10 Web Developer Tools I Can’t Live WithoutWeb Design & Development
Despite what you might think, there is no “right” set of tools that every developer should be using. If you work in the web development field, you know the right tool is the one that’s best suited to your needs. For folks out there who might be looking for a new weapon or two to add to their arsenals, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favorite web developer tools that I use to improve productivity and simplify workflow.
For developers, an essential component of any toolkit is a solid text editor. When it comes to text editors, there is a multitude to choose from. Some are free and some are paid, but like most software, it usually comes down to the developer’s preference. Textmate is a super lightweight text editor that has an incredibly elegant, simple, and clean user interface.
All developers need a good test environment, whether it’s used for testing before uploading a new page to a website or as a way to work on a website project without an Internet connection. MAMP is a quick and painless way to setup Macintosh, Apache, MySQL, and PHP in the same environment.
Filezilla is one of the most widely used FTP clients, and it’s no wonder with its easy-to-use interface and features, as well as its free price tag. It uses a simple layout based on a two-pane interface, but don’t let this simplicity fool you—it’s actually a very powerful tool. There is a full-featured site manager, firewall and proxy support, SFTP, SSL and Kerberos GSS Security, restart, drag 'n drop, and a lot more.
When working with the command line, a built-in terminal is a great place to start, but sometimes they are not the most efficient or customizable. iTerm is my pick for the best terminal emulator for Mac OS X. For the most part, it feels a lot like the Terminal app that comes with Mac OS X, but there are plenty of additional features that make it a better option. Being able to copy and select text using your keyboard (as opposed to your mouse), map functions to specific keys, and call up a drop-down “visor” terminal window with a hotkey are all little things that make iTerm2 rock.
One of the major problems developers face in responsive design is creating icons that scale correctly—not just for physical dimensions but also based on screen size and the number of pixels per inch. The solution to this problem is icon fonts. Icon fonts give developers a means of adding custom icons to their designs that are accessible, scalable, and styleable. Icomoon is a nifty, easy-to-use app that allows users to create custom icon fonts. With over 3,800 free and open source icons available and the ability to generate crisp icon fonts locally and quickly, this service is light years ahead of the rest.
7. Sequel Pro
Sequel Pro is an open source MySQL database administration tool. The utility has a modern interface design and offers a wide range of features for both experienced and novice SQL developers. Sequel Pro allows developers to connect directly to most popular database servers using a single interface so they can work faster and more efficiently.
Virtualbox is a virtualization product that can be used to install and employ almost any operating system in existence. It provides a very important service by allowing developers to run one operating system within another in a completely different environment. The backend team at Papercut uses Virtualbox on a daily basis when we do browser testing. Need to know how a website looks on Windows 8 in Internet Explorer 9 but you’re working on a Mac? Virtualbox can show you, and it should be your go-to tool. It’s easy to use, extremely stable, very low on resources, and comes with a simple and comprehensive interface.
Our browser testing doesn’t just stop with desktop browsers. Building responsive sites means that we also need the ability to test on mobile and tablet devices. Xcode iOS Simulator is a great tool from Apple that gives a developer the ability to test their websites in iPhone and iPad simulators on their desktop. This can save a lot of money by preventing companies from having to invest in the actual technology for testing purposes.
This might be the most important web developer tool on my list… seriously. Looking at lines of code all day can be draining, and after a while, everything starts to look the same. To make sure I stay alert and on my toes, there’s always a cup of coffee on my desk. I even have a mini hot plate to make sure it stays warm. If letters and numbers are starting to blur together, get yourself a cup!