7 Best And Essential Tools For Web Developers

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There are tons of tools and applications a web developer can use to design stunning websites and web-based applications. However, sometimes we are overwhelmed by the sheer volume and types of applications resulting in confusion about their usage. A professional web developer keeps a limited number of applications on his desk. This ensures you're not wasting your time on different unnecessary applications keeping productivity at the highest level. Some of these applications and tools form the core of web development while others help in refining the output. All these applications combine to form a complete web designing toolkit that must be present on every web developers desktop. Individual developers can add or subtract from this list depending on their exact requirements.

Code editor or integrated development environment

This is the foundation of every web development process. In every web development project, a large amount of time is spent in coding web pages using different languages like PHP, HTML, CSS or Java. Either you can use a simple text editor like Notepad, or you can opt for a specialized code editor to ease the process. Every web developer has its own preferences when it comes to using a code editor.

Code editor

The most common code editing tool used by large number of programmers is Notepad++. It's a robust and light weight code editor supporting several languages. Web developers coding very large projects can also use complete integrated development environments like NetBeans and Aptana. These IDE applications keep your entire development tree under one location and compile the entire project easily. It's easy to track, modify and build multiple interdependent files through these handy development environments. Developers using Mac system generally use TextMate code editor for their web projects.

File uploading/transfer software

This is yet another important tool that is so essential for every web developer. File uploading and transfer software are used to upload and download files from the web server where the website is hosted. One can either download or upload these files from the web-based interface provided by the hosting provider or can use specialized software to do the same. The former is a slow and inefficient method to manage files on the web server.

FTP software

That's why software like FileZilla is used for managing files on the web server. It uses FTP (file transfer protocol) system to transfer and download files from a typical web server. You can also use the secure version of FTP to encrypt the files for added security. Mac users can use Transmit FTP software to manage their files on the web server. It's a powerful FTP application with tons of features. Whatever FTP software you're using, make sure you always use the secure version (SFTP) or FTP to avoid any kind of hacking attempts. It may slow down the transfer process little bit, but the overall security is beefed up which gives you complete peace of mind.

LAMP stack (web server) on local host

This is the heart of any web application. For testing and development purposes, every web developer needs to install a miniature web server on his desktop to simulate the exact environment found on the actual web-based server. This is vital for creating a well-tested project that doesn't fail on the live server. There are several good web server bundles available for quickly deploying a robust web server on a local desktop.

Web server menu

These bundles come with a user-friendly installer that requires minimum intervention while installing and configuring the entire web server setup. XAMPP and VertrigoServ are two popular web server bundles used by large number of web developers and bloggers. They're extremely easy to install and provides a perfect environment to test your web project locally on your system. You can also change their configurations through user-friendly wizards as per your requirements.

Font managing software

Fonts are like veins and arteries of any web page. They are the backbone of typography. A large web project may use different types of fonts for different sections. Finding, testing and integrating multiple fonts on a single web project can be a headache. But font management software makes this task easy. You never need to install all the fonts on your system that may eat up your space.

Font manager

FontExplorer X is powerful font management software ideal for professional web developers. You can choose, preview and integrate a large number of fonts very easily with this software. It has several advanced features that let you work on different font stacks at the same time without consuming much system resources. You can use it both on Windows and Mac platform. It also works seamlessly with other professional web development tools without any conflicts.

Image editing software

No web development project is complete without images and illustrations. They're used liberally in every web project making websites more appealing and readable. Every good web developer is proficient in at least one popular image editing software. It's not just plain image editing, but various other aspects related to image manipulation like scaling, optimization, and special effects make your web project a successful attempt at delivering a good working website.

Image editing software

The most popular image editing software used by a large number of users across the globe is Adobe Photoshop. It's an all-in-one image editing solution providing you with tons of features. Some web developers also use free option like GIMP that is gaining massive popularity nowadays. Both this software require some experience to completely harness the power of all the available features. Once you get familiar with all the major features, all websites created by you are pimped up by improved and optimized images.

Screenshot capturing software

While developing a website, every web developer takes a screenshot for actual usage on the website or simply for testing or documentation. A handy screenshot capturing software is a must for every professional web developer. Good screenshot software includes a magnifier and different types of capturing options. I've used FastStone Screen Capture for all my screen capturing requirements and found it extremely robust and reliable.

Screenshot software

You can also send the captured image to different destinations through this software. This includes file, image editor, external applications, clipboard and much more. Web developers can configure their FTP login credentials to directly upload the captured images to their web server. This saves a considerable amount of time and speeds up the development process. You can also record small presentations through this screenshot capturing tool making it a complete screen grabbing solution.

In-browser live code inspecting tool

This is one of the best and essential tools to test your web pages directly within a web browser. All modern web browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome has inbuilt code inspection facility. To use this feature simply select the required portion of the web page, right click and press the 'Inspect element' option from the context menu. This opens up different tabs providing details about the code that is being inspected by you.

In-browser live code inspecting tool

This includes load times, scripts, CSS and HTML code, network resources being utilized and much more. It is generally used by professional web developers to find shortcomings or for optimizing the code for speed and reliability. It can also be used to know the entire timeline of how the web page loads in the web browser and where it stalls taking the most time. This greatly helps in removing the inefficient code thus improving the overall speed of the website.

Bonus tool: And last but not the least is a powerful Golden Ratio Typography Calculator to get the best typographical settings for the website under development.


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