Despite the clumsiness of a virtual keyboard, a smartphone loaded with great apps can be a powerful tool for web developers. Web dev apps can give you the power to diagnose and solve problems from wherever you are, as well as access to some of the best design ideas on the web. Here are a few of the best apps for the money, for both Android and iOS.
Keep your design fresh, innovative, and responsive
1. Adobe Ideas (Android, iOS)
This is a great vector-based sketchpad that allows you to scale your drawing to any size without pixilation. If your phone or tablet has a high-quality touchscreen, this is a must-have app—you can zoom to incredibly minute detail and fingerpaint just as elegantly as you would with an actual sketchpad, and then blow it up to billboard size without any loss of fidelity. It’s a great app for beginning developers who want to create beautiful design, but are still getting the hang of drawing with the mouse. (Cost: $9.99)
2. Harvest (Android, iOS)
Time-management is the real challenge for any freelance web developer; and keeping a solid accounting of your time is key to relationships of trust with clients. Harvest allows you to carefully monitor how your workday is spent, helping you cut out unproductive activities and find more efficient ways to get things done. You can log your billable hours and any other expenses on the app, so you can maintain an honest, transparent record for clients. (Cost: free, with subscription)
3. LiveView (Android, iOS)
Mobile apps are the next big thing for developers, but since most apps are designed on laptops and desktops, it’s hard to be sure what you’ll see when you load it on a phone. Will the text be readable? Will the image quality suffer? LiveView allows you to connect your smartphone with your computer, and access your app with a fully-functional interface on your smartphone, with or without a wireless internet connection. It’s a vital step before sending your app out for beta testing, and can save you a lot of grief. (Cost: free)
4. WhatTheFont (iOS)
Unique typography is one of those perfect design elements that can catch a viewer’s attention without distracting from what you really want to say; and WhatTheFont makes it easy to grab inspiration wherever you find it. If you see a font you really like on a billboard, poster, or book, you can snap a photo of it with your iPhone, and WhatTheFont will identify the font, show you a preview, and provide contact information for the font’s owner so you can buy it. It’s a great little piece of “augmented reality” that can radically expand your design options. (Cost: free)
5. View Web Source (Android)
When most people see an impressive bit of design, they hardly notice it; but with View Web Source, you can not only seek out excellent design while browsing, but you can learn from it, too. The ability to crack open a page’s source code is a common feature of most desktop browsers, but View Web Source brings that capability to your smartphone browsing as well. In addition to the learning opportunities, this app can help you investigate bug reports when you’re away from the keyboard, taking a look at your own content to diagnose and repair errors in your work as they come up. (Cost: free)
Julia Peterson is a writer for AndGeeks.com, a popular website that provides up-to-date news, detailed commentary, and unbiased reviews on cell phones and related topics. Julia resides in Galveston, Texas in a cozy little house in the country with her husband, young son, and their Labrador retriever, Darby.