Tools on our belt

 

App icons for Camtasia, Pixelmator, Coda, Sequel Pro, CodeKit

Making webcomics easy … isn’t easy. We use many tools to build and test code and graphics in the Grawlix CMS every week. Some of them we knew when getting started, like Coda and Evernote. Others we learned along the way, such as GitHub and Sketch.

So what do we use to get it all done? Well, here are the tools we use to build and manage the Grawlix CMS project.

Desktop apps

Coda ($99) — Our go-to tool for editing code and FTP, this is where the magic happens.

Sequel Pro (free) — For managing our test databases, nothing beats this capable app.

Evernote (free) — A shared notebook let us share articles and snippets of code, and keep track of artist feedback.

GitHub for Desktop (free) — Syncing projects across computers without GitHub would make the project nigh impossible. Their reliable desktop app makes it a breeze.

Pixelmator ($30) and Sketch ($99) — Graphics editing is a must in a visually-oriented CMS. We use these apps for images in the admin panel, the blog, the default themes — everywhere.

CodeKit ($32–39) — Testing pages and compiling CSS is point-n-click simple with this tool from Foundation-friendly Incident 57.

Camtasia ($99) — Creating and editing screencasts is super intuitive and efficient thanks to Camtasia by TechSmith.

Web-based tools

Foundation (free) — A great CSS framework that lets us lay out web pages in a horizontal grid. When we began the Grawlix CMS, Ben worked for ZURB, which creates and maintains Foundation. That gave the team inside access to the framework’s shortcuts and best practices.

Trello (free – $8/mo) — A recent addition to our toolkit, this is now our running to-do list, feature list, and progress checklist.

Google’s mobile-friendly test (free) — How well does our work hold up on smartphones and tablets? This test shows us what we need to polish.

Google PageSpeed (free) — Readers don’t like to wait. This handy check helps us fine-tune the Grawlix CMS for better reading experiences.

TinyPNG and CompressJPG (free) — Great online services that shave off bits to save download time and bandwidth.

Google Fonts (free) — More sophisticated typography than Georgia and Arial are possible with this free API.

Font Awesome (free) — Terrific icons make the CMS look great and, being vector, work well at any size.

Vanilla Forums (free – $200/mo) — One of our main feedback channels runs on this fast, free, reliable communication platform.

Patreon (free) — The service we use to support our project financially.

Languages

The Grawlix CMS uses five computer languages: PHP, MySQL, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. We also use a fair amount of regular expression and Markdown in our daily work.

Tools of tomorrow

Making a system simple isn’t easy. We use all the resources at our disposal to help artists publish comics on the web — and the list is growing.

Future versions of the Grawlix CMS will use the CodeIgniter PHP framework for greater stability, security and sanity. It all comes down to making a tool that artists use to publish comics on the web.


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