Essential Development Tools

I don’t know about other web developers out there but for me the following are my essential tools for development.

  • Adobe Photoshop
    Still the best image manipulation tool out there. Sure there’s Fireworks too, but I use that just as much as I ever used Image Ready which is hardly ever.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver
    I am a hand coder but nothing beats the simplicity of having something else do the typing for you. I’ve been using Dreamweaver’s HTML source editor before it was even in Dreamweaver. It started its life as Allaire Homesite. I will also admit here that there are times I will switch over to the dreaded “Design” view, but ONLY for text entering. The <p> tag is one tag that Dreamweaver does just fine.
  • FirefoxWithout a doubt the best little browser out there. Some of the extensions you can add are a godsend and after a recent re-install (on a PC) I’ve found a few more extensions that I love.
  • Afore mentioned Firefox Extensions
    Web Developer – An awesome little menu bar with lots of tools to keep you informed.
    Firebug – Shows errors via a console loaded from the status bar. Also shows http headers and XMLHttpRequest data, very cool for debugging AJAX applications
    Screen grab! – Having just moved from my MacBook Pro to a crappy Dell machine I lost access to Paparazzi! one of my favourite apps for the ease at which it allows me to capture a full web page as an image. The Screen grab extension is a great alternative for the PC, and it’s built into the browser which makes it even better as you can capture screens that require log-in information, something I couldn’t do with “Paparazzi!”. Not sure what it is about the screen cap applications and their need to have an ! as part of the title, but there you go.
    FireFTP – a cute little FTP client added straight into Firefox, only recently installed this so not a lot of feedback just yet.
    ColorZilla – Another new find, but the amount of times I take a screen cap into Photoshop just to find out what a colour is, this little extension will save me quite a bit of time.
  • Internet Explorer, Safari & Opera
    Regardless of your allegiances you have to ensure that your sites look the same in all browsers, not just the one you use, and not just the one that the majority of people use. Get them all and test, test and then test some more. They are all free. The only problem at the moment is that you can’t install two versions of IE on a single machine and IE 6 is still more prevalent that IE 7. So even thought you’re probably a cutting edge kinda gal/guy you should hold back a little on this one. For the most part IE 7 will act very much like Opera (or so I’ve found)
  • Your user
    Sure they probably should have been further up the list, but your user is one of the most important tools you have at your disposal. Have an open door policy for comments, let them have their say and take in all the feedback.
  • Well that’s about it. I’ve just finished setting up the Dell laptop I have to use for work now. My personal MacBook Pro can again become a personal computer.

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