20 useful tools for web developers



Improve your website’s performance, validate your code and more with these handy tools.

Life as a web developer may offer many rewards, but when project managers are asking you to do more and more in less and less time, it can become frustrating. So it’s always good to find tools that can make your work faster and more productive. Here we’ve gathered together some of the most useful.


Some you’ll have heard of, others you’ll already be using, but hopefully there’ll be at least one or two that can lighten your workload and brighten your day…

01. Browser Calories

Get the page weight of whatever you’re looking at

In a time when more of us are doing more of our browsing on a flaky mobile connection than ever before, as designers and developers we need to be keeping an eye on our page weights. This browser extension places an icon next to the address bar that, when clicked, lets you know the page weight of whatever your looking at, broken down by resource if you like.

02. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code

A free, open source code editor from Microsoft that runs anywhere and has lots of smart features for making coding quicker and easier. Built-in Git commands, debugger and much more.

03. Firebug

Firefox add-on Firebug is a must-have for devs

From the developers at Firefox, the amazingly useful add-on Firebug enables you to debug, edit and monitor HTML, JavaScript and CSS live, all in the browser. One of the very best web development tools out there, this is a must-have for anyone working in web development.

04. HTML Entity Character Lookup

HTML Entity Character Lookup

HTML Entity Character Lookup helps you ensure all the characters on your page are validated

Using HTML entities is essential to ensure all the characters on your page are validated. However, often finding the right entity code requires scanning through 250 rows of characters. It’s also available as a widget on the Mac Dashboard.

05. -prefix-free

Prefix free

-prefix-free helps you break free from CSS prefix hell

This cool tool from Lea Verou lets you use unprefixed CSS properties. It essentially works behind the scenes, adding the current browser’s prefix to any CSS code, only when it’s needed.

06. Cloud9 IDE

Cloud9 IDE

Cloud9 IDE enables developers around the world to edit the same code and chat together

Cloud9 IDE is a tool to help you collaborate with others on big-scale code projects. Letting developers around the world edit the same code and chat together in realtime, it’s fast emerging as one of the best browser-based IDEs. Features include code completion and editor, drop-document trees, smart drag and FTP integration.

07. Foundation


Foundation 6 makes it “crazy fast” to code responsive designs, say its makers ZURB

Made by develpopers for developers at ZURB, this prototyping tool acts as a blueprint for your responsive design projects. Its latest version is an easy grid-structure that makes styling even more convenient and flexible. It works with both SASS and CSS.

08. Fontello


Fontello offers an easy way to generate icons in web font form

This icon generator is truly one of a kind. Pick the icons you want and Fontello will compile them into customized web fonts. You can also edit and customize the symbol codes and names.

09. Cloud Comp

Cloud Comp

Share sites and apps with ease using Cloud Comp

This lightweight and easy to use tool helps you share website and apps with others. It’s been specifically built to give designers and developers a way to present comps to their clients inside of a realistic device shell.



BLOKK replaces dummy text with blocks

BLOKK is a fun-to-use font for “clients who do not understand Latin”. In other words, it replaces all text with blocks to suggest generic text instead. That way you can create good looking mock-ups and wireframes without confusing people with Lorem Ipsem.

11. Basecamp


Basecamp is the project management of choice for much of the web design industry

Developed by 37signals, Basecamp is a popular online tool to help you manage collaboration and project management with ease. It all runs in the cloud and most people working in web design and development will be familiar with it.

12. Browser Shots

Browser Shots

Browser Shots takes screenshots of your sites in different browsers

Browser Shots generates screenshots of how websites appear at 800×600 and 1024×768 resolution in six commonly used web browsers. Just submit the web address and a group of distributed computers will access and open it, then upload screenshots of the site for you to check out.

13. FavIcon Generator

FavIcon Generator

FavIcon Generator

A favicon (‘favorites icon’) is a small, 16×16 image that’s shown inside the browser’s location bar and bookmark menu when your site is called up. This tool makes it easy to create them for your site.

14. Web-developer toolbar

Web developer toolbar

The Web Developer extension adds a range of handy tools to the browser

This Firefox plug-in feature provides a number of useful tools that web developers use on a day-to-day basis. It’s particularly useful when inspecting your HTTP header information or when you need to validate your XHTML.

15. Load Impact

Load Impact

Load Impact simulates large amounts of traffic to test your site’s performance

A successful website is one that loads faster and quickly. Load Impact is a cloud-based service for load testing and website optimization that generates traffic load by simulating users. In other words it lets you test how your website, web app, mobile app or API will perform with up to 1.2 million concurrent users.

16. Lorem Ipsum Generator

Lorem Ipsum Generator

Lorem Ipsum Generator does exactly what you’d expect

If you’re not impressed with BLOKK (see 10) and want to stick with Lorem Ipsum, this reference site about the subject, giving information on its origins, also includes a random Lorem Ipsum generator.

17. W3c Markup Validation Service

W3c Markup Validation Service

W3c Markup Validation Service checks your documents for conformance to the relevant specification

Validating web documents is an important step that can dramatically help improving and ensuring their quality. This free service from the W3C helps you to check the markup validity of different web documents, in HTML, SMIL, XHTML and MathML and more.

18. Typetester


Take fonts for a spin with Typetester

The Typetester is a browser tool for comparing different kinds of fonts, Choose the typeface you want to test out, along with your chosen size, tracking, colour etc, and Typetester applies it to a set piece of text so you can see what it will look like.

19. Pingdom


Pingdom is a great tool for monitoring your site’s performance

Pingdom is a service that tracks the uptime, downtime, and performance of websites. Upload a full page in HTML and it will mimic the loading process of the entire website, incorporating all the elements (namely JavaScript, RSS, CSS and images), thereby enabling you to check and monitor the efficiency of your site.

20. CSS Sprite Generator

CSS Sprite Generator

CSS Sprite Generator can help improve your site’s performance

By reducing the number of HTTP requests, this tool aims at increasing the loading speed of your website. Images are combined into one larger image at defined X and Y coorindates. Having assigned this generated image to relevant page elements the background-position CSS property can then be used to shift the visible area to the required component image.


7 reasons service oriented architecture and REST are perfect together


It’s not a question of either/or with SOA and REST. It’s a matter of how the two design approaches can be brought together.

Service oriented architecture and REST — which is seen more with cloud and social applications — are actually highly compatible approaches. SOA and REST have a lot in common, and it’s time the two started interacting. 

It’s not a question of either/or. Organizations would be best served adopting SOA and REST in tandem. “Both SOA and REST are commonly described as distinct architectural styles, each with its own design approaches that is carried out to attain specific design goals,” relates a new book, SOA With REST: Principles, Patterns & Constraints for Building Enterprise Solutions with REST. “On the surface, it may appear as though we need to choose one architectural style over the other, depending on our own individual preferences and goals. However, that is not the case.”

The book, co-authored by Thomas Erl, Benjamin Carlyle, Cesare Pautasso, and Raj Balasubramanian, makes the point that one is the medium by which the other can be implemented:

“The choice is not between SOA and REST but rather whether REST is the correct implementation medium for a service-oriented technology architecture, or whether service-oriented architecture is the correct architectural model by which a REST architecture should be formalized. The answer to either question depends on the business requirements that need to be fulfilled.”

Erl and his colleagues draw distinctions as well as similarities between the two approaches, while noting that “there are no conflicts between REST and service-oriented computing goals:”

  • Service oriented computing goals are strategic and business-centric.
  • REST goals are technology-centric and can help achieve strategic or tactical business goals.
  • While not all REST design goals are relevant to each sercice-oriented computing goal, most REST design goals are directly supportive pf service-oriented computing goal.

The book describes common design goals for SOA and REST:

  1. Increased intrinsic interoperatability: “All of the REST design goals directly or indirectly support and enhance the interoperability potential of services within a service inventory.”
  2. Increased federation: “Both REST and service oriented architecture have similar effects on federation. While the application of REST constraints can lead to consistency across service contracts with freedom from business context, service-orientation can add architectural layers that can drive an organization to achieve federation over a broader scope.”
  3. Increased vendor diversity options: “Both service-oriented architecture and REST-style architecture advocate abstracting away service implementation details from service consumers to avoid negative forms of coupling that can inhibit vendor product independence.”
  4. Increased business and technology alignment: This is the foundation of SOA, and the primary means by which REST can support this goal is in its emphasis on building flexibility into technology architecture.”
  5. Increased ROI: SOA “has a primary focus on achieving return on investment through reusability, normalized service inventories, and mechanisms that enable the effective composition and re-composition of services. Reusability is one of the aspects of the modifiability design goal in that REST advocates leveraging reuse as a means of modifying, evolving and adding solution logic.”
  6. Increased organizational agility: While organizational agility — the holy grail of SOA — is not a business-centric goal not directly addressed by REST, “each REST design goal can directly contribute to improving an organization’s responsiveness. The REST constraints that directly contribute to agility on an organizational level are those that support abstraction, evolvability, and unforeseen change.”
  7. Reduced IT burden: SOA subdues IT burdens by breaking down departmental silos, reusing and composing services, and decoupling services from their consumers so they can be upgraded independently. REST constraints make scaling services more efficient, individual services more reliable, and service upgrades more efficient.”


How to serve static .json files from a Windows Azure Website

If you upload a .json file to your Windows Azure website and try to access it, it would give you a 404 File Not Found error, because the MIME Type of .json is not set by default. This also applies in general to any file that might need a specific MIME Type.

To fix this issue, FTP into your website and upload the following Web.config file which will set the correct MIME types. If you already have a Web.config file in place, just add the below to the appropriate section.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
            <mimeMap fileExtension=".json" mimeType="application/json" />

Download Web.config