What’s new for designers, July 2012
Many of the resources below are free or very low cost, and are sure to be useful to a lot of designers and developers out there.
As always, if we’ve missed something you think should have been included, please let us know in the comments. And if you have an app or other resource you’d like to see included next month, tweet it to @cameron_chapman for consideration.
Nitro is a task manager that interfaces with Dropbox or Ubuntu to make you more productive. It offers smart lists for organizing tasks, due dates, search, recurring tasks, and even themes.
Need even smaller PNG files for your designs? TinyPNG uses smart lossy compression to reduce the file size of your PNGs, while preserving alpha transparency. It’s a great solution if you need tiny files with transparency.
Vi is a simple in-browser text editor that lets you open and edit files from the web. And if you open files directly from Dropbox or Box, it will save it back to where it came from.
The Designer’s Survival Guide
The Designer’s Survival Guide is a blog, curated by Richard Baird, that offers continuously-updated lists of design tips on various topics from leading designers and industry pros. It’s a resource, especially for designers just starting out.
Sping.js is a CSS generator that lets you create a CSS-based loading spinner that has no external dependencies, no images, and no external CSS. It’s very configurable and resolution independent.
HTML5 Invoice is based on Chris Coyier’s lightweight HTML Invoice. Invoices print perfectly to 8.5 x 11 paper, with precise output. You can use it as-is or download the source to customize the style.
Zurb’s Foundation has been out for a while now, and they’ve just released the newest version, Foundation 3.0, which is the most advanced front-end framework in the world. 3.0 was built with Sass for faster development and additional tools, and other new elements have also been added.
Chocolat is a new text and code editor for OS X. It combines native Cocoa and powerful editing tools. Features include live errors, code completion, split editing, and more.
Dropbox Photo Sideloader
If you’d rather use your Dropbox account for hosting images used on your WordPress blog, then you need the Dropbox Photo Sideloader plugin. It makes it simple to add a new tab to WordPress’s Media Uploader which lets you pull image files from your Dropbox account.
MercuryApp is a “micro-journaling” platform that lets you track your feelings about virtually anything over time, collect data about it, and then gain insight. You can use it to make smarter decisions by tracking your feelings about almost anything.
Purty Pixels is a great resource for free PSD design resources and WordPress themes. Premium resources are also available.
Southstreet is an optimized group of open source, progressive enhancement workflow tools. It includes Enhance, eCSSential, QuickConcat, AjaxInclude, AppendAround, and Picturefill, and was developed by Filament Group.
RefineSlide is an open source, responsive slideshow that offers CSS transition and 3D transform support, auto-formatted and responsive thumbnails, HTML captions, hardware acceleration on supported browsers, and more.
Laravel is a PHP web development framework that makes it easier to create apps with simple, expressive syntax. It’s well-documented, open source, and lets you share code in bundles (or grab bundles others have shared to speed up your own development).
Dummy is a toolkit for rapid prototyping that makes it faster to develop, test, and present web prototypes by simulating connectivity to a live database. It serves up content while also randomizing key layout aspects, so you’re working with and presenting something much closer to the final outcome.
The Boiler is a free, responsive HTML5/CSS3 boilerplate WordPress theme from Vorkshop. It includes a theme customizer and options, custom header, custom background, custom templates, shortcodes, and more.
It’s easy enough to test load times on your website online. But what about testing it for mobile users? Throttle simulates how a website will load on various mobile networks, without actually needing access to the various mobile networks (for example, you could test based on a poor 3G network).
Roundabout takes your unordered lists and converts them into a turntable-like format. It’s open source and ready to use right away, while also being highly customizable.
ProjectFlow is a visual way of organizing your projects, with a drag and drop interface. Just add projects, define your columns to reflect your process, and then drag and drop your projects through the columns to mark their progress.
Unroll.me is a free service for getting rid of unwanted email subscriptions and organizing the rest of them. It currently only works with Gmail and Google Apps, but support for Yahoo! Mail and others will be forthcoming.
Uptime is an HTTP remote monitoring utility that uses Node.js and MongoDB. It lets you monitor thousands of websites on a frequency schedule you define, as well as gives you instant alerts on every page when there’s a problem, among other features.
Peity is a jQuery plugin that converts an element’s content into a canvas chart (pie, line, or bar). It works in any borwser that supports canvas (Chrome, Firefox, IE9+, Opera, and Safari).
PHP: The Right Way
Want to learn PHP? PHP: The Right Way can help. It explains PHP best practices so you can avoid bad code and bad practices (important since there is no canonical way to use PHP, which can confuse some new users).
Need a legal document? Check out Docracy, a social repository of legal documents, contracts, and agreements. Just search for a document, then save a copy and make it your own, and sign it for free.
PsDefaults offers up some better “default graphics” for Photoshop. It’s a set of modern, hand-crafted presets: patterns, brushes, shapes, styles, and more. You can get a free mini-kit in exchange for your email address, or you can pre-order by supporting them on Kickstarter.
Tilizer is a really neat tiled background generator. It creates random tile patterns based on your inputs, including how many unique rows and columns the pattern should have, the scale, colors, and more.
Marqueed is a simple tool for sharing images, commenting on them, and marking them up. It’s a fantastic tool for teams or for getting client feedback.
Maven Pro (name your price)
Maven Pro, from Lost Type Co-Op and designed by Joe Prince, offers three missing lightest weights from the sans-serif Maven Pro typeface, including an ultra-thin hairline weight.
Bioweapon is a font from Lucas Felipe, free for commercial use, only available through Behance. It’s a modern display typeface, with sans-serif letter shapes and a fantastic use of negative space.
Figa is an awesome free font with geometric, abstract letterforms. It was designed by Pier Paolo and is available for whatever your projects are, as long as you send a copy of your work to the designer.
Quarz 974 (free)
Quarz 974 is an abstract geometric font with rune-like letterforms. It’s surprisingly readable at display sizes, making it great for things like posters.
Typometry Pro ($10)
Typometry Pro is a display typeface with a modern, deco-ish feel. There are regular and alternate styles included.
47 is a free, modern typeface with a vintage feel and slanted letterforms.
Lush Script ($59)
Lush Script is a slightly relaxed formal script influenced by the handlettering of the 40s and 50s. It has a rather aggressive rhythm, with transitions that often whip back quickly.
Frontage is a layered type system with endless design possibilities and a vintage sign feel. There are 224 characters in six styles, perfect for headlines and logotypes.
Ashbury (free – $258)
Ashbury is inspired by 18th century transitional types with reinterpreted formal aspects and a flowing outline. The Light weight is free to download, though there are 10 weights and styles available.
Acorn is a free typeface from William Suckling, available via Behance. It’s a simple, hand-drawn, sans-serif typeface perfect for display use.
Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.
Know of a new app or resource that should have been included but wasn’t? Let us know in the comments!