Tips & Tricks

5 Top Tools Every Developer Needs

While there’s something to be said for coding from scratch, developers can work more cleanly, creatively, and efficiently with a number of tools. Just like a handyman relies on a good set of tools to get the job done, keeping these tools in your developer’s kit can help you excel professionally.

Sass Guidelines: Tidy Up CSS with Free Style Guide

CSS is a powerful style sheet language for controlling a website’s look and feel, but its coding can get messy, especially on large projects. That’s where Sass Guidelines comes in. This style guide can be thought of as a meta-language to improve the syntax of your CSS. When your code is cleaner it’s more readable for other developers. Errors are also easier to detect in clean code.

Sass Guidelines is an excellent teaching tool for improving the way you code CSS, and a handy reference during the coding process. This comprehensive tool includes information about naming conventions, syntax tips, design layouts, and much more. It’s also available in a range of languages, including German, Russian, Czech, and Danish. You can use Sass Guidelines for free from its website.

WatchKit: Create Apple Watch Apps with Ease


Image via Flickr by LWYang

Wearable technology is expected to grow by 23 percent over the next five years, according to American market research firm International Data Corporation. This means that if you’re not already developing apps for wearables, you’re bound to be doing so in the future.

This growth will be fueled by the rising popularity of the Apple Watch, released last April, so it makes sense to start learning how to develop for this device now.  With benefits such as Apple Pay, easy communication, navigation and many others, wearable technology may soon replace smartphones. If you are interested in learning to code for this kind of wearable device, the job’s made easier with WatchKit, which features design guides, templates, and other development resources for building Apple Watch apps, Glances, and notifications. It’s available to download from the Apple website.

Github: Developer Collaboration Made Easy

Few developers work independently on projects anymore. As collaboration increases, tools like Github have become even more important. Since its release in the late 2000s, Github has grown to become the largest code host in the world. It’s also become one of the most popular professional social networking sites for programmers and developers.

Celebrating an open source approach, Github makes all coding projects public by default, so it’s easy to delegate to others on your team with just one click. The site also equips each Github project with a wiki, a task manager, and a bug tracker to encourage communication among all team members.

If your project is of a sensitive nature you can make it private with Github’s paid plans. All paid plans support unlimited team members. The higher the plan, the more private projects you can house on the Github servers.

DiffChecker: Compare Documents With Just One Click

Bugs can creep in as developers build on their coding documents. All it takes is a misplaced character here or a misspelled word there to cause a major malfunction. Combing through code trying to find the source of the problem can be tedious and a real time waster. DiffChecker makes the task so much easier.

Simply upload or paste the contents of two files, click “Find Difference,” and let this tool do the rest. Color-coded, side-by-side comparisons highlight the differences between document versions.

If you value your privacy, you’ll appreciate the DiffChecker site design, which lets you use the tool without sharing any details. However, if you’re planning to use DiffChecker often, it’s worth signing up for a free account. This lets you save your comparisons, known as “diffs,” name these diffs for easy access, and delete diffs you no longer need.

XAMPP: Test Live to Ensure Products are Bug-Free

A live testing environment is an essential tool for all website developers. XAMPP is open source and configurable, so you can set it up just the way you like it. Apache, MySQL, Open SSL, PHP, FileZilla FTP server, and more are all bundled together to increase the functionality of this clever tool. XAMPP is free to download from Apache Friends, who developed the tool.

With these innovative tools at your disposal, you’re sure to take your coding skills to the next level.

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