A Responsive Factory

Back in May 2014, we introduced a new Iconfactory home page. One of the main design goals for that site was to make the layout a responsive web design: the same site looked great whether you were looking at it on a desktop PC or an iPhone. Reading Ethan Marcotte’s book was a revelation.

Of course, that site was just a beginning. We run a lot of web sites (including some you’ve probably never heard of before). Clearly we had to pick our responsive battles.

We started with an update to our blog in January 2015. In October, we updated our iOS and OS X app catalog. And yesterday we launched a responsive design portfolio.

A year and a half after our first responsive design, we’ve hit a milestone. All of the sites listed in the Iconfactory’s red navigation bar are responsive designs and will display correctly on any device. Woo hoo!

Along the way, we cleaned up some of our branding elements and worked toward a more consistent experience across all the sites. Check out the post at the Iconfactory about the new SVG icons in Safari to see what that’s all about.

It’s clear we’re at a point in time where the vast assortment of screens is daunting. If you haven’t thought about how your site works on this wide variety of devices, now is a great time to start.

iPulse 3


When I first started exploring the brave new world of Cocoa and Unix running on a Mac, I had no idea that the code I was writing would be something I relied on 14 years later. Sometimes you scratch an itch that never goes away.

While I welcomed the introduction of System Integrity Protection (aka “rootless”) at WWDC 2015, I also thought that it would be the end of iPulse. Luckily, an Apple engineer responded to a Radar and pointed me at libproc.

The rest, they say, is history. And by history I mean a couple of months work overhauling an ancient codebase :-)

With the help of Talos Tsui, all the icons and graphics now follow the latest user interface guidelines and are Retina quality. The app no longer looks like it’s over a decade old!

I know there are a lot of fellow developers out there who love iPulse as much as I do (and boy, did I hear from all of you when it stopped working in El Capitan!) You’ll be happy to know that you can download the updated version directly from the Mac App Store. This is also the app’s first paid upgrade and it’s only $10.

There’s more information and a screenshot on the Iconfactory blog.

Now, about those huge JavaScript frameworks…

If you’re a web developer and you don’t have the Network Link Conditioner installed, you’re doing your visitors a disservice.

This tool, originally created so that iOS developers could test native apps on EDGE networks without leaving the comfort of their office, should be an essential part of your development toolchain. You’ll need to register for a free Apple developer account to download the tool, but that shouldn’t stop you.

It’s likely that you’re working on a fast network with low latency. This will skew your perception of how your site performs for a majority of the people who use your site. When you slow your Mac network down using the link conditioner, huge assets won’t load in an instant and you’ll start to feel someone else’s pain. Now try going an entire day using hotel Wi-Fi…