As developers, we like to use tools specifically made to make us as efficient as possible. We excessively research and get the perfect keyboard, our code editor or IDE is carefully picked and uses the perfect coding theme and coding font (Fira code, in my case). We have workflows to optimize our CSS and images and our build tools are optimized to do as much as possible as fast as possible.
And then we use the same browser that everyone else uses to like cat videos on Facebook.
Isn’t that weird? We pick our code editor specifically out of dozens available; our keyboard has the perfect clickiness for our fingers; yet we use the same browser as everyone else. Just like we’re not using Word to write code just because everyone uses Word to write things, we shouldn’t accept using a regular browser to build websites.
A typical workflow with a regular browser looks a little like this: Build the website on one size, then resize your browser and build the design for that. Then resize the browser again and build the design for that. Then … well, you get it. You’re doing it all one by one, repeating yourself over and over again. And if you’re unlucky, you get to do it all over a couple of times as you build, with new pages bringing new requirements that affect pages you’ve already finished.
And you may want to do more than just build the visual side of your page. Do you want to check your pages for accessibility as you go? Add a browser extension. Do you want to create a full page screenshot to send to your boss or client? Add a browser extension. Do you want to check that your meta tags are correct? You guessed it, add a browser extension. With just a few basic things you already need half a dozen browser extensions. Have you used a browser with half a dozen extensions? It makes IE11 look fast in comparison.
Polypane Works Differently
When you open Polypane, you don’t see just a website. You see your website at multiple screen sizes at the same time, just as if you had a bunch of devices on your desk. What’s better, though, is that all these screen sizes are synced: if you interact with one you interact with all of them, whether you’re scrolling, clicking, hovering or typing. You’re interacting with a single website; you just happen to see it at multiple sizes at the same time.
Seeing all the screen sizes side by side means you no longer have to resize your browser and go through them one by one. And those screen sizes are yours to pick: you can pick from over 20 pre-configured devices, like phones, tablets and laptop sizes or you can resize them freeform however you like.
Or you can ask Polypane to parse through the CSS of the page, find all the CSS media queries and create screen sizes from those, making sure you’re always testing the site on all the sizes you want to support.
This alone makes Polypane a massive productivity boost. But if you eliminate resizing your browser all the time, what else can we do?
Well, what about reloading?
Polypane works with any hot reloading or live reloading system, just like any other modern browser out there. But Polypane also has a built-in live reloading server that requires zero configuration. Just tell it which folder to check and you’re done. It even works with plain HTML files! And best of all, if you update a CSS file or image, Polypane just refreshes that instead of reloading the full page.
Meet Polypane, a Browser That Makes You Five Times Faster