10 new web design tools for October 2017


We’re excited this month by the announcement of InVision Studio – a screen design tool done the InVision way – which you can sign up to access ahead of general release. Also important is the Web Share API in Chrome 61, Rachel Andrew’s new book, and a new version of Sublime Text. Read on to find out more about these, as well as the usual roundup of useful things to make your life easier.

01. The New CSS Layout

Expert advice from web pro Rachel Andrew

This new book by Rachel Andrew is a treat; she's an invited expert to the CSS Working Group, so when you learn from her you can be sure you're getting the best information. A great way to get your head around Grid if you haven't done so already (read her guide to CSS Grid basics). 

02. InVision Studio

We can't wait to get a look at this new design environment

InVision has built a screen design tool! But it's more than that; it's a 'unified digital product design environment', designed to enable your team to collaborate more effectively. There's a special layout engine to make your designs responsive, an open platform so that users can create add-ons, and much more. It's not out yet, but you can sign up for early access on the site.

03. The Web Share API

Mark Muskardin's post demonstrates what the Web Share API can do

The Web Share API is now working in Chrome 61 for Android, which means you can invoke the native sharing capabilities that would previously only be available in native applications. So your users can send something to Dropbox, Slack, Facebook or via email with a couple of taps, instead of having to use copy and paste. This is cool and important because it means we're seeing better integration between the web and mobile devices. Mark Muskardin has a good write up here.

04. Pageclip

Make an HTML form the easy way with Pageclip

Pageclip is a server for your HTML forms; use it to place a hosted form anywhere you can put an HTML form or run JavaScript. Results can be received via CSV, email or JSON, and for a single form with up to 1000 submissions, it's free. Use it to capture emails for a newsletter, collect leads for a new product, or setup a contact form for visitors to your site.

05. Essential Image Optimisation

Get the low-down on image optimisation from Addy Osmani

If you can't be bothered to read a whole ebook on this topic, the author, Addy Osmani, has prepared a handy TL;DR to save you time. It states that we should all be compressing our images efficiently, that compression should be automated, and outlines some of the best tools for the job. This is good advice.

The ebook itself is concise and interesting – you'll find out how to reduce page bloat and increase conversions with fast-loading, sharp-looking images. For more advice, take a look at our 10 ways to optimise images for better performance.

06. The Startup Way

Business advice from Eris Ries

This new book by the author of The Lean Startup is about how any company – even large, established ones – can use the entrepreneurial principles of a startup to improve efficiency, drive growth and modernise. Author Eric outlines a comprehensive framework for entrepreneurial management that business owners can use to drive sustained growth in today's uncertain climate. There are also case studies, insights and tools to help you on your way.

07. URL to PDF Microservice API

Convert the target of any URL to a PDF

This API converts any HTML content into PDFs, and you can set it to operate automatically at regular intervals. It's easily deployed to Heroku and has features that even most of the paid-for options lack.

08. doitlive

Take the pain out of live presentations in the terminal

This is clever: doitlive is a tool for when you have to do live presentations in the terminal. Typing commands in front of an audience is tricky, and you don't actually want to execute them. doitlive is a kind of demo environment – it reads commands from a file that you've prepared in advance and plays them out in a fake terminal. To make this happen, you just type random characters so it seems like you're live coding! 

09. Sublime Text 3.0

Sublime Text is now even more sublime

The new version of Sublime Text came out this month, and the team have made everything even better. There's a new syntax highlighting engine, automatic indentation is improved, there's a new user interface theme and the whole thing runs faster. There are so many little improvements and together they add up to a faster, smarter way of working.

10. Bubbly-bg

Animated bubble backgrounds

This fun and simple tool enables you to create great-looking, configurable, animated backgrounds. A cool little utility that's just 696 bytes gzipped. 

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