The greatest thing about technology advancing is that it allows us to be more efficient and lazy than we ever have been before. I wanted to talk about some of the applications, services, and resources that I use that make my life as a web designer/developer easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. And more tasty. I realized that I bloated this article enough with just Firefox plugins, so I’m going to make another post after this one that involves useful non-Firefox applications. You may have already heard of a lot of these, but read on anyways because you never know what you might have missed. Or, possibly you are just enthralled by my incredible writing. Or you salivate over any mention of Firefox plugins.
If you still aren’t convinced, just shut up and read on anyways, I promise you’ll get a Hershey kiss at the end. Maybe.
If you do not validate your code, then please, slap yourself right now. One more time. Another should do it. Ok, now we’ve got that out of the way. The benefits of validating is a lecture for another blog post, but for some extremely quick and helpful validation go no further than the HTML Validator plugin.
If you are like me and you have a ba-jillion bookmarks (one more slap if you started to argue that wasn’t a real number) and you also use multiple computers like home, work, and laptop - then it’s total hell to keep track of those things, right? Negatory - go pick up Foxmarks if you haven’t yet, and it will change your life forever. It might even help you give up that heroine addiction, but I wouldn’t quote me on that.
As a web-head, you should also be bookmarking every little useful article, technique, tutorial, resource, or whatever it is that you find that tickles your spidey web-senses and make use of Firefox 3.0’s awesome web 2.0 inspired bookmarking system. Bookmark tags are amazing and can save you muy mucho tiempo. A lot of times if I find an article that has a large amount of varied resources or tutorials on it, rather than visit each one and bookmark them or download them, I will make one bookmark of that “Top 3,254 Cute Things My Kitten Does” article and make a separate tag for each item that is on the page.
Even if marketing isn’t your thing, EVERY web-head needs to know their stuff about SEO (search engine optimization). It doesn’t matter how beautiful or usable you’ve made your website, if people can’t find it then you are SOL and your client is not happy. There are a few great plugins that you can get for Firefox that help you out in this area. KGen helps you find what the strongest keywords are that are showing up on a page. SEO For Firefox shows all kinds of incredibly useful information about websites in your Google and Yahoo searches, like page rank, age, diggs, trends, etc.
Here is a recent post that I found that goes into detail on a list of good Wordpress plugins for Firefox. It may pique your interest, check it out.
ColorZilla is small in functionality but extremely useful when coding any CSS. One click brings up an eyedropper which you can place anywhere within your Firefox browser to get a color, and another click will allow you to copy that color’s hex code to your clipboard.
And last but not least, IETab let’s you quickly render a page with whatever version of Internet Explorer you have installed on your computer inside a Firefox tab. This is nice for when you don’t feel like having multiple windows open. While I’m on the subject of Internet Explorer, for anyone who is also using a PC then Multiple IE is invaluable as it allows you to install, (hint: it’s in the name, so this shouldn’t be too tricky for ya) yes, multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same computer. I know I know, you’re getting very excited with the prospect of being able to infect your computer with many Internet Explorers aren’t you? Opera View is available as well, although I rarely find a difference between how the two browsers render web pages.
There are plenty of more great Firefox plugins out there that people developed just to make you happy, so go out there and explore! If you have any other favorites, please post those for me to take a look at. By the way, thanks for the kiss, it was delicious.