4.18.2009

14 Essential Web Design/Development Tools

The Must-Have Resources

  1. HTML Ipsum. Serves as an advanced website for latin filler text. Provides entire pages of text, various sized paragraphs, sentences, unordered/ordered lists and even navigation.The Webutante - HTMLipsum - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog
  2. Adobe Kuler. A vast collection of color schemes with search and rating capabilities. The Webutante - Adobe Kuler - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog
  3. BG Patterns. A comprehensive and handy background creator that allows you to modify sizes, colors, patterns and more.
  4. MultiBox. In my opinion, one of the most functional variations of the lightbox. Can display multiple file types and has great transitions and customizability. Freebie from PhatFusion.
  5. Flash Gallery. Probably the simplest gallery feature I have discovered thus far. Allows you to create a slideshow on your website easy and fast from a specified folder or from Flickr photostream. Best Part? It's Free.
  6. PicMarkr. Free tool that allows you to add custom watermark (image or text) to your online images. The Webutante - Pic Markr Image - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog
  7. CSS Curved corners. CSS manipulated to provide bullet proof rounded corners, a great way to speed up loading on a website.
  8. Web Developer Firefox Add-On. The most vast system for web developers I have seen thus far. Allows numerous capabilities, including manipulating CSS and CSS Viewing, disabling specific site features and TONS more. The Webutante - Web Developer Toolbar image - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog
  9. WuFoo. Free (for the limited version) Form builder application with numerous options for displays and themes, and even the capability to edit the CSS.
  10. Upload Thingy. A file-upload feature that allows for large files to be uploaded on your website. Reasonable pricing, and fairly easy to do. The Webutante - Upload Thingy Image - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog
  11. Cushy CMS. An incredibly useful and surprisingly easy CMS system. One of the few free CMS providers.
  12. Browser Testing - IE Net Renderer. A convenient method for testing websites in the Internet Explorer browser, encompassing IE5.5 all the way through IE8. There is no charge for the service and your screenshot shows up fairly rapidly.The Webutante - IE Net Renderer Image - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog
  13. Google Analytics. Provides an incredible amount of tools for evaluating your traffic, common visiters, locations, etc. All aspects of SEO are covered.
  14. W3C Validator. Checks your website for alignment with HTML and/or CSS Standards. While it is not always a necessity to maintain 100% compliance, it tends to be important to know the issues that are causing non-compliance which can sometimes be detrimental.The Webutante - W3C Validator Image - A Graphic Design Web Design & Web Development Resource Blog

For more web tools be sure to check out these previous posts:

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3.21.2009

Down With IE6

Solving the Big Problems by Boycott

No offense to anyone who is reading this on the Internet Explorer 6 Browser, but IE6 truly characterizes all that is wrong with the web. But don't worry, it's not your fault - It's society's... Or Microsoft's... one or the other.

As one of the many means Bill Gates has used to torture web developer's souls (as we tend to lean towards Macs rather than bulky PC's), Internet Explorer 6 has become a time consuming distraction to the web development community. Which was why I was so stoked to see .net magazine's new website: Bring Down IE6 with the headline 'It's time to Unite' directly below it.

Chuckle as you may, IE6 is a catch 22 for developers, and something like this has been needed for quite some time. As a resource bank with tools to discourage the use of the dated browser, Bring Down IE6 can also be followed on Twitter or added to your groups on Facebook.

So, please support the cause, and Bring Down IE6 with us today!

Other Resources: (UPDATES!)

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3.16.2009

Cross-Browser Testing Methods

Hassle Free Website Browser Testing

Since the early days of the web when Bill Gates made Internet Explorer the default browser for PC purchasers throwing Netscape for a loop, web developers have had to test their creations on multiple browsers to ensure cross-browser compatibility. Although most developers reserve a sacred spot in their hearts for the Mozilla Firefox browser, a browser sponsored by anon-profit organization that devotes its resources to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Internet, the general public has yet to completely catch on. Therefore we are left with the largely ungratifying and often times tedious task of correcting our website creations in those other browsers... Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8 (just forget about 5 and lower- too much hassle for such a small audience), early versions of Mozilla (for the slackers that refuse to update), Opera, Safari, and optionally Google Chrome (...and sometimes others). Whoever actually 'won' the browser wars is debatable. What we can say, however, is that we do know who lost... Web Developers.

The Webutante - Cross Browser Testing Methods - Browser Image

Because of the inconvenience testing a website in all of these browsers can be, I have compiled a couple of methods for cross browser testing that increase developers efficiency and quality when conducting cross-browser tests. Check them out and be sure to Contact me if you have any additions, modifications, or even just commentary.

The Webutante - graphic design and web development resources - browser statistics
  1. Browser Shots offers both a free service and a paid service for testing an awesome selection of browsers on PC's, Mac's, Linux and more. So why pay? Buying Browser Shot's service gives you priority, meaning if you don't pay, you are essentially last in line to be provided with your request. So, needless to say, the main drawback on the free browser shots service is rendering time. I put in a request for one of my personal websites to test it out a little bit for myself, and...well I am still waiting with my queue estimate being somewhere between 3 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes (!).
  2. IE NetRenderer offers a convenient method of testing the Internet Explorer browser, encompassing IE5.5 all the way through IE8. This is one of my faves because of its straightforward utility, and no hassle service. There is no charge for the service and your screenshot shows up fairly rapidly. Drawback: NetRenderer only gives you a screenshot of the browser, so interactivity and usability testing is pretty much out of the question.
  3. For testing a website in Mac browsers be sure to check out Browsr Camp, which tests with with the latest versions of 12 different Mac OS X browsers. Drawbacks: this baby costs money, even if it is only $3 for a two day pass or a $99 year long pass - and although you can test Safari 3.1.2 for free, the website I chose to test showed up flawed in the screenshot for some reason... It also only entails the most recent versions of the Mac OSX browsers, leaving out the previous versions that many people still have. Either way, however, Browsr Camp's rendering speed still makes this program pretty sweet.
  4. Xenocode Browser Sandox could be considered the free alternative to Browsr Camp. Despite being less browser inclusive (Xenocode only tests for Internet Explorer 8, 7, and 6, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome), it still covers the primary browsers necessary for testing and even features multiple versions of IE. The main drawback with Xenocode is its incompatibility with Mac users.
  5. Another good PC freebie is IE Tester which allows PC users to download the program to test all relevant versions of the IE browser on both Windows and XP. Again, the drawback with this program is its incompatibility with Macs.
  6. For more browser testing programs that cost money, check out Web Worker Daily's recommendations.

Until the day comes that all browsers unite their standards principles, functional capabilities, and visual interpretations, we must cope by utilizing the cross-browser testing methods listed above. Oh- and if you are viewing this on IE, please do me a solid and download Mozilla. Trust me, it's for your own good.

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