Top 5 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Developers and Designers

Top 5 Must-have Chrome Extensions for Developers and Designers

Enterprise software seems to get more complicated every day. Larger systems require special training or the dispatch of special consultants. Meanwhile, smaller pieces of software often win the day. Smaller software, like browser extensions, can provide a lot of value even in a smaller package.

The extensions represented here emphasize simplicity. They don’t promise a lot, but they deliver big-time on a specific, important action.

These extensions provide a nice array of features that will appeal to developers and designers.


Have you ever visited a website and wondered what software was used to build it? Wappalyzer lets you find out right from the browser.

Wappalyzer comes in handy for a variety of situations. Once you’ve got it you’ll wonder how you got along without it. Members of the InMotion support team use it to help customers find out what CMS they’re using. If you’re a web developer it’s especially to see what kinds of frameworks are running behind a website.

Once you’ve installed Wappalyzer, you’ll see a small icon appear in your toolbar. For most sites, the form of this icon will be the CMS used by the site you’re visiting; because the CMS is often the most significant piece of software running behind the site.

However, if the site you’re viewing is using a non-standard or custom-coded CMS, you will see whatever technologies Wappalyzer is able to identify—from a JavaScript framework down to the actual web server and operating system running behind the scenes. Pretty impressive.

JSON Formatter

If you’ve worked with JSON before, you likely remember a long, unreadable string of code from which to pull data. JSON is important, you can use it to pull out key data from websites—usually via an API.

But JSON can be very difficult—pretty much impossible—to read on its own. That’s why there are many tools to help format JSON in a more readable way. Nothing can strain the eyes quite like a long, unbroken string of text filling your widescreen monitor.

For this purpose, take a look at JSON Formatter. It takes raw unformatted JSON and displays it in beautiful ordered objects, indented and colored for your visual pleasure.


If memorizing long HEX codes, or even longer RGB values, Colorzilla gives you a nice color dropped right in your browser. You can get color data for any element you see on screen. Then you can simply copy the values into your app. Color is critical when building a beautiful interface.


Writing out the same text over and over again is one of the most tedious aspects of development. Likewise, remembering tedious syntax for a variety of languages (without obsessive googling) can prove more difficult than it seems. It’s not enough to merely know one language these days. Most of the world’s best developers are professional polyglots (speaking many languages).

It can be extremely helpful to have a texter: a tool that lets you hide long snippets of code into convenient byte-sized key commands.

There are many popular options. TextExpander works in the browser or on your desktop, whichever you prefer, and it allows for dynamic on-the-fly text such as dates or custom dropdown menus.

Clear Cache

One of the most annoying aspects of web development is working around caching. If you make changes to a page but don’t see your changes when you reload the page, caching is getting in the way of your work. Often, it’s necessary to completely empty your browser cache. But many browsers make it difficult to clear this cache because they want the majority of users to enjoy a fast browsing experience. Browser caching does make daily web surfing faster, but it can make a developer’s life much more difficult.

The Clear Cache browser extension lets you empty the cache with one click. Again, simplicity for the win.

The best test for a browser extension, as you surely noted above, is being able to accomplish one simple task quickly and efficiently without a lot of extraneous details. Most of the software you’ll use every day is loaded with menus, buttons, icons, options, and plenty of knobs and dials you’ll never use. The simplicity of a small program is often forgotten in the rush for the bigger better newer killer app.

Picking a good browser extension should remind you that sometimes less is more.

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