Just like carpenters have tools they wouldn't start a job without, web development tools can significantly streamline creating website content.
The good news? There's no shortage of web development tools — many options are available. The not-so-good news? This surplus makes finding the best tools that much trickier.
Whether you're seeking web development tools for beginners or experienced developers, these programs help reduce friction in the website content creation process. We've done the research for you and found the best web development tools examples available.
What are web development tools?
Maybe you've heard the term “devtools” used as a nickname. Nevertheless, the definition is the same. The term “web development tools” refers to software and apps that provide web developers with the ability to debug and test the code and interface of the website or application they're creating.
Technically speaking, the term “web development tools” refers to the products used to debug and test. However, most industry insiders instead use the phrase to refer to the sum of tools they use during the development process. Because many developers don't distinguish between the two, we've rounded up 25 of the software applications that developers utilize daily to create functional sites and apps. If you're already working in the field, you'll see some familiar names.
Front-End vs Back-End Web Development Tools
When discussing tools, it's also helpful to note the distinction between front-end and back-end website development.
Front-end developers are responsible for creating the interface and functions that the user engages with and sees. A front-end developer's job is client-facing and works around the visual aspects of an app or website that the user sees. On the contrary, back-end development refers to the server-side of the website, the part that users can’t see.
Why are web development tools helpful?
Once you learn more about some web development tools examples, you'll quickly realize why these are essential. The best web development tools will streamline the process of site creation. As a result of effectively working with these tools, developers will end up with functional, attractive, easy-to-use products more quickly than otherwise.
What are some characteristics of the best web development tools?
While web development tools vary significantly, they do have some similarities. Here are some characteristics to watch for when considering new web development tools.
They don't complicate things.
The best web development tools will be relatively intuitive and easy to learn. After all, what's the point of having a tool that further complicates the process?
They work well together.
Some web development tools are extremely niche, while others offer many features. Some developers prefer products with a wider breadth of functionality. Others prefer to curate a tech stack of highly niche tools. Regardless, ensure your tools integrate smoothly.
They keep your data secure.
Security always comes first. Never work with a web development tool that is potentially faulty or could put your company's or customer's data in harm's way. Sticking to well-regarded, well-known web dev tools is the best way to avoid ones with poor security measures.
They are scalable.
If a web development tool isn't at least semi-applicable to large and small-scale projects, it might not be worth incorporating into your tech stack.
They’re within your budget.
Web development tools vary in cost but keep in mind that you should only work with products within your price point. You wouldn't want to get acclimated with a tool only to find out that it's impractical to keep because of the price tag.
What are the 25 best web development tools?
Now that you understand why web development tools are helpful, it's time to share some of our favorites. We've rounded up the following web development tools examples because they balance function with ease of use.
And, most importantly, they'll help you delight your customer — which should be central to everything you do.
1. Sublime Text
This front-end web development tool is a code editor for macOS that features a rapid, efficient, intuitive interface.
What we like: Sublime Text is considered to be one of the best text editors because it offers various keyboard shortcuts. These enable quick navigation and provide the ability to perform simultaneous edits, to name a few functions. If you're looking for web development tools for beginners and pros alike, you'll read accolades of Sublime Text repeatedly.
Atom is a free, open-source text editor. One of the reasons Atom is so well-loved is because it offers high levels of customization.
If you've ever made a mistake when working on a new project feature (and who hasn't?), GitHub will save the day. When you roll out your project using this service, you gain the ability to see any changes you've implemented. You can even refer to your previous state.
What we like: If that weren't enough, GitHub allows you to work together more effectively. You can add co-authors to your commit, which simplifies the collaboration process. If you’re building open-source software, GitHub is the go-to platform for most developers.
Sass (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets) is a CSS preprocessor that enhances the functionality of regular CSS, allowing it to work more like a programming language. Some notable features include nested rules, inheritance, mix-ins, and variables.
What we like: Sass allows you to make your workflow more effective and efficient. You'd see the same great results with traditional CSS but get there much quicker using this product.
What we like: Worried about missing bugs? TypeScript has your back. You'll save time and can spend your effort elsewhere.
6. Chrome's DevTools
We have to hand it to Chrome's built-in web development tools: they are *that* good. Whether you use them on Chrome or Safari, you'll gain the ability to access the internals of your website application.
What we like: Chrome's DevTools help you optimize your loading times and allow you to edit HTML or CSS in real-time while viewing a performance analysis of your site. These tools are also updated regularly.
CodePen should be included on every list of the best web development tools for beginners because it is intuitive and user-friendly. However, that's not to say seasoned experts can't benefit from using this beloved web development tool, either.
What we like: You can view your results in real-time to debug your site more efficiently. There are also thousands of publicly accessible pens created by developers that you can use for inspiration.
What we like: You can thank jQuery for providing greater scope for crafting animations, navigating documents, and even implementing plug-ins.
If you're interested in front-end frameworks, you've likely heard of Bootstrap. This CSS framework was crafted by the developers who created Twitter. It has gained momentum because Bootstrap simplifies the process of designing mobile-first, responsive websites.
What we like: Mobile-friendly development is a must for successful websites and apps these days, and Boostrap bakes mobile-first design into your code from the start. You'll also enjoy that it comes with an SVG icon library to enhance the Bootstrap sites you create.
Looking to simplify creating a website but wondering where to begin? Foundation can answer that question for you. Foundation offers an array of front-end frameworks you can use to start building your customizable website and email designs quickly and efficiently.
What we like: Not only does Foundation offer optimized HTML themes, but you will also enjoy using building blocks to craft something unique to your company in an approachable way.
The best web development tools are scalable, and Django certainly earns points in this territory. This free and open-source Python framework is used by household names such as Uber and Instagram to rapidly build scalable web apps.
What we like: Whether you're starting with web development tools for beginners or you have years of experience working with Python, you'll find Django user-friendly and intuitive when you start.
What we like: You may have heard other developers discussing the Command-line interface. This allows the opportunity to develop, initialize, and scaffold Angular apps directly from the command line for ease of use.
We can't understate the importance of APIs, which is why you'll quickly realize how a web development tool that will help you best harness their power is significant. Alternatively, creating your API could lead to further adaptation for your company. If you're building APIs, don't miss out on Postman. This API building and testing platform simplifies creation and allows for enhanced collaboration.
What we like: 20 million developers utilize Postman for their API needs. We think that says enough.
Figma calls itself a collaborative interface design tool. You'll find that working together is easier with the help of this user-interface tool. Whether you're looking to draw up an application, website, logo, or beyond, Figma will equip you with the tools to do so successfully.
What we like: Figma is free, so if you're in growth mode and looking to make the most of your resources, it can be incredibly impactful.
15. Visual Studio Code
This is another fan favorite for developers. Though this product is technically a text editor, it can elevate to new levels using the extension library. Then, the product meets a variety of your web development tool needs — whatever they may be.
PHP developers often rave about this web service stack, especially if they're crafting WordPress products. It comprises MariaDB, PHP, and Perl. You can install this cross-platform tool on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
What we like: There are many apps available, and you can also choose from an array of add-ons for greater flexibility.
At first glance, Notepad++ doesn't seem like a particularly unique or up-to-date code editor. However, don't allow its simple design to overshadow its capabilities. This is one of the best web development tools for beginners as it helps with simple scripts, and you can use it for general text editing. Keep in mind that this editor is only available on Windows.
What we like: Notepad++ supports almost 80 programming languages with both code folding and syntax highlighting.
Developers love this design app for MacOS, as it's easy to use and offers many functions. Whether you're looking for vector editing capabilities to constraint resizing and beyond, you'll find Sketch is a helpful solution to all of your design questions.
What we like: This tool also has collaborative functionality so that you can create with your team.
If you're a web developer who works with Java, you're likely familiar with this tool. With the help of REST-assured, you can test and validate REST services — very valuable in today's API economy.
What we like: Save time and energy by automating boilerplate code necessary to coordinate HTTP connections and more.
If you're new to the developer game, you may be familiar with this tool. According to ProtoPie, they offer the easiest route to transform interactive design ideas into tangible prototypes.
What we like: Because this tool is no-code, ProtoPie is still accessible to beginners.
If you'd like a visual representation of what's in your Git repository, you'll love this Atlassian product. SourceTree isn't a host, but a graphical user interface used to manage your code files and changes in a more intuitive way.
What we like: It integrates easily with other products, including Bitbucket.
22. Tailwind CSS
Tailwind CSS offers a route to design the front end of your website. The catch? You don't have to leave HTML. This product is for a disciplined, patient developer, but if its capabilities fit what your project requires, it might just be the perfect tool for you.
What we like: You can develop both style and structure simultaneously with this tool.
You didn't think we'd round out a list of best web development tools without mentioning package managers, did you? Yarn is a Meta package manager that gained traction thanks to its stability and speed.
What we like: This product wears many hats — it's also an excellent project management mechanism.
If you’re good at coding, you will enjoy using Framer to create interactive, customized prototypes that add value and insight. It’s like a design tool and a website builder in one, allowing users to instantly publish their work to their site after finalizing it inside the design tools.
What we like: You can craft websites, design systems, apps, and even video game interfaces with this tool. Its capabilities are essentially limitless.
25. Firefox DevTools
Sure, Chrome is a buzzy browser, but don't forget about Firefox. Firefox offers a variety of helpful developer features, such as those that help view a website's source code, storage, memory, and even a debugger.
What we like: Those looking for web development tools for beginners will enjoy Console, which is an excellent way to try out snippets and get a basis of coding knowledge.
The best web development tools are those that work best for your business.
If you ask 100 developers, 'What are the quintessential web development tools?' You'll get 100 different answers. Of course, each developer has their favorites — and the best web development tools are those that fit the needs of your business.