Tools Web Developers Should Be Familiar With In 2020

Web development is one of the most popular and exciting career paths in tech today. Because it is continuously evolving, it has quickly moved from making static HTML pages into producing highly interactive, synergetic web applications like Spotify, Netflix, Uber. 

The fast-paced nature of web development progress has put a hard strain on web developers. With the increased capabilities of modern tech tools, software engineers are now responsible for building more complex web apps using elaborate code.
But modern web development isn’t just about a deep understanding of programming languages. It is just as much about visuals, graphics, design, collaboration, responsiveness, and frameworks. But how can an online agency juggle so many things and make it happen? It turns out that competitive apps are the product of the collective effort of a very experienced and versatile team. Therefore, contemporary web developers have the unofficial requirement to hone other skills, apart from developing. Coding skill alone proves insufficient and possibly a very stagnant approach to web development excellence. Today, a great coder is also versatile in adjacent areas of expertise.

The modern developer’s toolbox is incomplete without the right design, prototyping, and collaboration tools to complement their technical work.

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Fortunately for web developers, they are not left on their own in the dark. They can use many of the readily available dev tools. With them, you increase efficiency and productivity, and they help you streamline the web design process. This article will look at some tools from various categories that every developer should be familiar with.

Developer Tools

This tool is usually embedded in modern browsers and does not need any additional configuration by the developer. The developer toolbox gives access to the internal workings of the web browser and HTML elements. You can use it to edit, style, inspect, debug, and even check the load performance in real-time.

Chrome Dev Tool

Chrome Developer Tools
Chrome Developer Tools

The Chrome Dev Tool is the most popular and efficient developer tool around. It resides directly into the Chrome web browser and lets you inspect and debug HTML, CSS, and Javascript pages on the fly, helping web developers build web pages faster.
To open the dev tool on your browser, right-click anywhere inside the browser window and select ‘Inspect’ or go to Settings > More Tools > Developer Tools.
Using a dev tool can be confusing for a newbie. There are eight panels/tabs, a CSS style window, and a debugging console. A device mode allows the developer to toggle different viewing ports and test for web pages or apps’ responsiveness.

Firefox Dev Tool

Firefox Developer Tools
Firefox Developer Tools

The Firefox developer tool is also a useful tool for live debugging. It is built into the Firefox Mozilla browser and requires no additional configuration. You can open the Firefox Developer Tools from the menu by selecting Tools > Web Developer > Toggle Tools or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + I or F12 on Windows and Linux, or Cmd + Opt + I on macOS.
Firefox and Chrome dev tools have almost identical features and functionalities. The former also has eight panels, including a responsiveness design mode, a JavaScript debugger, and a web console. These web development tools have a basic nature but the information they provide can be invaluable.

Code Editors (IDEs)

The real job of every developer is to write and maintain code. Code editors are text programs designed explicitly for code. Text editors also have a specialized name – they are called IDEs. IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment, which effectively is nothing else than Text Editors trimmed to understand a specifics programming language syntax. Although there are many text editors, some of which even come pre-installed on our computers, such as Notepad, they are useless for writing code.
Editors are vital because they automate the process of code building. They have qualities such as indentation, autocomplete, brace matching, and syntax highlighting. Software engineers are used to using all of these to speed up their typing and consequently be more efficient. Code editors also have add-ons, plugins, and libraries supporting specific programming languages, sanctioning dexterity. Since editors are key when it comes to making it easy for software engineers to be best at what they do, developers are naturally very fond of their code editors of choice. Once they settle on one, they usually stick with it for a very long time (sometimes for life).
As programming rises in popularity, more code editors become available to novelty-seeking web developers, including strictly online apps. Here are some of the best editors to choose from.

Atom

Atom Text Editor

Atom is an open-source editor for macOS, Windows, and Linux developed by GitHub. It is acclaimed as a hackable editor because it is very customizable and extensible with JavaScript packages. Atom has excellent features that make it stand out and is built with contemporary web technologies. It is free, and it has an inbuilt git version control system integrated with GitHub.
On the downside, when compared to other editors, it has a slower loading time.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text Editor

Sublime has been around for a long time - since 2008. It is built on Python, supports many programming languages, and is fast. Unlike Atom, it is not entirely free, although you can use the free version for a long time with limited functionalities and constant pop-ups, agitating you to go for the licensed version. Sublime Text’s main strong point is its simplicity and ease of use. Its downside is that it lacks a preloaded control tool.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code IDE

Visual Studio Code, also called Vscode, is a free IDE developed by Microsoft. It is connected to the cloud (changes are possible in real-time); it has a powerful IntelliSense feature (autocomplete) and has lots of plugins and extensions for a streamlined workflow. It supports Git, has an inbuilt debugger, and prides itself on having an elegant interface. Its only downside is probably its memory consumptions (notoriously hungry), and it can be quite a bit slow.

Version Control

Version Control is a management system that tracks changes made to documents or code. It marks 1) the person making the change, 2) the time change occurred, and 3) details about what changed.
Version control is a powerful tool for collaboration between developers. It provides a platform for easy staging and deploying of code to production servers. The work-based directory structure is consistent for everyone involved in a project, allowing many developers to work together on a project.
Above all, it is the oil that greases the wheel of remote work. With version control, developers can work together without the need to be in the same location. In demand version controls include:

GitHub

Github Version Control

GitHub (Git) is a decentralized version control system. A decentralized version control system is one in which there is no central codebase. Instead, a copy of the code history is mirrored on every developer’s computer.
Git makes use of the command line or terminal. You can clone, commit, update, and merge files using commands. Some developers find it challenging to work with or remember commands for each file activity. This is where GitHub comes in.
GitHub provides a visual interface or GUI for git version control features. It is downloaded to the desktop and allows the developer to perform the same activities as Git but without the command line.
Many employers require knowledge of GitHub as prerequisites to applying for web developer jobs.

Subversion

SVN Version Control

Apache Subversion is a centralized version control system. A centralized version control system is one in which all files sit in a central server, and every change is committed directly to that server.
With Subversion, it is easier to maintain integral security and to keep one official history. Subversion is also very easy to learn. But it is also relatively slow, as developers need to connect to the central server to work.
Choosing between a centralized or decentralized system depends on the company or team, although decentralized version control systems are much popular and recommended.

Cloud Infrastructures

Cloud computing is one of the current, innovative trends in technology today. Cloud infrastructures make use of central servers that are not maintained by the user. Cloud computing models include Platform as a Server (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). They allow businesses to share or rent resources needed to build and scale applications from the cloud service provider. PaaS significantly simplifies web application development for developers. Here are also some cloud tools to help scale applications. 

Heroku

Heroku is a PaaS that allows developers to create, build, and deploy applications entirely in the cloud. It is said to be a polyglot platform because it supports many languages, including PHP, Python, NodeJS, Scala, and Ruby. A developer could make an application available on the internet just by deploying it on Heroku.
Using Heroku, developers can focus on their core products relinquishing the hardware maintenance to the cloud service.
Asides from hosting, configuring, scaling, and deploying; Heroku cloud database (DBassS) service, based on PostgreSQL, allows developers to maintain and connect the database(s) for their applications.

Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud service platform that allows developers to host, deploy, and scale applications with an intuitive control panel. The technology boasts a robust cloud platform that handles the infrastructure, dependencies, and app runtimes of applications. They use SSD-based virtual machines, private networking, and IPv6 to automate and manage solutions.
Digital Ocean is relatively easy to understand and configure. With an intuitive interface and simple UI, they provide the best tools for server configuration and performance. They have different prices for different packages and use cloud firewalls to protect their servers. 

Netlify

Netlify is a cloud service that builds, deploys, and hosts front-end applications. It has a free starter pack for hosting, automated builds from Git, and instant rollback to any version.
Netlify is quite popular amongst frontenders as it works with Git version control that most developers are already familiar with. Learning and workflow curves are low – Netlify welcomes newcomers.
With Netlify, front enders can deploy their web applications, hooking up with their own CI, site hosting, and CDN.

Conclusion

Overlapping of skill sets has made web developers necessary to move outside the box and work with numerous tools to enhance their job. Web developers also need to be abreast of new tools to remain up-to-date in the ever-changing landscape of web development.
This article picks two or three web development tools in different categories to highlight. But these are not the only instruments per category. The web is abundant with digital support web developers need, and choosing the right one is a matter of preferences, application, and convenience.

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Author

Petar Petrov | Lead Software Engineer

Petar is a unique and extremely versatile software engineer with an immensely wide range of technologies he tackles within his day-to-day work. He is dubbed the fixer since computer code speaks to him like an open audiobook. Petar is the go-to person for when developers need advanced tips or high levels of individual contribution.