I have a data visualization blog post series in the pipeline and first post hopefully coming out soon but in the meanwhile, I just wanted to share some small things that I have found out to make my life easier as a developer and Internet person.
Let’s start with couple of Chrome extensions. I used to be a Firefox guy until I moved to San Francisco and got a Mac: now I pretty much only use Chrome.
I’m a huge Hacker News fan and I spend quite a lot of time browsing through the best and the newest posts to keep myself on track with what’s going on in tech and startup world. I used to like it more last year when there were more stories about open source projects and small programming stuff than now but it is still one of the sites I check ever too often.
Hacker News Default Tab makes it even easier to check out new top stories. Every time you open a new tab in Chrome, instead of showing you Google front page or your most visited sites, you get visually nice looking grid with preview looks and links to both the story itself and also to comments.
As a web developer, it’s too easy to just focus on the development and every now and then forget to see what it actually looks like in different browsers or screen sizes. Window Resizer solves the latter problem with a nice drop down menu where you can choose which ever size you want to resize your browser window. You can add your own presets to create a palette of sizes that you want to support.
Vimium brings Vim keybindings to your browser. After you reach a certain point in the steep learning curve of Vim, you start to think how easy would it make to have those keybindings here and there. Now you can have them on Chrome!
It doesn’t work well in all sites but luckily you can exclude it from input heavy sites so you don’t accidentally follow a link when you are trying to write a blog post or Facebook update. But on other sites like just browsing through Hacker News, it makes really pleasant experience and it works really well: definitely the best keyboard browsing experience I’ve had.
Working intensively with Git makes you want to make the workflow as simple and easy as possible. I shared couple of things I learned on January but it took me couple of months more to realize that Git supports auto-completion for bash quite out of the box. It is included in the source and following the guide from git-scm.com it is super easy and fast to set up. I hope someone would’ve told me this when I started using Git.
I attended PyLadies SF’s PyCon Preview night a few weeks back and I really liked a presentation by Julien Phalip on Advanced techniques for Web functional testing. He showed how you can automate visual testing with a testing framework Needle. I took advantage of the Needle by using it to automate screenshots taking on multiple window sizes – basically automating what Window Resizer Chrome extension does.
Setting up all window sizes is easy and after changes you can just take screenshots of the page you changed and see how it works with different sizes. And once you have those screenshots, you can use them to see if anything has accidentally changed (this is the actual use case Needle is meant for) and I’m going to implement Needle as a part of our testing environment at work this spring.
Lastly, I want to share something I found on Imgur and found really inspiring. It is a job application in a form of Lego character. I think this is really brilliant and am now hoping I would’ve come up with something as cool as this.