Web development has always been and remains one of the fastest moving spaces in the tech world. New innovations both in design trends and the tools and tips we use to work are constantly coming in. As such, it should be no surprise that there have been a host of improvements since the last time any of us looked. Here, we’re going to look at some of the software tools as well as working tips that have been helping web devs work smart and not harder.
The right workspace
With so many web developers and designers working from home right now, it has never been more important to make sure that we’re giving ourselves the kind of workspace that allows us to flourish. Fix your annoying desk issues and maximize your productivity by looking at what is getting in the way of your efficiency. Address ergonomic issues like no wrist support or a chair with no back support. Keep your desk space tidy and make it easier to find notes with organizers. Not only will the right workspace affect your ability to concentrate without distraction, but it’s key in making sure you’re taking care of your posture and health while working, too.
The right collaboration tools
If you, like most web developers, work as part of a team, then effective and efficient communication is crucial. Depending on how you work, you might want either a communication platform such as Slack or a more purpose-built project manager. There are some tools that double as both. Messaging platforms can help you organize and centralize your communications, making sure that people don’t miss conversations that are relevant to them, and that they don’t lose them in a growing pile of unorganized comms. Project management, on the other hand, is all about laying out the workflow of a development project, assigning different roles in the project, and ensuring that the step-by-step of web development is carried out as smoothly as possible. It’s likely that you need both kinds of tools.
The right code/text editor
There’s no single code and text editor that’s going to work for every person. There is simply no faster way to get stuck in with writing and fixing code than these editors. It’s worth looking at a few of the top options. Sublime Text might be one of the most popular options around, as a cross-platform tool that has a Python-based plugin API and simultaneous editing functionality, but it’s far from the only one out there. Other options like Atom aim to be more highly customizable, allowing you to adjust your workflow as best fits your needs. It is also worth noting that different code and text editors come with different price tags, as well. Some of them also have free versions, with premium subscriptions you can add to access more features.
The best framework
A good library of components
A framework will offer all the tools that you need to make building a website much easier in your chosen programming language. However, they can be supplemented with additional components that can reduce the amount of bespoke building that you have to do. For instance, Infragistics offers a React component library in the form of Ignite UI. Component libraries give you immediate access to grids, data charts, and other components, allowing you to choose and implement the ones that work best to your needs. As a result, you don’t really need to build them from scratch, yourself. There exist component libraries for frameworks of all kinds out there, all of them primarily designed to help developers more quickly build great experiences.
A good set of scales
In web development, more and more attention is being paid to page weight, aka page bloat or size. The larger the web page, weighed down by images, style sheets, scripts, and other media, the harder it can be to make it fast-loading and responsive. Browser Calories is a super simple application that allows you to quickly get a better idea of your page weight and which elements are contributing most to it. With page weight becoming more important in the fields of conversation rate optimization and search engine optimization, this is a diet that most web devs are going to want to pay attention to. Especially if you’re offering to build sites aimed at SEO.
Git GUI Clients
Git is a system used to track the changes that can occur in source code at any point in software and web development. Git GUI clients allow you to work with Git much more effectively, especially in cooperative spaces. As such, depending on your choice of operating system, there can be quite a few Git clients to choose from. If you have skill in using Git and need Git repositories to store and manage codes, then are a range of options such as Github Desktop, GitKraken, SourceTree, Magit, and more. It’s important to take a look at the different options and choose the Git clients that work best depending on how your team is set up and what operating systems you are working with.
A little help with your typographyWhile it might seem like a relatively simple element for front-end development, there are all kinds of obstacles that can get in your way when it comes to choosing and implementing the typography of a website. Finding the right sizes, line heights, heading formats, and typographies that work well with the site in bolded and italic versions can be more difficult than you might think. As such, having the ability to check how certain typography works with your HTML can be very useful indeed. Tools like Web Font Specimen can help you do just that. Furthermore, it can help you see elements of typeface that might be difficult to catch in isolation, such as how it works with both light-on-dark and dark-on-light schemes.
Deliver faster and better prototypes
If you run a website and web app development business catering to a wide range of clients, then being able to make the initial steps of development more efficient can be key to unlocking more revenue. However, rather than rushing the process, you can work with tools that make the process a lot easier while still delivering great results. When it comes to creating rough prototypes that allow you to consult and get feedback, there is a range of prototyping tools that don’t require as much coding work. Good prototyping tools also include some user-testing functions to help you ensure that your designs are going to work well in the user environment. There are both standalone tools for this as well as plugins that work with editors such as Sketch.
Make sure your web APIs do what they’re supposed to
A lot of websites are built to work with other websites and apps, and Web APIs play a crucial role in sending data and commands, as well as retrieving data and information, from those external sources. Creating a site that relies on external sources means that the website is susceptible to failures outside of your own control. As such, it’s important to have tools that can help you build and test APIs effectively and efficiently. There is a range of platforms for safe API development, with Postman being perhaps one of the most popular ones of them all.
It takes more than just the tools and tricks named above to help you develop at your very best and most productive. However, don’t neglect the role that these tips can play.