I wanted to share something I started doing recently that has sped up my process for quickly mocking up sites. See if the following sounds at all familiar to you…
You’re working… you’re in the flow… you feel good. Suddenly: A WILD IDEA APPEARS! Adrenaline is released and you scramble to open your code editor of choice to mock up the idea before it escapes. Your fingers move across the keys with the elegance of a lithe dancer. You trigger your default HTML page snippet. TAB!
You attach a stylesheet and open it. Some quick markup and a few blocks of styles and your idea starts to take form. You see the user interaction taking shape in your head. Quickly! Include your DOM-manipulation library of choice and… and suddenly you stall. I realized lately how much of a drag it is in circumstances like this to interrupt a stream of great ideation, even for 30 seconds, and go grab the latest version of a script from the website or Github. So this is what I did:
Create a Virtual Host Specifically for Utilities
I created a virtual host on my local LAMP stack that has a straightforward URL of http://utility/. I started populating the root of that domain with scipts I frequently use: jQuery, CSSRefresh, a Modernizr production build, etc. Then I started creating snippets in Sublime Text so that I can insert a production build of the latest version of jQuery painlessly by typing ‘jquery’ and hitting tab. In less than two seconds I have the script imported and I can keep working without worrying about even leaving my code editor to grab a script.
The only maintenance involved here is keeping the scripts up to date in your utility directory. That being said, I could certainly improve this process by checking out all of the scripts in that folder from their respective repositories and creating a simple script that would run once per week (or whenever) to pull any changes from remote.