I realized today that I am very dependent on a few really nifty tools to get my work done. As a developer I am inherently lazy so I need tools that let me get things done quickly and efficiently. I assume many of you are also developers and lazy so today I’m going to open up my web developer’s toolbox and show you what’s inside in hopes that I can inspire you to reach your full laze potential.
If you’re not developing your web sites in Firefox, you should be.
Everyone has their list of “best Firefox addons ever”. I’m no different from them except I’m way cooler. So here is my list:
- Web Developer Toolbar – The swiss-army knife of toolbars. It does everything including page validation, real-time CSS editing, form pre-population, DOM inspection etc etc etc. Trust me, you need this.
- QuickProxy – There are a few sites that I work on routinely that are only accessible through an SSH SOCKS proxy. I use QuickProxy to easily switch the Proxy on/off. Fewer clicks = more lazy (this is a good thing).
- GreaseMonkey – Ever since I wrote my
- Adblock Plus + Filterset.G Updater – I seriously cannot remember the last time I saw an Advertisement on a webpage. I know there are a lot of people who don’t like ADP because they make their livelyhoods from web advertising. I am not one of those people.
- FavIconize Tab – Real estate on my tab bar is a precious commodity so I use FavIconize Tab to only display the favicon of sites I visit frequently. Cool.
Need a complete WAMP solution without all the hassle of multiple packages, configuration woes and perhaps even *horror* compiling stuff? Look no further than XAMPP from Apache Friends. Their package contains the latest and greatest Apache, MySQL and PHP (both v4 and v5 support) all in an easy-to-use installable package. They also throw in some other goodies like an FTP server and PHPMyAdmin. Ever since I discovered XAMPP I do all of my testing and development locally before deploying to a staging server.
A Desktop Shortcut to Edit Your HOSTS File
What do you mean you don’t have one of these yet? Any good web developer needs to edit his/her HOSTS file frequently. Why are you still doing it the hard way: Explorer > C:/ > C:/WINDOWS > C:/WINDOWS/SYSTEM32 > C:/WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/drivers > C:/WINDOWS/SYSTEM32/drivers/etc > Right-click hosts > Open With > Notepad. Whew! Instead try something like this:
Double click that baby and your off and editing! BTW I use gvim instead of notepad because it makes me feel good. If you’re confused about what you’re seeing above, do this: Go to your Desktop. Right click > New > Shortcut. Enter “notepad c:/windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts” as the location then click Next. Give it a name and you’re done! Double-click when you need to edit your HOSTS file.
A Good IDE
I use Zend Studio but I wouldn’t hold it against anyone for using Eclipse. The point is you need a good IDE to develop quickly! There are probably some purists out there that will extol the virtues of “Notepad coding” — or typing everything by hand. This is complete crap. Get an editor that does auto-completion, tag insight, tag highlighting and sports a full debugger.
You need screenshots! You need them in your documentation, you need them to attach to emails, you need them to post on your blog, you need them to corroborate your stories. ScreenHunter is an unobtrusive screen capture utility that sports full-screen capture, area capture, timed capture, JPG, GIF and BMP support amidst a whole slew of other features. Did I mention it’s free?
Nevermind…I’ve decided I don’t like Launchy all that well.
So there you have it. My toolbox opened for the world to see. I hope this post spawns an army of eager web developers ready to code the next killer web two-point-oh site.
Jon Gale is currently employed by nextSTAT and spends his days looking for tools and tricks that will let him express his inner slackitude. He enjoys rousing games of badmitton and has had a goatee for over 10 years.