Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Da Button Factory available as a Chrome webapp

Da Button Factory is now available on the Chrome Web Store, for free.

Installing it means getting an easy way to launch Da Button Factory from the “Applications” page of Google Chrome/Chromium:
It also means that our faithful users can now rate and comment on the app to give us feedback, and improve awareness about the site.

There also was a bunch of small improvements to Da Button Factory in the last weeks, especially regarding the usability of the site on a smartphone/tablet, and in the documentation. The look of the site was also a bit stripped down, to make it even cleaner and fast-loading.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mobile friendly, better fonts, CSS3 button export

Big update on Da Button Factory this week-end!

Our online button generator is now mobile-compliant. Previously the rendering & usability on non-PC devices was horrible. But from now, the button editor works well on smartphones and tablets:

The list of available fonts has been revamped. A bunch were added, some were “removed”. What that means is that some of the older fonts are no more displayed by default in the “Font” drop-down list. But if you saved/bookmarked the URL of an editing workspace that used one of these old fonts, they will appear again. We are backward-compatible on that.
We wanted to carefully pick a good selection of fonts, that offers variety in style and works well for different use-cases, but without having an overwhelming choice (less is more). That is why some of the old fonts got removed; they were statistically the least used, and/or the most problematic (only display well for a narrow range of text sizes, not pretty in the bold/italic variants, etc.)
Also, the fonts are now categorized by “family” (sans-serif, serif, fantasy/cursive): this should help in exploring them.

The button maker now outputs CSS 3 code instead of the out-of-date CSS declarations that were previously generated. Browsers change quite a lot since 2009 but we did not touch the CSS generation since then. This is now corrected!

An old, apparently unnoticed, bug in the padding handling was discovered and corrected. Previously the button text could be wrongly cropped if it contained characters that go under the baseline (j, p, q, etc.) and if the vertical padding was too small:
Now it works without problem. But to correct this bug, the handling of paddings has to completely changed, and a button with a vertical padding of, say, 10px, in the new version will appear significatively taller than in the old version. We do not break backward-compatibility for previously generated button images that are hotlinked somewhere on the web: they will display as previously. But if you saved a button workspace and access it again, the padding will have visibly changed. No big deal though, just reduce it and the button will render as previously.

That’s all for the big things. Minor things include:
  • the editor look was refreshed. A new color picker, easier-to-use, is now in place.
  • the example buttons changed
  • the navigation changed; a new “Info” page is now present, API & Contact are less prominent

Friday, January 16, 2015

Faster load, better API doc, and some other small things

Some small improvements over the past two days to Da Button Factory:
  • a bug in the undo/redo system was fixed, where the color fields were not properly reset to the right color
  • the online button creator is now faster to load, thanks to a few tricks (fewer external javascript files to download, reduced CSS code, …)
  • the API documentation has been updated & improved
  • the Contact page now has a “Frequently Asked Question” section. Among other things, it says explicitely what the generated buttons license is: free to use and embed without restriction!
  • and some other minor things :-)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A new tool to create buttons

As some of you might have noticed, Da Button Factory has not been updated for a long time now. Although I don’t plan on closing it, I’m glad to inform you that I recently released a new online button maker at https://www.imagefu.com/create/button.
This new editor supports, among other things, multi-lines text and color transparency, which were the most requested features for Da Button Factory.

Imagefu aims at providing several fast-and-simple editors for different type of graphics, not only buttons. There is also a badge creator available at the moment.

I hope that you like this new tool! If you have some spare time, feedback and suggestions are welcome in the comments section of this post, on Twitter or by email.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A new font and a few more examples

A new font is available: Candela. It's a clean, modern sans-serif font. Here what it looks like in its italic variant:

Also, some new examples are now in the examples gallery. The one I preferred is, I think, the Twitter-like Sign Up button:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Da Button Factory updated

I have been quite busy professionnaly since the last update, but I've found some time these days to upgrade Da Button Factory.

The site seems to not have changed a lot, it's because my time was mostly used to completely changed the back-end infrastructure of the site to prepare for some more heavy visible changes (as listed, for example, in the previous post).

Anyway, this upgrade features:
  • a new design: a bit more polished and uncluttered. This new design uses CSS 3 features and is best seen with a recent decent browser, like Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. There are still rendering problems with Internet Explorer, I am working on fixing them. The new color picker is far more powerful and good-looking.
  • a faster site: the overall size of the pages has been reduced, the editor is more reactive, buttons that has already been generated are cached and served from RAM directly by the webserver, gzip compression has been activated, the site uses less images, etc.
  • less interface bugs: the color picker, for instance, was known to not work correctly on Internet Explorer 8. That, and a lot of other little issues, is now fixed.
  • a new image output format: ico. This is the format used for the favicons, and some people seem to use Da Button Factory to create some. So now you can directly generate one with Da Button Factory, without having to manually convert it from png to ico. A favicon example can be edited here (it's the one used for dabuttonfactory.com).
  • the image size (in bytes) is now displayed.
  • the API is now more documented.
Let me know what you think about the new design or anything, or if you found any bug. Oh, and Merry Christmas :-)!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Announcement: new version in preparation

Hello everyone out there following Da Button Factory! Some news.

1. the "Da Button Factory" Flickr account has apparently been deleted (see the previous post talking about the Flickr experiment).
Well, I can understand that they (the Flickr admins) saw it as a form of spam (every uploaded button had an hyper-link to edit it in DaBuFa in its description field...). But this is a pity, for spamming was of course not the intention.
Anyway, I keep the user-generated gallery idea in my head, and it will come back. But this is delayed for now because...

2. Da Button Factory is going to be heavily changed and improved. I have started to work on a new version which should feature:

  • an easy generation of an hover and/or active states for the button

  • more output formats, mainly a "CSS sprites" one.

  • button themes. Think of them as the current "examples" page but in more powerful: you'll be able to dynamically change the theme of your button. You will be able to save your own themes. You will be able to generate a random theme, etc.

  • more generally, there will certainly be the introduction of registered accounts so that people can upload their own fonts, save their themes, etc.

These are big new things to integrate, so it will certainly take some time before I can present something, a beta version of this new version. But please be patient and don't worry if you don't see new blog posts for a while: it's because I will work so hard I will have no time to write :-)!

And please, please, please, if you have any suggestion for this new version, or for anything else: leave a comment, or email me!
I am always glad to get feedback from anyone using Da Button Factory, or even from people which don't use it (if so, tell me why! :-)) And I always listen and think of suggestions very carefully, and try hard to integrate them in a way or another. And of course, I always answer emails :-)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today update: CJK support, Flickr experiment

Da Button Factory now includes a font, Zenhei, which supports the CJK (Chinese - Japanese - Korean) characters.

I hope our asian friends will have a better experience!

Try this new font!

Also, this update introduce a kind of experiment. At some interval, the button currently generated by the factory is chosen to be uploaded to Flickr, a well-known photo-sharing service.

Take a look at the user-generated button gallery!

The idea is to create a big collection of user-generated buttons that you can freely browse.
And when you find a button that pleases you, you can directly edit it in Da Button Factory by clicking the hyper-link present in its description field.

As I said, it is an experimentation. I don't really know what will result from it. But as I see it, it would become a huge gallery of very different (and very pretty :-)) examples. I hope the wisdom of crowds will apply here, and that using the imagination of plenty of people will be a right thing. Time will tell!

Finally, there is also a minor UI improvement: a "copy" button now sits next to the button/workspace URL, to copy its value in the clipboard.
It might not work in every browser, but at least it always selects the text (then just do CTRL-C or Command-C on a Mac).

The workspace URL also have an "open" link to open the current workspace configuration in a new window. Mainly useful if the "bookmark" button doesn't work with your browser.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Workspace & button URLs now in the same format

This is not very important, but the workspace URL and the button URL now use the exact same parameters names and format (the one of the button URL).

They used to be a bit different. For instance, the font parameter in the button URL indicates if the font is in its bold and/or italic variant (e.g: f=Calibri-Bold, f=sans-serif-Bold-Italic), while in the workspace URL, it took 3 parameters: font for the font name only, font-bold for the boldness and font-italic (e.g: f=Calibri&fb=on, f=sans-serif&fb=on&fi=on).

These little differences were explained by the fact that the workspace URL was simply composed of the name/value of each of the HTML form elements. For the font, you have to choose the font name, and then activate (or not) the Bold? and Italic? checkboxes: it gives us 3 HTML elements, so (previously) 3 URL parameters.

But this was lame, for it leads to 2 different and incompatible formats. Useless complexity.

So I change this stuff so that from now, given a button URL, you just have to change http://dabuttonfactory.com/b? by http://dabuttonfactory.com/edit? and you're ready to edit this button!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Making Da Button Factory the best button generator out there: yet another step

These are the changes made in the yesterday release:

- A fix in the horizontal alignment. Two pictures are worth a thousand words, here are the results of asking for a button with a 3 pixels horizontal padding:

BEFORE (the padding on the right is abnormally bigger than the left one, and is certainly not 3 pixels)AFTER (no extra space on the right, the left and right paddings are the same and actually are 3 pixels)

- You can now close the color picker panel by pressing the escape key

- Opera and Internet Explorer don't automatically call the javascript change() listener
of a checkbox when it is clicked: this behaviour is now emulated (the change() listener
is crucial in this app, since it triggers the retrieval of the new button image)

- You've got a visual indication of the current displayed page: the background image
of the corresponding navigation link (the buttons in the top-right) differs.

- The text in the information panel is now vertically-centered in all browsers and
its behaviour is a bit smarter (if the entry point to the site is not the editor page, it doesn't
say 'Start right now by editing the default button above' for there is no 'button above'!)

- Internally, the caching system and the HTTP headers sent in the responses are now cleaner.

That's all folks!