A Look Into: Internet Explorer 11 DevTools

Posted by Harshad

A Look Into: Internet Explorer 11 DevTools

A Look Into: Internet Explorer 11 DevTools

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

The Internet Explorer in-browser Developer Tools (IE DevTools) has long been lacking several critical functionalities for debugging, making it nearly useless. This includes the inability to inspect elements in different state like :hover, :active, :focus, and :visited – at least not in an easy intuitive way. Long story short, it is hard and frustrating to debug in Internet Explorer.

But starting with Internet Explorer 11, the IE DevTools has finally got a facelift in its existing features as well as a few new functionalities. Let’s take a look at what it now has to offer.

Getting Started

Internet Explorer 11 is shipped along with Windows 8. If you are still using Windows 7 and haven’t yet updated IE, you can download the installer here. Launch the installer, then follow the installation instructions.

Once it has been installed, launch Internet Explorer 11, and press the F12 button to launch the DevTools. As we have mentioned and seen below, the new DevTools has a totally redesigned look, compared to earlier versions.

In addition, although this kind of menu has also been available in the other browsers for a while, IE 11 has also included the “Inspect Element” on the right-click menu to quickly bring up the DevTools.

DOM Explorer

The DOM Explorer also got some improvements. First, you will find that it now has “breadcrumbs” at the bottom, which makes navigating through the DOM hierarchy much leaner. It also allows us to move elements within the DOM simply by dragging and dropping.

Styles Tab

At the right side of the DOM Explorer pane, similar to the other Browsers DevTools, you will find the Styles tab with all the CSS rules that are applied to the DOM elements. It is now also equipped with Intellisense. So, as we type codes in CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, it will show a list of input suggestions to complete the code.

It now also puts the styles that are currently applied at the top, instead of buried at the very bottom (which forces us to scroll). This makes debugging CSS quicker and more intuitive.

Trace Tab

In the Trace tab, you can immediately discover which styles are applied to the element, and which styles are overridden.

If you find your website styling output not appearing as expected, this is the tab that you should inspect.

Layout Tab

Furthermore, in the Layout tab, you will also see the box diagram and box property information: width, height padding, margin and borders. Now, this tab is not merely showing information staticly, we can now also edit the values of these properties.

New Console API

Aside, from the user interface and user experience aspects, Internet Explorer 11 also introduced a number of new Console APIs including console.time and console.timeEnd method. You can use these two methods to track execution time of JavaScript functions or code blocks, for example:

 console.time('loop'); var index; var a = ["a", "b", "c"]; for (index = 0; index < a.length; ++index) { console.log(a[index]); } console.timeEnd('loop'); 

See the complete list of new Console API in this page.

The Mobile Emulator

With the increasing usage of mobile devices as well as websites that are created for Mobile platforms, it is now very reasonable to include a feature in IE DevTools to support the development process. Check out the IE Mobile Emulator.

In the Emulation panel, you can configure the document and browser mode, display orientation, viewport size and Geolocation, which allows you to override your current location coordinates.

It works similar to the Emulation Tool in Chrome DevTools, so check out our previous article on 5 (More) Useful Chrome DevTools Tips For Developers.

Final Thought

Over all, I’m glad to see that Microsoft has finally put serious attention in Internet Explorer. Aside from the capability to render some cutting-edge CSS3 and HTML5 spec, the DevTools in Internet Explorer 11, as we can see above, comes with significant improvements in some areas.

However, in term of features, it still is behind the other browsers. The option for viewing elements in different state as mentioned at the beginning of the post is still missing. For those who work with CSS a lot, like me, this feature is essential.


5 Ways To Be Productive (Even When You&#8217;re Out Of Freelance Work)

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

The typical freelance career, illustrated, would probably look like a wave. It has "crests", where you have more than enough work to keep you going, and "troughs", where you have little, if any, work on your plate.

During the "trough" times — or "famine periods", if you will — you have to be extra careful since it’s when you’re most vulnerable to being upset, desperate, and ready to take on any job, no matter how degrading the work and/or the pay, as long as you can get by. But you know what? There are better ways to deal with "troughs" than settling for the low-hanging fruit.

Think about it. If you have less work at the moment, you have more free time to focus on tasks that can help with your freelance business. These tasks increase your productivity, flex your entrepreneurial muscles, and, most importantly, give your business a push in the right direction, whether you’re in a "crest" or a "trough".

1. Pitch Guest Posts to Websites in Your Niche

Do you have any skills, knowledge, or experience that the Average Joe can’t easily learn/fake? Use these to your advantage by pitching article ideas to websites that align with your interests and expertise. You can start with Carol Tice’s list of 100+ websites that pay you to write, but not before reading Hongkiat’s excellent articles on the do’s and don’ts of guest posting.

By the way, use guest posting in moderation. If you have something to say, and can put a unique yet grounded spin on what you want to say, then by all means send in that pitch. If you’re only guest posting for the exposure and backlinks at the expense of your readers, there’s a good chance Google will penalize you for that.

2. Update Your Online Profiles

If you’ve learned new skills, gained more experience, or just finished a major project you’re proud of, it can only do you good to have your professional online profiles reflect that. You never know whether clients look you up online before hiring you, and if this infographic is any indication, there’s at least a 90 percent chance of that happening.

Also, if your freelance rates are available for public viewing, you might want to update those too. You don’t want to be in an awkward situation where you have to explain to a client why you’re charging 50 dollars per hour today, when your Odesk profile says you only charge 10 dollars per hour!

3. Learn New Skills (or Hone Existing Ones)

Now that your schedule is wide open, you don’t really have an excuse not to improve your current skill set. If you want to keep your core skills (e.g. writing, designing) nice and sharp even without a job, try initiating a pet project. The great thing about pet projects is that you have full control over everything: the pacing, the deadlines, the artistic direction, etc.

You might also want to read more books, take more courses, and keep abreast of the latest developments in your industry so you won’t feel "rusty" or "out of touch".Networking with other freelancers, especially the more experienced ones, is likewise a step in the right direction.

4. Organize Your Paperwork

It can be nightmarish to deal with paperwork, but that doesn’t change the fact that contracts, invoices, feedback survey forms, and the like are indispensable for the serious freelancer. These documents can easily get lost in your computer or cloud drives, so it’s a good idea to keep them organized while you still have the time.

Here are a few more posts (and featured tools) to help you organize your paperwork:

5. Market Yourself

The word "marketing" tends to conjure up images of sleazy, smooth-talking salesmen who care more about fattening their wallets than giving customers value for their money. It’s not surprising, then, that most creatives – including you, perhaps? – cringe at the mere mention of that word.

Now that your potential competition is on the rise, though, you can no longer afford to just let your talent speak for itself. You have to work harder to get yourself noticed by setting up a website, showcasing your work through that website, and promoting the same through social media.

Of course, even while you’re doing all that marketing, adding value to your clients should be your utmost priority. "Value", in this context, is not so much what your unique qualities are as how your unique qualities can help a client achieve a specific goal.

For example, if you’re a writer, your client won’t care much about a claim like "I can write high-quality articles", unless you can re-phrase that as "I can produce content that will bring your website a high volume of traffic".


Just like any other business, freelancing has its "crests" and "troughs". You can’t always avoid the troughs, but you can cope with them in a healthier manner.


5 Reasons Why I Don&#8217;t Install WordPress Plugins

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

… well not ALL WordPress plugins, just the bad ones. Like every other tool out there, there are some plugins that work for you, e.g. for creating contact forms or for helping you build an e-Commerce website on top of WordPress – and there are those which don’t.

Some plugins aren’t necessary, other times, you should totally avoid installing them. In this particular post, I’d like to share with you my personal reasons why I won’t install a particular plugin. As this is an opinion piece, I’m sure you have your reasons as well. Share them with me in the comments section.

1. It Does A Simple Job

Many functionalities in WordPress can be achieved without a plugin. They are so simple that a plugin could sometimes be overkill. For example; I will prefer of adding the following snippet, to hide an admin bar, in the theme’s functions.php file, rather than using a plugin.

 add_filter('show_admin_bar', '__return_false'); 

Tip: Before installing a plugin, try to find that piece of code that can do the exact same job.

2. It’s Old & Not Updated

WordPress has a policy for plugins stored in the official repository; for plugins that are not maintained for more than 24 months, WordPress will display the following warning.

The plugin may contain some deprecated functions, and may also not be compatible with the current WordPress version. I usually won’t install or keep this plugin unless there is no better replacement, and the plugin stil runs well, and I’m sure it would not harm the site it is on.

For instance, I’m still using Maintenance Mode plugin, even though it has not been updated since 2010 as it still does the job really well. We can customize the output by creating a custom template from within the theme.

3. It’s Not Native

I found many plugins that have their own styling for the Admin User Interface (Admin UI) i.e. it does not follow the native WordPress Admin UI styles. The problem comes when WordPress decides to overhaul the entire UI design like in WordPress version 3.8. The plugin’s Admin UI will look out of place. It could also look awful.

On the other hand, it will also add more workload for the developer to update their plugins once WordPress makes significant changes.

Take a look at this example. It is a plugin to make WordPress more secure. It has its own styling, which does not really blend well with the WordPress Admin U. It looks cluttered at best.

Let’s compare it with the following plugin, named Better WP Security, which offers similar functionalities. It uses native WordPress styles and looks tidier.

For me, I would always check out the Screenshot page of the plugin. If the screenshots look unappealing or they are not available, the developer probably isn’t paying enough attention to this plugin of his/hers. And I probably won’t install it.

The rule of thumb for creating Admin UI is to stick close to the WordPress native styles. Sadly, WordPress does not provide a thorough documentation as a guideline. The following, however, are a few references that may help you get started:

4. It’s Branded

I found many WordPress plugins that put their “brand name” everywhere on its Setting page. It is distracting, particularly when it comes to user experience. Here’s an example, a plugin that put its brand on the Menu Name as well as on the Settings Page, 6 different times.

I’m not against putting your “brand name” in a plugin. But it should be done in a more friendly way. It also should not sacrifice the aesthetics of the User Interface design of the plugin. VaultPress is a good example in this matter:

5. It’s Obtrusive

Combine #4 with ads and pro version offerings and the plugin becomes obtrusive. Creating a plugin takes a lot of time and financial support for continual developent, but displaying ads and offers around every corner is can make the developer look desperate. As always, there are better ways to do this, and they are less obtrusive.

Advanced Custom Fields is one good example for this. It is a free plugin that allows us to create WordPress custom meta box easily with GUI. It has some premium extensions that are offered in a neat way, under a sub-menu named "Add-on".


I have my favorite set of WordPress plugins that I cannot do without but if we end-users are more selective with the plugins that we adopt for use, picking only those that are done well, this may little by little help improve the overall quality of plugins. Here is to the development of more powerful WordPress plugins.


How To Reset Mac OS X User Password In Recovery Mode [Quicktip]

Posted: 27 Mar 2014 12:01 AM PDT

Let’s assume you’ve forgotten your OS X user account password and there is simply no way for you to enter your account in your OS X. Well, it happens to everyone at some point, especially if you have just updated your password and can only remember the old password, not the new one.

Reset mac user account password

First, don’t panic. Secondly, check out this quick tip on how to reset your OS X user account password. It will require you go in to OS X Recovery mode. Once you have your password reset, make sure to have a backup of all your passwords somewhere else that is not in your Mac.

Enter OS X Recovery Mode

To boot into OS X Recovery, the first thing you need to do is to restart your Mac. While restarting, hold down CMD + R until the Apple logo appears. If you time it right, you will enter the recovery mode.

What you need to do next is to go to Utilities > Terminal to open a Terminal. In Terminal, type resetpassword and press Enter.

Select terminal

You will now be presented with the Reset Password window. Next, select your OS X drive. From the drop-down under "Select the user account:", choose the user account that you want to reset password for.

Select user account

Type in your new password, re-enter it and try not to forget it this time. You can also choose to write down a hint in the "Enter a new password hint for this user (optional)", just in case.

Reset password

Once you’re done, click on Save. You will be prompted with this message saying that your user account password was reset but your keychain is not. Just click OK and close all windows.

Login password reset

Now click the Apple icon at the very top left and choose Restart. You can now enter your account with your new password.


jQuery.mmenu &#8211; Create Sliding Menu With Ease

Posted: 26 Mar 2014 10:01 PM PDT

Creating creatively different menu sometimes is pretty hard when you have no any good idea or inspiration. But this kind of matter can be fixed by searching other inspirational menu design or with the help of tools. In this matter, jQuery.Mmenu comes in as a pretty handy tool.

jQuery.Mmenu is an easy-to-use jQuery plugin for creating mobile app sliding navigation menu in your website. This slick creative menu will bring a nicer and neatere user experience.

Getting Started

To get started with jQuery.Mmenu, head over to the download page and the plugin will be downloaded automatically. In this post, we will try to build a basic menu.

Just like other jQuery plugins, to use this you have to include the required dependencies to your site. Those are jQuery, jquery.mmenu.js and jquery.mmenu.css. The snippet is as follows:

 <head> .. <link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="jquery.mmenu.css" /> <script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.mmenu.js"></script> .. </head> 

And that should be enough for creating a basic menu with all functionalities and styling. For more advanced and extra features, you need to include additional JS and CSS file.

Creating A Menu

Let’s create the basic menu as you usually create it with the nav, ul, li and a elements. In this demo, we’ll create a horizontal menu that has three sub-menus and also three sub-sub-menus, like so.

 <nav id="menu"> <ul> <li class="Selected"> <a href="demo.html">Basic Horizontal Menu</a> <ul> <li><a href="#">First sub-menu</a></li> <li><a href="#">Second sub-menu</a> <ul> <li><a href="#">First sub-sub-menu</a></li> <li><a href="#">Second sub-sub-menu</a></li> <li><a href="#">Third sub-sub-menu</a></li> </ul> </li> <li><a href="#">Third sub-menu</a></li> </ul> </li> </ul> </nav> 

In the above menu, we have included the nav with a menu id which will be used as the jQuery.mmenu function reference. Then call the plugin with the javascript function and include the id like so.

 <script type="text/javascript"> $(function() { $('nav#menu').mmenu(); }); </script> 

In the LI tag, you can see a class named Selected, this class is useful to make the default selected menu upon initialization. You also may add your own class (for example “active”), but make sure to include it in the configuration section, like so.

 <script type="text/javascript"> $(function() { $('nav#menu').mmenu({ // options object }, { // configuration object selectedClass: "active" }); }); </script> 

This plugin has automatically added the sub-menu closing and opening links, so we don’t need to create them. Our menu should look like this.


jQuery.mmenu offers you a great solution to create different menus as easy as possible. You can even create other interactive elements with this plugin, for example, you can create a sliding tooltip and notification bar for mobile site.

jQuery.Mmenu can be customized for advance use as well. For example, you can create a mobile-like contact list in your site by combining its themesextension, addon (labels, counters, header, dragOpen and searchfield) and positioning.



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