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Best Developer Tools and Resources To Make Your Work Easier14 min read

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Best Online Developer Tools
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Did you know there are lots of developer tools and resources you can always turn to for help? These developer tools are here to make things easier in your web/app/software development work and process.

Why Use Developer Tools?

Science and technology have seen rapid growth in the past few years. The web is not also left out as we have now moved from the era of static webpages to dynamic and user-friendly websites.

These new trends also mean the introduction of a lot of new technologies. Subsequently, web development has become more tasking and developers are now looking for ways to ease their work.

Luckily, there are some really nice online developer tools for developers out there. These tools seek to simplify the work of a developer whilst maintaining a high level of efficiency.

We are going to be considering some of the popular tools shortly. So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of juice and sit back while I take you through this interesting topic.

Best Developer Tools You Should Know About

1. STACK OVERFLOW

stackoverflow as a developer tool

 Stack Overflow was launched in 2008. It is a question and answer site for developers and programmers generally.

One of the things that can make programming easy and interesting is the presence of a robust and supportive community. They are ever willing and ready to provide help whenever required.

It is an online developer tool/resource center that serves as a platform for developers to ask and answer questions related to their fields. Stack Overflow is arguably the number one tool for solving problems and gaining knowledge on the internet.

Interestingly, it is free to use. However, to ask or answer a question, you need to be signed in.

Most often than not, your question is already asked on Stack Overflow, so all you need to do is to search first before asking. If not, you might get some negative votes. If you have not been using this developer tool before, it’s time you begin to do so as it provides quick solutions to your problems.

2. GITHUB

github

This is another developer tool that was founded in 2008 too. GitHub allows developers to review code, manage projects, and build software. It is also used to host open source projects. It is also free to use though the pro and team versions are paid.

As a development platform, it connects over 40 million developers from all over the world and provides inspiration for them to find the best solutions, high-quality suggestions, and open sources.

Developers can host their websites and documentations from their repositories. This also allows all the developers codes to be in one place. GitHub is a very common tool amongst developers and programmers. It is a very handy developer tool.

3. CAN I USE

caniuse.com

As new technologies are introduced every now and then, one of the challenges developers face is making these new trends work in the same manner across all browsers. Since these browsers are made by different organizations/foundations, the implementation of new technological trends does not happen simultaneously across all browsers.

Before implementing a new technology in a web application, a developer must make sure the larger number of targeted web users get access to it

This is a very useful tool in determining which frontend technologies are compatible with certain browsers i.e. if it has cross browser support.

It can also be used to test web APIs browsers compatibility. Can I Use shows if a feature has complete, partial or no support with a particular browser.

4. CHROME DEVELOPER TOOLS

chrome developer tools

This is a set of web developers tools built directly into the Google Chrome browser. These tools can be used for debugging. Chrome Developer Tools come as browser add-ons in web browsers, and it is not hard to get started.

Chrome Developer Tools offer a wide range of tools to web developers for testing and debugging their code, from editing HTML and CSS, to writing JavaScript code in real-time. It also simulates a range of hand-held devices to help developers make their websites responsive. The Chrome Developer Tools can be used as an editor. It also shows the page margin, padding and border.

5. GOOGLE FONTS

Google Fonts

These are a wide and varied range of licensed font families developed by google and launched in 2010. The fonts library is intended to enable font discovery and exploration. There are really nice fonts for different moods and expressions. It has grown to be a very useful online tool for developers in this age and dispensation.

One of the very nice advantages of using google fonts is that you are sure that your content will be displayed the same way across devices and browsers

Usually, when declaring font family, a developer adds alternative fonts incase the chosen font is not available on certain devices. But with google fonts, there’s no need for that as every device connected to the internet have access to google fonts.

Adding google font to a website is very easy. All you need to do is find the right font you want to use and either copy it into the head tag of your HTML or import it into your CSS stylesheet(s). To take a peep at some fonts, click here.

6. INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT ENVIRONMENT(IDE)

ide

This is a software suite that consolidates basic tools required to write and test software. It is an important tool for developer that usually contains

  • A code editor where the source code is written;
  • A compiler or interpreter which converts the source code to a language the computer understands
  • The debugger which is used for locating bugs in the source code which are all accessed through a single graphical user interface (GUI).

IDEs main purpose is to increase developers’ productivity and efficiency. It is one of the most useful developer tools in the toolbox of any developer or programmer today. IDEs have some features which make them better than using ordinary text editors.

Advantages of IDEs include:

  • Access to a wide array of development tools within an interface
  • Reduces errors in source code
  • Increases efficiency as it makes code writing faster through code completion
  • Helps developers manage workflow
  • Availability of debugging tools
  • Compiles and run source code unlike ordinary text editors.
  • Integrations and plugins for more functionalities.

Disadvantages of IDEs

There are a few disadvantages to using IDEs too. Some of which are listed below:

  • Some IDEs are a bit complex and may not be easy for new programmers and developers.
  • Every IDE has its own unique interface and it usually take some time to get familiar with an IDE and maximize its full potentials.

Presently, there is a ton of IDEs available to developers and programmers and many of them are free, or at least have a free version. The paid version always offers more functionalities than the free version. More often than not, the programming language to be used for a project determines the IDE to use. IDEs are built specifically for a particular language.

Another factor to be considered when choosing an IDE is what you want out of that IDE, as they differ from one another in features, functionalities, user interface, etc. Just choose what works best for you, even if it differs from what others are using, as long as it works.

IDEs popularly used by developers.

Sublime Text

This is a cross-platform code editor developed by Sublime HQ and released in 2008. One of its selling points is that it supports a lot of programming and markup languages. It also has over 20 different visual themes which you can choose from to customize the look of your code editor.

It has all the features of IDEs stated above and even more. Some of which are: autosave which prevent developers from losing their work, column selection and multi-selecting editing, spell check functions, repeat the last function, go to definition, syntax highlighting and high contrast display.

Sublime text can be downloaded and evaluated for free, however, a license must be purchased for continued use. Luckily for us, there is no time limit for evaluation. You can download sublime text here.

Visual Studio Code

This is a free source code editor redefined and optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications. It is cross-platform and developed by Microsoft in 2005. Technically, VS Code is not an IDE, but because it has a lot of plugins and extensions which has made it very extensible and has added more functionalities to it, it performs like an IDE.

Some of its features includes keyboard shortcuts, code refactoring, embedded git, syntax highlighting, extensions and plugins etc. in addition to the features of IDEs earlier discussed.

Notepad ++:

This is a text and source code editor for use with the Microsoft Windows. Notepad++ was first released in 2003. It is available in about 90 languages and it supports about 78 programming languages.

It is a lightweight but extensible code editor, and it is very simple to use. Some of its other features are guided indentation, autosave, split-screen editing and synchronized scrolling, simultaneous editing, line bookmarking, macros, tabbed document interface etc.

IntelliJ IDEA:

This is a cross-platform IDE for developing computer software. Developed by JetBrains in 2001, the Java IDE has grown over the years to be one of the favourite developer tools of many java programmers. Even though it is a Java IDE, it also supports about 30 other languages via plugins.

Some of its features includes: coding assistance, built-in tools and integration, plugin ecosystem, code refactoring, code debugging, etc.

Atom:

This is a free and open-source text and source code editor. Atom runs across all platforms. It was developed by GitHub in 2014. It is a relatively new code editor. GitHub has been described as “a hackable text editor for the 21st Century”. Atom has a smooth workflow and is quite intuitive.

It can apply syntax highlighting to about 40 programming languages. The fact that it was developed by GitHub indicates that there will be a large and supportive community which makes it an important tool for any programmer or developer. Some of its features are: outline view, hover, syntax checking, auto complete, reference highlighting, etc.

7. WEB APPLICATION FRAMEWORK(WAF)

Web application framework

This is also known as web framework. It is a software framework that is designed to support the development of web applications including web services, web resources and web APIs. Web frameworks provides a standard way to build and deploy web applications on the web. This is no doubt a very useful developer tool.

WAF encourages code reuse by providing libraries for database access, templating frameworks and sessions management. We are going to be looking at some client-side and server-side frameworks briefly.

CLIENT-SIDE (Front-end) Frameworks:

ReactJS:

It is also known as React.js or simply React. React is a JavaScript open-source library used in building user interface components. It was developed by Facebook and was first released in 2013. React is used basically for rendering data to the DOM (Document Object Model) and can be used for single page and mobile applications.

Vue.js

It is commonly referred to as Vue is a JavaScript open-source library used in building user interfaces and single-page applications. It was released in 2014. Vue.js lets you extend HTML with HTML attributes known as directives.

AngularJS:

It is a JavaScript open-source library built to address the challenges faced while building user interfaces and single-page applications. It was developed by google and was first released in 2010. Its aim was to make development and testing of single-page applications less hectic. It is presently not really in use, at least not as much as React.

There are some other client-side web frameworks such as EmberJS, QCObjects, Backbone.js etc.

SERVER-SIDE (Back-end) Frameworks:

Django:

This is a python based free and open-source back-end web framework. It was developed in 2005 by the Django Software Foundation primarily to simplify the process of creating complex, database-driven websites.

It emphasizes code reusability and the DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principle. Django is known to be one of the most secure web frameworks out there, as it’s one of the fastest to react to new vulnerabilities.

Ruby on Rails:

It is simply known as Rails. Ruby was released in 2004 and it is based on the Ruby language. It is a server-side web application framework. Some of its prominent features are seamless database table creation, migrations and scaffolding of views to enable rapid application development. Rails is particularly known for being easy to maintain.

ASP.NET:

It was developed to enable developers to build dynamic web applications. The open-source server-side web application framework developed by Microsoft some 18 years ago is still very much relevant developer tool today amongst web developers. Though, it has now been replaced by ASP.NET Core which is still very new. It, however, has high concept compatibility with ASP.NET.

There are a bunch of other server-side web application frameworks such as CakePHP, Laravel, Sails.js, Phoenix, Express.js etc.

CSS frameworks:

They contain prewritten codes in files that can be used by other developers to come up with quick websites. They provide the basis for you to build on, however, you get to build it to your own taste. It always contains components like sidebars, buttons, navigation bars, menus etc.

Using a CSS framework saves you a lot of time than starting your own website from scratch. It also helps you to “borrow the brains” of others and opens you up to a world of endless possibilities. You might also come across new stuff while using a front-end framework. A CSS framework is obviously a very useful developer tool for every developer.

Some of these frameworks include:

BOOTSTRAP:

This is arguably the most popular front-end framework today. It is widely used by a lot of developers. It was created by Twitter developers and initially released in 2011. Bootstrap includes HTML, CSS and JavaScript components and allows to create responsive websites of all complexities and sizes.  Bootstrap is provided with built-in components which are used in accumulating responsive websites by a smart drag and drop facility. Some of the prominent features of the bootstrap framework are responsive grid system, plug-ins, pre-built components, sass variables & mix-ins. Learn more about bootstrap here.

FOUNDATION:

This was developed by ZURB in 2011 as a responsive front-end framework. Foundation is written in HTML, CSS, Sass and JavaScript. It provides a responsive grid, templates, forms, buttons, navigation, etc. It offers a lot of flexibility and customizability.

Other CSS frameworks include Stylus, Semantic UI, UI Kit, Materialize, Material UI.

However, you must note that these frameworks are never a replacement for the front-end languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript). They are only assistants. When you are familiar with the languages, you become more flexible with the frameworks.

CONCLUSION

All the above mentioned and many more are tools that developers use in project executions, even for the very complex projects. Remember, a complex project is a lot of simple sub-projects coming together. If you are aspiring to be a well baked and thorough developer, then you probably begin to familiarize yourself with some of the developer tools available online.

Interestingly, these tools were created to simplify and ease our work. So why go through all the stress when there is an easier and also effective tool at your disposal to get the job done in a short time with minimal cost implication.

Web development is constantly changing and it is of utmost importance to stay abreast of all the latest trends. You definitely do not want to be left behind.

oluwaseun Ogunlade

oluwaseun Ogunlade

Ogunlade Oluwaseun is currently a Computer Engineering student of the prestigious University of Ilorin. He is also a Front-End Web Developer and a tech enthusiast. As a hobby, he loves music, movies and football.

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