Ten Tools Web Developers Can't Live Without [con't]
Firebug can have such a profound impact on your productivity that if you're not already using it I highly recommend checking out the article "Firebug: Add Browser-Based Debugging to Your Ajax Development", published earlier this year on Developer.com.
Even though browser developers have made great strides towards standards compliance in recent years, it goes without saying that you should always "trust, but verify" (i.e. test your website within multiple browsers residing on multiple operating systems). Yet many developers might not have a Mac or even a Windows machine at their disposal. A great alternative is BrowserShots, an online utility capable of not only testing browser compatibility on multiple operating systems, but also multiple browser versions within these systems. Further, it tests compatibility with a number of lesser-used browsers, including Lynx, K-Meleon and Konqueror.
It's often necessary to convert images from one format to another. In fact the number of image-conversion utilities is almost as large as the number of image formats themselves. Of these solutions, there really is "one tool to rule them all": ImageMagick, an incredibly powerful command-line, library-based image-conversion and -creation utility. For instance, using ImageMagick to create a thumbnail is as easy as executing the following command:
In addition to the command-line capabilities, ImageMagick is supported by practically every mainstream programming language, among them PHP, Perl and Ruby. For instance, you can use PHP's ImageMagick extension to automate the processing of images uploaded to your website.
9. Shutter and Greenshot
Whether you're creating Web-based user documentation or sending clients screen grabs of user interface prototypes, you'll need a capable tool for taking screenshots. Yet it wasn't until relatively recently that capable open source solutions were available. If you're a Windows user, I recommend Greenshot, a great utility capable of not only taking screenshots but also manipulating and sending screenshots. If you're a Linux user, check out Shutter, a similarly capable solution.
Although I strongly recommend using automated website deployment solutions such as Phing for transferring website projects, having a capable GUI-based file-transfer client is equally important. If you haven't yet chosen a solution and would rather not spend the money on such an elementary part of your toolbox, check out FileZilla, an open source FTP client used by countless developers around the globe.
So you see, there are other open source and online tools besides dynamic languages and IDEs. The 10 I've introduced here can fulfill other needs such as image manipulation and Web design, remote access, and database administration.
Jason Gilmore is the founder of the publishing and consulting firm WJGilmore.com. He also is the author of several popular books, including "Easy PHP Websites with the Zend Framework", "Easy PayPal with PHP" and "Beginning PHP and MySQL, Third Edition". Follow him on Twitter at @wjgilmore.
Original: August 25, 2010