Minification Made Easy with VS Web Essentials for Visual Studio 2012

Why do we care about minification?

Minification is the easiest thing you can do to your websites to improve the performance of the front end. Minifying is going to take all your code and cram it into one line. This can decrease the size of the file by up to 40%. That is a lot less for your browser to download and will speed up the rendering of your pages.

Why choose Web Essentials?

VS Web Essentials provides the easiest way to setup minification. The extension can be installed without leaving Visual Studio and it’s very easy to find in the extensions and updates portion of Visual Studio. There are no build events to configure. The minification can either happen on save or be done manually. There isn’t a complicated configuration file that you will need to setup. The extension generates an easy to read config file.

Web Essentials provides a TON of features that make CSS and Javascript coding a lot easier. The extension is very useful even if you are not interested in the minification functionality.

CSS Tricks

You can enable an option to prevent the minification from removing CSS comments that have been marked as important. This will allow you to keep your version numbers and licensing in your comments. I’ve tried to hunt down other minification processes that wouldn’t remove important comments and I couldn’t find any.

Javascript Tricks

You can enable Javascript Source Maps that will allow you to use your minified JS file in development and easily find what line bugs are occurring on. Below are some great articles on Source Maps.

This is the first time I’ve done any video demos before. I’d really appreciate any feedback that would help me improve my presentation skills.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Weekend Tech Reads For 3-22-2013

It’s been a little while. I’ve been really busy and been sick. Let’s get this ball rolling again.

Asp.net / Asp.net MVC

@Html and beyond – This article goes over extending the HTML helper in asp.net MVC.

Web Development

FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE HTML5 PERFORM BETTER
Native form elements – This is a great resource for getting all the native form element types. You can also use this to see what browsers support what HTML5 elements.
How to Lose Weight in the Browser – This is a really great guide to learn how to optimize front end performance.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Windows 8: H8ers gonna H8

I’ve been running Windows 8 for several months now. All I see on the net is a bunch of hate for it. I’ve been trying to read these with an open mind, but most of them are just ridiculous. Even I believed the “Every other OS is junk” theory. I still feel that Vista wasn’t great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what people thought. It was awesome if you had a beefed up dual core PC. Making fun of Microsoft products is far past beating a dead horse. IE9 and 10 are awesome, but nobody knows that because they are too busy using Chrome or Firefox. A lot of people don’t like change either. Windows 8 has a lot of changes, but I wouldn’t say it’s for the worse. Anyway, I’m going to get off my soap box and go over some of my favorite Windows 8 features.

It boots super fast.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a computer boot as fast as my Windows 8 machine. I use to go and get coffee when I was booting up in Windows. I now generally just get my iPad out and check my email on it.

You don’t need your start menu

I’ve seen a lot of people complain about their start menu being gone and how everything has to run in the Metro style theme. You can avoid the Metro styled stuff completely if you don’t want to use them. The start menu is replace with a start screen that provides a really good visualization of your apps. It’s very easy to customize and much more usable than the original start menu. I have almost no desktop shortcuts now. I had about 15 items pinned to my start menu and was about the height of my screen. I got rid of my quick launch bar because it’s faster to use the new start screen.

Cloud Saving Your Settings

I use to always do a bunch of stuff to have consistent desktops, lock screens and stuff. Windows 8 saves all these things to the cloud. I signed into a Windows Surface tablet and everything came down without needing to do anything. This is a really minor thing, but it is one of those small nice to have items that gives Windows 8 a great fell.

Great Multi monitor Support

Holy cow, the multi monitor support in Windows 8 makes it completely worth the upgrade. You can span your task bar to every screen and the task bars will only show what applications are on that screen. This was a feature in a tool called UltraMon that I really liked using. It makes multi monitor multi tasking really easy.

I really feel like Windows 8 is a step in the right direction. You have to be willing to accept change and put a tiny bit of effort to learn how to do some stuff again, but it’s totally worth it.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.