meeting: Web Power Tools

On Wednesday, 2004, January 21, Nick Finck and I presented Web Power Tools, a two hour presentation on tools and sites and tips that we use when planning, designing and developing web sites. My time was full of Mac oriented tools and Nick took over the other half, highlighting software and such for the dark side.

In order to make it more interesting for us and for the audience, we tag-teamed the presentation, switching between the Mac and the PC. I set up the room so that we had a Sony Vaio and my iBook running through a KVM that allowed us to switch between the PC and the Mac at a touch of a button. It worked out really well. One of us would talk about a topic (listed below), get a little bit of audience feedback, and then we switched, and the other would get to follow up the previous discussion with a quick set of thoughts for the other platform about the same topic before diving into our new one.

One of the best things about the night was that we had chosen a wide variety of topics, and there wasn't much overlap between us. I presented SubEthaEdit as a collaborative text editor, but Nick didn't point out a text editor for the PC. Nick pointed out a great web log analysis tool for the PC, but I only noted that Analog was available for the Mac and left it at that. So between the two of us, we covered not just the same set of topic with two flavors, but lots of territory ranging much further than we could have if we had just tried to keep everything in parallel.

As I promised to the attendees I've compiled all the links for the topics I talked about, and I've included Nick's links, as he sent them to me before the meeting to get everything set up. Note that at the end of the list I've added some bonus links, topics that we planned for the meeting but were cut due to time constraints.

Ross's Mac Tools and Tips

  • SubEthaEdit (Hydra):
    A simple text editor that has a great ability: collaborative editing.
  • DropZip:
    At the meeting, I said: "I come here not to praise Stuff-It, but to bury it." This got a couple of good chuckles. Apple has already started moving towards zip files. (DropZip is included in Stuff-It Standard Edition. Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) has this built-in under the Finder's File Menu.)
  • My Articles Page:
  • My Tools Page:
  • Peguimin J: (Orginial source is gone)
    Makes short work of thumbnails.
  • Shomi:
    Show image files. That's it. No more no less. It sits on my DragThing primary dock.
  • Joliet Volume Access (For Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9 only):
    Helps Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9 systems access Windows disks, CDs and other volumes that have long file names.
  • Rename4Mac (For Mac OS X):
    A great file renaming utility that shows you ahead of time what it is about to do to your file names. Brilliant.
  • Drop*Rename (For Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9):
    Something similar as Rename for Mac, but doesn't include the previewing ability.
  • Drag Thing:
    Drag and Drop as a good way of working with Operating systems. On my Systems, (A) the Dock is used to display only active apps and a few key folders. All of the 'unlaunched' apps go into (B) the small-icon dock at the bottom of my screen that's visible (and ready to target for drag and drops) at all time. Finally other apps that I want to have access to sometimes, but less often go into (C) an Apps dock that shows the small icon, plus the apps' names. (I don't need the names for the (B) dock because I used them so often.)
  • PageSucker:
    A Java app that saves entire web sites to your hard drive.
  • .htaccess files
    I use these mostly to take care of error 404 pages, redirects for old pages and to reduce the amount of bandwidth that worms and viruses take up.
  • XSSIs: Server-Side Includes:
    To know them is to love them.
  • Apple's WebDev pages:
    Great cross-platform webdev notes.
  • Fonts on Different Browsers:
  • Bonus: The power of "wysiwyg:/" in Netscape 4.x and below.
    Basically, Netscape 4 and below used a "protocol handeler" called wysiwyg:/ that would display the rendered version of the HTML file after the javascript had executed. This can be invaluable for seeing what your JavaScript document.write commands are doing. I would love to see this brought back for other browsers, including Mozilla/Gecko browsers and KTHML-based browsers. See also: The authors of the above pages don't really understand how helpful such a tool can be. Here's to the Developer who creates the Web developer's browser.

Nick's Windows Tools and Tips

Nick's canonical version of this list: is the proper place to look at these links, but I've included them for completion's sake.

This list of tools, like most sets of web development tools have a shelf life. Perhaps more of a half life of 6 months. At that point half of the links will have broken. In another six months half of the remaining links will have died, leaving only a quarter of them active, and so on. I'm hoping that Nick's will go first...


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