The Web Developer’s Toolbox: 5 Essential Programs for Success
As a web developer, you rely on various tools to help you build amazing websites. Whether you are coding up a storm in Sublime Text, designing in Figma, setting up your local development environment with Lando, or managing your website with a CMS like Drupal or WordPress, the right tools can make all the difference. In this blog post, I will take a look at five essential programs that every web developer should be using!
1. A Tool for Coding
The most essential skill of a web developer is the ability to code. And, no, Microsoft Word won't do. You need a program designed specifically for coding, like Sublime Text or Atom. These programs offer useful features such as syntax highlighting, code auto-completion, and project management. Plus, they just make your life a whole lot easier.
2. A Tool for Design
But coding isn't everything. You also need to have an eye for design and be able to create aesthetically pleasing websites. This is where a program like Figma comes in handy. It allows you to design web pages and collaborate with other designers, all within one platform.
3. A Tool for Local Development
Once you've designed and coded your website, you need a way to test it out before pushing it live. This is where a local development suite like Lando comes in. It allows you to set up a local web server and manage your databases, making it easy to test and debug before going live.
4. A Tool for Content Management
Having a web server is great, but it's not enough to just have static HTML pages. Many web developers use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal to manage their web content and make updates easily. Plus, CMSs often have tons of plugins and themes available to extend their functionality.
5. A Tool for Hosting
Finally, you'll need a hosting service to actually put your website out there for the world to see. A reliable hosting provider, like Cloudflare or AWS, will ensure that your website stays up and running with minimal downtime.
The Tools I Use
Now that I've introduced you to the essential tools every web developer should use, here's a rundown of some of the ones I use when working with clients.
For coding, I use Sublime Text. I came up during a time when Dreamweaver was the premiere coding tool of choice. And, boy, did it suck! It was cumbersome to use and often caused more headaches than it was worth. Sublime Text was a game changer for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone in web development. My favorite feature is Packages, which allow you to add additional functionality to your program like code auto-completion and linters.
For design, I love Figma. Its ability to easily collaborate with clients has been a lifesaver for me. I also really appreciate its integration with web development, making it easy to export assets and generate code snippets. If you have any familiarity with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, you'll pick up Figma quickly.
As for my local development, I use Lando (with Docker) to allow me to build and test custom code using server-side languages like PHP. It's been a huge help in streamlining my web development process, and I highly recommend it to any web developer out there.
For CMS, I use Webflow! I have experience in WordPress and Drupal, but for my business, Webflow is the perfect fit. It has a user-friendly interface with hosting plans and countless integrations. Onboarding clients is a snap, so they can maintain their website without having to hire an in-house team. If you want to learn more about the benefits of Webflow, read my blog post, 5 Reasons Webflow is the Best Choice for Your Next Website Project.
So why would I need a hosting service if Webflow offers it in-house? Well, as much as I love Webflow, it has its limitations. Two of the biggest I've encountered are custom code length and file size limits. When I need a little more space, I turn to AWS' S3 buckets, which I can brand with a custom domain and serve through an SSL certificate for security.
Sublime Text, Figma, Webflow, Lando, and AWS are all part of my web development toolbox. I have found them to be reliable and easy to use, helping me create successful websites for my clients. Remember - no web developer is an island. By utilizing these five essential tools, you'll be able to build and manage amazing websites with ease. Happy coding!
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