best web development tools

For businesses to cope in the information age, hiring a team of skilled developers is paramount. But for those developers to create top-class applications, you’ll need to provide them with the best web development tools.

The field of web development has a number of frameworks, languages, and text editors to help streamline your development process, but with so many available it can be difficult to determine whether you’re making the right decision.

Before you decide on any tools, you’ll need to decide on the focus of your application, the size of your development team, and the time it’ll take to create and deploy your app.

After you’re made those decisions, if you’re unsure of the tools that suit your needs, Pearson Frank has listed some of the best web development tools your team can’t live without.

Top text editors for web development

Notepad++

Compatible with a huge number of popular programming and markup languages, Notepad++ is probably the best-known text editor on the market. Providing features such as syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and the simultaneous editing of coding within different files, it is also compatible with a huge range of plugins that can increase its efficiency.

Download Notepad++

Sublime

Categorised as one of the most sophisticated text editors available, Sublime was developed using a Python API and supports a multitude of programming and markup languages.

Maintained by an active community following under an open-source license, some of the top features of the text editor include the simultaneous editing of code, an adaptive command pallet, and extensive customisation through extra plugins and file settings.

Download Sublime

Atom

A free, hackable text editor that makes everything customisable, Atom is perfect for developers who like to have complete control over their applications. Born out of the GitHub developer community, the freedom gained by using Atom allows developers to work on multiple files at one time.

The base version of Atom comes with an inbuilt autocompletion feature and file system browser, but with the addition of open-source plugins through the package installer, it can be used to create all types of web and software applications.

Download Atom

Vim

Topping the rankings as one of the most powerful text editors available, Vim can be used across every operating system to develop web applications. Offering developers the chance to utilise tools such as macro recording and playback, Vim also provides historical support for pieces of code that are commonly used during development.

Download Vim

TextMate

Every business will prefer to use a specific operating system, and if you’ve decided to go with Apple technology, TextMate should be at the top of your list when it comes to text editors.

A general purpose graphical user interface (GUI) designed exclusively for OS X, TextMate is a free, open-source application, that comes complete with declarative customisations, recordable macros, and an extendable bundle system that allows for the building of apps in any programming language.

Download TextMate

Top frameworks for web development

Ruby on Rails

A server-side web development framework, Ruby on Rails (ROR) was built using the Ruby programming language. Predominantly used by developers who work exclusively with Ruby, it is a very predictable and stable framework that allows your business to create websites quickly.

Download Ruby on Rails

Meteor.js

Built on top of Node.js, Meteor is an open-source isomorphic framework that allows developers to create web applications in real time. Optimised for use with Node, Meteors integration with MongoDB enables developers to change applications without the need to write any synchronisation code.

Download Meteor.js

Express.js

A framework used exclusively by the Node.js programming language, Express.js is a piece of open-source software that can assist with the creation of web applications and APIs.

Although this framework is powerful, if you choose to develop an application using only Node, your developers may be pigeonholed into using this framework, so you should be fully aware of all the external features and plugins available to your business.

Download Express.js

Django

Developed using Python, Django is a very popular framework used to create complex data-driven applications. A very stable framework with added security and authentication features, if your development is forced to stick to strict deadlines, Django can help them to make apps very quickly.

Download Django

 

Top PHP tools

PHPStorm

When developing for a specific programming language, your business may favour one IDE, but the one that tops the rankings for PHP developers is PHPStorm.  Packed full of features to assist with rapid web development, it is compatible with many PHP frameworks, and also runs effectively with Magento and WordPress.

Download PHP Storm

 

PHPUnit

Testing an application is an integral part of the development process, so you’ll need the right tool to get the job done. PHPUnit is a flexible, easy-to-use testing framework that allows your development team to create and run tests on PHP code before they’re deployed to a client-facing web server.

Download PHP Unit

Zend

A free open-source framework, Zend is a primary choice for businesses who work with the PHP programming features. Optimised for use with the latest version of the PHP programming languages, Zend is packed full of features to assist with web development such as in-built application monitoring, caching, and a web-based admin console.

Download Zend

Laravel

One of the best frameworks to use when developing in the PHP programming language, Laravel is an open-source application that has risen to popularity thanks to its elegant and expressive syntax. Allowing a team of developers to create web applications of all shapes and sizes, its flexibility improves the development process without removing functionality.

Download Laravel

XDebug

The standard PHP debugger, XDebug is an extension that can be implemented with most IDEs and is supported by other text editors where it’s not already inbuilt. Something that can be used by developers across your entire business to identify bugs within code, many organisations are already using the tool without actively knowing it.

Download Xdebug

Top Tools for JavaScript Development

Node.js

If your business is looking to execute every application using Javascript, the one tool you should have in your arsenal is Node.js. Allowing your development team to run JavaScript outside of a traditional web browser, it gives developers the capacity to write command line tools and produce dynamic web content before pushing them to a client-side server.

Download Node.js

 

AngularJS

Created by Google, AngularJS is a structural framework used to create dynamic, single-page web applications. Allowing developers to use HTML as a template language for front-end web development, it removes a lot of the extra code needed to write applications, and also eliminates the requirement for additional plugins.

Download Angular JS

 

Knockout.js

A standalone JavaScript framework that operates using the model-view-view-model pattern, Knockout.js allows your development team to bind HTML elements to a data model. Easily usable with other web technologies, Knockout simplifies the management of complex data, binds the elements of a UI to a data model, and updates your UI when that data model changes using dependency tracking.

Download Knockout.js

 

ReactJS

An open-source JavaScript library, ReactJS is one of the top web developer tools available to assist with the development of single-page web applications. Allowing developers to change data within a web page without the need to reload it, it is a fast, scalable and simple application that is very easy for all developers to learn.

Download Reactjs

 

Vue.js

Used to build users interfaces, Vue.js another open-source JavaScript framework that has risen to popularity within the web development community. An incrementally adoptable application, it’s very straightforward to use due to the structure of the framework, and allows your dev team to handle both small and large templates when building an application.

Download Vue.js

Underscore.js

When using JavaScript to create an application, your developers will need the right libraries at their disposal. Underscore.js is a utility library that includes many of the useful functions required to handle some of the most common development use cases. Similar to other popular development libraries, many of its features replicate those that are used with Ruby and Prototype.js.

Download Underscore.js

Lodash

Drawing inspiration from Underscore.js, Lodash is another JS library that provides a utility function for everyday programming tasks. Allowing developers to simplify the managing and editing of objects, its manipulating and testing techniques make it an invaluable tool for a developer to have in their arsenal.

Download Lodash

Backbone.js

A popular JavaScript library, Backbone.js is a lightweight, cross-platform tool that connects to your existing API over RESTful JSON interface. Providing an explicit structure to web applications with models that have specific key values, collections of enumerable functions, and declarative event handling, it was designed to work alongside single-page web applications.

Download Backbone.js

Bootstrap

If you’re looking for a framework that specialises specifically in front-end web development, look no further than Bootstrap. Used for designing websites and web applications, it contains HTML and CSS-based templates that help with the implementation of buttons, navigation, and also includes other required JavaScript extensions.

Download Bootstrap

Specific Frontend Developer Tools

Chrome DevTools

Built directly into the web browser, Chrome DevTools allows developers to edit pages on the fly, which can lead to quicker diagnosis of problems, and the faster building of web applications. Offering a whole host of tools that allow for the debugging of JavaScript, memory profiling and application diagnostics, it’s something every web developer should be familiar with.

Download Chrome DevTools

Grunt

A JavaScript task runner, Grunt is an automation tool that can be used to perform many of the tasks frequently undertaken by web developers including compilation, unit testing, and linting. Written using Node.js, there are a myriad of plugins compatible with the software to improve performance and tailor it to suit the exact needs of your business.

Download Grunt

Gulp

Looking for a top JavaScript toolkit to solve the repetitive tasks your developers face on a daily basis? Gulp is an open-source tool that assists with frontend development, and allows your team of developers to automate regularly occurring tasks such as code analysis, unit testing, and bundling libraries and stylesheets.

Download Gulp

Web development programming languages

PHP

Predominately used as a server-side scripting language, PHP (Hypertext Processor), is an open-source programming language that web developers use to create static websites or web applications. Also a general-purpose programming language, it can be used alongside some other web development languages and frameworks, and can also be embedded into HTML Code.

Download PHP

JavaScript

One of the core technologies associated with web development, JavaScript, often abbreviated to JS, is a client-side scripting language that runs inside a web browser to provide rich functionality to a website. Supporting both object-oriented and prototype-based programming, JavaScript can run alongside HTML and CSS and allows web pages to have interactive elements.

 

Learn JavaScript

 

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language is the standard programming language used to create web pages and web applications. One of the cornerstones of web development, the language consists of a series of shortcodes typed in a text file, that is saved as an HTML file and viewed through a browser.

Learn HTML

Ruby

An open-source, object-oriented programming language, Ruby is one of the most portable programming languages available. Working across most UNIX-based platforms, Ruby is simple in appearance but has the capacity for your development teams to perform complex tasks. A flexible programming language, it allows developers using the language to code freely, and enables them to redefine, remove and add to existing code.

Download Ruby

CSS

When creating any web application, you’ll want it to attract your target audience, and that is where CSS comes into play. Providing added accessibility to the content on your website, it allows you to tailor the presentation of your web pages on various devices. Independent of HTML, although they work well together, CSS can run alongside any XML language.

Learn CSS

SASS

Compiled using CSS, SASS is a pre-processor open-source scripting language that consists of two syntaxes. Compatible with CSS, it extends the capabilities of that language by providing it extra features such as variables and syntactic sugar, and making the entire CSS coding process simpler for your business.

Learn Sass

Less

Another pre-processor style sheet language compiled into CSS, Less in an open-source development tool that runs on the client-side of a server. Using an indented syntax, it allows your development team to use variables, nesting and enables the real-time compilation of code via less.js in a browser.

Learn Less

Code management systems

Git

A version control system, Git is primarily used to manage the source code of an application. Often used to coordinated changes within a file distributed between developers within your business, Git can also track and monitor every change made to an application.

Aimed at increasing the speed of development and to support non-linear workflows, every Git directory stored on a computer is a full repository, with full version tracking available.

GitHub

If you’re looking for a secure web-based hosting service to store your code, look no further than GitHub. Providing developers with all the tools Git has to offer, and a few added extras, it includes access control, bug tracking, and task management for every task stored on the servers.

Download Git

SourceTree

Providing an alternative way to work with Git through the GUI instead of the command line, SourceTree is a tool that simplifies version control. Supporting the large files that your development team will create, it offers local commit search, allowing your developers to search for files and code already committed within an application.

Download SourceTree

GitKraken

An open-source client, Gitkraken is a cross-platform application that works seamlessly on any Windows or Linux operating system. A 100% standalone product, it works directly with your repositories, which means your developers won’t need to have Git already installed on their network.

Download GitKraken

Top servers for web development

Apache

Apache products are top notch when it comes to every aspect of development, and if your business is looking for a web server, then look no further than Apache HTTP server. Many of the instances of the server run on Linux, but there are also versions available on Windows and OSX.

Supporting server-side programming languages such as PHP, Apache features configurable error messages, DBMS-based authentication, and GUIs, it can also be freely adapted to suit the specific needs of a server.

Download Apache

Nginx

A highly scalable open-source web server, Nginx is a web server utilised as a load balancer and HTTP cache. Using an asynchronous event-driven approach to handle development requests, the architecture of this web server allows it to operate more predictively for your developer when higher loads are pushed through the server.

Download Nginx

Other web development tools

PHP Development Tools

Working alongside the Eclipse, PHP development tools brings together all the necessary kit needed to develop an application within the IDE. Using the tools that are already inbuilt in the application, it provides developers with a debugging tool, code templates, a formatter, and code navigation.

Download PHP Development Tools

JSON

Standing for JavaScript Object Notation, JSON is an open-standard file format that uses human-readable text to transmit data objects such as attribute value pairs and array data types.  Based on a subset of JavaScript, it offers a more compact way to transport information across a network and can use with Ajax application to create web apps.

Download JSO

jQuery

A feature-rich JavaScript library, jQuery is a fast and small tool that makes the traversal and manipulation of HTML documents easier. Combined with Ajax, it works across a multitude of browsers to help developers successfully write JavaScript.

Download jQuery

When selecting the right tools, it can come down the preference of your team of developers, and you’ll need to be mindful they may want to continue using that tool or framework to develop your application.

However, you’ll also need to consider the tools that suit the needs of your application the most and to complete and deploy a web app; you may need to combine a number of the tools we’ve listed.

Hopefully, our handy guide will give you an insight into which of them will match your development plan.

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