100 Essential Web Development Tools

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100 Essential Web Development Tools

Post by discovery on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:37 am

100 Essential Web Development Tools



As web technologies constantly advance, the skills a developer is expected to have are constantly increasing.
Web users are beginning to expect Ajax interfaces, charts and graphs
and a whole host of other tricks and features. This means web
developers not only have to be skilled with HTML and a server-side
programming language such as PHP or Perl, but they now also need to be
JavaScript gurus, Flash experts, and skilled graphic designers.
When developing your applications, you simply can’t create every
element yourself. A graph or mapping solution is an application in
itself, so no single developer or small team can create such components
while continuing development of the primary application. This means
programmers have to use third-party solutions — and thankfully there
are thousands of such solutions to make our lives as developers that
little bit easier.
In an effort to save you a few hours crawling the web in search of the perfect third-party solution, we have compiled this list of essential development resources.

1. Functions and Classes


You can find a whole array of pre-made classes and functions to help
save development time. A great resource directory for finding the
perfect PHP classes is PHPClasses.org. For those of you who use Perl, you should be familiar with CPAN.
CAPTCHA


CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing to tell Computers and
Humans Apart) is the term used to describe the use of images which
humans can identify, in order to ensure an automated bot/computer
program isn’t accessing your application. The ideal use for this is in
contact forms to ensure only humans can send messages — therefore
eliminating automated spam and junk messages.
The following CAPTCHA systems can be easily integrated with your applications:

  • reCAPTCHA
    One
    of the most popular CAPTCHA systems that helps to digitize books,
    newspapers and old time radio shows by using CAPTCHA inputs to help
    translate. There is also a Perl module available for reCAPTCHA.

  • Securimage
    Securimage is a free open-source PHP CAPTCHA script for generating complex images and CAPTCHA codes.

  • freeCap
    A GPL CAPTCHA script to stop spam.
  • HN CAPTCHA
    A CAPTCHA script written in PHP, licensed under LGPL.

Date Manipulation


Manipulating dates in your applications can be a time-consuming
process. PHP and Perl include numerous functions for automating the
process, but often don’t offer all the required functions.
The following date manipulation functions can be easily integrated with your applications:

  • PEAR Date
    Generic PHP classes for representation and manipulation of dates, times, and time zones without the need for timestamps.
  • Date Class
    This PHP class allows you to add or subtract periods from dates, and calculate the difference between two dates.
  • Date manipulation in PHP
    A PHP tutorial on PHPBuilder.com, guiding you through a number of common date manipulation processes.
  • Date::Calc Perl Module
    A powerful Perl module for date calculations based on the Gregorian calendar.

Image Manipulation


Manipulating images is a common requirement. Whether you want to
resize your images while maintaining aspect ratios, or add watermarks,
the process can be entirely automated using a server-side language like
PHP or Perl.

Form Validation


Form validation is critical to ensure users enter form information
in a suitable format, and is especially important to protect your
application against attacks.

Password Validation


Password validation is important to ensure your users choose
passwords that offer an adequate level of security to prevent their
accounts from being compromised.

2. Ajax and JavaScript


Ajax is a web methodology that uses JavaScript to make HTTP
connections to retrieve and process data for the purpose of dynamically
updating the content of a static web page. Ajax enables you to update
content within a web page without reloading the entire page, thus
reducing load times and server loads, making your web pages more
interactive and intuitive. A great resource for Ajax tools is MiniAjax.
Auto Suggest


Auto suggest or autocomplete tools are usually applied to text
inputs like search fields. When a user begins their input, the input
field shows a list of options that match what they have entered so far.
This enables users to enter their input more quickly, and can also help
them enter terms that match search data that are more likely to return
relevant results.

Calendars


Ajax calendars are extremely useful when you need your users to
enter a date. They reduce confusion over date formats, and enable users
to easily find the date they are looking for rather than typing a date
format string.

Sliders


Ajax sliders enable users to use an interactive draggable element to
select values. These are very useful for features like colour pickers
as they enable users to ‘slide’ through a range of colours to select
the one they want.

Data Grids


Ajax data grids enable you to display data in a table, but with the
benefit of features like column sorting and pages without the need to
reload the entire page.

  • Grid3
    A useful data grid tool which is part of the Ext JS library.

  • dhtmlxGrid
    A powerful data grid tool that includes column sorting and search functionality.

  • Unobtrusive Table Sort Script
    A data grid tool that includes multiple column sorting.
  • AJAX Data Listings Engine
    A powerful open source PHP data grid tool for use with mySQL.
  • TableKit
    A data grid tool based on the Prototype JavaScript framework that features field editing.


Last edited by discovery on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 100 Essential Web Development Tools

Post by discovery on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:38 am

Draggable Content


Ajax-based draggable content features can be very useful when used
appropriately. Such tools enable users to reorganize a page to suit
their needs, and can also serve as a basis for an interactive feature
like a shopping basket.

Image Enlarging


Image enlarging scripts, similar to JavaScript light boxes, enable
the user to enlarge or zoom in on an image chosen from a set of
thumbnail images.

Galleries and Slideshows


Image galleries are very useful when you have a collection of images
to show, they allow users to easily browse your images, and features
like slideshows allow users to sit back and enjoy watching your images.

Star Ratings


Star rating scripts allow users to rate items through an intuitive
and attractive interface, which is an improvement over typical
drop-down menus or radio buttons.

Colour Pickers


If you want to let users choose colours in your application, it’s
better to present them with an interface rather than asking them to
enter a HEX code. Colour pickers allow users to choose colours from a
colour palette which then generates a HEX code for use in your HTML.

Progress Bars


Progress bars are very useful when handling user uploads or pages
which can be slow to load; they keep the user informed that progress is
being made and that the page is loading.

3. APIs


An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of program
functions which can be accessed by another application. One example is
a currency conversion API that retrieves currency conversion data by
allowing the user to enter a base currency, an amount, and the desired
result currency, which returns a result via the API.

  • Alexa Top Sites
    This API provides access to lists of web sites ordered by Alexa Traffic Rank.
  • bit.ly API
    A useful API for the bit.ly URL shortening service.
  • Blinksale API
    Enables you to access Blinksale data such as invoices and customer data.
  • FoXRate
    A basic currency conversion API.
  • eBay API
    eBay’s API which allows you to submit items to be listed and obtain listing data.
  • Twitter API
    The Twitter API allows you to have access to Twitter data, including user and status information.

4. IP Locations


Finding out where your visitors are located can be valuable from a
development standpoint. It can help you understand your visitors so you
can design your site to better suit their needs. IP location
information can help you determine where a user is located, enabling
you to display content in the their language. You can also optionally
customize other information such as currencies and shipping costs.

5. Charts and Graphs


Charts and graphs enable you to display complex data visually. This
is useful for example when trying to determine information like daily
pageview counts from detailed statistical logs, enabling the user to
immediately see how the data varies over a period of time.

  • amCharts
    A powerful Flash charts tool which supports 3D charts and the ability to combine different graphs.

  • FusionCharts
    A well designed and stylish 3D charts tool.

  • XML/SWF Charts
    A highly customizable Flash charts tool.
  • JFreeChart
    A free Java-based charting tool.
  • pChart
    A powerful PHP class for building attractive charts.

6. Maps


Once you are using IP location tools like those listed above, you
will have a collection of user location data. What better way to
display it than with an interactive map. Interactive maps are also
useful for understanding user location data such as sales information,
for example, when you receive delivery and billing address info from a
user.

  • amMap
    An interactive mapping tool which includes drill-down functionality.

  • Google Charts API
    A great mapping tool, though limited to a small map size.

  • Flashmaps
    A great collection of different Flash mapping tools.

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Re: 100 Essential Web Development Tools

Post by discovery on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:39 am

7. Audio Players


When used well, playing audio on your web site can be a great way of setting a mood or getting a message across.

8. Video Players


Video content is now becoming a standard, but getting the right
video player is very important. Video content is the ideal, and often
expected tool for promotion, so getting a player which suits your site
and needs is now a critical design and development choice.

  • OS FLV
    An open source and well featured Flash video player.

  • Flowplayer
    A full-featured and highly customizable Flash video player.

  • JW FLV Media Player
    A very powerful and flexible Flash video player.
  • FLV Player
    A stylish and customizable Flash video player.

9. Video Conversion


Video conversion/encoding can be a tricky business. Videos can be in
a wide range of formats but most players only support a handful of
those. If you don’t have a server which supports ffmpeg, converting
videos to a format suitable for your player is usually an offline and
manual task.

10. WYSIWYG Editors


WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors enable you to offer
an HTML editor when users enter information, for example, in content
management systems, or for entering comments or reviews. These editors
enable users to style and format data without the need to understand
HTML.

  • TinyMCE
    A lightweight yet powerful JavaScript WYSIWYG editor.

  • XINHA
    A fully featured and open source WYSIWYG editor.

  • NicEdit
    A simple and lightweight WYSIWYG editor.
  • openWYSIWYG
    An open source, cross-browser WYSIWYG editor.
  • CKEditor
    A well designed and feature-rich WYSIWYG editor

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Re: 100 Essential Web Development Tools

Post by discovery on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:41 am

About the author


Neil Skirrow is a professional web developer with over 14 years
programming experience and is the Managing Director of ionix Limited, a
UK software development company that develops the OpenCrypt Membership Software.



http://www.noupe.com/tools/100-essential-web-development-tools.html

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Re: 100 Essential Web Development Tools

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