I’m currently addicted to watching the show This Old House. It’s great to watch real craftsmen do fantastic work and learn all their little tips and tricks along the way. I often wish there was a show called This Old Website where developers would sit around and drink coffee while converting Frontpage websites to WordPress. High energy I know.
In this post I’d like to give you 10 resources that I used constantly through 2012 to build our clients websites. So here we go in no particular order.
Subtlepatterns.com is a collection of simple, yet effective, background patterns that you can download and use on your projects. Lately they have started to include retina versions of the patterns which is also super handy.
We started 2012 using the WordPress plugin Visual Form Builder, but we ended up converting most of those forms to Gravity. This plugin is not free, but provides such a high quality form solution that you’ll forget about the cost in no time. They have a collections of handy add-ons available with the Developer License and there are also some free ones like the Gravity Forms CSS Selector plugin that are real time savers. Clients want quick turnarounds and this plugin will help you achieve that.
#3 WP Tuts+
This one is simply just a blog of WordPress tutorials. The content is fantastic and relevant. Things are changing in the web world all the time. You need to stay current and continue to learn if you’re going to make Web Development a 30+ year career.
This web services allows you to shrink filesizes on your .png files. It supports transparency and I have had great success using it with all of the files I create in Photoshop. We used it heavily on the sprites for the website Tony’s Tree Plantation.
This a similar service to TinyPNG above, but this one compresses your jpg files. In today’s tech world sites need to load fast, so you should compress all files (CSS, JS, Images, etc.) to achive the best possible load times.
This site provides thousands of free icons for you to use on your website. There is a dropdown in the top right that allows you to show only the icons available for commercial use. I even recently submitted a set of my own social media icons and am hoping they will be included.
So you’ve just completed your new site or app and you want to showcase it in a cool environment, this site allows you to upload screenshots of your work into a realistic product settings.
This is an excellent and simplistic WYSIWYG editor that uses jQuery. The downside is that it’s not free, but the upside is that it is super easy to use. This isn’t great for WordPress devs but if you are building something custom this may be the way to go.
So the website is built and it’s time to get paid! This free invoice creator will allow you to send clean invoices to your client. If you want a more robust solution that isn’t free, I would say to go with FreshBooks.
On one of my personal projects, I switched to using Amazon’s cheap and reliable email service. It allows you to send 1,000s of emails a day for pennies. If you want a nice PHP class that makes it super easy, I have had success with the php class by Ordering Disorder. If you are anti-Amazon or something you can check out PostMark app. I ran through a trial with them and their service is fantastic.
So this has been my list for web developers. In my next post, I’ll go through some great web services that have come out recently that you should know about. Until that time, I’m Hal Gatewood with This Old Website.