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10 best web design tools for September

This month we've got a collection of handy utilities that help you to do things in smarter ways: better forms; better select boxes; better social media sharing buttons that don't have annoying behaviours such as tracking the user. There's a service worker that improves caching by only downloading changes instead of the whole file, and a tool for handling user generated content on static sites. Enjoy!

01. Visual Studio Code (opens in new tab)

Visual Code Studio

Visual Code Studio

People are saying good things about this free, open source code editor from Microsoft that has a slew of great features that make coding quicker. There’s a function called IntelliSense that provides smart completions; built-in Git commands; debugging from within the editor and much more. 

02. WTF, forms? (opens in new tab)

WTF, forms?

WTF, forms?

Bootstrap creator Mark Otto has made these friendlier HTML form controls to make it easier to build forms the way you want them. Designed for IE9+ and the latest Chrome, Safari and Firefox. 

03. Staticman

Staticman

Staticman

People usually use a third-party service to run things like commenting systems on static sites, but there’s another way. Staticman transforms user generated content into data files that are hosted in your GitHub repository with the rest of your content, so everything is in one place. Works well with Jekyll sites hosted on GitHub Pages. 

04. Kubist (opens in new tab)

Kubist

Kubist

This neat web app uses d3.js to transform images into tessellated triangles. If you’re interested in creative coding, this blog post (opens in new tab) provides some background about the methods used. 

05. Choices (opens in new tab)

Choices

Choices

Choices is a select box and text input plugin that’s lightweight (around 15kb gzipped), customisable and has no jQuery dependency. There’s configurable sorting, flexible styling, fast search/filtering, a clean API and right-to-left support. 

06. Sharingbuttons.io (opens in new tab)

Sharingbuttons.io

Sharingbuttons.io

The sharing buttons provided by social media sites aren’t the greatest; they’re slow to load, and they often download multiple files and track the user across the web. These ones are much more palatable: they load fast because they don’t use JavaScript; they don’t get in the way of your site rendering; they’re accessible and they don’t do tracking. 

07. sw-delta (opens in new tab)

sw-delta

sw-delta

Here’s a really great service worker to help with continuous delivery. Without it, every time a file is changed – even if the change is only one letter – the whole new version gets downloaded, wasting bandwidth and hurting performance. sw-delta compares the new version with the cached version and makes the browser download only the changes instead of the whole file. The creator says it isn’t production ready yet, but if you think this could be of use to you it’s a great project to jump on board with. 

08. ShiftJS (opens in new tab)

ShiftJS

ShiftJS

Still in early development, but nevertheless a working Shift to JavaScript transpiler written in JavaScript. 

09. SVG Porn (opens in new tab)

SVG Porn

SVG Porn

Don’t worry; it’s not porn made of SVG. This site has around 800 high quality logos done in SVG for lots of different services, available for your use. 

10. Jekyll Compress (opens in new tab)

Jekyll Compress

Jekyll Compress

This Jekyll layout compresses HTML by removing whitespace and any other unnecessary elements. It is written in Liquid (opens in new tab), the open-source templating language created by ecommerce platform Shopify. 

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Tanya is a writer covering art, design, and visual effects. She has 16 years of experience as a magazine journalist and has written for numerous publications including 3D World, 3D Artist, ImagineFX, Computer Arts, net magazine, and Creative Bloq. For Creative Bloq, she mostly writes about web design, including the hottest new tools, as well as 3D artwork and VFX.