In every creative field, there are certain tools that one always keeps handy in order to get the job done. As developers (who also design) the toolbox inventory needs to be broad to encompass all the necessary areas to keep you moving and productive. Below is a list of the resources that we felt should be included in any developer’s toolbox.
We have broken it down into different categories to help you keep your tools organized a little bit better. We hope that the list proves useful.
While Photoshop is the best graphics tool for designers, we realize that it’s above some new designer’s budget. GIMP is a close second whose price you can’t beat (free), especially for web designers who don’t need all of the features of Photoshop.
Graybit is an online accessibility testing tool designed to visually convert a full-color web page into a grayscale rendition for the purpose of visually testing the page’s perceived contrast.
The Color Wizard lets you submit your own base color, then automatically returns matching colors for the one you selected, complete with hex codes. It returns a set of hue, saturation and tint/shade variations of your color, and suggests color schemets based on your color’s complementary color, split complementary colors, and other variations.
FavIcon Generator allows you to easily create a favicon from an image.
The Grid System is an ever-growing resource where graphic designers can learn about grid systems, the golden ratio and baseline grids.
The 960 Grid System is an effort to streamline web development workflow by providing commonly used dimensions, based on a width of 960 pixels. There are two variants: 12 and 16 columns, which can be used separately or in tandem. Also check out Fluid 960
The jQuery Visual Cheat Sheet is an useful and practical 6 page reference to jQuery 1.3 for web designers and developers containing the full jQuery API reference with detailed descriptions and some sample code.
Code Beautifier is a free online CSS formatter, optimiser, and parser.
Notepad++ is an open source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License.
TextWrangler is a powerful and richly featured tool for composing, modifying, and transforming text stored in plain-text files for Mac.
The WordPress Codex is the place to go if you have any WordPress related questions.
The Wordpress Virtual Cheat Sheet is a 5 page practical reference guide to WordPress 2.8. It contains the full reference guide to WP Template Tags with detailed descriptions and sample code.
Thematic is a free, open-source, highly extensible, search-engine optimized WordPress Theme Framework featuring 13 widget-ready areas, grid-based layout samples, styling for popular plugins, and a whole community behind it.
Cross Browser Testing
The Spoon Browser Sandbox allows you to run any browser directly from the web.
Adobe BrowserLab allows you to preview and test your web pages on leading browsers and operating systems – on demand. It probably won’t be free forever so use it while you can.
Web Developer’s Tools for Firefox is a collection of firefox plugins to speed up the development process. Troubleshoot, edit, and debug web projects without ever clicking away from Firefox.
Filezilla is a free FTP solution for Windows, Mac and Linux.
WampServer is a Windows web development environment which allows you to create web applications with Apache, PHP and the MySQL database. It also comes with PHPMyAdmin to easily manage your databases.
MAMP installs a local server environment in a matter of seconds on your Mac OS X computer, be it PowerBook or iMac. Like similar packages from the Windows- and Linux-world, MAMP comes free of charge.
Coda is an all in one web development tool for Mac. It includes a text editor, ftp client, CSS editor, terminal and more.
HTML-Ipsum is a Lorum Ipsum snippets site for adding dummy content to your web designs.
Here Endeth the List
That concludes our compilation. Feel free to hit us up in the comments for your thoughts and opinions. And if there are any tools that you feel we overlooked, feel free to throw us a link and let us know a bit about it.