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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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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