly.

The application is great for anyone sending photos with e-mails, requires batch resizing & more.

Xe-IMG Editor

Xe-IMG Editor

It supports multiple image types, image-from-URLs & SWF files as images to be edited.

With various effects like: zoom, image mask, sharpening, enhancing, embossing & more Xe-IMG Editor is a handy free desktop image editor.

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Mastering frequently used applications increases the productivity significantly.

Controlling these applications via keyboard is a part of this "mastering process" which helps you use an application with 2 hands = much faster.

Also, knowing the tricks of tools inside these products definitely opens new doors for creating.

Specifically for designers, here is a list of cheat sheets for the most popular applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, Gimp, Fireworks & more..

Photoshop CS4 Keyboard Shortcuts

Photoshop CS4 Cheat Sheet

Keyboard shortcuts are very well organized, both by menu & alphabetically.

Also, shortcut presets that add lots of extra shortcuts are provided too.

Keyboard shortcuts for previous Photoshop versions:

Photoshop Black And White Cheat Sheet

Photoshop Black And White

There are many different way & settings for converting images to black and white with Photoshop.

This is a Photoshop file presenting different filters/presets. Just update 1 file & see the various outputs.

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JPEGSnoop is a free application (Windows) that gives you details of JPEG and MotionJPEG AVI files.

It is for anyone who is curious in finding out the source of an image to test its authenticity.


The application can open various file types that contains an embedded JPEG image like: .JPG, .AVI, .MOV, .PDF & more.

Besides the authenticity, JPEGSnoop provides other detailed information about the images like:

  • JPEG quality & resolution
  • EXIF metadata
  • Makernotes
  • RGB histograms & more..

There are various web-based image editors that help a lot specially when you do not have the right image editing software with you.

AIE, an open source Ajax image editor, is one of them but with a difference: it can be installed under your websites.

So, besides using it as a standard image editor, it can be integrated with other applications you use (like image galleries, blogging apps., etc) by simply setting the "images folder" of these applications.

Ajax Image Editor

AIE has great features like:

  • resizing images
  • cropping images
  • rotate/flip images
  • apply filters
  • add text with a text tool
  • apply watermarks & more..

It is built with Ext JS & uses PHP+ImageMagick on the server-side. For a demo, click here.

Shape Collage is a free software for creating photo collages automatically.

The collages can be in any shape, including the ready to use templates or the ones that you can create from scratch.

Photo Collage Maker

Images used can be selected from the computer or web. And, they are totally customizable:

  • Size & number of the photos, collage size, spacing between photos can be defined
  • Background image/color & borders can be selected

The collage created can be in GIF, JPEG & PSD format (so you can edit the collage more).

The software has Windows, Mac, Linux & Java versions.

LightScreen is a free screenshot tool that makes taking screenshots easier.

It can run at the background, can be called via hotkeys and enables you to take a screenshot of:

  • the screen
  • the window
  • a selected area

Free Screenshot Tool

The image format, quality, how it will be named & where it will be saved can be pre-defined.

And, once the screenshot is saved, it can notify you with a "tray icon popup" or a sound.

P.S. It only works in Windows OSs.

PHP template engines are used widely to seperate the code & the layout.

PHP LogoThis makes a website easier to maintain/update & creates a better development environment by enabling developers & designers to work together easier.

It sure has some drawbacks which is generally the performance (most libraries offer great solutions there) & need to learn a new syntax (not always).

To mention, using a template engine may not be suitable for every project. A website with few pages will probably won’t need it. But it can improve the development process of a portal, an e-commerce site or another web application easily.

Here are 19 PHP template engines with very nice features & have a continious development:



Smarty PHP Template Engine

The most popular PHP templating engine which prefers to call itself a "template/presentation framework" as it equips both the designer & programmers with powerful tools at the presentation layer.

It has a robust caching mechanism as well as a strong plug-in & add-on support.

With the template functions, debugging capabilities, security it provides & continious development, Smarty is a great engine.


Dwoo PHP Template Engine

Dwoo aims to be a serious alternative to Smarty with a cleaner codebase.

It has almost a totally compatible template & plugin system with Smarty.

Some main features are:

  • Template Inheritance, a fresh look at complex template structures, now built without includes.
  • Flexible plugin creation.
  • Scope aware engine, allowing for  shorter templates.
  • Unicode / UTF-8 support for string manipulation functions & more..


Savant PHP Template Engine

A lightweight templating engine for PHP.

it uses PHP itself as its template language & no need to learn a new markup system.

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Uptime Robot