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Tech Novice Tools

Helpful Resources

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Stuff we used to build stuff

It takes a village...right?!

About our resources...

We're always on the lookout for things that make our job easier. Some of our frequent haunts are listed below. Check them out!

We also rely heavily on media to help us convey ideas and (hopefully) inspire imagination. Check out some of our movie clips!

Note: If you are looking for Past Blasts, the link in this paragraph will take you there. We removed it from the main navigation links, since most of that information and functionality has been migrated to this current TNT framework.

Last update: 01/29/20

Sites we esteem:

TNT-Sandbox, our sister site

Before we bring things to Tech-Novice, we often try it out here first to see if it's working ok.

You can check out those app designs too...eventually we hope they will wind up here.

If you want to check out our code, remember, in Chrome you can RMC the browser window and ask to 'View Source' to see the underlying code. Links in the source code can be opened so you can see the source code for CSS and JavaScript as well.


W3Schools : an interactive tutorial site for (nearly) all web technologies

Having trouble? Need to learn a new technology? This should be your first stop. You can interact with snippets of code and in some cases, add your own twist to stuff

Because this site is run by the World Wide Web Consortium, the material here is up-to-date and trustworthy.


Udemy: online, up-to-date frequently inexpensive tech training

Join Udemy and search just about any tech topic of interest and you can find excellent training with relevant materials.

Online materials are offered so you can follow along. Mobile and tablet technologies are supported.


Stack Overflow: Many questions answered here

Unlike W3Schools, this is not a tutorial site, but answers abound here if you ask the right questions.

When googling for an answer to a technology question, preface your question with a context (like 'javascript' or 'CSS' then a short phrase with keyword that summarize your inquiry.

When you get your search results, give focused attention on any 'hits' from Stack Overflow. They are often right on target and a green checkmark on a response lends all the more credibility to an answer.

We Stack Overflow!


Google Chrome, and Google Chrome Extensions

You should check out your web designs on all modern browsers, but our lab environment lends itself well to using Google Chrome, so that's what we are mentioning here.

You can customize Chrome with some plug-in software tools called 'extensions' and we have found these particularly helpful:

  • Web Developer Toolbar by Chris Pederick
  • ColorZilla
  • Corporate Ipsum
  • Browser Width

When coding, you can use Chrome's 'Developer Tools' to check on various aspects of your page's performance. The console is particularly helpful when checking out errors or variable values.


Brackets, an IDE

An IDE is a platform where you can write, edit and run your coding designs all in one place! HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP are supported.

Although learning an IDE can be just as daunting as learning a coding language, it pays many dividends once you master one.

Brackets is free and utilizes Chrome as its integrated browser

Brackets offers extensions to assist with various tasks. Here are some that we found helpful:

  • Beautify
  • Documents Toolbar
  • HTML5 Template
  • Bootstrap Starter Template
  • Emmet
  • PHP Syntax Hint
  • RCH Bootstrap 4 Snippets

Eclipse: An IDE for Java, Python, PHP

Many Android app developers use this IDE to do their magic!


Python: Get 'wrapped up' in Python!

This is a great first language if you are wanting to learn how to code!

If you are an iPad/iPhone user, Pythonista is a platform where you can code on your mobile device.


No Starch Press: Get geeky with their stuff!

Python is a relatively new language for us here at TNT labs, so we've been doing lots of reading, studying and coding based on their tutorials.

We've gotten about 7 books or more on Python3 and they've been great to get us up to speed.

Check out their site and see what you can find!


HTML Cleaner and More: A web-app to remove tags from HTML

Only used once so far, but was useful to extract a bunch of tags while retaining content so we could send desired 'copy' to our HTML5 structural engineers!


Cupcake Ipsum, an random text generator using common confection words

Sweet! Use phrases, paragraphs, etc generated randomly using this site. Since they are English words, they will not trigger your spell checker unlike traditional Lorem Ipsum.

Using 'filler' like this frees you to make your designs and test them with test content without having to generate your real content until you or your team is ready for it.


HTML and CSS Validators

How do you know your code is 'valid'?

Sites that validate both HTML and CSS are so important that we put links to them on every page, in our footer.

They help us find syntax errors which might cause our code not to work as expected.


Palettable, Color Pallete Design

Use this site to create a harmonious color palette with up to 5 colors


W3Schools Color Picker, Learning and using color in your designs

Another engine for picking and designing colors


Adobe Color Tool, pick colors from a photo

This tool allows you to upload a photo and it will find an harmonious color pallete to go with it.


Favicomatic, Create 'favicons' easily on the cheap (free)

Favicons serve as 'branding' images that identify and personalize your site. They appear in the browser tabs to the left of your page names and also appear when you bookmark pages.

This site lets you create not only favicons but also imagery for mobile devices


Google Fonts: CDN for beautiful fonts

Find beautiful, thematic fonts you can utilize with CSS to enhance the quality of your pages


The Noun Project, a searchable source for downloadable icon image files

Icons from this site are available for free on a limited basis; more are available in multiple formats with an affordable membership.

Simply search for an image, customize its color, format and size, and drag it to your desired location. This app is also available on your mobile devices.


Font Awesome, a searchable source for stylable icons

Again, like Noun Project, icons from this site are available for free on a limited basis; more are available in multiple formats with an affordable membership.

These fonts are activated using JavaScript and CSS and can be styled; therefore they are more flexible than ones from the Noun Project.


Random User Generator to generate random user profiles/pics

Useful site for generating random profiles and pics for testing your site's 'look and feel' using realistic imagery and text


CSS Zen Garden: Inspirational uses of CSS

This site is no longer receving new designs, but the ones that are there are 'eye-popping' and the code can be viewed and studied (and copied!), perhaps for your purposes


Web Design Playground: Experiment with snippets of HTML and CSS

Author Paul McFedries offers a genius website (for free) for testing HTML and CSS code blocks. He wrote the book Web Coding and Development (All-In-One) for Dummies which has been a great resource for our wizards!


Learning Web Design by Robbins: Beginner's Guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Web Graphics

An extensive, well-written, colorful introduction to web design. Readable and comprehensive while being comprehensible.


Eloquent JavaScript: A Free, online JavaScript textbook!

A readable, informative online guide to all things JavaScript!

It also provides a coding sandbox where you can experiment with code and attempt the book's exercises.


Processing: Exciting coding environment for JavaScript, Python and Java

Get this platform to visualize coding designs with animations


jQuery: JavaScript on steroids!

Download the platform and incorporate innovative functionalities with this slick platform


XAMPP Apache: A testing-server for PHP Development

PHP is a server-side language and you need to have a 'testing server' on your local machine to test your PHP designs. This is an easy-install solution that creates that 'sandbox' for you!


Am I Responsive?: A widget to test your site for responsiveness

Upload your site into this little app and it will show you what it looks like on various platforms


Embed Responsively: Put YouTubes on your site

Want to embed a YouTube? This little app will help you do it.


Character Entities: Get special symbols here

Need that 'special symbol' that isn't on the keyboard? Here's a site that lets you get it using special codes called 'character entities'


Keycodes: Code numbers for keyboard keys

When using JavaScript you might want to perform an action using a keystroke as we did in the Password Peek-A-Boo app. This site gives you the key codes!


Java Unicodes: Math Symbols: Special symbols of Java applications

Use this site to find unicodes to make your output in Java apps a little bit more cool.


Wolfram Alpha: Math/Tech knowledge on steroids

A great resource for techies. There's an app for your iPhone as well. A must have!


Prezi: A different way of connecting with audiences

If you want an alternative to PowerPoint, here's a platform for you. Offers both free and paid memberships!


Bootstrap: Quickly create responsive web designs with this powerful, free framework

We at TNT believe there is no substitute for learning HTML5 and CSS3 (and JQuery) from scratch...

With that said, sometimes you just need to crank out a design quickly, and Bootstrap helps you do that with it's extensive use of classes.

Their site provides many examples and, not surprisingly, W3Schools offers some great tutorials on it as well.