Your Web Tools Are Built For You: 7 Free Examples


You don’t have to be a literature buff to know about the scene in Tom Sawyer where
Tom, faced with the daunting task of whitewashing a fence, finds a way to get his friends to whitewash it for him. For web workers, there are countless sites and resources you can reach for that can save you from building complex things from the ground up. Here are seven good ones to know about.

Do you use Photoshop? Luxa collects tutorials on creating effects and completed images in Photoshop, and if you take a look at some of them, you’ll see that many of them are eye-popping enough to make a web page look special. Luxa also has a sub-site specifically for web designers. There are also instructional videos at the site.

Webware has a good piece up about BgPatterns a site that lets you customize repeating site backgrounds with many designs to choose from. You can pick a pattern, and then adjust its scale, opacity, colors, rotation and more, after which you get a completed JPG image. As the Webware piece notes, you can also use Stripe Generator for these types of design tasks.

Mike has written before about the over 2,000 free CSS designs you can find at Open Source Designs. OpenDesigns also has over 1,200 design templates you can choose or work from to develop the look of an entire site. is a site where you can submit technology- and web-related questions and get quick answers back from the community. In some cases, volunteers at the site can debug snippets of problematic code or HTML for you, or they can make referrals to where you can get your question answered.

Themebot archives not only site templates but layouts that can suggest new ideas for your sites and pages.

I’ve written before about some of the useful sites where you can find free templates for documents, web pages, and more. I especially like Microsoft’s library of these, where you can find templates appropriate for your industry and also see which templates the user community has rated as best.

doesn’t quite have completed sites and pages for you to choose from, but it does provide free tutorials on topics such as HTML and CSS, where you can publish your experiments to actual pages and save whichever experiments appear to work.

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