I don’t know about you, but I like things that help make my job as a web developer easier. Not that I don’t like a challenge, but it’s nice to have tools at my disposal that streamline processes or reduce the time it takes to do redundant or mundane tasks.
Here’s a quick list of some tools that web developers might find useful. Disclaimer: a number of these are Mac only applications, so sorry in advance for that if you’re are a PC person.
Subtle patterns is a library of free patterns and textures (typically in .png format) that can be used for just about anything. Files are being added all the time, and they pretty much have anything you could hope to find. What’s more, they have a plugin for Photoshop and Sketch so you can access their library directly from the application.
Kaliedoscope is a file comparison program (for Mac) that allows you to view differences between files (up to 3). You can also apply changes to files quickly by simply clicking a button. This is particularly useful if you need to quickly identify the differences between a local and remote file before merging the two.
If you like using Github, but aren’t a fan of, or are uncomfortable with, the command line, Github Desktop is an app that allows you to push, pull, clone, etc. using a GUI. It can also be a useful tool to get you used to using GitHub while you become more familiar with the command line (if you’d like to at some point).
All-new Echo (2nd Gen) has a new speaker, new design, and is available in a range of styles including fabrics and wood veneers. Echo connects to Alexa to play music, make calls, set music alarms and timers, ask questions, control smart home devices, and more—instantly.
Stock photography can be expensive and, at times, cost prohibitive. Pexels is a collection of high quality photography that is royalty-free and doesn’t require a credit to the photographer. Their library is by no means as extensive as iStock or Shutterstock, but there’s nothing that I haven’t been able to find (yet).
Codekit is a Mac app that does just about everything. It can compile pretty much anything like LESS, SASS, Coffeescript and much more. It also can auto-refresh your browser (including on your phone) when it detects any changes to your files. Bower is built-in, so you can quickly install over 6,000 components including jQuery, Bootstrap, Modernizr and even WordPress. I also warns you if you have any potential errors in your code that could be problematic.
Browserstack is a browser extension that will allow you to test your website on any device on any operating system using a VM. You can easily switch between devices and operating systems which makes testing quick and easy. You also have access to any dev tools that might be available with the browsers you are testing.
If you are looking for an alternative to GitHub, I would highly recommend GitLab. GitLab has a far nicer (this is an opinion) user interface and unlike GitHub, you can have an unlimited amount of private repos free of charge, which makes it a great alternative if cost is an issue (and if you need private repos).
Do you want to develop a PHP/MySQL site locally instead of pushing to a server all the time? MAMP allows you to setup a local Apache server and run MySQL right on your computer. You can even use it to setup local installs of popular CMSs like WordPress or Drupal.
I hope you found this list useful. Are there any tools that you use that you think should be on this list, or might be better than the ones I’ve listed? Let me know in the comments!