Automatically Compling SASS / Compass in Eclipse / Zend Studio

Recently I was tasked with figuring out how to use SASS and Compass in a project I was working on. SASS adds all kinds of new capabilities to your CSS files such as variables, nested rules, selector inheritance, and more. Compass builds upon SASS by adding some very useful libraries. To learn more about them go to:

http://sass-lang.com/

http://compass-style.org/

In the project I’m working on we happen to use the Zend Studio which is built on the Eclipse IDE. Normally when working with SASS / Compass you need to open a terminal window and enter a command to “watch” your .scss files. That way when a file changed it would automatically compile it into a .css file. Being lazy by nature I didn’t like the idea of having to open a separate terminal window in addition to launching the IDE to do compile the files so I figured I should be able use Ant to handle this task. It took a bit of research and some fiddling but I finally figured it out. Now every time I change one of my .scss files it is automatically compiled into a .css file. I’m a happy camper! Continue reading

Plays Well With Others

Communicating, sharing and staying organized in the virtual work environment

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

— Plato

Working from home can be a mixed blessing. For the most part it’s great. Your commute is measured in steps rather than miles saving probably an hour a day, not to mention the price of gas and wear and tear on your car.  You can work in your pajamas if you’d like (assuming you don’t use video conferencing in which case you probably should put on a nicer shirt and make sure your hair is combed).

On the down side you’re all alone at home.  It’s easy to get distracted with chores around the house. But most of all, for me at least, is a sense of isolation. You can’t yell across the cubicle wall when you have a question.

These days our work requires new tools to be able to e able to collaborate effectively with others, especially if you’re working from home or working in a distributed environment. We’ll take a look at some of the best tools that I’ve found for communication, sharing and organization and hopefully start a discussion about other great tools. Continue reading