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Just had to praise this marvelous FireFox plug-in, Web Developer. It's not a huge review as frankly I have not even touched the surface of what it can do. And I am not talented enough to really do it praise from a technical point of view.

Simply, hats off and a huge round of applause to to Chris Pederick, the author of this plug-in.

As some who fiddles, and is teaching himself the marvels of CSS, this thing of beauty has made learning considerably less frustrating and quicker. The main reason I write this now rather than later when I have more to say about it is that it almost saved me from a very long night last night.

The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a tool bar to the browser with various web developer tools. It is designed for Firefox, Flock and Seamonkey, and will run on any platform that these browsers support including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

After fiddling with my WordPress installations, re-jigging my layout, I just happened to delete my master CSS style sheet for the K2 theme I have modified. Now for me, this has taken hours of blood and sweat, up till the early hours trying to grasp the technicalities of CSS and PHP whilst trying to come up with a layout that is, from my Graphic Design perspective, livable.

To be a designer, to have flair and imagination, to be in a position where you are unable to express yourself in the way you would like because of your inability to hard code CSS, XHTML and PHP, borderlines insanity. Feel so cramped and restricted.

But I am managing, I think. The standard K2 theme I started out with is slowly evolving (or de-evolving depending on your perspective) away from what makes it so distinguishable, but retaining it's many wonderful features.

But I digress.

It was about midnight last night this loss of the CSS style sheet occurred. OK, so I could of gone to bed and dealt with it in the morning, but I couldn't do that, my pride and determination to see it through shone through. Not to mention the amout of self humiliation and stupidity I felt for such a idiotic thing to do

But the thought of trying to remember all the little tweaks and not so little that I had made over the last month, field me with utter terror. My head fell into my hands many times at this prospect. But then a flash of inspiration. What about this Web Developer plug-in I had already installed some time back but had not really used? So quickly I took it for a run, and within minutes I was back on track. Quickly locating CSS Divisions and classes through the Web Developer's ability to highlight red key lines around various DIV and CLASS structures. Indication the appropriate CSS coding and line numbers in a side menu.

The best way I can sum this up is this...

"It's better than having the original theme coder or designer sitting down next to you telling you what's what."

Tracking styles, even if the original coder had not 'commented' adequately is now not a issue at all. In fact, using this one part of Web Developer alone will allow you to backwards engineer any complex theme as quick as you like.

Within an hour or so I had managed to re-do all my tweaks to the original core CSS file and in the end, ended up with a leaner CSS file. So good things can come out of seemingly natural disasters, or in my case, one too many Polish Beer's and blurry eyes.

Hooray to Chris Pederick. This is one application that I am very happy to contribute some dosh to, so head over to his site and show your appreciation.

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Posted By: The Logo Smith: Freelance Logo & Brand Identity Designer.


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