Are you looking forward to embrace the freedom to work from home? Do you wish to develop the ability to create a schedule that perfectly fits into your busy life? Most developers want to have the opportunity to take up projects that are both mentally and creatively stimulating. They want to feel the challenge and excitement of working as a web developer.
Now the question is how to get started and the costs involved. Most people are under the notion that web development demands a huge number of expensive tools and software. Thankfully, this is merely a notion. You won’t believe that having a PC and a reliable internet connection will get you started with the project!
The best part is that you can enjoy access to several free resources online. Listed below are some of the best free resources to look for in order to add value to your web development career:
It is the leading and best content management systems available at present. CMS is software that allows you to write, edit, and publish content online. The amazing potential for customization and the best of plugins make WordPress a toiler for web developers. No wonder most of the web development companies are using WordPress for building websites, eCommerce sites, and web portals.
This is a version control system. It serves as a tool for tracking changes created in the code of any website over time. In case, something goes wrong with your code, simply use Git. This will help you to return to a previous version of the website and locate the issue. A version control system is an indispensable part of web development, these days. Git serves as an industry standard.
3. Mamp or Wampserver
When building a website with WordPress, the WordPress program in conjunction with the pages and content of the site gets stored on a web server through a web hosting company. However, you may wish to install WordPress for development and testing purposes on your own local (home or office) PC. In case, you are using a Mac, MAMP will supply you with the tools you need to run WordPress on your own machine. However, in case of a Windows computer, WampServer is the best option.
These are PC programs specifically created to perform specific functions similar to image editing tools, word processors, and web browsers. Although these are made for very handy applications for developers, they tend to barely scrape the surface. Here are some of the best that has been helping most of the web development companies:
Visual Studio Code
This source code editor is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux machines. It facilitates you to debug code (identify and remove errors) directly from its on-screen editor. It comes with built-in Git commands to help you track changes of code without exiting the editor. The smart completion tool is great for writing code. The best part is that the code editor is fully customizable.
When working on Mac, you will sometimes require using command line features. This acts as a direct way of interacting through text commands using the operating system of your PC. Generally, this is performed through a terminal program on Mac. Although this seems easy, the built-in Mac terminal can be a problem.
This is precisely where iTerm2 comes in handy. It serves as a terminal emulator that works similar to Mac terminal, but combined with a remarkable array of additional features. You can use a split panes feature wherein each pane displays a different session being dimmed, a robust search feature, an autocomplete that keeps track of a word that’s ever showed up in your window, and a paste history that allows you to revisit recently copied and pasted text. These are only a few features to name. Using iTerm2 will let you enjoy a wide array of other impressive features.
Most computer professionals are used to working with multiple browsers open. They want all of their information and ideas to stay. Evernote will let you do the same. It gathers all notes, including screenshots and pictures of handwritten notes. Thereafter, it organizes them in one place synced across all your devices. It also has a powerful search feature that lets you search everything, even your handwritten words.
There are times when web developers want to share their work with clients during the process of design and development. It is definitely a huge privilege using the same software used by giants across industries such as AT&T, Adobe, Viacom, and Sony. Now this is possible for free via using InVision. This is the same prototyping tool used by most of the industry stalwarts.
This free-to-use online business dashboard allows you keep a detailed track of uptime of website (the amount of time it has been online without any interruptions. You can also keep a track of social rankings and analytics. It also allows you to export that specific data in the following formats for your personal use or to share with others:
If you are a web developer and wish to work even at evening hours, the glare of a computer monitor might make it a little uncomfortable for you. F.Lux will adapt your PC display to the lighting inside your room at all times. The feature is crucial, especially if you are planning to spend long hours in front of a monitor. However, make sure you take frequent breaks to give ample rest to your eyes.
Did you know the web browser used for accessing the internet such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. can also be turned into a developer tool? This can be done through browser extensions. These are downloadable add-ons that transport custom feature to your browser. Listed below are some free browser extensions precisely valid for web design:
Let’s assume you come across an impressive website with features you’d like to incorporate into your own site. However, you don’t know how the website actually pulled it off. Wappalyzer serves as a browser extension that uncovers various technologies used on websites. This helps you to see what makes those features run. Additionally, you can use those tricks in your own project. It will also detect content management systems such as WordPress, web frameworks like Ruby on Rails, and ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, Drupal Commerce, etc.
2. CSS3 Generator
CSS3 Generator is a browser extension that helps generate CSS3 (the latest version of CSS) code for varied design features such as columns, text shadowing, gradients, etc. Simply copy the generated code into your CSS to get the benefits of this feature.
3.WhatFont or Fount
In case, you run across a font you truly love, but cannot place, use WhatFont browser extension. This will save you a lot of time and efforts trying to track that specific font down. It allows you to review web fonts simply by hovering over them. It will instantly detect the services the fonts come from. This will let you nab it for yourself. WhatFont is compatible with Chrome and Safari. For other browsers, you can use Fount.
This extension helps if you wish to make a small change in a site that you come across. This may be due to special reading requirements or due to a different font. Developers will get benefitted as they can observe the way the appearance of a website affects due to changes in CSS. It helps with future reference in the projects. The appearance of websites can be changed easily via using a sidebar full of CSS options (both basic and advanced). It will also sync your saved styles across various machines you use.
When working with images in CSS an HTML, you may lose certain amount of the loyalty of original design. This is where Perfectpixel comes in. It allows you to overlay your source JPG or even PNG images over web content. This means you can easily compare images pixel for pixel and then create an HTML page which appears precisely like what you wish to have.
6. Responsive Web Design Tester
The browser extension facilitates you to test the appearance on mobile devices. This is possible without the need to get out your phone or tablet. The extension can preview what a website looks like quickly. This will be done by using the dimensions used by smartphones and tablets.
Interestingly, a website is a free resource easily overlooked by developers. It is important not to undervalue the wealth of free information waiting only a Google search away. Listed below are a few amazing websites to bookmark:
This is a design and development blog. It offers highly informative articles and tutorials related to the latest web trends and tips. You can check out their ‘Tutorial’ section. It offers detailed and very informative how-tos on several common web development techniques, and their Playground for articles and plugins. The blog also has a Blueprints section offering sample website concepts and layouts. You can also check out their extensive CSS reference page.
The online community invites web developers to share helpful links with each other. Home to many thousands of articles, detailed guides to techniques for development, PDF cheat sheets on diverse tech topics, platforms, and applications. All you need to do is sign up for an account and get free access to all DZone has to offer.
4. The Bonsai Freelance rate Explorer
Freelancing is certainly exciting! This is interesting because you can work on your own terms. You can make your own convenient schedule for working and even set your own rates. With a tool as a Bonsai Freelance Rate Explorer, you can easily compare freelance web designer and developer rates. The best part is that you can categorize these rates by experience level, geography and skill.
5. Stack Overflow
Web development is effective when integrated with free sharing of useful tips, tricks, recommendations, advice, and detailed information. Stack Overflow serves as an online community. More than 7 million programmers assemble together under one roof to help each other with queries and answers. All you need to do is sign up and join the conversation!
This is a repository hosting service. It lets you store projects you’re working on. With GitHub, you can collaborate with other users and make use all of the command line features available. The dynamic web-based graphical interface is free to use for the public and all open source projects.
Now that you have got a clear idea of the number of amazing free resources available for making the most of your web development skills, it’s time to get serious. You can use these to hone those developer skills. Have a successful and fulfilling web development career!
Author Bio : Vicky is a front-end web developer holding specialization in WordPress. Having years of experience in designing and developing one page websites and high-end applications.