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The Top 10 Most Essential Time Saving Tools for Web Developers

August 20th, 2018

Bruce Lee once said, “Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.” Those are very powerful words. Being a huge Bruce Lee fan, I took those words very seriously when I first heard them. At first I took it to learn that it means you have to be a sponge for new knowledge. As time went on and I have needed to be more efficient I have learned it also means you don’t need to waste your time re-inventing the wheel. Or worse, give up because you don’t think you can’t do it.

Anyways, now that you have read about Bruce Lee on Wikipedia and realize how right he was here are my top 10 most essential tools for a web developer based on my own real true life experience. These may not be the coolest, or most sexy, we’ll get to that in another article. This one is all about the essentials.

10. GIMP / Photoshop CS5
Boring I know, but it is essential isn’t it? Yes it is. You must have an image editor handy if you are a web developer, designer, or basically anyone these days. I use Photoshop, but for those of you looking for a free alternative, GIMP is free and open source. I spend quite a bit of time unfortunately each day in Photoshop. Quick tip – record actions to save time.

9. Google Chrome
Really? A web browser is essential for development? Yes it is, and more than you will ever know. I stopped using Firefox because it crashes too much and I finally figured out how to make Chrome Bookmarks work like I want them too. Use Google Chrome for the element inspector. It is way better than Firebug in my opinion. It has all different kinds of features such as CSS, HTML element inspector, resource charts, and performance testing. I use it most of the time to inspect CSS styles and see how folks are doing what they do!

8. Adobe Dreamweaver CS5
If you are getting bored you should just skip to the top 5. Dreamweaver should really be #1, but I took the list of 10 and picked my personal favorites. Dreamweaver, for those that may not know, is an FTP client to upload and download files from web servers, manage multiple site configurations, and edit code. CS5 does a lot better job supporting the latest version of CSS and will debug your code as you type javascript, html, css, or php. I’m sure there are plenty of other cool features like the spry framework, but I don’t really use that anymore.

7) netrenderer
I use netrender for one reason plain and simple: testing sites in IE6 and IE7. I have all the other browsers loaded to my computer, so I don’t really need a complete solution. I am pretty confident with how I code so I know which things will break in IE6 (transparent PNGs being my #1 pet peeve). So really I end up using this essential, fast tool just to see what my site looks like in crappy Internet Explorer 6. On a side note many companies, even fortune 30 companies, are still using IE6. So thank God your not in a corporate development shop.

6) StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon is a web application for sharing cool websites. It is best embodied and used by mes as a Firefox extension. To get started, get a free accoun and setup your preferences as a web developer or designer (and maybe stick some funny videos in your preferences too – for break time only, kids!). Anyways once you get this up and running simply click ‘Stumble!’ on your toolbar and you will be magically wisked away to various sites that have been ‘liked’ by others. Think that’s a waste of time and you already have limited space because your using delicious? Think again! StumbleUpon has been around for a few years now if not more and I have found more cool random stuff on there than I ever would have using Digg, DevZone, or Delicious. The element of randomness adds a freshness to it that gets you slightly more excited and willing to read / skim through whatever page it sends you too.

5) BluePrint CSS
Even though I don’t really use BluePrint CSS that much anymore (read #1 and you will see why), I think it has been one of the single most essential tools I have ever used.

BluePrint CSS is a simple, easy to implement CSS Framework. Even if you don’t use it as a complete solution, it has a great reference guide which I use frequently to troubleshoot problems with my CSS, look for best practices, or simply grab a chunk of CSS code and use it (I recommend using their.error and.success classes for providing user feedback). You see it all over the place.

The single best reason why you should put BluePrint in the top shelf of your toolbox is to understand the importance of being thoughtful about layout and typography. You know how sometimes you go to a website and think, man this looks great, why do my fonts not look like that? What font are they using? Well, for one, they are probably using similar if not the same fonts as you, but it is the character spacing, line height, and font size relationships between elements that they have optimized for viewing. Study BluePrint CSS, if not for the aforementioned but because man, its #5 on the list!!!

4) Webappers
All I can say is: Great Website. I found it once on StumbleUpon (#6 on this list) and probably go their every few days and also have an RSS feed I check on my iGoogle page. This website has a ton of content and is separated out into components, design, and extras. I would say that if your looking for anything from icons, color schemes, charting techniques, photo galleries, video embedding techniques – this is a great site to use.

3) SimpleScripts
Another tool I hope you have used. SimpleScripts is like Fantastico but way better, more advanced, and I believe has more software options. It is used as a feature to most hosting providers in the administration panel for users to manager their installations of third party software like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Two main reasons why this is the most essential tool are the fact that it automates the installation process but also it manages and monitors updates so that you don’t end up with a site that is exposed to hackers who will setup a phishing site. Content Management Systems are easy targets if they are not updated timely.

2) JQuery Tools
I can’t even begin to say how much I love JQuery Tools. Nicknamed, “The missing UI for the web”, JQuery is my solution for form validation, tooltips, image transitions, and horizontal sliders. The code is great and it usually works in every browser. They are the same guys who brought us flowplayer (see #4). I used to use lightbox, but now I use Overlay, which is an essential tool for providing feedback to a user or showing a nice popup form without opening a new window. The other great thing is that there is a nice user community and a bare essential example for each tool to get your started and up and running fast.

1) Artisteer
Ok, you might not have actually heard of this one! Artisteer is what I like to call”PowerPoint for Web Development”.

Sure Artisteer actually costs money. But it really is worth it. You design XHTML / CSS compliant web sites through a GUI without writing any code. But the real kicker is that you can export the result as a WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal template. Missing link, anyone? I had always wanted to create customized themes so I could actually be efficient enough to make a website with a CMS as its backend without just using a template that is already out there.

I have found that Artisteer does a great job of automating a lot of things that you would never do, like making consistent styles for all your elements, even elements like which usually end up looking like the default html styling because you simply don’t have time to make a UI that is consistent from top to bottom. Its also great for prototyping, messing with typography, and designing killer menus.

IT Freelance Jobs For Web Development and Design

August 18th, 2018

It is common knowledge already that IT freelance jobs for web development & design are one of the most lucrative occupations on the internet. In the world wide web, websites are mediums used by entrepreneurs in order to convey their messages to the public. Whether these websites are disseminating important information, promote all sorts of products or services, used in e-commerce business, and etc., there is only one thing that is very certain. All of them need web development & design professionals in order to make their presence a reality.

To become a website design developer, one needs to have some special training in a school or a university, although it is quite possible you can learn the subject all by yourself on the internet. Opportunities for IT freelance jobs for web development & design are so plentiful that it’s not hard for anyone who has this skill to find a job. If you have some artistic inclinations, then mastering this trade is a breeze.

The following is a list of some top freelance sites who are offering opportunities for IT freelance jobs for web development & design. You have to bear in mind that all of these opportunities cater to all freelance professionals all over the world.

Freshwebjobs.com

This is actually a job board where companies and website design developers, who all share the same interests and passions, converge and conduct their businesses for their own benefits. The former arrives at this site in order to recruit, while the latter is there in the hope of finding a job. There is a $75 fee for a 60 day job listing, but it’s free just to browse through the same.

Krop

This is also a job board like the previous one, except that it is much more expensive to post a single 60 day job listing which starts at exactly $199. But then, the site boasts of the quality of the creative talent that they can provide is unmatched, and the employers are assured that their offers are extended to the most qualified candidates only. Browsing through the job listings is free and you can send in your application through the contact info being provided.

Authentic Jobs

Again, this site is no different from the previous two just mentioned. Job listings are classified into four types such as internship, freelance, contract, and full-time. Fees are quite reasonable which starts at $99 for internship and freelance job types, and $249 for contract and full-time job types. This site distinguish itself from the others by offering a no question asked 100% money back guarantee in the event of an unsatisfactory result from the job listing. As usual, browsing through all of these listings is free and you can apply for any position by clicking the apply button.

Coroflot

A single job listing will cost $265 but it runs online for a much longer period of 90 days. Creating a portfolio is free and easy and you will be in business in no time. It has a full site support to respond to different inquiries which will be answered within 24 hours. Anyone can go over the job listings without any problems, and a contact information can be found from each one of the same for sending your applications.

Conclusion

IT freelance jobs for web development & design has been a boon to many and the envy of others. Whichever side of the fence you are in, it is indisputable that websites are the only reasons why the internet has become of what it is today. Without them, the world wide web will be an empty space where no one knows that it existed.

Web Development Tips

August 17th, 2018

Web development plays a very vital role in the present times. More and more companies are now getting on the Internet. That is why you need to maximize your online presence which is not possible without a meaningful website. Therefore website development requires careful attention so that you can lure more and more customers to your business. There are a number of tips that can help you in this regard.

• First of all, you need to bear in mind that the website you create should be simple, useful and direct. The sites that are inundated with unnecessary graphics or information are not very useful. Visitors find this confusing and they find it hard to get useful information from such sites. So remember to keep the layout and outlook simple and clean.

• The website needs to be attractive despite being simple. It should look professional so that visitors get a good first impression. You should use appropriate images and colors.

• The content of a website is also very important when it comes to the development of a site. Make sure that the information that you give is clear, concise and true.

• Another important web development tip is to make your website user friendly. Make sure that the graphics and text are balanced.

• Try to avoid flash based files in your website. This will help visitors access your site quickly and easily. Heavy websites take too much downloading time so just use simple images and graphics.

• You must also make your website search engine friendly. The use of proper keywords, descriptions and titles is important so that search engines can rank your site higher on the results. SEO plays a very important part in web development process. Follow Search engine optimization rules and guidelines as this will help you win more customers when your site comes in the top search engine results.

Remember that the more time you spend on developing your website; the better and faster the results you will be able to get. If you have expertise in web development you can do it on your own. If you are not familiar with web designing, you can hire professionals to do it for you. Whichever approach you take; it is important to have a general idea of web development so that you can be clear about what you want and how you can achieve it in the best possible manner.