Speed your development workflow with these Chrome extensions

A very popular browser choice among developers is Google Chrome. And a great but often underused feature of Chrome is its Extension Store. As a developer, you can use this resource to access a multitude of free tools that will help you cut down on some of the most tedious tasks in development.

After all, as rewarding and interesting that development may be, it’s still true that tasks such as browser testing and link testing can be very dull ways to spend huge chunks of time.

Development Extensions

These Chrome extensions will help you speed up your development workflow right from your browser.

Chrome Extension - Web Developer

Web Developer
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If I could only install one extension, then this would be my choice. With this extension, a developer will be able to gain a lot of information on their project.

I find the most useful features of this extension is the ability to disable things like javaScript, cookies, CSS styles and images. I also find it very useful to outline elements based on their type. This could be floated elements and absolutely positioned elements as well as floated elements and headings.

I also really like how I can work with forms, this is really useful for when testing the forms I have built are working correctly. With the Web Developer extension, I can quickly complete mundane tasks like clearing form fields and checking and unchecking form fields.

Web Developer Checklist
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I like my websites to be the best they can be, and for this reason, I keep the Web Developer Checklist as part of my toolkit.

The Checklist extension will test your website to make sure it is mobile worthy and passes SEO, accessibility and security essentials.

It is even possible to check the quality of code. However, I have my IDE also checking this for me as I write code based on Laraval Artisan standards.

Pesticide
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I think the name for this handy, simple extension is perfect, sometimes when working with front-end development, the code issues can feel like a real bug hunt.

The purpose of this extension is to outline all CSS elements to see the placement on a page better and help to identify a problem which could otherwise feel like hunting down a pest in your code.

Browser testing – Browserling and IETab
Get Browserling
Get IETab

Testing in multiple browsers is definitely one of those tedious tasks mentioned earlier. The bad news is there is no getting away from browser testing; however, it’s definitely not as painful as it used to be and there are now extensions that mean you can do it all in one tab.

One such extension is Broswerling. This is a live interactive cross-browser testing service, and it provides cross-browser testing for web developers and web designers. Also, it provides quick access to all the most popular browsers on the most popular operating systems.

Link Checker
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Much like browser checking, link checking is also an essential highly tedious task. The Chrome browser extension Link Checker has one simple but powerful purpose which is to make this tedious task a thing of the past.

Extensions for designers

Chrome Extension – Spectrum

Here are some of the best extensions for front-end designer to speed up real-world, everyday tasks.

WhatFont
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The WhatFont extension in invaluable when it comes to identifying a font. Sometime when browsing the web I come across a website that uses terrific typography but determining what makes it so great is not always intuitive to developers and this extension makes that process so much easier.

Information can be found on type family and font size and, what’s more, it can help you find out if your typography find is available on Google API or even TypeKit if you prefer.

ColorZilla
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If you find you frequently need to design a website around a specific color pallet, then this extension will be a great asset.

Often clients know they want their color scheme to match their logo or some other design work. Or even their existing website. What ColorZilla will do is use a color picker to select any shade in the browser and find the HEX or RGB code of those colors.

Spectrum
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Color deficiencies are common but not widely accounted for by web designers. A color blind person may have a needlessly terrible time on a website you designed, but this can all be solved with a few adjustments to your design.

Spectrum is an extension that will allow you to see your website like a color blind person would do addressing the problem of wanting to help but not knowing how to.

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Your website redesign pre-launch checklist

website checklist

Every once in a while your website will need a redesign to stay relevant to your content and keep up with new web design trends. It’s a good opportunity to really analyze your content to see if the user experience is working to meet the needs of your target market.

The web design process is one that takes a lot of work. It is a process that involves managing a lot of content as well as the technical process including testing, usability and ensuring your meeting the necessary web standards.

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Discover the advantages of 4 WordPress alternatives

There can only be one WordPress, it is the Worlds favorite free CMS system by far. It’s versatile, super-friendly and incredibly easy to set up.

WordPress has many fans. Some of its users adore the system and its popularity has spawned endless information instructing even the least technically savvy how to make the most of their website. Some users, however, find the platform frustrating and find themselves forever battling with incompatible plugins and badly coded adding in an effort to bend WordPress far beyond the blogging platform it was originally intended to be.

So what alternatives are there available to these users. For example, could switching to a purpose-driven CMS help to solve their problems making tasks like running an online shop easier?

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SEO What to do and what to avoid

seo techniques

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website easier to find in search engines for your users and customers.

On the most basic level, a website will rank for a certain keyword and this fact alone has led to many bad practices and out dated assumptions employed by web designers in an effort to improve their website rankings.

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Think mobile and build for the small screen

Mobile friendly webdesign

Responsive web design is now a basic standard expectation of a new website.

According to smartinsights.com, the USA has internet users spend 71% of their time on their mobile. This is matched by China. In the UK 61% is the amount of all users accessing from a mobile.

Google traffic on mobile has long since overtaken desktop and major brands expect to compete to deliver exceptional beautiful user experiences. Recognizable navigation, large shopping cart icons, Clear calls to action and clear email and call links all feature in the mind of the user, even if subconsciously, as hallmarks of a great mobile experience.

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Tools and resources to use to stay up to date in 2017

Have you decided that 2017 will be the year that you push yourself to keep on top of the emerging technologies and tools in web design? have you wondered how you will sift through these to find the ones that will actually help you solve common problems and not just be fashionable to use?

If so, I have compiled a list of tools that are defiantly worth checking out to help front-end web developers stay on top of this challenging task. Tools that will help you out with solid tasks in developments.

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WordPress are moving to SSL, what do you need to do?

wordpress and ssl what do need to do for my website

There are changes ahead for WordPress users as the platform evolves to promote aspects of security including moving towards SSL.

WordPress plan to only promote hosting partners that provide an SSL certificate to their accounts by default. This will happen in early 2017.

Later WordPress will consider making features available only enabled if SSL is present. Such features would be those that would benefit from SSL encryption and like API authentication.

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Add another layer of website security with SSL/TLS encryption

Install SSL certificat

Any savvy web shopper will know to look out for the encryption symbol when buying on the web. It’s the little padlock that signals that a website is safe to use. Using SSL/TLS Protocol encryption means that no ‘man in the middle attacks’ can steal sensitive information like your credit card details.

You can secure your website too. The process is easier than it has ever been before, has lower costs to implement and can often even be free. Web sites secured with SSL will need to have installed an SSL certificate.

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Solve your web design problems with UI patterns

Have you ever taken a look at a really well-designed website and wondered how did the designer ever come up with that idea. How could I design something cool like this in a short space of time? How can I even get the inspiration to design something so good?

The answer may lie in understanding user interface (UI) design patterns.

The designer behind the website you are admiring likely has an understanding of how to use UI patterns in their design. It’s kind of like one of the best-kept secrets of web design.

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