As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve become hooked on Google’s Chrome browser. But as good as it is, like all software that becomes part of our routine workflows, it needs a little polish and enhancement to really work with us instead of just for us.
Thus it is that we add extensions to browsers and the add-on marketplace for Chrome is really amazing. Over the six years since Chrome’s launch I’ve tested literally hundreds of these extensions and there are a handful of development-oriented add-ons that I now find I can’t live without …
Window Resizer from Ionut Botizan. I have no idea who Ionut Botizan might be but not only is his name outstanding so is his add-on. This add-on lets you resize your browser window on the fly and is, at least in my work, incredibly useful. Clicking on the icon in the menu bar produces a dropdown menu of window sizes which you can customize and you can even export Window Resizer settings so you can configure another machine similarly. The price of Window Resizer is “Buy me a coffee” and has a user rating of 4 out of 5.
ColorPick Eyedropper by vidsbee.com is a simple color picker with an “eye dropper” tool that lets you sample the color of individual pixels. It also provides webpage region magnification/zoom loupe features. While the developer warns of problems particularly on OS X I’ve seen no problems at all. ColorPick has a 4 out 5 user rating.
Page Ruler by wrakky is, as its name implies, a tool for measuring stuff on Web pages. It adds a control and readout bar to the top of a page and provide a selection area with optional guidelines. You can move the edges of the selection area using the control bar and in element mode individual page elements and their sub- or parent elements are automatically selected making it much faster to measure specific components. Hugely useful and has a user rating of 4 out of 5.
CSSViewer by M.ed is a CSS property viewer. It provides a floating panel that reports on the identity of the section that the mouse is over along with its font, text, color, background, box, positioning, and effects attributes. When you don’t want to fire up developer tools, CSSViewer provided the basic CSS information you need quickly. CSSViewer has a user rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Form Fuzzer by www.crapsoftware.info is a “fuzzing” tool which can insert invalid, unexpected, or random data into forms for testing purposes. It can also insert predefined form data for regression testing. This is actually a very sophisticated and powerful tool that is hugely useful in Web development and has been upgraded very quickly to meet the requirements and complaints of users. Form Fuzzer is rated 3.5 out of 5 by users.
Site Spider by Neil Fraser. Want to find the broken links on your site? Want to restrict spidering to a specific directory, domain or anything you can describe with a regular expression? This is the tool for you. Sure, there’s no end of online serviced and end user tools to do the same job but the convenience of this add-on makes it indispensable. The author notes “Because this is a client-side spider, it uses your own authentication to access pages. Thus it can go wherever you have access to go. This plugin does not log any data or ‘phone home’ in any way. It is completely open source.” Site Spider gets a user rating of 3 out of 5 but looking through the comments it appears that many users are, shall we say, clue deficient.
Scraper by mmldave is a tool for scraping Web pages. It’s simple to use … “highlight a part of the webpage you'd like to scrape, right-click and choose ‘Scrape similar…'. Anything that's similar to what you highlighted will be rendered in a table ready for export, compatible with Google Docs™.” Brilliant! For gathering data this is a must have. And it gets 4.5 out 5 as a user rating!
So, what are your favorite developer add-ons for Chrome?
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