Following on from my recent post on Dashboard Widgets for Techies, this post previews some nice dashboard widgets for Web Developers.

Regular Expressions

We’ll start with what I consider to be the most powerful widget, the regular expression widget. Regardless of what web language you end up using and what you are doing the chances are that you will need to validate user-input and that you will need to use regular expressions to do it. There are a number of Widgets for testing regular expressions out there but of all the ones I’ve tried the RegexToolbox was by far the best. It allows you to set up a list of test cases and then match an RE off them and it tells you what it matches as well as all the matches within bracketed groups. It also allows you to test substitutions.

RegexToolbox Screen Shot

Technical References

It’s often handy to have the full spec for things at your fingertips and the Dashboard is about as ‘at your fingertips’ as things get so it makes sense to have some API specs in Widget form.

I know I hate PHP but I still have to use it quite a bit and I know a lot of other people do too so a PHP reference widget is still very useful. There are quite a few different ones but the one I found to be the best is this one:

Php Function Reference Widget Screen Shot

Another somewhat useful widget is the Tags – CSS widget. It sounds great and gives you a nice interface for searching for what CSS attributes there are but sadly if doesn’t give you the possible values for those attributes which is very annoying. A similarly disappointing widget is Tags – HTML.

Colour Tools

Easy access to the web-safe colour pallet is something that sounds very useful and hence you’d think there would be a very good widget for it but you’d be wrong. There are indeed many colour widgets but no very good ones. Color Safe is the best of a bad lot but it’s not perfect. I’m quite tempted to write my own Widget for this though.

ColorSafe Widget Screen Shot