Web development tools play an integral role in the development process. It’s almost impossible nowadays to build a web application without them. Thus, in this article we will provide you with the best tools on the market. Before we start, here’s a brief Q&A.

How to choose which tools to use?

To define tools for web applications development, consider these areas:

  • Define the stage of the project you will work on: Back-end development, Front-end development or Deployment;
  • See what software developer’s day is like. Note the tools he uses most during the day;
  • Have a look at the technology stack of the project. Technology stack should be selected by considering your project needs, not by considering the reviews and past experience.

How to evaluate these tools?

So, you have a list of tools you want to use in your project or learn. How do you evaluate them?

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Study the pros and cons of various tools. A team of professional web developers can do it with ease. Letting them decide will be a good decision. A correct set of tools will help you deliver a successful project.

Determine the budget that you can spend on the right tooling. The tools you’ve selected should be able to give you a good ROI.

Be sure to remember the following criteria:

  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Ease of use;
  • Scalability;
  • Customization.

Web development tools categories

A lot of these web development tools below are those we actually use at Flatlogic on a daily basis. We haven’t included all of them, but most of them are here. We hope you’ll find a new tool that will help you in your workflow. The tools and resources below are listed in no particular order, but split into groups for convenience.

Git Clients

Repository management systems are a crucial development component. It helps you manage changes to source code over time. Git clients help avoid critical situations when somebody makes a mistake, allowing you to roll the code back to the previous versions.

Libraries

Libraries are here to help you hit the ground running when building new websites. Libraries are file packages for styling and laying out your websites. Libraries are made up of ready-made forms, buttons, typography and other assets to make your app interactive.

Package managers/Task runners

Package managers and task runners help automate the process of installing, upgrading, configuring, removing and automating different components of application and workflow.

Error tracking/monitoring systems

Error monitoring helps software developers identify errors in real-time. It automatically detects bugs on your website or web application and gives you a clear view of how the user got to the error.

Css preprocessors

A CSS preprocessor is a language that, after it’s processed, gives you even more CSS features. A preprocessor also lets you write code that’s easier to read, maintain and share.

Front end assets

Front end assets help you with the look of your application: fonts, icons, photos, and graphics.

Developer tools

Developer tools let you track changes that you made in the code live, as well as find and understand issues.

Databases

A database is the collection of information/data which is stored. It can be retrieved, updated and managed at any time. 

Web application frameworks

Web Application Frameworks are designed to help you build web services, web resources and APIs.

API Tools

Web API Tools help with monitoring, creating, combining and tracking the software.

Tools

Looks like we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of web development tools and resources that can help you be more productive, stay informed, and become a better developer. Enjoy!

Git Clients

Github

Github logo

Purpose of use

To manage the versions of the codebase and for the collaborative development of applications.

Price

Free to $21/user per month

Website

https://github.com

Description

Github is the most popular and notable git client on the market. Along with its main purpose, Github provides several additional features such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project. This is one of the first tools every developer must know and be ready to use.

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Most of the development tools mentioned in this article actually have their code hosted on GitHub. That’s how pervasive GitHub is.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Desktop and web clients are robust, simple to learn, and easy to use;
  • Most of the software is hosted on Github;
  • Easy to learn interface;
  • It is like a social network for the developers.

Cons

  • Downtime issues;
  • Searching is not so good;
  • Traversing code is not easy.

Alternatives

Gitlab, BitBucket

Gitlab

Gitlab logo

Purpose of use

Managing the codebase versions and collaborative development of applications.

Price

From free to $99 per user per month

Website

https://about.gitlab.com

Description

Gitlab is similar to Github: a web-based tool providing users with a repository manager, wiki, issue-tracking, and many other features. Gitlab is open source and well known for its built-in Continuous Integration features, which are its main difference from GitHub.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Supports the entire CI/CD lifecycle;
  • Pipeline administration;
  • Issue tracking and wiki functionality.

Cons

  • Most users have UI issues.

Alternatives

Github, BitBucket

Libraries

React

React logo

Purpose of use

Developing and manipulating application’s user interface

Price

Free, MIT Licensed

Website

https://reactjs.org

Description

React is probably the most popular Javascript application framework right now. It is actively created and maintained by Facebook. It is very easy to use: many junior developers prefer to start their web development path with that library. React uses JSX, which allows for HTML quoting and HTML tag syntax to render components.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Easy to learn;
  • Large community;
  • SEO friendly;
  • Good performance.

Cons

  • Debugging is a little bit complex;
  • In some cases React is not suitable for big projects.

Alternatives

Angular, Vue

Bootstrap

Bootstrap logo

Purpose of use

Build UI of applications and websites

Price

Free

Website

https://getbootstrap.com

Description

Bootstrap is the most widely used and comprehensive UI package developed by the Twitter team. It comes with tools to normalize stylesheets, build modal objects, add JavaScript plugins. Bootstrap can cut down on the amount of code and time needed to build your project. Due to its popularity and pervasiveness, most web developers learn about Bootstrap at the early stages of their careers: at Flatlogic we recommend you do it as well.

Advantages of using Bootstrap

  • Provides fast development, saving your coding efforts;
  • Equipped with 12-column grid system and responsive layout which is very easy to use;
  • Facilitates abundant customization;
  • Extensive pre-built components.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Great documentation;
  • Supports responsive embeds;
  • A wide variety of themes;
  • Really big community.

Cons

  • Large file size out of the box;
  • Websites can start to look the same;
  • Non-compliant HTML.

Alternatives

Foundation, jQuery

Package managers

NPM

Npm logo

Purpose of use

Helping automate installing, upgrading, configuring, removing and automating applications.

Price

Free to $7 per month, Enterprise plan starts from $10k

Website

https://www.npmjs.com

Description

NPM is the default package manager for JavaScript. Npm will help you build amazing things through essential JavaScript tools. With help of NPM there will be no need to configure your application. With the enterprise solution, it provides additional features like industry-standard SSO authentication, dedicated private registry and invoice-based billing. It also helps web developers discover various packages of reusable code.

Like it happens with most of the other tools, you could live without npm. However, it really makes life easier for JavaScript developers.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Big community;
  • Audit feature;
  • More packages than rubygems, pypi, or packagist.
Cons
  • Performance issues.
Alternatives

Yarn, Grunt, Webpack

Yarn

Yarn logo

Purpose of use

Helping automate the processes of installing, upgrading, configuring, removing and automating applications.

Price

Free, BSD license

Website

https://yarnpkg.com

Description

Yarn is one of the newest package managers. It was built by Facebook. Developers love this tool mostly for its speed in comparison with NPM. Yarn supports NPM and Bower workflows, allowing to mix registries.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Performance;
  • Free to use.

Cons

  • Facebook is behind it.

Alternatives

NPM, Webpack

Error tracking/monitoring systems

Sentry

Sentry screenshot

Purpose of use

Tracks and triages issues in web applications and websites

Price

Free to $80 per month and custom price for Enterprise

Website

https://sentry.io/welcome

Description

Sentry helps developers quickly triage and resolve issues in deep context about errors. Just copy and past the piece of code into your application to start tracking issues. Sentry supports the following languages: JavaScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, Java, Node, iOS, Android, Go, and more. Sentry adds context to every issue that occurred, including the event history and actions that led up to every bug.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Easy installation;
  • Many integrations with different tools;
  • Excellent documentation.

Cons

  • It takes some time to triage issues;
  • It loses errors sometimes.

Alternatives

Rollbar, Bugsnag, TrackJs

TrackJS

Trackjs screenshot

Purpose of use

Track and triage issues in web applications and websites

Price

From $49 to $199 per month

Website

https://trackjs.com

Description

TrackJS automatically detects bugs on websites and gives a clear view of how the user got to the error. TrackJS catches errors from every user, every browser, and every framework. Errors are automatically tracked, enriched and analyzed. The TrackJS agent installs in minutes.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Easy implementation;
  • Great reporting.

Cons

  • Error tracing is not easy.

Alternatives

Sentry, Rollbar, Bugsnag

CSS preprocessors

Sass

Sass logo

Purpose of use

CSS extension language that helps to build good UI

Price

Free, MIT License

Website

https://sass-lang.com

Description

Most popular among Css preprocessors, Sass is the most mature and stable CSS extension language. It helps increase the functionality of the existing CSS at a website or web application, including use of variables, nested rules, mixing, and functions. Additionally Sass will help you share design within and across projects.

Features

  • Ability to organize large Stylesheets;
  • Supports Nesting, Variables, Loops, Arguments, etc.
  • Supports multiple inheritances.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Sass adds variables to css;
  • Reusable;
  • Supports nesting.

Cons

  • It takes time to learn it and use it.

Alternatives

Less

Front end assets

Google Fonts

Google fonts logo

Purpose of use

Improving visual part of application and saving time using Google API.

Price

Free

Website

https://developers.google.com/fonts

Description

Google Fonts is one of the favorite front-end assets among web developers: it has an incredible selection of fonts.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Standard look;
  • Fast response.

Cons

  • None.

Alternatives

Font Awesome, Unsplash

Developer tools

Chrome developer tools

Chrome dev tools screenshot

Purpose of use

Finding and fixing issues in web applications and website

Price

Free

Website

None

Description

Chrome developer tools help with debugging JavaScript, applying styles to HTML elements, messaging to indicate how a page is running, and optimizing website speed. It has the functionality to view and change the DOM and Page’s Style. With Chrome DevTools, you will be able to view messages, run & debug JavaScript in the Console, edit the pages on-the-fly, diagnose the problem quickly, and optimize the website speed.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • You already have it 🙂
  • Free cost;
  • The most helpful tool in web development.

Cons

  • None.

Alternatives

Developer tools in other browsers

Netlify

Netlify logo

Purpose of use

To host static web pages

Price

Free to $99 per month per member

Website

https://www.netlify.com

Description

Netlify is the greatest hosting and management solution for automating static websites. It has a generous free tier, which is great for simple websites. The interface is intuitive and straightforward, integrating with Github in one click and letting you deploy your website really easy.

Features

  • Connect to your repository;
  • Netlify allows fast builds, ranging up to 3 builds in just a minute;
  • Rolling back updates with a single click;
  • Custom redirects and rewrites;

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Integration with Git clients;
  • Most of users note that the service is very reliable;
  • Very intuitive A/B tests feature.

Cons

  • Service could get costly;
  • Logging is not good.

Alternatives

Github pages

Databases

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL logo

Purpose of use

Managing and hosting data

Price

Free, but you can donate

Website

https://www.postgresql.org

Description

This is a free open source database that facilitates the effective administration of databases by connecting them to the software. It is a stable, reliable and powerful solution with many advanced features.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Offers data security and support for transactional processing;
  • Gives complete workflow control;
  • Provide flexibility of open-source.

Cons

  • It may be slower than MySQL;
  • It takes time to improve performance.

Alternatives

MySQL, MongoDB

MongoDB

mongoDB logo

Purpose of use

Manage and host data

Price

Free to custom pricing

Website

https://www.mongodb.com

Description

MongoDB is a popular open source document-oriented database. It is often applied to Node.js. It is a general-purpose, document-based, distributed database. MongoDB’s winning feature is there is no restriction on schema design. MongoDB is an excellent choice if you’re not sure how to structure your data, or if you find predefining your schema tough.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Has a flexible schema;
  • Widely used for web applications;
  • Offers a great feature set.

Cons

  • It doesn’t support transactions;
  • Duplication of data.

Alternatives

Web application frameworks

Angular

Angular logo

Purpose of use

Development of web application’s user interface

Price

Free

Website

https://angular.io

Description

Angular is a popular Javascript framework created and maintained by Google. Originally released as AngularJS, in 2016 it was completely rewritten and is now officially referred to as Angular 2+. Angular will give you an environment that will be expressive, readable and quick to develop. It provides a toolset that will let you build the framework for your application development.

Features

  • It provides you the features of Data Binding, Controller, and Plain JavaScript; 
  • It supports Directives, Reusable Components, and Localization; 
  • It provides the features of Deep Linking, Form Validation, and Server Communication for Navigation, Forms, and Back ends.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • It is entirely free and has no hidden cost;
  • Bit community behind it;
  • It gives the option of writing client-side applications through the use of JavaScript and MVC.

Cons

  • Angular is a highly opinionated framework; 
  • Angular is like a large corporation with lots of processes developed through experience, which means that it is not flexible.

Alternatives

Vue, React

Vue

Vuejs logo

Purpose of use

Development of web application’s user interface

Price

Free

Website

https://vuejs.org

Description

Vue is an open-source Javascript framework for building user interfaces. It is worth paying attention to as it is gaining great popularity without the support of giants like Google and Facebook. 

Vue combines the best approaches of React and Angular and has a very cohesive, active, and large community that helps you cope with development problems. The same community is constantly coming up with new approaches to solving routine problems. As the contribution volume grows, the number of tools and libraries available becomes larger, too.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • The framework is very small;
  • Vue supports the component-based approach to building web apps;
  • Detailed documentation;
  • Easy to understand.

Cons

  • Reactivity complexity;
  • Not a good fit in large projects;
  • Lack of experienced developers.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails logo

Purpose of use

Development of website of web application backend

Price

Free

Website

https://rubyonrails.org

Description

Ruby On Rails is a web framework written on top of the Ruby programming language. Rails is particularly known for being easy to maintain and for opening many opportunities for dev-collaboration. Rails is opinionated, meaning it’s excellent for beginners as it makes a lot of the tough decisions for you. One of Rails core concepts is the MVC design pattern, which separates an application into models, controllers, and views.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • MVC approach;
  • Ease of maintenance;
  • Good reusability;

Cons

  • Speed issues.

Alternatives

Symphony, Express

Express

Express logo

Purpose of use

Development of website of web application backend

Price

Free

Website

https://expressjs.com

Description

This is one of the trending modular open source projects on Node.js. Express offers tremendous value since it makes HTTP requests efficient even when you are working with JavaScript, an out-of-browser and server-side language. Also, Express is a non-opinionated framework. It will be helpful with fulfilling the tasks related to app security and speed.

It is very often associated with the MEAN (MongoDB, Express, Angular, Node.js) stack used to build web applications.As a part of the MEAN.io framework stack, Express.js is also the optimal choice for building enterprise-size applications.

Notable features:

  • URL-based routing mechanism using the HTTP methods;
  • Various plugins and extensions support;
  • Easy database integration.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • High performance;
  • Socket connection;
  • Data streams.

Cons

  • Error messages are usually unhelpful;
  • It is not opinionated.

API Tools

Postman

Postman screenshot

Purpose of use

Collaboration platform for API development

Price

From $12 per month to custom pricing for enterprise plan

Website

https://www.postman.com

Description

Postman is a collaboration platform for API development, currently used by over 8 million developers. Postman helps to simplify each step of creating APIs and streamline the collaboration.

Cons and Pros

Pros

  • Many integrations;
  • Test runners support.

Cons

  • Complicated UI;
  • Documentation is not comprehensive.

Alternatives

Paw, HTTP Toolkit

Conclusion

We have selected these tools based on the popularity, features, and reviews. The ones we’ve included are great and have helped our developers at Flatlogic many times. Understanding where to use each of these tools is crucial: some of them are very specific. 

One last thing we wanted to note is that web development tools should be selected based on your unique project needs.

Thanks for reading! We wish you well on good projects and great tooling. If you want to know more about Flatlogic, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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