Must Have Web Development Tools

These days, websites are complex and massive undertakings. Even the most seasoned web developers need to have a big toolbox of applications to get the job done right. While there’s no definitive list of web development tools, we’ve gathered some of our team’s favorite resources for building websites and web applications.

From coding and communication to file sharing and hosting, check out the tools and software WDG web developers love to use.

WDG's favorite web development tools

Version Control

Version control tools store a history for the modifications of all your code. They allow you to test, compare and merge changes, while providing easy back ups for your projects. Version control can also enable multiple web developers to simultaneously work on projects.

BeanStalk: A requirement of our development team, Beanstalk is a host for code repositories. It allows developers to collaborate with their team through Git, save it to a remote location, and then send that code automatically to your development and production server. An added benefit is the ability to have an overview of our active repositories and their associated users.

SourceTree: A free Git client for both Windows and Mac, SourceTree gives you a graphical interface that will make you love Version Control.

GitHub: Git allows for team collaboration, code review, and management. It’s where we put all of our public code. That way we can collaborate with all of you.

Command Line Tools

When you need to get something done quickly and efficiently without a GUI, the command line is where you need to go to.

Drush: Drush is an awesome shell interface that our Drupal web developers can’t live without. It helps automate Drupal tasks straight from the command line.

WP-CLI: Similar to Drush, this is a set of command-line tools that let you run WordPress commands and interface with the platform via the command line.

Code Editors

Regardless of the language a web developer works with, when they’re knee deep in coding, it’s important to have a code editor with a great UI, shortcuts and the flexibility to work the way you do.

Sublime Text: Incorporates a awesomely sophisticated editor for coding that includes the ability to make batch edits with multiple line editing. Show offs!

Coda: An all-in-one web tool for Mac users. It includes an FTP client, text editor and terminal access, just to name a few of its great features.

Virtual Development Environments

Storing projects locally will allow you to experiment and test without overwriting shared files, while virtualization lets you simulate the experience of operating platforms and various browsers.

Vagrant: A popular open-source tool for building and managing your virtualized development environments.

ExpanDrive: Essentially a cloud storage for every application. Expandrive acts like a USB drive but is a virtual drive for Amazon S3 and FTP/SFTP connections.

MAMP Pro: Similar to Vagrant, MAMP Pro is an essential tool for developing locally on a mac. It provides and platform with Mysql, Apache, PHP to integrate directly into OS X.

Browser Testing & Debugging

With a seemingly endless combination of current and legacy web browsers for users to choose, it is our responsibility as web developers to ensure the successful performance of the websites we build. While it may seem virtually impossible to test on every browser and screen size, these tools will help make the job easier.

BrowserStack: Both secure and comprehensive, BrowserStack provides live, web-based browser testing with instant access to every desktop, tablet and mobile browser.

Chrome Developer Tools: A set of web authoring and debugging tools that are built directly into Chrome.

Web Developer’s Tools For Firefox: A collection of Firefox plugins that help speed up the development process. Developers can troubleshoot, debug and edit code without ever leaving Firefox.

Server Performance

With any website, it’s helpful to be aware of any issues that may occur, as soon as they occur. Performance tools are used to to help you avoid being offline and evaluate your resources and infrastructure.

New Relic: In the words of our Tech Lead, “super-awesome server monitoring, stack-tracing, and performance analysis from the browser to the database.”


Our favorite host, by far, is BlackMesh. That’s always our first recommendation, but it does not always match our client’s budget. For that reason, we have a few other hosts to recommend.

Flywheel: This WordPress host has a fantastic platform and great support. They’ll even migrate your site over to their servers for you. Just provide them with access and they’ll do the rest. Best for clients without ongoing development.

Pantheon: Pantheon specializes in both WordPress and Drupal hosting (they started with Drupal). They offer not just hosting, but a platform for making upkeep and ongoing development even easier. Best for clients with ongoing development.

Digital Ocean: This service is specifically geared towards server admins, so it is not a great fit for everyone, but damn their servers are fast! Dedicated servers could not be found for much cheaper. Best for small sites or custom server configurations.

Are we missing a great tool? Share your favorite tools with us on Twitter.

Are you interested in building the web’s next big site, services or app? Get in touch with us at WDG! We are WordPress Developers and Drupal Developers teamed up with some of the best web designers and user experience experts in the business.

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