The best tools to improve your development workflow

Antonio Cucciniello

November 01st, 2017

For thoseweb developers out there who are looking for some tools that can help them become more productive and efficient, this list is for you. I will go through some of the basic tools you can take a look at in order to become a better web developer.

Text editors

First off, where do we write our code? That's right, in text editors. You need to have a text editor that you trust and one that you love. I have used a couple that I will recommend that you check out.

Currently I am using Atom. It is a text editor that is minimal but can have plenty of features added to it. You may install various plugins that make things easier, or connect it to things like GitHub for your source control needs with your project.

Another text editor I use is Sublime Text. This is extremely similar to Atom. It is actually a little faster to open than Atom as well. The only issue with this editor is that when you are using the free version, it asks you to donate or buy every couple of times you save a file. This can get annoying, but nonetheless, it's still a very powerful editor.

The main key here is to find something that you love. Stick with it, and learn the ins and outs of it. You want to become a pro with it. This will greatly increase your productivity if you know your text editor inside and out.

Source control

High on the list of must have tools for web development, or even just development in general, is a form of Source Control. You need a place to backup your code and save in multiple states. It also allows for better and easier collaboration between multiple people working in different branches.

I recommend using git and GitHub. The user interface is very friendly and the two integrate seamlessly. I have also used Subversion and AWS Code Commit, but these did not leave as great as impression as GitHub did.

Source Control is very important, so make sure that you have selected it and use it for every project. It also doubles as a place to display your code over time.

Command line interfaces

This is not a specific tool per say, because it is already part of your computer. If you have a Mac or Linux, it is terminal. If you have Windows it is the command shell. I recommend learning as many of the commands that you can. You can do things like create files, create directories, delete files, edit files, and so much more. It allows you to be so much more productive. You must think of this as your go to tool for plenty of things you end up doing.

Pro Tip for Windows Users: I personally do not like the Windows Command Prompt nearly as much as the Unix one. Look into using Cygwin, which allows you to use Unix commands on a windows command prompt.

Debugging

If you are doing anything in web development you need to be able to debug your code. No one writes perfect code and you will inevitably spend time fixing bugs. In order to reduce time spent on bugs, you should look into a tool that can help you with debugging. 

Personally, if you are using Google Chrome, I suggest using Chrome DevTools. It allows you to set breakpoints, edit code, and manipulate page elements as well as checking all CSS properties of the different HTML elements on the page. It is extremely powerful and can help you when debugging to see what is happening in real time on the webpage.

HTTP client

I believe you need something like Postman to test HTTP requests from web services. It makes it extremely easy to test and create APIs. You can make all different types of requests, pass in whatever headers you want, and even see what the response is like! This is important for any developer who needs to make API requests. 

So, there you have it. These are the best tools for web development, in my opinion. I hope this list has helped you get started in improving your web development workflow. Always be on the lookout for improving your toolset as time goes on. You can always improve, so why not let these tools make it easier for you? 

About the Author 

Antonio Cucciniello is a Software Engineer with a background in C, C++ and JavaScript (Node.Js) from New Jersey.  His most recent project called Edit Docs is an Amazon Echo skill that allows users to edit Google Drive files using your voice.  He loves building cool things with software, reading books on self-help and improvement, finance, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter @antocucciniello, and follow him on GitHub here: https://github.com/acucciniello.