Best Web Development Tools of 2020: Software Platforms for Website Developers

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Web development has long left the reasons for having to individually code pages in HTML / CSS, JavaScript, PHP or another Internet language, simply using Notepad or simply a user-friendly text editor.

Nowadays, development platforms are already available to help with every step of the process, from coding to web design itself. The result is the ability to create and host your own website the way you want.

Of course, you can always just use a turnkey CMS or a website builder to simplify the design process, but both offer a degree of limitation that may work for consumers in general rather than the more creative website developers and designers.

For stand-alone websites, the freedom to code and create your own design can pay off not only in terms of looks but also in terms of security, as you don't rely on third-party software plugins that not only pose risk but may require you to subscribe to a website monitoring or website degradation service to monitor web page changes and be alerted if – or when – they are.

With drag and drop tools combined with coding shortcuts, website development has come a long way since the start of the 21st century. Here we will introduce some of the best web development tools currently available.

  1. Sketch
  2. InVision Cloud
  3. Sublime text
  4. Foundation
  5. Chrome DevTools

(Image credit: Sketch)

1. Sketch

A toolbox for digital designs

Create simple animations

Clickable prototypes

Cloud collaboration

Mac only

Large websites are more than code because they embody great design elements, including logos and images. Sketch strives to manage design elements and presents itself as a “design toolbox”. It has features including the ability to add simple animations and the creation of clickable prototypes. It also allows the user to create a master symbol, which can then be used anywhere in the document and be resized as needed, such as an icon or an avatar. In addition, text and images can be manipulated into dynamic designs.

There is also a cloud component, called libraries, which allows collaboration because symbols can be shared and worked together. Finally, custom fonts can be designed to give the website a truly personalized look, in the FontRapid tool which can then be exported to an OpenType font file.

One limiting factor is that Sketch only supports macOS. The price is based on a single user license, which is a single payment of $ 99, or an alternative to $ 9 per user per month for team plans, when paid annually.

(Image credit: InVision)

2. InVision Cloud

The digital product design platform

Free level

Family of useful tools

Website prototype

With the list of the best technology companies that use InVision Cloud, including Amazon, SoundCloud, Evernote and Netflix, clearly validates the method of using a digital product design platform.

This approach includes a number of elements and traditional design processes and brings them into the virtual era, with tools such as an element library, a photography board, navigation flows, a web prototype for office sites and the elements required in design, an inspiration table. Their Prototype tool will be of interest to web developers as it can create a prototype website with clickable elements for use on computer or mobile.

Although it offers several tools, the other advantage is that there is also a free level, which can manage a single prototype. For more ambitious needs, the Professional plan can accept unlimited prototypes for a monthly cost of $ 15.

(Image credit: Sublime Text)

3. Sublime text

The code editor to facilitate the design of advanced websites

Release for Windows, Mac and Linux

Advanced controls

Free evaluation

No mobile platform support

Sublime Text is a popular code editor that is a useful tool for web design and is available as a small download for Windows, Mac and Linux. Useful features include the GoTo Anything command to find a piece of code, the Multiple Selections command which can make changes to recurring sections of code and Split Editing which can maximize the display of code on a wide screen monitor, or even several monitors.

Sublime Text is free to download and evaluate, and is available for purchase for $ 80 (£ 61). This is the price of the individual license which is not limited in time, then allows the user to install it on all systems where you are the main user.

4. Foundation

A family of front-end frameworks

Frames to make design a breeze

Customizable building blocks

Opaque price

Steep learning curve

In general, it is often easier to design something once the basics are established. Foundation takes this approach, offering “a family of responsive front-end frames,” which can be applied for web design and email, and each is customizable to get exactly the right look. From the list of sites that use it, there are serious heavyweights including Disney, HP and Adobe.

They offer a series of HTML templates, each optimized for a specific application, such as a blog or a real estate website. Then it can be expanded, with “ building blocks ” added to the website, including a full screen hero page, a subscription form, a star rating block and rounded social buttons. – the choices are quite extensive and really include just about everything you would see on a web page. A series of webinars, titled Foundation Classes, are offered to teach new users how to use everything.

The price is opaque, but there is a free demo. Users also report that there is a steep learning curve for novice users.

(Image credit: Google)

5. Chrome DevTools

Popular browser also facilitates web development

You already have it

Free cost

Optimized for a single browser

Chrome continues to be a popular choice for Internet users, and it includes Development tools right in the browser, and they're ready for your web development needs. The tools included are for debugging JavaScript, applying styles to HTML elements, messages to indicate how a page is working, and optimizing website speed.

However, although this is an invaluable set of tools for web development in the Google Chrome browser, note that these are limited specifically to this browser rather than other web browsers, even those that are based on Chromium.

Using the Chrome developer tools is free and support is available through an active DevTools community.

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