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Five Useful Tools for Web Developers in 2015

Web Development

Web development is a growing industry, with a projected 20% growth expected by 2022. Web development is a field that requires a lot of knowledge, a mind for logic, and the ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Having a good set of tools and resources at your disposal can make a big difference in your work. You wouldn’t build a house without a toolkit, just as you wouldn’t tackle a large Web development project without the right software and resources at your disposal.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a handful of tools Web developers will be using in 2015.

Text Editor

Text Editor

While some Web developers will brag about how much work they do in software as simple as Notepad, there is no question that having a good text editor with integrated syntax highlighting, support for plugins, and other advanced features can make your life easier.

One tool the RocketTheme team uses almost across the board is Sublime Text. Sublime Text 2 has been out for some time, and Sublime Text 3 is currently in beta.

Each of these apps are available on OS X, Windows, and Linux and offer exceptional features with plugin support that enables you to customize your experience down to the most minute detail.

Notepad++ is another popular choice, especially for Windows users that prefer a more classic editing experience. One big benefit of Notepad++ is that it is open source and made available absolutely free.

PhpStorm is another popular solution, which may not be your primary text editor, but can prove invaluable when debugging your code. It has smart code navigation, testing, and other tools that makes it an excellent addition to any developer’s toolkit.

There are dozens of great options to choose from. Many of which are available with free trials or versions enabling you to give them a look before you buy.



A virtual private network (VPN) is a great way to not only keep you and your client’s information safer when you are working from a public place, but it can even keep your information out of the prying eyes of your ISP.

By creating an encrypted tunnel between you and the VPN, all of your Internet traffic is sent in a way that makes it virtually unreadable by anyone else between you and it. If you set up a private VPN, you can even access your personal files stored on your home or office network through this encrypted tunnel as if you were physically connected on site.

One very popular solution is VyprVPN from Golden Frog.

You can pick up a 25% discount on 1 year subscriptions by using the members-only coupon code on our Promotions Page.

VyprVPN offers a fast VPN service with a variety of protocol options including PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and Chameleon (proprietary protocol that overcomes ISP blocking and throttling).

A VPN also gives you the ability to experience the Web as though you were navigating from a different location. If you want to see what Web users in the UK see, simply switch your VPN server over to one hosted in the UK. Most quality providers offer multi-national server options, making this an excellent type of service for frequent travelers.

Version Control

Version Control

Having a good, centralized versioning solution in place makes it easier to not only make and revert changes to your code, but to receive code from multiple developers without stepping on one-another needlessly.

Thankfully, there are several excellent tools out there to assist with this process, both on the hosting side and in the form of software-based clients.

Starting with hosting, we use GitHub and BitBucket very often here at RocketTheme. These platforms make it easy to create repos and coordinate coding between team members. If neither of these are your particular cup of tea, there are several alternatives out there, including BeanStalk.

In terms of clients, the default GitHub client works in a pinch, but we found more full-featured solutions like SourceTree and Tower 2 to be outstanding options. SourceTree is a bit on the advanced side, but it offers an outstanding range of features. Tower 2, which is also a bit advanced, is a little more streamlined and user friendly.

Local Development Server

Local Development Server

Developing on a live server is like walking a tightrope for the first time over a canyon with no net. There are a virtually unlimited number of issues that can occur during development you don’t want to have present themselves on your live server.

This is why serious developers use local development servers whenever possible. This environment gives you the ability to make mistakes, test, solve problems, and test again until the site is ready to be taken live.

While there are built-in server solutions included with Windows, OS X, and most major Linux distros, there are a handful of great all-in-one software solutions that make it easy to set up and manage a local server.

We outlined how we use MAMP Pro 3.x, as well as a list of useful all-in-one solutions for OS X, Windows, and Linux in a previous blog post.

Andy Miller, the founder of RocketTheme, also outlined a step-by-step process for setting up an Apache server on OS X Yosemite in a blog post for the Grav open source project. This is an excellent choice for advanced developers using OS X that would benefit from a more hands-on solution.

Learning and Code Resources

Learning and Code Resources

Code changes very quickly. While you can usually get away with the same basic code for a few years, it helps to know the processes and syntax developers are working with today to get ready for the future.

Your site should be built with tomorrow’s requirements in mind, otherwise you will be right back at the drawing board in no time.

There are some excellent e-learning services out there, including OSTraining, and Treehouse. These services offer online classes, tutorials, and more to help you learn the latest tips and tricks of the Web development world. RocketTheme members can also get discounts and/or bonus trial time to these services and more from our promotions page.

There are also some documentation software that can get you the information you need faster and easier than you would be able to find it by searching online. Dash for Mac is an excellent piece of software that acts as a documentation browser and code snippet manager. You can essentially add all of the documentation you need for your next project into it and access it in seconds.

There are even some great browser-based solutions not only for determining how other pages and sites are created, but for debugging your own creation.

The Web Developer Toolbar is a popular choice for Chrome users, adding a toolbar button with various Web developer tools built-in.

Do you have a set of apps or services that you use in Web development? Share some of your favorite options in the comments section below.

Some of the links listed in this article are affiliate links. All opinions are 100% our own.

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