Great websites start with the right tools.
The world’s biggest ecommerce operation, the most extensive encyclopedia, the most prominent software host, and version control space all have something in common — they started with a simple website. Today, whether you have an online business or not, being on the web is a must — not a nice-to-have.
As you build out your web presence, you’ll need tools to help you during the process. Here’s our rundown of the top web development tools you should consider in 2023.
Website building and hosting
Plus, websites built on Webflow are powered by Amazon Cloudfront and hosted on Fastly. While Amazon Cloudfront provides content delivery support, Fastly provides cutting-edge cloud computing services. This also means your website will be up and running with 0% downtime.
Webflow is an all-in-one platform, so you don’t need to rely on external plugins. SEO tools, ecommerce options, and a CMS with visual content editing are all built into Webflow. And thanks to the wide variety of secure integrations, you can manage everything from your marketing to your customer support in Webflow.
The best CSS tools
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is essential because it gives web designers control over the presentation and aesthetics of their design.
Webflow already incorporates CSS Grid as part of its package. When it comes to using CSS functionality on your websites, the sky's the limit.
Four popular tools are available for manually generating CSS:
- Sass - A scripting language of the preprocessor type that can be fed to an interpreter or compiler to generate CSS. Sass also generates well-formatted CSS that helps maintain and organize style sheets better.
- Less - A style sheet language of the preprocessor type that can be fed to a compiler to generate CSS.
- Stylus - A dynamic stylesheet (also of the preprocessor type) that can be fed to a compiler to generate CSS. Sass and Less have inspired the design of Stylus.
- CSSTidy - An open-source CSS parser and optimizer.
Based on these tools, several helpful libraries and tools exist. We'll look into some of the popular ones.
- Compass is the most trusted resource for front-end Sass development. It offers a set of tools that runs on top of Sass.
- SassMeister is another tool that you can use to generate CSS from Sass with connectivity to GitHub too. The free Web Code Tools generator creates code for custom shapes, box shadows, and gradients and groups them into a single website.
- Love those fly-in, accordion, vertical, and drop-down menus on your website? Then you’ll enjoy CSS Menu Maker. This is a paid service, but the advantages are code viewing, where you can even re-engineer and tweak code to suit your style.
- Among the CSS libraries, Sierra and Bourbon are the recommended ones. And finally, for a Sass GUI for the convenience of beginners to dynamic CSS, there is Scout-App which runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The best tools for jQuery
If you’re looking for a tool to use jQuery in Webflow, try the jQuery Builder from Wizardry. This tool is particularly useful in creating interactions in Webflow by adding and removing classes. With the help of this jQuery Builder, you can even interact with the tool online and try it out to generate jQueries on the fly.
There are also many jQuery plugins available — just keep in mind that plugins are developed by third parties and can open your site up to security risks. These plugins give you jQuery shortcuts for different functions. For example, CZM Social Chat Support lets you manage customer support via social media accounts and Slick jQuery plugin helps you create responsive carousels.
The best tool for fonts
No matter what type of website you’re building, you’ll need full control over the typefaces within your design. One of the best resources for typefaces is Google Fonts, which allows you to preview thousands of different fonts, see how they appear at different sizes and weights, and then download those fonts for free.
Once you have your desired fonts, you’ll need to upload them into your web development tool to make adjustments to color, size, weight, font pairings, etc.
From the fundamentals to advanced topics — learn how to build sites in Webflow and become the designer you always wanted to be.
Other web development tools to add to your stack
Visual Studio Code
As the world’s number one software repository, GitHub is an essential web development tool. Though it began as a software version control hub, it now provides hosting for software development with over 40 million users and 190 million repositories. Most of the projects are open-source and GitHub has become a community for developers who store code, share code, collaborate, contribute to open-source projects, and keep track of revisions.
As the world’s most popular open-source relational database, MySQL is definitely one of the top web development tools to know about. It’s easily accessible as part of the LAMP web development stack, along with Linux, Apache, and PHP/Perl/Python. Not only is it free, it’s also easy to learn and scale quickly — making it a top choice for many backend developers.
Browser development tools
Chrome's DevTools includes an incredible feature set and diagnostic tools. These tools can also be accessed by other Chromium-based browsers such as Brave and Chromium on Linux as well as Microsoft Edge. Chrome’s Dev Tools lets you review source source, error messages, page validity, website performance, and more.
Google's PageSpeed Insights is a valuable tool used by many testers to discover how a website performs and the numerous ways you can enhance its loading speed.
Google Lighthouse, on the other hand, is another tool that can be used on any webpage. Once run, it generates reports for functions such as page performance and other fine-tuning options for SEO. It also generates reports and audits for web apps.
The most common ways to run Google Lighthouse are from the command line, the Node module, or Chrome's DevTools. Using the PageSpeed Insights interface, Lighthouse can generate some of the scores and more critical insights.
This is when the software under the hood is worth a second look to better suit your needs. At first glance, the reports of Google Lighthouse and PageSpeed may look alike. However, PageSpeed Insights uses lab-based data in combination with real-world user data. On the other hand, analysis by Lighthouse does away with user data and measures more elements of your website.
Simplify web development with no-code options
Building a website from scratch takes time and can involve a large number of tools. With Webflow no-code Designer, you can build your site visually and trust that clean code will be written in the background. Get started today.