9 Fantastic Tools Making Life Simpler for Web Designers & Developers

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Mar 2015
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Author : Pete Peranzo

The great thing about technology is that it is making life simpler for us. This fact remains true for web designers and development tools as well. They are revolutionizing the way we design websites, both their front and back end. What’s more, they are making it easier to perform certain tasks that are typically time intensive, complex and very challenging.

When you use these tools, you not only save time but also are able to navigate the minefield of design and development errors that can take your website down.

There is an endless variety of design and development tools available on the market. Your job is to separate the wheat from the chaff and pick tools that are perfect for your needs and requirements.

Here is a list of ten great tools that are making life simpler for designers and developers the world over:

1. Firebug

If you are using Firefox, you need to get Firebug. It easily integrates with Firefox and offers you a truckload of tools that allow you to easily edit, debug and monitor HTML, JavaScript and CSS in real time.

2. Iconmaker

As a web designer, you need to make sure everything you do looks awesome on the web. Icons are a crucial design element and a part and parcel of any website. Using the right icons helps make your site more understandable and navigable; if you push the envelope and take the creative route as far as icons are concerned, you will be differentiating your website from your competitors. This is where Iconmaker enters the picture. It provides a huge repository of stunning icons to add to your portfolio, blogs, magazines, or mobile and web application designs.

3. Foundation 3

Foundation is a RWD framework that makes it super-easy to design a responsive website. Some big organizations are using it and there is absolutely no doubt, this is one of the better RWD frameworks out there.

4. Sencha Touch 2

There is no denying that touch screen phones are omnipresent. You find anyone and everyone having them in their pockets and companies can’t ignore the potential these devices have for revenue generation and marketing.

As a business, you need to make sure your mobile app finds a place on your customers’ smartphones. But for that to happen, you will need to create mobile apps for iOS, Android and other mobile operating systems if needed. As can be imagined, this can be expensive and consume a lot of time.

That’s where HTML5 mobile applications come in and work pretty much on any modern mobile OS. Sencha is one of the better HTML5 frameworks going around and is a great pick if you aren’t planning to invest a lot of money in mobile apps development.

5. Webflow

Great looking, highly functional websites, without coding! Is that really possible? Yes, it is, with Webflow. Just drag and drop the design elements you need and it automatically generates the markup and stylesheets. It does the tough part, and helps get your hands on a professional looking, responsive website quickly and easily.

6. Yeoman.io

If you are planning to build a web app, Yeoman will help you out. It basically is a collection of three tools which take care of three main app development activities namely, scaffolding, package management and build. The tool, at one level, automates the process of app building, which means designers and developers don’t have to put in a lot of effort for building the app.

7. Hurl

When designing an API, or debugging some already launched API, you probably want to customize an HTTP request by customizing the headers, using specific authentication, posting specific parameters and then seeing what is actually returned from the endpoint. Hurl allows you to quickly create a custom HTTP request to send to a specific endpoint.

8. GitHub

I have personally used a lot of software hosted on GitHub and loved its reliability and ease of use. I am sure that is just one of the reasons why developers like to host their projects on GitHub.

Companies like Google have their Android projects on GitHub too. It’s the best website for open source communities for powerful collaboration, code management and code review.  It is the world’s largest open source community and has a lot of powerful integrations besides having robust tools and as such is a darling of all developers.

9. Duo

We’ve heard about responsive web design and why it’s so important in the scheme of things. We also have industry leaders and evangelists extolling the virtues of the ‘mobile first’ approach. And they are right. Mobile is the future. But as long as desktop is alive and kicking, you must make sure your website delivers an excellent UX on mobile and desktop. Duo helps you do that. It allows you to view pages in different sizes, preset breakpoints and do a whole lot more.

I hope you found some great tools in this post and of course welcome any feedback or comments you have. Also please feel free to share other tools you use as developers and designers and share it with the community in general.

 

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