Friday, October 5, 2018

Looking good & working well in Windows High-Contrast mode

Microsoft Windows has a setting called “High-Contrast mode”, that (drastically) adjusts the colors and luminosity of your screen. This is vital for some visually impaired people, but not only. It can be quite useful if you have to look at a screen in bright daylight, or, on the contrary, deep at night.

Internet Explorer and Edge, the Microsoft web browsers, also adapt the style of webpages according to this setting. Up until recently, this is how Da Button Factory looked like in Edge when high-contrast (dark theme #1) was on:


Quite… ugly, isn’t it? And the colorpicker was completely unusable.

Fortunately, web developers can influence how things get rendered. Interested developers: take a look at the -ms-high-contrast-adjust CSS property, the -ms-high-contrast CSS media, and this helpful “Working with High Contrast” slidedeck.

After a bit of tweaking, we could get to this:


Much better. And it also looks good in High-Contrast white:


👍 for accessibility!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Da Button Factory now also available in french

The whole site has been translated to french.

Le site complet a été traduit en français.

Vive Da Button Factory !

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 in retrospect

Improvements to Da Button Factory in 2017:

Web-based editor

  • Undo/redo system was buggy. Rewrote it fully. Now works perfectly!
  • Tested with NVDA (screen reader software) ⇒ fixed some accessibility issues
  • On mobile: avoid page jumps, use bigger touch targets, optimize screen estate
  • Some rewordings for clarity
  • Faster initialization

API

  • More lenient: font name now case-insensitive, autocorrect some client URL-encoding mistakes
  • Documentation improved

Site

Friday, October 28, 2016

Downloaded buttons now named after the button text

When downloading a generated button image to your computer, its filename will now be based on the button text content, instead of always being the generic button.(png|jpg|gif|ico).

For instance, if the text is “Learn more”, the button filename will be button_learn-more.png. If the text is “Redeem your promotion code!”, the filename will be button_redeem-your-promotion-code.png.

This is especially useful when creating a batch of buttons that only differ in their text. With this new feature, the downloaded images have meaningful filenames that are easily differentiated.

Caveats


There are some characters that are unsafe or inconvenient to use in a filename, especially if you intend to share the file (via email, etc.) with people using different operating systems.

So some transformations are applied to the button text to make it suitable as a filename. We chose to err on the side of safety at the cost of, sometimes, quite heavily modifying the text.

Spaces are replaced by hyphens, and things likes punctuation marks get removed. Greek & cyrillic characters get transliterated to latin ones, and diacritics on latin characters are scrapped.

As a result, the filename will always only contain (a subset of the) ASCII characters. This also has advantages if the buttons are to be put on the web; their URLs won’t need any escaping.

The name is also all lowercase, mainly because some systems (notably, macOS) are case-insensitive.

Browser compatibility


Sadly this feature is not effective on all browsers, notably not in Internet Explorer and Safari.
It should however work in Safari 11, which is yet to be released at the time of this writing. As for Internet Explorer, its development has stopped and it has been replaced by a new browser, Microsoft Edge, since Windows 10. (This feature is effective on Edge.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Improved number & color input on mobile, IE ≤ 7 support dropped

Here are the main things coming from this spring round of improvements to Da Button Factory!

Better number and color input on mobile

When changing a size/distance field on a mobile, the keyboard now turns to “digits mode”:
Number input on mobile
And on a mobile system that support <input type="color"> (mainly relatively-recent Android, unfortunately not iOS), the native color picker is used, instead of the one used by default on Da Button Factory:
Since the default color picker was not designed for small & touch screens, it wasn’t very usable on mobile.

Dropping support for very old Internet Explorer versions

According to our stats, a negligible amount of visitors are using Internet Explorer ≤ 7. Completely dropping support for them means we could greatly reduce & clean the codebase. As a result, the vast majority of visitors will experience a faster and smoother experience, and mobile data plans will be spared.

Undo/Redo via keyboard shortcuts

It is now possible to undo or redo a change by using the usual keyboard shortcuts (for instance, CTRL-Z to undo on a PC keyboard). No need to reach for the mouse!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Quietly getting better everyday

Let’s review what changed on Da Button Factory in the past month:

Better keyboard handling

Lots of modifications were made to make navigating using the keyboard much smoother.
The biggest thing is that now, all the relevant items on the button designer are focusable and activable with the keyboard. Previously, the color fields were not.

Also, the FAQ page was totally broken when using keyboard navigation (no way to expand the answers): this is now fixed.

Improved mobile support

Mainly, the editor now detects when the virtual (aka “soft”) keyboard on a mobile is visible, and adjusts the layout consequently: the button preview area gets smaller (to avoid covering the edited text field).
Also the keyboard does no more automatically (and stupidly, as these fields are read only!) appeared when the button or editor URL is revealed when clicking on the “Export” or “Save” button, or when using the undo/redo buttons are used.

Some minor global layout/style changes on the mobile site were also done.

Loading is faster than ever

While Da Button Factory was already fast, the initialization phase of the button maker got even faster. This should be hardly noticeable on a recent desktop computer (we are talking tenths of milliseconds here), but this has a visible, although small, impact on mobiles or old computers.

Smarter layout on wide desktop screens

Assuming a modern web browser (one that supports flexbox) and a wide screen (width ≥ 1340 px), the main content on the site pages will now expand to make better use of the available space.

Improved support of old browsers

The site experience was reviewed on old browsers and consequently improved, especially for old versions (< 10) of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

With all that said, let us wish you a happy new year!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cleaner button CSS code

When generating the CSS3 code for a button, support of the background gradient syntax(es) used by very old web browsers (that now have an insignificant market share) has been dropped. This result in less and cleaner code, and there is still the universal fallback to a plain solid color anyway.

Clean CSS3 gradients

This change was inspired by “PSA: don’t use gradient generators”.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Another server, new presets

Since the beginning, Da Button Factory had been running on a single server. While there was no problem keeping up with the load, this situation was not so great regarding availability: if the server had an issue, dabuttonfactory.com could experience downtime; there was no redundancy.

To alleviate that risk, we have been testing serving dabuttonfactory.com using two computers, the original one located in France and a new server in north America.
So far so good after a few weeks of trial, so we made the switch today to fully run on this dual server, redundant architecture.

As a side-effect of this, our american users will experience reduced latency and higher speed. Our capacity also doubled; as a result, we raised some API limits :-)


And to celebrate all this, we added three button presents on the Examples page:
New button examples screenshot
Hope you like them!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Video tutorials

I found out that Eduardo Amorim just made a YouTube video presenting Da Button Factory, in portuguese. Thanks to him!



This nicely complements the english-speaking Da Button Factory video tutorial made by Bob Chambers. This one is linked from the Info page, and although it presents an older version of the button generator, it is still quite accurate as the button maker works globally the same nowadays.



And in case you didn’t know it, there is also a short soundless video showing how to embed a button on Wordpress (also linked from the Info page, in the “How do I embed a button on my website and make it clickable?” section).

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.