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MongoDB Days Austin post-conference thoughts

It was a great decision going to the MongoDB Days mini-conference in Austin — learned a lot about what MongoDB is, what it can do really efficiently, and also got an introduction to thinking in documents instead of the old relational way.

I chose to go to the pre-conference workshop sessions as well, and that was important to get this introduction to MongoDB (and schemaless design) out of the way. Everyone from 10gen was very helpful, and willing to discuss the parallels between relational schema design and best practices on the documents approach.

Loved the conference, and will be paying more attention to MongoDB in the future thinking about potential uses in client projects.

Litmus: an easy way to test your design in multiple browsers

I found out about Litmus several months ago but forgot about it, and didn’t even write something down. Litmus allows you to check how your web site designs (even your newsletter email designs) look to your final customers.

They have a cheaper version of their monthly plan that provides a 1 week trial for free.

Another cool little tool available from the same Litmus developers is called CSSVista, a Windows application that lets you edit your CSS code live in both Internet Explorer and Firefox at the same time. It works by having a code editor on a vertical pane, and then two frames on the side with the two browsers showing off the design applying the CSS styles live. Very cool stuff.

HttpWatch: commercial alternative to Firebug for Internet Explorer

Wow, I thought I was good at learning about new tools, but I never heard about HttpWatch. I just found out about it by browsing through the sessions that will happen at the Velocity conference.

It works much in the same way as Firebug, as a add-in to Internet Explorer. It looks really really cool, and some of the features are even better than Firebug. I like how it even gives you insight into the TCP level of your browsing sessions, such as how much time a DNS lookup takes. There is a very extensive features page explaining the most useful features full of screenshots.

A free version of this add-in is available, and a single-user license is $295.