Top 5 resources for Web Development

May 25th, 2012

When I’m working on projects, I seem to use the same web development tools over and over again.
Here they are:

Firebug

Firebug is an addon for Firefox which allows you to easily inspect HTML elements by simply rolling over them.
The HTML and CSS relating to the current element is shown in the lower Firebug pane. One of the most incredible things Firebug can do is to let you edit the source code of a live website so you can tinker with code. Add to this the ability to log Javascript errors, profile function calls, and enable the developer to run arbitrary JavaScript and you have an immensely powerful web development tool.

YSlow

Yslow is a Firebug extension which analyzes web pages and why they’re slow based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance web sites. Nobody wants a slow loading website and as a developer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your sites are well optimised and load in a reasonable time. Yslow gives the site a score and more importantly gives you hints on what you need to do to optimise your code and images.

Firefox

Without Firefox, the above two tools would not exist. Firefox is a lean, fast, compatible, customizable open-source browser.  It started life back in 2002 but was then named Phoenix.  After a dispute with the BIOS manufacturer Phoenix Technologies, the name was changed to Firefox.

Developers use Firefox because it is fast, and well supported by a host of add-ons.  I prefer it to Internet Explorer as it is more stable and has less rendering bugs.  The latest Firefox features include tabbed browsing, spell checking, incremental find, live bookmarking, a download manager, and private browsing.

Notepad++

Notepad ++ is a free source code editor which supports several programming languages running under the MS Windows environment.   Notepad++ is a really fast editor with a very small footprint.

It is great for code editing but I prefer to use PHP Designer for web programming.
A number of plugins are available which extend the functionality further.  I regularly use the compare plugin as well as the Hex Editor and Spell Checker.

Another great code editor with a similar set of festures is textpad

PHP Designer


Php Designer is a really powerful IDE tool which simplifies the task of creating PHP code.  I have tried other editors such as Netbeans as Dreamweaver, but they just don’t come anywhere near PHP Designer.  BTW: I’m not in any way profiting from this ‘plug’.  It is simply my opinion.

Here are the reasons why I like PHP Designer:

 

  • Auto Completion: Any PHP function you type shows a prompt with the correct syntax which saves time.
  • Built in syntax highlighting.
  • Live code debugging shows syntax errors as red text before you run the script.
  • The bookmarks function allows you to toggle between set areas on the page. How many times have you had to keep scrolling up and down on a long page of code? Great idea.
  • Support for OOP programming and namespaces, which I find particularly useful.
    If you have a class and you type $this->, it will bring up a list of all the methods available to you.
  • You can customize your environment in any way you desire. Change colours, turn on/off code completion etc

Well that’s a list of my most used web development tools.  What do you use?