by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — software documentation tool
Front-end development is tricky: it’s not difficult to learn, but it’s quite difficult to master. Luckily, developers and designers out there keep releasing useful tools and resources for all of us to learn, improve our skills and just get better at what we do.
HTML and CSS Tools
- Layer Styles
A nice simple tool for creating CSS in an intuitive way — very much like you would do with a graphics editor. The tool lets you add drop shadow, inner shadow, background, border and border radius and generates cross-browser CSS code.
- Mobile Boilerplate
A template that creates rich and performant mobile Web apps. You can get cross-browser consistency among A-grade smartphones, and fallback support for legacy Blackberry, Symbian, and IE Mobile.
This tool reloads the style sheet (not the HTML) of a page in all browsers, and it can even be configured to reload a page automatically in multiple browsers at the same time. The tool doesn’t host your website but rather runs your website’s own local server. To use it, you just need to install NodeJS and npm.
This tool allows editing CSS properties in the IDE from Firebug CSS editor and also allows the developer to concentrate on CSS styling without having to refresh the browser.
A bookmarklet that lets you test different font stacks to find the best result. It bascially scans the page’s CSS and creates a clone page where you can test and analyze different fallback fonts.
- CodeKit for Mac OS X
Boilerplate CSS is written in Less and includes a CSS reset, CSS3 helpers, centered column blocks, and much more.
- Needle v0.1a1
Needle is a handy tool you can use to test whether your CSS renders correctly by taking screenshots of portions of a website and comparing them with other screenshots. It also provides tools for testing calculated CSS values and the position of HTML elements.
This application merges multiple images into one and generates CSS positioning for the corresponding slices; by reducing the amount of images and better utilizing the connection, CSS spritemapping can reduce your website’s loading time.
Normalize.css takes a slightly different approach to CSS resets. Rather than eliminating all browser defaults, Jonathan Neal and Nicolas Gallagher have taken the time to research how different browsers handle different bits of code and then kept the defaults that are useful. It saves you time as a designer, while also providing consistent results.
- Zen Coding
Zen Coding is an editor plugin for high-speed coding and editing. The core of this plugin is a powerful abbreviation engine which allows you to expand expressions (similar to CSS selectors) into HTML code.
- CSS Stress Testing and Performance Profiling
Andy Edinborough shares the code he uses for his so-called ‘CSS Stress Test’ for almost all browsers.
A PHP-driven CSS preprocessor that helps you unleash the CSS3 power with much less code and features like class nesting, server-side browser specifics, default unit and variables. The tool requires PHP5.
- Modernizr 2
FitText is a jQuery plug-in for responsive and fluid layouts that resizes display text to fit the parent element. A good solution for creating headlines that look good on everything from a small mobile device to a 30-inch desktop display.
- jQuery Waypoints
Waypoints is a small jQuery plugin that makes it easy to execute a function whenever you scroll to an element.
This Java script lets you convert text patterns into common typographic ligatures by going through the text on a web page and inserting ligatures where appropriate.
A JS library that allows you to specify strongly typed properties of various types (Boolean, Number, String, etc.) and constants (final properties in Java). It uses ES5 getters and setters and falls back to regular, loosely typed properties in non-supporting browsers.
A JS routing library inspired by URL Route/Dispatch utilities which are present on frameworks like Rails, Pyramid, Django, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, etc. It parses a string input and decides which action should be executed by matching the string against multiple patterns.
A script that speeds up, simplifies and modernizes your site — a concise solution to universal issues. You can load scripts like images as well as use HTML5 and CSS3 safely.
- Grid Calculator
A calculator that helps you easily create your own grid and download it for either Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
A clean and simple way to help you align your layouts. All you need to do is put your dimensions after the URL provided to get a background guide image to work with in your browser. Grids are created on the fly, so any combination should work.
Have a nice day!
Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors