Internet Explorer 8 came out today, I’ve been using the beta a bit and it’s actually pretty good. I’ve never used IE routinely but as it renders pages differently from other browsers, I use it for compatibility testing. Come to that, I use lots of Microsoft products, I don’t disparage them just because they’re Microsoft. I do prefer alternatives though, if they do what I need.
Recently I got around to another thing I’ve been meaning to do, which is to allow more than one screen capture per program. I was getting pretty tired of seeing the same pictures, and plenty of programs have lots of sample images up on their web sites. Part of the reason was laziness on my part, and part was poor software design. I’m not sure which of these I feel better about.
A month ago I added icons to most program names and listings, to show the platform the program runs on, and its user interface. I used to have this information only listed on each program’s page but I’d like to make it more obvious before you click on a program, what it runs on, and whether it’s GUI or not. I try not to use images where words can work, but words like ‘Windows’ take up a lot of horizontal space.
So this guy and its permutations are for the operating systems. To get them to line up
when stacked above each other in a table, I made all the constituent icons 16 pixels wide
with a 1-pixel space either side. So the 3-wide icon group is always 54 pixels wide. The icons themselves I made up myself just by shrinking logos and then cleaning them up a bit with a graphics program. I put them together along with 16-pixel wide transparent spacers using the amazing ImageMagick. They’re actually 50% transparent as with so many of them on a page, they were looking a bit overpowering, particularly the Apple icon.
The interface icons are a bit less intuitive, and I debated whether to include them. I have hover-text explanations on them so after reading that once or twice I hope it’ll be
clear what they mean (they are ‘GUI’, ‘Command Line’, and ‘Library’, in that order). They’re also 16 pixels wide; I got them from famfamfam’s beautiful ‘Silk’ icon set. Categorizing by interface probably isn’t as important to a lot of users, particularly as most Windows programs are GUI, but for Linux (and hence Mac) power users, it’s nice to be able to find the command line programs. And for super users, programs that provide programming libraries or APIs are just wonderful.