Sort Out your Browser Woes
15 August 2014
Website design has changed over the past two decades. Where a developer once wrestled with Dreamweaver and flat files, the industry's matured into distinct disciplines.
And for a good front-end designer, the Web browsers are themselves now invaluable for development & testing. Browser Wars may be over, but the gangsters remain.
Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox & Opera all offer Web designers cutting-edge debug tools. Apple's Safari & Microsoft's Internet Explorer, whilst both good, still lag behind the pace of developing Web standards. And with standards changing faster than ever, the pressure to differentiate with built-in developer tools has never been greater.
Firefox probably started the whole developer-tools movement with its open-source approach to plug-in functionality. The Firebug plug-in remains a critical tool in any Web designer's toolbox. But Firefox's internal tools are now arguably catching up with Firebug.
The new Responsive design mode in Firefox lets a Website designer change viewports without resizing the browser window. You can also rotate the viewport & simulate touch events from mobile devices. Add the color-dropper to grab colours from a page and a 3D mode that visually illustrates the DOM hierarchy, and Firefox takes the biscuit for front-end responsive Web designers.
So which browser to use? We say BOTH! It's great to have these free-to-use, rapidly developing IDE's replicating real-world user environments precisely on your desktop. And with Web standards updates coming thick and fast, it's a great time to be a website designer.