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10 Best Tools To Optimize and Audit CSS Code

10 Best Tools To Optimize and Audit CSS Code

CSS stands for ‘cascading style sheet’ and is a formatting language used to define the layout of webpages and blogs. While HTML is sufficient for very basic formatting, such as the implementation of colored text and tables; CSS allows for far more creative layouts and saves a lot of time in the coding process.

But as with any formatting language, CSS is only as effective as the person using it. If your code is awkward and ugly, or if you simply have no eye for design, then your website is still going to be slow and ugly.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to employ the best tools to help give you an edge. These CSS tools can save you a lot of time, while at the same time ensuring that your code runs smoothly and quickly. Read on for some excellent apps that will give you a boost.

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1. Notepad++

While you don’t really need an IDE for CSS, Notepad++ will make it much easier to write and edit your CSS code. This notepad replacement is used by coders from all walks of life thanks to its color coded formatting, its ability to open multiple tabs at once, its handy line numbers and its powerful search and replace functions.

2. Stylizer

That said, coding in Notepad++ without seeing a preview of your work can be a little fiddly as you’ll keep having to refresh your browser… Stylizer is specifically designed as a CSS editor on the other hand. It runs on Windows or Mac and has 8 built-in browsers allowing you to ensure it looks good across all of them and it has a nice live preview while you’re working. Stylizer is simple enough to use that it can even be helpful for learning CSS as a beginner.

3. Blueprint

Blueprint is a CSS framework that is designed to save you time by handling a lot of the fiddly aspects for you. It’s employs an easy-to-use grid and has a number of useful plugins. It’s popular among those who already know what they’re doing.

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4. Procssor

Procssor is a tool you can use to clean up your CSS and to keep everything nice and consistent. It’s particularly useful if you have multiple people editing the same website, all with different opinions on line indenting and starting new lines. If your CSS is messy to look at, this will tidy it up nicely.

5. CSS Compressor

In reality though, it doesn’t matter so much what your CSS looks like; it’s how it performs that really matters. This tool promises to take care of that though, by reducing the size of your CSS code and helping your website to load much faster as a result. All you need to do is paste your code into the box and click ‘compress’ and you can select from four different compression levels before you do!

6. Replace Genius

If you write your CSS well, then you should have a single style sheet that you can edit to trigger changes across your entire site. Sometimes though, that’s not the way it ends up going down. In those scenarios, Replace Genius will allow you to use far more advanced search and replace rules across multiple documents to make your changes en-masse.

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7. CSS Lint

CSS Lint does several things in one, not only helping you to fix the appearance of your code but also helping you to avoid mistakes that might slow it down or cause errors. You can choose how many rules you want to apply and even create your own and again, it’s very quick and easy to use.

8. Dreamweaver

Or perhaps all this talk of CSS optimization is making your head spin and you’d like to stay clear of it as far as possible? Dreamweaver is a web design tool from Adobe that makes this possible – allowing you to create impressive and intricate web designs without having to get your hands dirty. It includes numerous pre-designed CSS layouts you can use and you can do all your designing in the visual editor. This also contains a nice search and replace function. Just a shame that Adobe Creative Cloud is rather expensive!

9. Simple Custom CSS

Then again, the considerably more popular choice of website builder these days is definitely WordPress. If you built your site in WordPress using a theme you didn’t build yourself, then you can use this tool – Simple Custom CSS – to easily add CSS that will overwrite the theme you have active.

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10. iPlotz

Wireframing software lets you create and iterate website mockups on the fly, which is incredibly helpful when you begin planning and creating your CSS code. If you’re the sort of person who prefers not to ‘design in the browser’, then iPlotz is a great choice that has a free limited option and an easy drag-and-drop interface.

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Josh MacDonald

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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