I’m a sucker for tricks. In sports I’m not one of those in-it-to-win-it types. Forget “defense wins championships,” I want to be entertained. I’d much rather see a great show of skill than a plodding win. Give me Ronaldinho’s soccer magic or Federer’s volleys any day over the boring same-old same-old.
As developers we have our own bag of tricks that we try and combine into something special. Lately I’ve been using three Firefox plugins quite a bit.
Firebug is my first line of defense when something goes wrong with a web page. Here’s a screen I stare at all the time. I left the (innocent, honest) error in to show how Firebug alerts you to errors.
Next is Yslow. I don’t use it as much as Firebug (it’s a plugin *for* Firebug) but it’s great for getting a snapshot of how a page is built and loaded. Hmm, we’re always looking at reducing our page load time…
Finally I use Live HTTP Headers a lot to see raw HTTP requests and responses. I thought I knew HTTP pretty well until I began using this tool. Recently we used it to eliminate the browser as the source of error on some problematic if-modified-since headers.
So those are three common tools that anyone can use to do their normal job with a bit of flair. Of course as professional developers we have no choice but to win too :) .