“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
— Bruce Lee
Design is outside of the comfort zone for many developers. I was once complacent to say that “I don’t design”. But developers are designers. Even a basic ability to crop and resize images and create rough mocks will help you and your team build great-looking products. I use Sketch and believe it’s the best tool out there if only for performance reasons. Photoshop is ok too (although I always had issues with it crashing), but the more savvy web shops use Sketch.
“A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.”
— Bruce Lee
2. Atom or Sublime
Price: Atom Free, Sublime $70
Sublime Text is my code editor of choice, it’s a great product that I’ve used for years. I have a bit of a lock-in because it’s already setup exactly how I like it. So although Atom is popular among a lot of developers I haven’t had any pressing issue to justify a switch.
You’re going to spend a lot of time in this application, so make sure it’s something you enjoy using.
Price: Public Repos Free, Private Repos $7/month
GitHub, the water-cooler for the world’s software, is absolutely essential. You can learn so much about any programming language just by getting lost in different repositories. Obviously learning Git is a priority and I recommend learning from the command line verses a GUI. Here’s a great resource to learn the basics of the pattern that I use: Git Flow.
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it.”
— Bruce Lee
Learning the command line is essential for every developer. It may seem overwhelming if just getting started, but if you start out with a few commands like navigating directories and file / folder maintenance, you will have a big advantage. You really can do some amazing things with commands and, as you develop your skills, you will feel like you have super powers. Here’s a great resource for learning the Art of the Command Line.
“I always believe that the easy way is the right way.”
— Bruce Lee
5. Cosmic JS
Disclaimer: I’m the CEO, Co-Founder of Cosmic JS.
Price: Free and Paid Plans
After you’ve completed the development of your website or application, the next step is giving your end user a way to manage the content. There are many installed content management systems out there, but the old installed CMS approach is not built for the modern demand of multiple channels and devices. The general trend is moving toward a “Decoupled” approach (or some also call it “Headless” a term that I don’t agree with or use to describe a strategy with such thought and foresight).
You are much better off connecting your application to an API that can distribute content to different devices, regardless of programming language. Cosmic JS is an API-first CMS for building content-powered apps in any programming language. It gives developers tremendous freedom in building their applications and gives content editors an intuitive content editing experience. Plus it integrates well with all the tools you love and you can deploy your GitHub repos live in a matter of minutes.
“The only limitation is your imagination.”
— My old music teacher
I hope you enjoyed this list of some of the essential tools available to the modern web developer and reasons for choosing them. Reach out to me on Twitter if you have any questions. If you think I left any tools out, let me know in the comments below.