Caution: Non-Mac Users, this is not for you - sadly. 

The guys at Riot have really helped me out over the past few months with their product Hammer for Mac

Hammer for Mac makes creating static websites, well actually, really good hearty fun. 

The Product

Download Hammer for Mac from the Apple Store and get started straight away, by creating a new project from scratch or by using one of Hammer's small collection of project templates.

Read the full Hammer documentation (they're pretty short and easy to digest), and I'll just give you my favourite bits of the product, which I've come to rely on. 

 

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Includes - I now take great delight in segmenting my HTML into nice and tidy snippets via the HFM @include feature, without needing to run MAMP and use PHP as I used to.

 

SASS and Coffeescript auto compiler - The HFM build process automatically processes my .scss and .coffee files into .css and .js. If you're not familiar with either of these technologies, you should dig in. Coffeescript use is still a bit contentious, but SASS is a no-brainer. 

 

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Javascript & Stylesheet includes - Clever paths that will rummage around in your file directory and automatically find and load your javascript and css files regardless of where you put them. A huge time saver. 

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Clever Paths - Image files and other such assets are now always (super)relative, regardless of which folder you put them in or if you move them. HFM will find those pesky assets and load 'em into the page in a snip.

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Placeholder Images - when you're desperate to eat lunch and you want to crack out a template, the placeholder shortcut will quickly jazz up your page content with correctly sized image placeholders. You'll be ordering a beer and burger 30 minutes before anyone else with this baby.

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HFM is now on version 1.6 and the most recent updates to the software seem to have really focussed on performance - general processing speed and caching in particular. 

There's a few features within the software which I've really also come to love within the workflow.

The optimize toggle switch, which on request will compress and minify your code. 

 The Export archive link - just because it's easy and simple.

and most significantly for rapid publishing and sharing of work in progress, is the Publish Build function, which uploads your site to HFM's AWS servers with a short url to share with teammates, colleagues and clients. Hammr provides their own wrapper to the page for navigation and access to core site files, which is nice.

 

I met up with the guys from Riot around 18 months ago, when HFM was still in closed BETA. 

I was really impressed with Elliot and the team's focus on this product and how they've taken the "Mac-centric" approach to product development. I appreciate their style and business model and I really hope that HFM continues to grow and become adopted by front end web developers and designers around the world.