10 tools that will improve your web development workflow

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Web development is one part of a larger project. Devs work away in the background to make sure everything put together by designers, copywriters and marketers looks pretty and works well. Throughout each stage of a project, developers have to perform their own tasks efficiently while ensuring other members are kept in the loop. Therefore, any tools that can help improve your agency’s workflow management process and simplify task management are greatly valued.

Every developer, as they move through the ranks from junior to senior status, relies on their stack — a collection of go-to tools to help them get stuff done. Here are 10 tools that you might want to incorporate into a stack of your own.

Slack

Slack is the outstanding platform for team communication. The tool is designed to simplify messaging allowing users to communicate between groups (Slack allows the creation of multiple conversation “channels” that can be used for different departments or certain aspects of a project) and upload files within conversations. Another great thing about the platform is its integration with other apps — over 600 of them, from bots to project management to developer tools. Apps mean you can perform tasks without having to leave the platform, which is a wonderful thing for productivity.

Dropbox

When it comes to cloud storage, Dropbox stands tall. It was the first major folder syncing platform and — despite obvious competition from the likes of Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive and the rest — it remains the best. It’s simple, secure, reliable, feature-packed, and great for collaboration. For developers that work in teams, across devices or remotely, Dropbox is essential for seamless access to files. Work can easily be shared, teams managed, and feedback provided from within the platform, improving productivity and ensuring tasks stay on track.


It’s also one of the few platforms to work across iOS, Android, Windows, Linux and BlackBerry devices, so no one misses out.

GitLab

GitLab is one of the best Git repository managers around. The open-source platform provides a cloud-based location where development projects can be stored, tested and edited between teams. If you’re working with another dev on your code, this is the best place from which to do it. While GitHub is also popular with developers, GitLab’s additional features like snippet support (for sharing small parts of code without sharing the entire project), Work in Progress (WIP) labelling, project milestones, and authentication levels, as well as its slick user-interface, make it a superior choice.

Postman for Chrome

Postman is a free Chrome app designed to make testing and creating APIs easy. And it does a brilliant job at it. Hey, 3.5 million devs can’t be wrong! It’s GUI makes defining HTTP requests (and analyzing responses) more pleasant than it has any right to be, which can’t always be said of similar tools.  

Use it in your own work, or when collaborating with larger teams. Just make sure you keep Postman handy whenever you’re working with web apps.

Trello

Trello is a project management tool that’ll help you keep everything in order, and on schedule. There’s nothing flashy about it, but that’s its biggest selling point. By arranging tasks into lists and cards, it makes it easy to manage everything from solo projects to large-scale assignments involving multiple (up to 10) team members. Users can tag each other in cards, leave comments, create checklists, and set deadlines. And tasks can also be color coded for easy identification. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.

Bitbucket

The makers of Trello also created Bitbucket, a version control system that promotes collaboration and scales with your business. The best thing about Bitbucket, besides being able to work with team members (wherever in the world they happen to be), is the ability to leave comments directly in the source code — how about that for productivity? What’s more, it also integrates with Slack, so that Bitbucket notifications show up in channels.

Clipy

Clipy is a clipboard extension for Mac OS. Nothing special about that you might think. But it’s not until you use the tool that you appreciate its true value. Clipy lets you copy multiple plain text and image items to the clipboard, and offers a simple shortcut menu to bring up clipboard history in an instant. It’s simple, unobtrusive, and no other utility comes close. Plus, it’s free!

Brackets

Brackets is “a modern, open-source text editor that understands web design”. Most text editors are boring, this one isn’t. By using visual tools in the editor, Brackets makes writing and editing code an easier, more aesthetically pleasing task. It’s written in a combination of CSS, HTML and JavaScript, giving anyone looking to hack or extend it, the opportunity to work in a language they’re well versed in. If you work on front-end applications, makes this tool part of your development arsenal.

Grunt

Grunt is a JavaScript task runner that allows repetitive tasks to be automated. Time-consuming things like compilation, unit testing, and minification can all be automated without interfering with overall workflow, giving you more time to focus on other, more fun, aspects of a project. Grunt boasts hundreds of plugins and continues to grow by the day, giving you the chance to run every boring task you can think of without any effort. It’s a workflow essential!

Yeoman

Finally, there’s Yeoman, a development stack featuring all the tools you need to build and adapt web apps. Yeoman features three types of tools to make building easy, thus improving productivity. Firstly, the ‘yo’ scaffolding tool puts the, er, scaffolding in place, collating any build tasks and package manager dependencies that you need. Then, the build tool (Grunt) is used for the heavy lifting — building, previewing, and testing, while the package manager manages dependencies, remove the need for you to do that side of things manually.

Of course, a web development stack can, and probably will, consist of more than just 10 tools. But by adding the tools listed here to any that you already use, you’ll notice a definite improvement in how efficiently and effectively work gets done.

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