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Developer Tools as Free as the Air we Breath

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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Today we have a guest post from Thomas who is a good friend of WCB and put together a list of free developer tools.
free developer tools

Let me ask you straight: how many times, while working on a project, you got stuck at some point, wondering if u properly tracked down the time you spent for that additional thing the client wanted and the bucks you were supposed to ask for that? Or find yourself playin’ with colours like a kid at the kindergarten cause you can’t find a tone that matches the palette that your client gave you?

Well, if that’s your case, today call yourself lucky, cause i’m goin’ to show you some handy tools that will make your life easier than ever! And…put your wallet back in your pocket…cause they’re all available for free!

Be sure to have installed the latest Adobe Flash/Adobe Air runtime libraries cause these are the only requirements you’ll need to run them.

Adobe Flash: https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

Adobe Air:  https://get.adobe.com/air/

Let me also add that applications which use Air runtimes are: not expensive in terms of system resources and Cpu usage, quick to launch and cheap, expecially for students that have no possibilities to spend money for a software license.

Ok, let’s have a look at what developer tools we have here for you today…


It’s a web-hosted/downloadable application (the screenshot above shows the online version) that help to generates color themes and that might really inspire your if you’re stuck with an idea for a project that you can’t work out. The dropdown menu allows you to check the “Newest” color themes, the “Most Popular” ones and the “Highest Rated” by the community. And if you still have doubts…well, there’s a “Random” that awaits you!!


Provides a user interface for Blueprint CSS framework. Features HTML layout, Png/Pdf export and much more. Give it a look! 🙂

It handles grid configuration, baseline rhythm pimpin’, CSS (with or without compression), grid.png export, HTML layout, and you can also provide your own CSS files and other assets to be used in addition with the generated CSS and HTML.

CleVR Stitcher

Handy tool that helps to create panoramic photos. Works great and detects pretty much flawlessly the point where to attach the pics that were taken. Worth a look. P.S.: no registration required to export photos from CleVR Stitcher, unless you wanna upload the photos on the software website.

The 2nd photo above it’s the result of several photos that were taken with my N95 8GB phone on Lake Lucerne (Switzerland) and then glued one by one in a “panoramic” way and finally automatically stitched together. All done by that tool. Pretty good result i’ll say, no?

Icon Generator

Online CS5/Web2.0 icon generator. From the website it’s possible to download the desktop version of the same tool. The online version let you generate HTML5, CS4-5 icons (for HTML5-CS5 using images as source) and also “Star” badges in .PNG format in all the available sizes (from 16×16 to 512×512).

The downloadable version instead creates a folder on the desktop which contains the “Desktop”, “Android” and “iOS” version of the icons. The desktop folder is basically what u get with the ZIP file .

Color Browser

Easiest way to locally organize your color palettes though a simple and clean interface.

Seems that there’s no limit to the size of your palette cause i’ve managed to create a +50 colours palette and still was possible to add more on top of them. Definitely a cool tool, it’s when there’s no connection available and you need yours sets handy!.

Web Safe Colors

web safe colors

Let you choose a “web-safe” color using a color grid and then copy it to the clipboard so that can be pasted on your favorite HTML editor or IDE.


Color combinations anyone? There you go! An amazingly clean & fully controllable interface and the  “Pdf Export” feature are what make Contrast-A stand out between others. And of course, for free!.

Desktop Colour

1 million named colors, more than 300,00 user created color and a growing community aren’t enough for you? Fire up DCF and have a look through the extensive online catalogue to find what fits your needs. Minimal clean interface with a search feature that lets you dig out colors, patterns and palettes. U can also apply the colours combinations on the patterns available on the main website.


It’s a simple to-do list with a minimalist interface which features drag-n-drop to change position between notes.

FEAT (Freelancer’s Estimation Assistance Tool)

It’s a tool to help freelancers calculate hourly rates and project pricing estimates. It features hourly rate calculation, a very nice project pricing wizard and helps to calculate results from all the project related expenses and relative profit margin too. A must have.


Pixus is a very cool Adobe Air widget. Using the mouse, keyboard controls or preset sizes, users can quickly measure the pixel size of any object or image on their screen. Pixus also provides developers a “window” in which to design and preview objects on the screen.

Quick Icon

If you need to create an icon for your app but you don’t have too much time for that or there’s no one that can do that for you, don’t worry! There’s a little too that can fix that in a breeze. Quick Icon can auto generate icons, you just need to choose colours and type your app name. And that’s it! See? Sorted!.


Few apps before, we gave a quick look at Doomi, a minimalist to-do app for your everyday needs.

Scattrbrain also fits in the same category, being a cute colored reminder.

You can of course organize your to-do list as in Doomi but this one, other that set a due date for a task and reorder them in the list, it has a nice bonus which is the possibility to import your Google Calendar events and show them in your to-do list, while the apps “sits” comfortably on your desktop.


It “simply” adds camera fx on your photos on-the-fly. The thing is, looks like a cheap tool, but the results u can get out of it are pretty cool. There’s also an iPhone version available on the App Store for $0,99, while online/downlodable versions are free. In the example above, you can see what you can obtain if u apply the tilt effect correctly: from the original photo showing some boats on a harbor to the final result where u can’t really tell if those are real or scale model boats.


After spending some time testing out the free version, had to buy the full version considering the features and the ridiculously cheap fee.

The free version features a lot of controls already but if you really wanna get the best out of it, the Pro version is the one to go for cause it really makes LB an amazing product. Layers & brushes control, vector export, canvas sizes and over 100 styles & decorations, and much more. Check out the demos on the main site. For $10 it’s really a bargain…


One of my favorites! I’ve been using it during my Web Content Editor courses to track down hours of classes and it never let me down. Features a beautiful interface, simple clean dashboard view, and  the possibility to export your data in MS Excel format. There’s a Pro version available which i would personally recommend if your a Google Calendar user and for a better dashboard.

Font Picker

As the name suggests, Fontpicker lets you…pick!…the most appropriate fonts for the project you’re workin’ at. Dead simple interface, even though my favorite tool for that will always remain NexusFont (freeware, installer/portable version).

Focus Booster

Pomodoro technique anyone? Focus Booster helps you to “program” your work sessions so that u can focus on your stuff without having to check how much times has passed since you’ve started. Worth a try!.

Thank you to Thomas for this Free Developer Tools round-up

You can find Thomas here: http://myspace.com/bluewirestudio as addy and twitter.com/bluewirestudio for twitter

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