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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Sass Class Added: Fast Track to Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets

Washington, DC and Online - Fig Leaf Software, a full service digital agency and technical training firm, today added a new Fast Track to Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets class.  

Sass is the most mature, stable, and powerful professional grade CSS extension language in the world. Sass lets you use features that don't exist in CSS yet like variables, nesting, mixins, inheritance and other nifty goodies that make writing CSS fun again. Once you start tinkering with Sass, it will take your preprocessed Sass file and save it out as a normal CSS file that you can use in your web site. This one-day course covers Sass and Compass (a CSS authoring framework for Sass) development essentials. Whether you're developing a static site, a dynamic site with a CMS (Drupal), or building an advanced web-based application (Sencha), you'll find that Sass is an indispensable tool for taming and optimizing your CSS.

Course Prerequisites

To gain the most from this class, you should already have:
  • A basic understanding of CSS syntax
  • Familiariaty with basic programming concepts such as defining variables and using functions

Course Objectives

During this 1 day hands-on, instructor-led course you will refactor a very long and difficult to maintain CSS file into a set of .scss (Sassy CSS) files. You'll learn how to restructure your CSS for optimal maintainabilty and produce minified production builds. You'll also learn how to use advanced CSS tricks such as base-64 encoding of images to significantly increase the performance of your web sites and web applications.

Course Outline


  • Introducing Compass and Sass
  • Debugging CSS
  • Working with Variables
  • Using Partials to Organize your Stylesheet
  • Nesting Rules
  • Creating Responsive Themes with @media Directives
  • Defining Inheritance with @extend
  • Defining and Invoking Mixins
  • Using Control Directives
  • Defining Sass Functions
  • Configuring Browser Support
  • Using Compass to Support CSS3 Features
  • Using Compass for Typography
  • Embedding Images in your Stylesheet
  • Using Sprites to Improve Performance

Fig Leaf Software has trained more than 35,000 web designers, developers and marketers in the nuances of web and mobile design and development.  Fig Leaf is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) providing consulting, training and software solutions on GSA Schedule to government agencies, universities, companies, and nonprofits in DC, MD, VA and across North America. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Fast Track to Adobe ColdFusion 11 Training Launched!

Washington DC and Online -- Fig Leaf Software recently launched a new Fast Track to ColdFusion 11 training class.  The new FTCF 11 class is a 3-day course that provides experienced Web developers with the knowledge and hands-on practice they need to start building and maintaining dynamic and interactive Web applications using the ColdFusion application server. 

This course was authored by Fig Leaf Software, based on decades of practical ColdFusion consulting experience. Adobe ColdFusion is available as a private or public class.  For private classes, please contact Geoff Dye at 202-797-7711 x145 or email training@figleaf.com

Register Today

ColdFusion 11 Course Prerequisites

To gain the most from the class, you should already have:
  • A familiarity with Web terminology
  • An understanding of Web server characteristics
  • Experience with the HTML tag set and syntax
  • Familiarity with the SQL command set, including SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE

Course Objectives

  • Create a connection to a database using the ColdFusion Administrator
  • Use ColdFusion Builder to efficiently develop and troubleshoot code
  • Capture information in HTML forms
  • Read and write information to/from a database.
  • Represent complex structures using abstract data types รข€“ lists, arrays, and structures
  • Separate your application into a three-tiered architecture of User Interface components, Business Logic, and SQL for easier maintainability and flexibility
  • Dynamically send electronic mail
  • Secure your application using a password-based framework
  • Implement a RESTful API to support modern javascript-based web apps
  • Implement a simple ColdFusion application using best practices.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introducing the Course

  • Meeting the Prerequisites
  • Understanding the Course Format
  • Reviewing the Course Outline

Unit 2: Introducing ColdFusion [click here to download this chapter]

  • Reviewing ColdFusion's Features and Capabilities
  • Introducing the ColdFusion Administrator
  • Working with ColdFusion Builder
  • Debugging and Troubleshooting your Apps

Unit 3: Getting Started with CFML

  • Working with Variables
  • Commenting Code
  • Using Functions
  • Creating Functions
  • Using Control Logic
  • Including Common Code

Unit 4: Using the Application Framework

  • Using Application.cfc to Define an Application
  • Implementing ColdFusion Components
  • Implementing Roles-Based Security

Unit 5: Querying Databases

  • Using <cfquery> to retrieve data
  • Implementing Search Forms
  • Inserting New Records
  • Supporting File Uploads
  • Updating Existing Records
  • Deleting Data
  • Invoking Stored Procedures

Unit 6: Dynamically Generating Office Documents

  • Generating PDFs
  • Generating Excel Files
  • Sending Email

Unit 7: Designing and Implementing RESTful APIs

  • Exposing CFC Methods for Remote Access
  • Implementing a RESTful API
Register Today

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Citizen Centric Journey: Using the Inbound Methodology for Government

From the “Buyer’s Journey” to the “Citizen Centric Journey”: Transforming citizen service in government with inbound marketing techniques

By Bret Peters, CMO, Fig Leaf Software
LinkedIn @petersbret

As government agencies strive to find new and better ways to serve citizens, those that have discovered the power of inbound are reaping the rewards.  Government agencies are re-inventing the traditional buyer’s journey to create a citizen centric journey which provides improved citizen engagement experiences.

For corporations, the buyer’s journey reflects the stages that a prospective buyer would travel as they seek to solve a need and buy a good or service from a company.  Since most government agencies are not selling goods or services, the buyer’s journey is better represented as citizen centric journey, one which serves to outline the path that a citizen takes to get information or services from a government agency.

Utilizing an inbound methodology, government agencies are shifting from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more personalized approach to citizen centric engagement, which focuses on people, and takes advantage of technology to support the most viable approaches to improving customer service.

In government, the inbound movement is a result of government employees striving to take advantage of technology and industry best practices to positively affect change and improve customer service.  Utilizing an inbound methodology to serve citizens is an efficient and cost effective approach in a some-to-many service environment -- where citizens have come to expect government to adapt to new technologies and keep pace with innovation.

Citizen Centric Journey by Fig Leaf Software and HubSpot.jpg

The stages of an inbound methodology for government are outlined below.  As citizens, we typically don’t engage our government until we need something -- We are “Citizens”.  At any point that we begin to experience a need or desire for a service offered by a government agency we typically begin to search for information or articles -- We move to the “Citizen Visitor” stage.

Once we find the agency that can help us, we engage that agency through some form of communication.  Using an inbound methodology we would likely fill out a form or download some content -- We become a “Citizen Contact”. In the case of a form requesting information, the form data would be routed internally within the agency to direct us either to the content we desire or to a department or individual who can assist us.  The form data may be routed through a simple or complex workflow depending on the nature of the request, and it may be routed using email or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software system such as Salesforce.com.  Once properly routed, we receive the information or services we require -- We become the “Serviced Citizen”.  With the proper response, follow up and nurturing, we become a “Satisfied Citizen” who will communicate our experiences to friends, family, co-workers and others.  

Government agencies who utilize an inbound methodology spend time thinking about how to delight their citizens.  They build content to attract citizens who need their services.  They create user-friendly web and mobile experiences to invite visitors to engage with them and they manage their contacts with smart content and great experiences throughout simple and complex workflows to ensure they are providing excellent service.  Perhaps most important however, government agencies who subscribe to an inbound methodology are monitoring their effectiveness and seeking ways to constantly improve and provide a more citizen centric journey.

Free Inbound Marketing Assessment

Friday, May 29, 2015

How to make your webinars more engaging and interactive

Join Adobe, Fig Leaf Software and the Content Marketing Institute as we host Ken Molay of Webinar Success for a one of a kind Adobe Connect event. 

See more free Adobe Connect best practices events at www.figleaf.com/events. 

Join Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success, as you learn techniques for building interactivity in your lead generation web seminars. You will explore ways to more fully involve your audience in on online presentation. You have the power to engage your audience in active participation that improves the persuasiveness of your message and their retention of your  material.
Content Marketing Institute
This seminar is appropriate for anyone who presents via web seminars. We will focus on marketing applications designed to promote your business, products, or services. A live question and answer session will let you focus on the issues of most importance and benefit to your organization.
You will learn:
1.  How to configure a presentation to incorporate interactivity
2.  Presentation techniques that encourage active participation
3.  Conferencing features that support interactivity and how best to use them
4.  When to use interactivity and when to avoid it
5.  Potential pitfalls of interactivity and how to protect yourself

Register Today
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Life is to Communicate.

Communication and collaboration from the home office. By Seth Land.

Working from home, I spend most of my day on phone calls and Web meetings. As I sat down preparing for my next web meeting the other day I noticed these words attached to my green tea bag: Life is to Communicate. 

Morning words of wisdom to ponder as you enjoy your morning tea.


As a web consulting company, Fig Leaf Software deals in the communications business in a number of ways: custom web development, design, digital marketing, Google Search, web analytics and my particular favorite, Adobe Connect.  Every technical solution we deploy is simply just another form of communication.

Successful leaders in all aspects of our society from business, education, entertainment, sports, politics, media, religion all have one thing in common: They are good communicators.  People understand them.  The message is well received.   Successful leaders also listen.  Listening is the yin to the yang of communicating.

At Fig Leaf Software, successful projects and smooth deployments can be attributed to effective communication.  We listen to our clients, make sure we understand what they want, explain what we can do and continue to listen and communicate through completion of the project. (See my recent blog post: 5 Ways Project Managers use Adobe Connect)

Think about it though.  Every mistake, misunderstanding or blunder also comes from some sort of communication breakdown.  Either you misheard, misunderstood, didn’t read the email, didn’t GET the text and/or didn’t understand the significance.   Either way, someone didn’t know something.  Just about every way you look at it, mistakes happen because of some lack of communication, which leads to a lack of understanding or knowledge.

Look at it this way: Lack of Communication = Lack of Knowledge = Mistake/Blunder/Failure

The Yin to that Yang: Effective Communication = More Knowledge = Success

This also translates into our personal lives as well.  The obvious example is marriage.  Without getting off the track too much: Talk and Listen to your spouse!  Your marriage will thrive.  But marriage, even though I am very good at it, is not the purpose of this Blog Post.

The purpose is perhaps to play Captain Obvious here and reinforce what savvy blog-readers probably already know: Life is to Communicate.  Communication is integral to success.

In my world of technology, I talk to people every day about virtual classrooms, webinars, content marketing campaigns, eLearning and online training.  In the end, people and organizations of all stripes are looking for ways to communicate better.

Sometimes our morning tea can help us remember simple things.

So, join me online in a Connect Webinar and see first-hand how Adobe Connect can help you communicate: http://www.figleaf.com/events

Yours in online communication,
Seth Land

About Us

Fig Leaf Software is an award-winning team of imaginative designers, innovative developers, experienced instructors, and insightful strategists.

For over 20 years, we’ve helped a diverse range of clients...

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Fig Leaf Software

1400 16th Street NW
Suite 450
Washington, DC 20036