Top Ten Tools and Resources for Web Developers

If you are a budding web developer then you should be aware of some of the amazing resources that are available online. No list of this type can ever be definitive but I’ve tried to gather some of my particular favourites in one place.

Firebug Plugin

This is an absolute must in my opinion. The Firebug plugin is a free add-on for Mozilla Firefox that really lightens the work load when styling HTML elements. I allows you to view changes to your page in real-time as you tinker with the CSS. Great for positioning awkward elements, where pixel perfect precision is required. It also helps you to identify inheritance problems within your style rules.

Blog.Spoongraphics

Home of graphic designer, Chris Spooner. This blog has an abundance of great tutorials and tips. Some of his resources are free and some must be paid for through ‘access all areas’ membership but there really is plenty of great stuff that can be viewed or downloaded for free. Excellent creative advice on Photoshop and Illustrator as well as some insightful writing about the design process, where he explains the reasons behind some of the design decisions in his work.

CG Textures

I absolutely love this site when I need to make a background ‘pop’. Thousands of textures can be downloaded for free although some of the larger sizes require registration.

W3 Schools

Definitive reference for all developers and designers. Need to know the correct syntax to use is your code, the W3 Schools will have a page dedicated to the particular task that you are looking to achieve. One of my first ports of call when I hit a programming stumbling block.

Webmonkey

Web developer’s resources from wired.com. Includes cheat sheets, color codes and re-usable code snippets. Also has a tutorials section with a design and development tutorials and Javascript help.

Colour Lovers

In my opinion, this is the best place to go for inspiration when choosing a colour scheme for your site. Users submit their own palettes and colour HEX codes, which are then voted upon and can be browsed through by popularity. Also features sections on the latest web and print trends and is quite a bustling and friendly community.

iStockphoto

Not a free site but the ability to download a water-marked comp to try out in a design before purchase is invaluable. I use this to present ideas to my clients and let them make a decision on whether or not to pay the extra for the larger image. There are quite a few stock photography sites online but this one is my favourite choice due to the large number of images and the site’s ease of use.

DevShed

Comprehensive list of developer’s tutorials. Great for learning about the fantastic world of open-source development and adding the latest functionality to your projects.

CSS Zen Garden

The beauty of pure CSS design. The next time someone tells you that Flash is required to make a site look good, tell them to go here!

Web Know How

More tutorials and free code snippets. Also feature free to use design templates, which can be a great starting point when learning or when struggling for inspiration.

I hope that if you are reading this and choose to visit one of these excellent sites then you will find them as useful as I did. Of course, I might well have made a glaring omission and would be glad to hear any suggestions to make this list better.

Stu ia a freelance writer and web designer. He owns Glasgow Web Design

Categories: Web Development

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