Ok, technically, it’s not until tomorrow, but with all of the activities I’ll be involved in tomorrow at CodeMash, I figured I’d write this one tonight.
I have two tools that I did not have the opportunity to contribute to the book, but I feel need to be mentioned because I use them both in almost every day of my professional life. They are Screen Ruler, and Pixie.
Screen Ruler is a TINY application with huge power. It was created by MicroFox. It comes in the form of an 85K zip file. Basically, it’s a ruler for your screen. Whether you’re an interface developer working through an intricate CSS layout, or just very particular about your spacing, this is absolutely the best application I have found for measuring things, both on screen and off.
The best part of it is that you can use as an on-screen measuring stick, as well as off-screen. I was recently tasked with creating all of the labels for the CodeMash conference, using Avery (no, they don’t deserve a link, and that’s for another post…) labels. In order to determine what the dimensions of the margins were for these labels, I kicked open Screen Ruler (changing the units to Inches), and measured the document right on my screen, holding the paper up to my monitor. An absolutely brilliant application, with the versatility I am looking for in most applications. And the developer is based in Columbus, OH! When I bought my official license, he actually hand-delivered it to my house on a CD. If that’s not customer support, I don’t know what is. I could not get by without this application on a daily basis.
Pixie (though I call it Color Pixie)
The second most valuable tool for an interface developer: Pixie, by Nattysoft. This application is even smaller than Screen Ruler. 62K. Unbelievable. Anyways, it provides the ability to determine the Hex, HTML, RGB, CMYK, AND HGB color of any area of your screen. It also displays the pixel position of your mouse in real-time, so you can use it as a measuring tool as well for those hard to reach areas.
It even has built in shortcut keys to copy and paste those colors to your Clipboard for pasting into your code, as well as zooming and color mixing. Valuable tools when you are trying to create a CSS layout from a JPG from your web designer.
In short, these are two small applications that I use daily. I can’t recommend them enough, and though I’m sure their creators would be glad to let me, the applications have been worth 10 times their price over my career. I have registered versions of each, and I think the modest prices that these talented developers ask for their software is MORE than reasonable.
Hooray for Windows Developer Powere Tools! I’m on page 1123. 🙂