Interesting Links Vol. 2 (Web Development)

Every so often (when I have too many browser tab open), I will share links that I’ve found interesting enough to save. Some I’ve read, some I want to read, some I’ve saved away for a future idea. Hopefully you will get some benefit from the shared knowledge.

Welcome to Vol. 2 of Interesting Links (Web Developer Edition). These are all links I’ve found incredibly helpful when learning how to and building websites.

MX Toolbox - This is one of the first tools I use whenever working with someone on their website. It’s a great way to verify a lot of the infrastructure stuff with the website. Who is the registrar? Where is the site hosted? How is traffic routed? What email services are active?

The tool is simple enough to use. Go to the website, enter the domain name you need information on, and the tool does a DNS lookup on that domain. It provides as much publicly available information as possible on the DNS. It’s a great place to start before working on any existing website.

Built With - This is also a very easy to use, but very helpful tool. Go to the website, enter the domain name you want to research, and Built With returns as much information about the code of the website as possible. Is it running WordPress? Google Analytics? What kind of database are they using?

This tool is really helpful when you find a feature on a website that you want to build yourself. A great way to start is to see what technology that website is using. It’s also nice to see what sites you really like are running. Building an ecommerce site? Use Built With to find what your favorite ecommerce sites are using to build their site and start there.

GitHub Explore - I am a constant user of GitHub for work, personal, and side projects. Whenever I have a minute I like to check the GitHub Explore tab. It shows you what the most popular and trending repositories are on GitHub, but it also shows you repositories based on your interests.

When building this website, I did reseach on Jekyll. Most of this was done on GitHub by looking at other Jekyll sites that I liked. GitHub Explore begane recommending lots of Jekyll resources for me based on what I have been looking at and starring on GitHub. It was very helpful and much more efficient than typing Jekyll into GitHub Search and filtering through thousands of results.

Canva - Canva has been the easiest and most user friendly way to do graphics work. As a web developer you often don’t need a full suite of tools like Photoshop. You need to crop a couple images, remove the background from an image, or combine a few images together. Canva is very easy to use (and even works on your phone). I can create a canvas based on specific dimensions I need (say a hero image or example) upload the images I want to work with, and edit it all in the browser, then download the finished product for my web project.

It also has hundreds, maybe thousands, of pre-made templates and designs to work from. It’s perfect for creating logos or social media work for projects.

There is both a free and a paid version. I use the free version all the time. For a couple specific projects, I’ve had to upgrade to the paid version for a couple months.

That’s all I have for now. If you find any of these links useful or interesting, feel free to let me know on twitter, @swoicik.

*Quick Disclaimer - I don’t endorse or agree with everything shared here. I don’t guarantee I’ve read everything in the links.

Want to discuss? Message me on Twitter (@swoicik) or at stephen [at] woicik.me

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