What’s in my Web Developers Toolbox?
I’ve been developing websites for what seems like an eternity. Over the years I have tried and tested various tools both free and paid. Here is my current list of tools and resources that I recommend.
As I mentioned in the previous article, the computer you use and the operating system doesn’t matter that much. You can successfully use Linux, Windows or Mac OSX. You don’t need a Super Computer to create websites or to use most programming languages.
There is a caveat to this. I tend to enjoy using a multi monitor setup. It allows me to be more productive. I can have various applications open on each screen. This helps when referencing the documentation while coding at the same time.
Basically most modern computers or laptops can support at least one external monitor. Ideally you could have 2 monitors or at most I would recommend 3 monitors. Beyond that you see diminishing returns when it comes to productivity. BenQ GL2460HM 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor (Yes, that is an AFFILIATE LINK, using it will cost you nothing extra and helps to support this website.) This is a good monitor to go with since it’s affordable. You could probably get 2 or 3 of them if your computer supports that many.
What computer and operating system (OS) do I use?
I actually use all three. My choice to be OS agnostic is because I have a fundamental belief that as a technologist, I have to be able to work with various systems.
Premium Text Editors and IDE’s (Integrated Development Environment)
In the previous article I mentioned some amazing free text editors that I still use the vast majority of the time. They are fast, efficient and do what they are supposed to do. But if you’re looking for a Premium IDE then there is one that I highly recommend.
PHPStorm is considered the best of the best when it comes to IDE’s. It really helps you code better by helping you debug, follow proper coding standards. Integrated Version Control and debugging features are just some of the high level functionality this editor provides. PHPStorm costs $89 for the first year, $71 for the second year and then is just $53 per year after.
Sublime Text 3 is a freemium text editor that is a favorite among web developers. It is amazingly fast, easy to use and provides you with the ability to extend it with various packages that give it almost IDE level functionality. The cost of this editor is just $70. When version 4 comes out you will be able to upgrade at a significantly reduced price. Note: you can evaluate the text editor for an unlimited period of time without limitations on functionality. So paying is optional.
Just like most professions out there, it is important to stay on top of your craft as a web developer. You can stay current by reading all the documentations on the various programming languages but there are also some really good online training sites I recommend.
- Team Treehouse – (The link is a referral link that gives a 50% discount) This website starts at just $25 per month and the videos are high quality. They also test what you have learned which is beneficial when you want to gauge how much you’re learning. They also have an active community which helps you connect with others when you’re having difficulty.
- Lynda– has been around for a very long time. Lynda was recently purchased by LinkedIn and covers topics ranging from Web Development, Graphic Design, Videography, Photography and more. It also starts at just $25 per month.
Free Tools I Use
Chrome Developer Tools / Firefox Developer Tools & Firebug
Learn more about these tools
Google Fonts is another resource I enjoy using. It is a service provided by Google with a variety of free fonts. Sometimes you want a font that looks different.
Colorzilla is a great tool that helps you analyze what colors are being used by websites and helps create some nice looking gradients.
Bootstrap is a great framework to use. It is the most widely used responsive framework that helps make websites look great on all devices.
Foundation Is another popular framework that provides very clean styling.
WordPress powers over 25% of the web. It is free software to use for personal and commercial websites. It puts the power in the hands of website owners. You can literally use it to create whatever type of website you want. You can extend it with plugins and change the way it looks by using different themes.
There are plenty of Free and Paid for Themes and Plugins to choose from.
Filezilla is a free FTP software that provides a great way to upload and download files from your remote server. I recommend you use SFTP so you can secure your connection. Security is important.
My toolbox changes often as new tools come out. If you run a google search for web developers tool box, you will find that most developers will differ on their choices of what to use. I am amazed at how many great options are out there. It’s a testament to the talent that exists out there.
If you want to see what else I recommend using check out how to become a WordPress Developer for Free.
Hopefully this article was helpful. Check out some of our other articles on various topics and don’t forget to share. Till next time.