Top Five Website Development Resources

by Benjamin Williams


Posted on 18th January 2016


It's tough to decide where we'd be as web developers without certain resources to help us along the way. So here I want to list five of my top web development resources that developers could and should use.

Bootstrap

Bootstrap or another framework similar, but to us Bootstrap is by far and away the best. There are some that are prettier, but none that are as easy to use do not require a lot of resources. I've used a few different ones in the past and found a few flaws; class names that don't don't appear to make sense, JQuery heavy, needing JQuery libraries to load before the page to make the site work responsively, etc. Bootstrap is the best around. Is it perfect? No, but there are some changes coming to Bootstrap 4 that will certainly improve the framework even further.

If you've created your own framework, even better. I used to have one that was personal to myself only, but didn't have the time to make changes to keep things up to date. A lot easier to use one from developers that have the time and dedication to it - then you can make changes to the styles as you build a website knowing that the foundations are already in place.

Google Fonts

A brilliant idea by Google, and one that is widely used. Without Google Fonts, you are limited to what fonts you can use - remembering that not every computer will the font that you use. You might love Calibri as a font and it shows up on your computer where your site has been developed, but what about Mac and Linux users who don't have Microsoft Office installed? They have to use a backup font. Now there are some good backup fonts that run across all three, but you picked Calibri for a reason as you feel it looks nice. Don't you want everyone that visits your site to view it the same as you do? Of course you do, else what's the point. And that's where Google Fonts comes in. Okay, they don't have Calibri, but you can certainly find one that looks similar, and with the way it works everyone will be able to see the same font. Font types are important to websites and picking the right one can be tough. There's a huge selection with Google Fonts and it is important to portray the same feel no matter what fonts a user has installed on their computer.

W3 Validator

I personally feel that every site should validate. Sometimes to get what you need, you can allow one or two things to slip though - some jQuery adds inline CSS styles that will fail validation for example. Generally speaking though, sites should validate. It's also a very handy tool to find some small semantic errors, like an extra or missing tag. It really is an essential tool.

Browser Developer Tools

Chrome has 'inspect element' when right clicking on part of a website, Firefox has Inspector and numerous plugins available, IE has similar with F12. One of the most commonly used features when developing as it throws up errors, allows you to see how paddings and margins are working, why parts aren't working (I accidentally misspelled the name of my jQuery file the other day and so got the warning that it couldn't find the file), and you can quickly see what happens when removing elements.

Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools

Bunched into one as they can be linked together, and they should be used together. Find out where your site traffic is coming from, what search terms are used to get to your site, how many visitors you're getting. If you miss out on using these tools on live websites then you're a fool. Absolutely essential, and they're free so there's no excuse not to be making use of them.