When starting out as a web developer, all I had was a text editor and some other simple programs. Over time I have used hundreds of different tools to help streamline my process of developing projects, managing my business and keeping everything organised. Here are my top programs and tools that I use on a day-to-day basis.
Text Editor: Sublime Text 3
Sublime Text Editor is rapidly becoming one of the most popular text editors amongst developers. It’s clean and sleek interface help make coding projects a pleasure; you’re not inundated with ugly clunky windows and unintuitive processes; it works for both Mac and Windows and has a free option. You can buy a license (which we recommend), but it’s not needed.
It’s great for coding in many different languages, supports UTF-8 conversion, themes and many more options that’ll make you want to open your editor and get some code down.
The Text editor has a plethora of options to customise how the editor works for you, not to mention a healthy of active developers who are providing plugins, such as this Fish Tank Plugin:
Note Managing – EverNote
There are many alternatives to this program, but I have been using EverNote for a little over a year now. It allows you to organise all your project ideas, notes, todo-lists, brainstorms, business ideas and more. You essentially create notebooks (folders) and inside them you can create notes. Evernote can sync across all your devices, including mobile and tablets, so you can manage your notes from anywhere in the world. It’s supported for both Mac and Windows.
Each has a free option, which limits how much space/data you can store (60 MB of data per month) (Having used it for a year, I still haven’t used it all up). Or you can purchase the Plus option or the Premium Options, which offer a list of extra features not found in the free version.
If you don’t take many notes, I suggest you do: I’m always thinking of new ideas, taking on user suggestions and making a note of something to fix. Evernote allows me to remind myself of what needs to be done.
FTP – FireFTP Addon
Having an FTP client is important when you’re a web-developer. I often have to manage multiple sites at a time and also login to client’s FTP to help fix an issue they’re having. The FireFTP add-on for FireFox is the best one I’ve used; I’ve used it for the past 5 years and it never lets me down. Of course, it would mean you need to download the FireFox web browser, but if you’re already using FireFox then this is a great add-on for you. It doesn’t have over-complicated menus and offers a simple and easy to use method of connecting to FTP. It’s free to use, and I use it on both Mac and Windows.
Inline-Debugger – FireBug
You can also see all loaded CSS styles and make on-the-fly changes to them to see how they affect the website. It’s great if you have a niggling error that you want to figure out.
FireBug is another FireFox add-on, so you’ll need the FireFox web browser.
Password Manager – DashLane
I haven’t been using DashLane for too long but I would recommend it to all developers who have tons of logins and passwords that they have to keep and maintain. It has a web app and a downloadable app, so you can access your passwords at any time. It uses a master password needed to access your passwords and usernames. You can also use plugins for your favourite web browsers to automatically use the DashLane app and log you into your favourite sites.
You can also use it to store secure notes and other content that you want to hide and keep safe. You just have to make sure you remember your master password!
It has a free version and a Premium version.
Email – 10minutemail.com
If you’re like me, you will end up signing up to some site usually every week. They all require you to enter an email address and then spam you with useless emails for the rest of your life. With 10minutemail, it generates you a random email every 10 minutes. You can access the inbox for 10 minutes, allowing you to verify your account. Obviously, if you plan on sticking around a site, make sure you change your email to a proper one because the 10minutemail cannot be gotten back after 10 minutes and any emails sent to the address will be lost.
SSH – Putty
When connecting to your web server via SSH, Putty is my goto program. It’s a simply program- no whistles or bells, allows you to store your login sessions and also offers a Telnet service too. If you’re on the mac, you can just use the Terminal program that comes included.
Got Any Suggestions?
I’m always curious to see what other developers are using, so let me know in the comments if you’re using a program that has helped you with your business.