Low-cost Tools for Web Development

These are various small utilities and templates that I use to develop web pages on a Mac. One common thread that you will see running through these utilities is the fact that they are specialized. They are focused on (usually) one task and they do that task very quickly, and very cleanly.

The only piece of software that is needed to build web sites that isn’t listed here is Photoshop. It’s big, expensive, and can be difficult to really get a good grip on, but once you do, there’s no turning back. I’ll also give a a lot of praise to Dreamweaver, but you don’t need it. Dreamweaver just makes it easy to work up good sites in less time.

Check out the FTP styled listing for quicker access.

UPDATE: You might notice that most of the tools are appropriate for 1999-era web development. Considering the bulk of this page was written in 1999, that would make sense. I have made some minor updates listing Mac OS X software, but most of the entires are appropriate for historical record more than modern techniques. Most of the files in the first section are still quite useful.

Samples and Templates


Flowgornized Project Folders

This file is a set of standard directories that I use to organize a web project. There are no programs in this archive, just a set of folders/directories.
(StuffIt archive for Macs | Zip archive for PCs)


Lorem Ipsum

Want to put in text that your clients will know they have to change? Want to keep from having to do their copywriting in addition to their coding? Use this text, which is Latin, that has been used for mockups by printers for decades if not centuries.
(Text File)


Semi Transparent Grid

I wrote up an article about this graphic. It’s a 30x30 grid of alternating white and transparent pixels. At, I use them in a table background to make text inside the table overlay more clearly on top of the background. This graphic could easily be changed to use other colors. I’m also wondering what cool stuff could be done with an animated background and some lines for an interference pattern... The archive has two versions: one has white dots that will lighten the background and the other has black dots that will darken the background.
(StuffIt archive for Macs | Zip archive for PCs)

PDF File

Storyboard Templates

When you are working on the early stages of a multimedia project, having storyboards created for each of the pages or screens is very important. Here are two templates that I use, one being a page with 12 thumbnails, and the other being a ‘detailed’ storyboard with one frame and areas for notes. They are in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format.
(Detailed Storyboard | Thumbnails Storyboard)

PDF File


This is a whole templating system that is set up for using Extended Service Side Includes or XSSIs. XSSIs are built-in to every Apache 1.2 and above install by default. This set of templates allows you to slip in new shells for the pages with incredible ease.
(Zip Archive)


1x1 Pixel Dots

The bane of WaSP’s existence, it’s still nice to have single pixel transparent GIFs hanging around. This package has black, white and transparent 1x1 pixel graphics.
(StuffIt archive for Macs | Zip archive for PCs)

HTML Tools


BBEdit Lite

Great Freeware Text Editor. The full version is worth the money as well.
Home Page (My mirror)



Again, a very simple program which does one thing very well: It picks up colors and translates them to HTML hex code format. The only thing it doesn’t do well is keep to the Web-safe colors. To help that along, try using this layout of those Web-safe colors.
(My mirror)



Drag and drop a GIF or JPEG on this and it will put the IMG tag in your clipboard. You can then paste it into your HTML document. Multiple files allowed.
Home Page (My mirror)



This is a top-notch spell checker which I need to get in the habit of using more often. :) Be sure to get the HTML dictionary to go along with it. It’s available along with other extra dictionaries.
Home Page (My mirror)



Underpowered, but does the job, WebMap is the leanest, buggiest piece of software on this list, but it works. Use with caution to build Image Maps. After you’ve created them here, you’ll need to translate them into HTML client-side image maps. (Steve Bogart suggested looking at ColorIt! from for its image map capabilities. This is a very inexpensive imaging program.) (Another alternative is this online tool called CIMM.) Requires Classic
Home Page (My mirror)

Graphics Tools



Although old and not as slick as it could be, this little program lets you quickly pick out the color that you want to make transparent in a GIF. Very fast, very cool. Requires Classic
(My mirror)


GIF Builder v1.0

The most solid Animated GIF construction tool. Check out the built-in transitions! Ok for OS X
Home Page (My mirror)


Peguimin J

This can be considered the Mini-Me of Debabelizer. It can strip out and recompress whole folders of JPEGs. I had one folder of 500 images that weighed in at 190 MB. After I ran the folder through this, it was down to 5 megabytes. Yee-ha! Requires Classic
Home Page (My mirror)

File and Site Tools

File Access

Joliet Volume Access

This extension allows MacOS machines work with Joliet formated Windows discs. If you’ve ever opened a disc and found it full of filenames like "SH498F~1.HTM" then you’ve got a Joliet formated Windows disc. Download this package to give your Mac access to these volumes. For OS 7 thru 9
Home Page (My mirror)



Good link checker. At my place of employment I have the joy of using non-Mac systems. But I found a great (free!) link checker called Xenu’s Link Sleuth. This is the closest I’ve found to a Mac equivelent. Requires Mac OS X 10.3
Home Page (My mirror)


Big Brother

Good link checker. Good customization, steep learning curve. The current version on the Developer’s home page is not a Macintosh ‘application’. The version under ‘My Mirror’ is a MacOS application. Requires Classic
Home Page (My mirror)


HTML Rename

More full featured than Drop*Rename, this program can cleanup entire web sites, renaming files and keeping the HTML updated as well as performing a whole range of great tricks. A good step-by-step interview process (like a wizard or assistant) gets a bit tiring after the tenth run, but it’s not that often that you’ll have to use something with this much horsepower. Requires Classic
Home Page (My mirror)



When you’re moving sites around or repurposing someone else’s materials or dealing with a bunch of files that need to be uniformity named, this will do the job. Quick and easy, it’s got a good interface considering the complexity of its job. For Mac OS X
Home Page (My mirror)

Using MacOS 8 or 9? Try Drop*Rename Home Page (My mirror)


[ Read and write comments ]