Hello! I’m Ali & I’m a web designer / developer here at Up Search. I thought I’d take you through a few of the tools and resources I use on a daily basis to make my life a little bit easier when putting a website together.
1) Subtle Patterns (http://subtlepatterns.com)
I like to use very subtle textures on elements in my designs to breathe a bit of life into them. Using plain colours & a minimalistic design approach can be good at times but can make page seem very monochrome & flat. Using textures can bring a retro feel to a design or give it a more lifelike quality and make it much more exciting!
2) HTML 5 boilerplate (http://html5boilerplate.com)
HTML5 boilerplate gives you a starting point to begin coding HTML5 from. Included as standard is Modernizr, a 404 error page, fav icons, CSS to reset everything & render all your HTML 5 elements correctly & folders for CSS, scripts & images. You can also include jQuery, a .htaccess file, Google Analytics, IE6 & PNG fixes amongst others. I customise this futher by adding a folder for php functions, php includes & fonts.
3) WordPress (http://wordpress.org)
Free and open source blogging tool that has morphed over the years into a fully-fledged content management system. I find myself using this for anything from small news sections on websites through to controlling all the page content & functionality of the whole website through it. There are thousands of plugins you can add to create further functionality. Some of the most recent ones I’ve used are – All in One SEO Pack (http://semperfiwebdesign.com/wordpress-plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/), Gallery plugin (http://bestwebsoft.com/plugin/gallery-plugin/), Nivo Slider (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nivo-slider-for-wordpress/screenshots/) & Google Analytics (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/googleanalytics/)
4) Font Squirrel (http://www.fontsquirrel.com)
Great resource for free fonts. There’s a font-face generator which produces the files (TTF, EOT, WOFF & SVG) needed to embed the fonts in a website. This works with any TTF file but just make sure you have the permissions to use the font first.
5) CSS 3 generator (http://css3generator.com)
Fantastic site for easily producing the code for many CSS3 features such as rounded corners, box/text shadows, gradients, RGBA, font faces & multiple columns. I’m always going on here to use the gradient generator as it’s fantastic!
6) Fav Icon Generator (http://www.favicon.co.uk)
Plain & simple, creates fav icons (the little icon at the top of your browser next to the website address) for your website. Upload to your root directory & Bob’s your uncle.
7) HT Access Tools (http://www.htaccesstools.com)
Simple little site for creating various HT access scripts. I frequently use it for creating htaccess and htpasswd files to password protect directories. Protects especially well against zombie attacks…
Anyway, I hope some of these are of use to you!