Web Development Tools

23:37 Wed 21 Mar 2007. Updated: 00:39 22 Mar 2007
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These are the tools I use when doing web development.

Firefox (1.5)
I haven’t upgraded to 2.0 yet because the underlying rendering engine is the same, and I haven’t seen any features that I really want.

The following plugins are amazingly useful for web development:

  • Firebug: An amazing console/resource tracker/web dvelopment IDE. A must-have.
  • HTML Validator: validates pages live. Another must-have.
  • Live HTTP Headers: Lets you see what your browser is sending/receiving from the server. I don’t use it as much as the first two, but it’s often invaluable.
jEdit (4.2/4.3pre9)
My text editor of choice, and one that continues to improve. Cross-platform, too, which is critical.

The following plugins are amazingly useful for web development:

  • Sidekick: parses various file types and lets jEdit know about the parsed structures for the purposes of document navigation and folding.
  • SuperAbbrevs: lets you type e.g. “a” and then hit a key combination to then print the usual stuff of an a tag, with fields that you navigate through. See A How-To on Abbreviations in Superabbrevs for HTML, Ruby on Rails and more for more information. Incredibly useful; I’ve only been using it for a week and I’m addicted.
  • SwitchBuffer and JDiffPlugin: useful for files of all types.

Those are the big two. With just those you can get an awful lot done. The following are also important:

Because version control is critical. I may have mentioned this before.
Apache Web Server
Obviously useful for serving pages, but also useful to have when in the development phase. I’ve recently started using it on my workstations as well as my servers, using local copies, and even just to serve static files it’s amazingly useful. Not really that hard to set up, and it definitely helps you think about how things will work beyond their existence as files in your local filesystem.
Filesystem Links
Unix-like systems get this for free with ln, but on Windows you need linkd.exe. This functionality, plus Apache, plus Subversion, gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility and security for a very small amount of setup/organizational effort.
Tracking what you’re doing, and taking notes on it, is critical, and TiddlyWiki makes doing that a lot easier.

That’s what I’m using at the moment, and it’s a suite I’m very happy with.

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