We had a need for some Network Tools and we could not find them, so we created them
As Matraex has been developing websites over the last 15+ years, we have used many tools to do it.
We often find areas which there are no tools, or we could automate time consuming or error prone tasks in order to get them done more quickly and efficiently.
For these areas, we have developed some Network Tools which help us to get what we need done.
DNS and Name Servers
Bulk DNS Lookup
One of areas we identified was when dealing with new customers with a large number of domains. In ideal situations, the domains would all be registered with a single registrar account and all using known name servers. However that has not always been the case. We built the Bulk MX, DNS Domain Lookup tool to help us quickly assess the domain name, where it is located, who hosts the Name Servers, domains and mail services.
Name Server Compare
In other cases we found that we needed help in identifying where multiple name servers is not set to the same value on different servers. For example if a domain uses three different name servers, there are times that those name servers many not be setup the same and may report different values.
For this we built the https://www.matraex.com/nameserver-compare-tool/
This is especially useful when moving a number of domains from one name server to another.
Website Performance Assessment Log
To help us track the performance increase (or decrease) for Websites we built the Website Performance Assessment Log. The tool has very little functionality itself, however it allows you to type in statistics from Pingdom and from Google’s PageSpeed Insights, then once you make changes to your site you can type in the next set of statistics. This is helps to track which changes made a difference and which changes did not.
WordPress Website Check
We needed to quickly be able to assess a new WordPress website. So we built the Website Check tool which grabs some quick speed and page load statistics, does some security checks and checks on what your WordPress site exposes.
Other less popular, but some times helpful tools,
- our CSS helper tool, this tool helps us identify duplicate and overriding style sheet definitions on a single style sheet.
- Our buik – unix time to date converter. You can paste in a block of text (typically I copy this from some syslog file which logged in unix timestamps) and the tool replaces any found timestamps to help us quickly read the results with Date/ Time stamps
Matraex Inc has other tools as well and we try to offer these tools free (within reason) in order to allow others to do the same thing we do.
Webpage performance is important and there are a plethora of tools out there that allow you to see your website’s performance.
The tools give a large amount of information and website owners can use that information to make assessments and improvements.
As we use these tools to help our clients improve the performance of their websites, we found a couple of needs:
- We needed a tool to quickly compare the results between changes
- We needed somewhere we could go to quickly lookup results next time that we evaluated the performance
So, we built the Website Performance Assessment Tool (matraex.com/website-performance).
The numeric results are then stored in a table and as we make changes we can see how performance improves.
With a couple of enhancements (the ability to track multiple urls and an improved User Interface) we decided to make this tool public and encourage others to use it.
The primary benefits we see are:
- The ability for non technical users to track their site performance
- Website owners can track and evaluate changes made by their website developer
- Website developers and website owners can use the tool to communicate performance expectations and results
Here is one example of how it can work:
- A website owner opens the website assessment performance tool and enters their website url
- They use the quick links to generate metrics for a Performance Grade, Number of Requests, Load time, Page size and a Desktop and Mobile Grade
- They enter the metrics into the tool and click Save
- They notice that the total Load time is more than 4 seconds so they ask their website developer to improve the results.
- Specifically they describe they want:
- the Load Time to decrease to less than 2 seconds and
- the Desktop and Mobile Grade should improve to better than 85% each
- The developer makes changes and tells the owner the changes are complete.
- The owner opens the Performance Tool and re enters the metrics and evaluates whether it is true.
- One month later the owner comes back to the tool and checks again and can see the history and whether performance has degraded.
Utility CSS Stylesheet finding duplicate selectors and declaration differences
Occasionally we run into a style sheet which has not been managed well and has duplicate style block and style definitions.
When this happens it can be difficult to evaluate which style blocks are duplicated, and which ones are still in use.
CSS Validators do not do a good enough job at identifying the duplicates and allowing me to make decisions on how to merge discrepancies.
So we came up with a utility that helps us to evaluate the duplicate selectors. The utility is here:
To use it we can simply paste in a giant style sheet block, or type in the url of the css and it will download it. Downloading it can be useful as you fix your style sheet and want to know how it looks.
The output of the utility is an ordered list of all of the selectors, in the case where there are duplicate selectors, the duplicated attributes are highlighted, if the value in the attribute is duplicated that shows red, if it is unique, it shows blue.
The utility does not attempt to resolve the issues, it simply highlights the duplicates to potentially help you identify the issues.
The utility does not attempt to recognize which classes may override each other.
Future enhancements to this tool may include
- the ability to download multiple style sheets – to help identify styles that may clobber eachother.
- the ability to paste in an html block or url which then extricates the css style blocks and linked style sheets to help identify clobbering or duplicated selectors
- a utility which combines unique attributes from multiple duplicated selectors and gives a copyable text block with the combined text.
In addition to the need we have while building websites or taking over other customer sites, this too highlights our ability to build custom plugin utilities within WordPress. We also sell this WordPress plugin to customers that may need it.
Utility – Bulk Convert the Unix Timestamp in log messages To a Readable Date
I have often run into the need to convert a large list of timestamps from Unix Timestamp to a readable date.
Often times this is simply a need that I have when receiving an error message from a server, or when reviewing log files which only use Unix Timestamps.
So I created a simple utility, just paste in your text from the log file, the utility will search out the string for timestamps listed as the first part of each line, and convert the timestamp to a date.
While this might be useful at some point as an automated process, for now I just use it when I need it.
I am documenting the tool here with a link for myself (or any one else that may need it) so that it is simple to find.
Possible future upgrades to this utility will likely search out Unix Timestamps anywhere in the text and convert them, instead of just at the first of the line.
Code Source Text and White Space Quick Count Evaluation Tool
I created a simple website utility which can be used to evaluate the white space in some code or returned from a website.
Paste in the code from your editor, or you can type in a URL and it will download the html and evaluate that
The results counts up all of your characters, shows you how much white space there is.
It also shows you how many blank lines you have, whether you are using tabs or spaces at the beginning of your lines (this is useful to me to help coordinate similar code indenting formats between developers)
This tool can be pretty useful when wanting to figure out things related to white space usage.
At the bottom of the reusults, every line is displayed with details of each line and how many spaces are at the beginning of the line
if you have suggestions, email me with ‘White Space Evaluation’ in the subject michael @ matraex.com.