Developers are saving the world. It’s true. Eric Meyer is proof.

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Contributed by Eric A. Meyer, Technical Consultant, Author, Trainer and Co-founder of An Event Apart

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When he’s not doing things like speaking at An Event Apart (which he co-founded), writing bleeding edge books on front-end development, and helping families heal after tragic loss— he still finds time to talk with us. We are extremely excited and humbled to have his insight in this issue, and he has a bunch of wisdom to share with us.

Eric’s Dev Toolbox: Tools should be: Futuristic & Free

1. F2
Meyer points to the screenshot command  in Firefox’s Developer Toolbar (the one you get with F2, not K) as his favorite productivity
tool. And it’s free! “You can set device-pixel resolution to get really high-res page captures, capture the entire page (including the parts you can’t see), and even supply a CSS selector to capture an image of just that element.

2. Grid Inspector (Firefox)
…or Shapes Editor (Chrome), are two more productivity extensions that Meyer uses. He says the free extensions make working on the cutting edge of CSS easier to manage, because they allow in-browser visualization of things that can be difficult to imagine. “As a bonus, the Shapes Editor lets you edit shapes in-browser and then copy the resulting values.”

3. ControlPlane
ControlPlane (OS X) has saved Meyer from public embarrassment at conferences, and it’s also free. “It allows me to define various
contexts based on parameters like the SSID of the wifi I’m using, or the time of day,” he explains. “So if I’m on my home wifi, ControlPlane switches to ‘Home’ context, and disables “mute” or the password on my screensaver.

Who’s Building the future of Development?

When Eric A. Meyer dreams, he dreams big. He says if money was no object, he would develop an ambient system to combine current work, the season, the time of day, exterior light levels, his pulse rate, and other factors to select the right combination of music and lighting, as well as select from various levels of notification.

“I’d love for my system to be able to reasonably guess when I should only be pinged about high-priority email and direct Slack messages,” he explains.” Combining it all with Status Board-like displays, showing data relevant to whatever I’m working on, would be some serious icing on that cake. I’m not saying any of that’s impossible, or even all that fiscally expensive. It would just take a lot of time to develop properly, which I could only afford to invest if money was no object.”

CSS Pioneer

“I experiment with the latest stuff, try to figure out how it works, look for creative applications, that kind of thing. So when it comes to browsers, I actually do surf the bleeding edge, running Firefox Nightly and Chrome Canary and so on. I want to see what’s coming and play with it before everyone else does—mostly so that, when the time comes, I can help everyone else learn what I learned.”

About Build//Better

BuildBetter eMagazine, brought to you by Stackify, is a free downloadable publication bringing together insight and advice from some of the smartest minds in the developer world. Each quarterly issue is packed with exclusive tips and tools from industry leaders, helping developers work better, code better, and build better careers.