Website development tools

Website development occupies a significant portion of my time spent working with computers as evidenced by the number of active research and teaching projects in which I am engaged. So any tool that can enhance my productivity in this area is greatly valued. Here is a sampling of the tools that I find useful in my day-to-day web development activities:

Eclipse Eclipse – an open development platform (

  • Free! (Other popular tools can cost $100+)
  • Good CVS support for supporting collaborative projects with co-workers and students, maintaining version history, and enhancing portability of the entire development process (i.e., work from home, school, laptop on the road)
  • Syntax highlighting for HTML, JS, and PHP files through the PDT project
  • Document outline and quick navigation for JS and PHP files
Mozilla Firefox web browser (

  • Syntax highlighting when viewing page source
  • Excellent web developer tools add-on
  • Easily inspect any HTML element rendered on a page
  • Standards compliant
Windows Vista Snipping Tool (

  • Easily capture screenshots for thumbnail links
  • Used to create the thumbnails on this page
  • Excellent for capturing a rendered page, editing with photoshop, and then using for demos and planning next steps in the design of the user interface
Microsoft Office OneNote (

  • Keep a journal of software development activity within easy reach
  • Easily work with screenshots during user interface design
  • Organize software projects into separate notebooks
Adobe Photoshop CS2 (

  • Expensive, but academic discounts available
  • Save documents for the web in variety of formats (GIF, JPG, PNG)
  • Easily import picture data from the clipboard into an image file
  • Crop and resize images to specific dimensions, maintaining aspect ratio during the entire selection process

Happy website development, enjoy!

Revamped website, current projects

I have switched to a blog format for my entire website, so check back often for updates. The site map that you see on the left will remain relatively static, so start there if you are looking for specific information about me or my work. There is also a search box in the upper right. Try it out, type “web”, press enter, and you will see a list of pages on this site containing that keyword.

Current projects

The most recent project I have undertaken is researching the possibility of forming a non-dedicated cluster of computers for general faculty use here at Samford University. My initial findings suggest using BOINC as a platform to create a Virtual Campus Supercomputing Center. One of the challenges will be to make it as easy as possible for faculty at Samford to write programs that will take advantage of the computing power available in a Supercomputing Center. I am envisioning the creation of a website where potential programmers can fill out a form to automatically generate the required project files to convert existing C/C++ projects into BOINC compatible programs. Tips or suggestions greatly appreciated from those who have experience working in this area!

This website itself is part of an extended research project that I am undertaking to provide tools to make it easier for faculty members to maintain an up-to-date personal faculty web page and vitae.

Busy day

With one assignment due in my Intro to Computer Science class tonight and another due tomorrow in my Computer Architecture class, I was quite the popular professor this afternoon. At one point, I left one student I was helping in the lab to answer the phone, which happened to be another student calling for help, while yet another student waited outside my door for help! Whew. I’m happy though, because I talked to all the students, answered their questions, and got them on their merry way towards the completion of their assignments. All in a day’s work.

Hello world!

My name is Brian Toone, and I am an assistant professor at Samford University, where I am involved in an exciting teaching and research program in the Math and Computer Science department. Samford is located in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama in the “Heart of Dixie”.

I graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. My research advisors were Premkumar Devanbu and Michael Gertz. Professor Matt Bishop was also on the committee that helped see me through to the completion of this degree. Thank you all!

Brian Toone
Dept of Math & Computer Science
Samford University
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
W +1 205 726 2960
H +1 205 823 1615