Creating your own web dev tool kit – Part II: Being fast

In my Part I post, I talked about having a base CSS starting file and an HTML/PHP/Whatever file. This helps you do things quickly that would normally take time to set up. But what else is there that can spead up your process in getting a site done quickly?

Keyboard Kung-fu

Plenty, I say, plenty. Most of them little. It used to be, back in the day, that Photoshop didn’t allow you to edit your keyboard shortcuts. I use to have a huge Action file that did all sorts of things like flatten layers, change color modes, aligning things with a push of a button, stuff like that. Now though, PS allows you to customize the keyboard shortcut preferences. I have a ton of my rearranged. For instance, to flatten layers, I just have to hit F2, to change to RGB mode for when I get something that is in CMYK or when I open a gif, I just hit Ctrl + R, and bingo, RGB mode.

Doesn’t seem like much, but think of all of things you do in Photoshop…and I mean things you do all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to just hit a button and presto that is done? I know this sounds stupidly easy, but I am still amazed by how many new developers keep going to the damn menus to do simple things. Maybe they are scared to overwrite the shortcuts that PS has by default. Well, they shouldn’t.

Because for all of the things that you do repetitively, there are a TON that you will most likely never touch. You just need to figure out what those are, and change the quick keys to do what you want them to. Photoshop has a lot of bells and whistles, but really how many of them do you really take advantage of in your day to day work or project? There are most likely a lot that you won’t use often or ever…might as well put the keys they are assigned to, to do some good for you. Otherwise they are just sitting there doing nothing.

Anyone care for some cheese?

How about your mouse? I am one of the few people who uses a trackball. Up until 3 days ago, I was using the Kensington Turbo Mouse Pro…a trackball that I have seen go for $250 on ebay recently. Why? Because you can’t get it anymore. It has 6 application launch buttons, and four normal buttons. I had all my apps programmed to the 6, copy to the top left, paste to the top right, open with the top 2 chorded together, close with the bottom 2 chorded together. That means I could do a bunch of stuff using just my right hand. Saved a TON of time. Unfortunately I had to get a new one, the Kensington Slimblade Trackball (5 year warranty, and yes they are good with it…I’ve recieved 2 replacements free when they died). I don’t have the 6 launch buttons, but with the new software that came out, I can at least program the 4 it has. And yes, that trackball is awesome.

Script cliff notes

I don’t care what you use…although I recommend something like Evernote, cause it is bad ass, but use whatever you are comfortable with. I have a page with all the scripts I might use. Like what you ask? Well…for 1, google’s got a code vault of sorts, you can take a look the javascript libraries here. I can never remember where to find the damn things, so I copied the links to use them and put the common ones, like jQuery and Ext into a note file. Along with the swfobject to call flash nice and easy, and a host of other script snippets. That way I have them all right there, copy, paste, done.

In conclusion, in no particular order

Over the years I have collected a ton of crap that helps speed my daily process of building sites. It cuts the time down on doing routine things. One of these types of things isn’t going to do much, but add all of it up, and you are shaving quite a bit of time off what it takes to build a site. If you are not doing these types of things, making your own “web dev tool kit”, you better start now. It will let you focus on what is important rather than wasting time on doing the little things.

Let me know what you do to make you faster at building sites. I would love to hear what everyone is doing, and see if I can’t learn something new, too.

Coupon Code: webmachine

jQuery junkBox

This method sets a timer and delays the execution of the items following it in the queue.



2 Responses to “Creating your own web dev tool kit – Part II: Being fast”

  1. Good post Jeremy. Do you think you could show us how to make Photoshop shortcuts?

  2. jcDesigns says:

    I will see what I can do while watching the Hawks game tonight!

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