Business BootStrapping Tips – 10. Boilerplates 101

Business BootStrapping Tips – 10. Boilerplates 101

Business BootStrapping Tips – 10. Boilerplates 101

This article originally appeared in issue 213 of .net magazine – the world’s
best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Low-cost tools and boilerplates for coding

If you’re panicking about software cost, calm your nerves by discovering the
many inexpensive or free text editors, libraries and boilerplates

Many applications exist for working with code, from free, robust tools to
those that cost you but nonetheless provide plenty of bang-per-buck.
Coda for Mac is in the latter camp, costing $99, but justifying its place in
this feature by offering great value – bundling an FTP client, Subversion support,
a WebKit preview, a JavaScript console and more. No-frills
all-purpose editor TextMate (€44.85) is also popular, as is CSSEdit (£24.18),
with its ability to override live sites with local style sheets. But if you’re
lacking two pennies to rub together, Morgan Adams, owner of Adams Immersive (adamsi.com),
suggests downloading TextWrangler. He uses it for coding and text cleanup,
and notes that along with powerful find-and-replace, it boasts syntax coloring
and tools for dealing with odd line-breaks, white space and problematic characters.

On Windows, phpDesigner comes recommended for PHP, CSS, HTML and JavaScript editing,
although, like Coda, its €69 commercial license might prove too rich for some.
The free, open source Notepad++ can ably fill much the same gap, and PSPad provides
another free editor for Windows users.

Eschewing single-platform applications, Alec East recommends Eclipse,
an integrated development environment that he says is “great for almost
any hand-rolled coding”, boasting auto-complete, error-checking and extensions
for version control. He also likes the Firefox Web Developer extension,
which brings a host of dev tools to the browser, including the ability to edit
CSS and HTML, and Firebug, which provides the means to inspect and modify code in real-time.

More free tools come recommended by Jonathan Andrew of We Love (welove72.com):
JSLint is an online tool for auditing JavaScript, and can enable you to diagnose
and fix problems and errors, while RegExr is a Flash app that “helps with what can
be a hugely frustrating task of creating Regular Expressions”.

Time (and money) can also be saved by giving yourself a headstart on any given project,
rather than starting from scratch each time: html5boilerplate.com and html5reset.org
provide base templates for robust websites. Should you need insight into the technology,
read diveintohtml5.org – Mark Pilgrim’s excellent Dive Into HTML5 book,
online for free perusal; and bookmark support charts at findmebyip.com/litmus and quirksmode.org/compatibility.html.