12 Important Web Development Tools (With Examples)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 6 February 2023

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Developer tools make it easy to modify, debug and optimise websites for best performance. They enable you to inspect and modify the document object model (DOM), modify a website's cascading style sheets (CSS) in a preview environment and interact with JavaScript by debugging and running JavaScript code in the console. In this article, we define web development tools, look at 12 important examples and how they help in the development process and find answers to some frequently asked questions.

What are web development tools?

Web development tools enable developers to work with several web technologies, including hypertext markup language (HTML), CSS, the DOM, JavaScript and other browser-side components. Most commonly used web developer tools are pre-integrated into most modern browsers. These tools enable developers to easily change and test new code and run multiple tests faster to optimize the performance of web applications.

Related: What Is Web Architecture? (Plus Types And Examples)

12 Useful web development tools

Depending on the web browser you use, available tools and features may vary. Here are some useful website development for developing, testing and debugging web applications:

1. DOM inspector

The DOM inspector assists you in selecting the code required to edit a certain object on the website. Developer tools facilitate this process by emphasising the particular code in the DOM that renders the selected element.

In most browsers, when you open the development tools, it opens the inspector by default. This tool displays the HTML on your page during runtime and the CSS that applies to the corresponding element on the page. It also helps you adjust HTML and CSS in real-time, with the results shown in the browser viewport.

2. CSS editor

The CSS editor shows the CSS rules currently applied to the selected element. Almost every current browser supports live CSS editing from within the development console. This enables you to preview the changes without impacting how the website appears to other visitors. You do not require reloading your browser to view the changes, as they reflect real-time.

3. JavaScript debugger

The JavaScript debugger helps you monitor variable values and set breakpoints, which are locations in your code where you wish to interrupt execution to find issues that prevent your code from running properly. When you include a debugger in your JavaScript code and refresh the browser to produce an event, the debugger pauses your code and immediately shows the debugger console. This helps you quickly identify issues, look deeper into your code and debug and test new code directly in the web page console.

4. Console

The JavaScript console is an extremely useful tool for debugging JavaScript that does not run as expected. It enables you to execute lines of JavaScript directly on the currently loaded page in the browser and reports any errors encountered while the browser attempts to execute your code. Web developers frequently use the console to verify that their JavaScript works properly. This development tool can also help run the code directly in the console or send messages to the console for testing.

As the console has complete access to the page's window, it is possible to modify it from the console without updating the actual code of the website.

Read more: How To Become A Freelance Web Developer: A 7-Step Guide

5. Colour picker

The colour picker allows you to select multiple colour palettes. It displays the entire palette of colours on your web page by default. It also allows you to choose a custom palette and build your own colours or a material palette, which provides a range of colours based on material design standards.

You can quickly switch between colour modes using this tool. The colour picker allows you to convert between HEXadecimal (HEX), red-blue-green-alpha (RGBA) and hue-saturation-lightness-alpha (HSLA) modes. This is very useful if your application requires a specific colour mode and the available colour code is in a different mode. You can use this tool to select a colour in one mode and copy its value in another.

6. Network

The network tool enables you to discover the number of requests sent and the amount of data transferred during a specific period. This tool is highly beneficial for developers evaluating the webpage's performance or debugging particular areas of the page load. The response and request headers contain information about the origin of the request and extra information, such as whether it was from a cache or content delivery network (CDN).

Another useful feature included in this part of dev tools is the ability to simulate various network speeds. The ability to test the website on both fast and slow 3G speeds enables you to evaluate the timing and sequence of components of the webpage loading in various circumstances and to make appropriate improvements. You can also utilise the network panel's resource load times data to determine whether JS and CSS resources are loading ahead of the DOM and potentially blocking it, which is one of the most common causes of a low page loading speed.

Related: 10 Interview Questions For Web Developers (With Answers)

7. Timeline

The timeline tab in the dev tool has always been the ideal place to optimise performance. It merges the view of the application's activity and helps you to find how much time it takes on loading, scripting, rendering and painting. The timeline section also provides a detailed description of your JavaScript execution.

The timeline's flame chart view provides information and clarity on your code's function and efficiency. It is a data visualisation of your call stack as it records on the timeline. You may look for information such as which functions the web page calls, how long they run and which additional functions they call.

8. Device mode

The term device mode refers to a collection of functionalities in dev tools that assist you in testing the responsiveness of a website. By enabling device mode, you can preview your design across a range of popular mobile devices and even set your custom device resolution. It also helps you emulate your screen resolution, touch events and user agent.

The following functions are commonly available in device mode:

  • CPU throttling

  • geolocation simulation

  • mobile viewport simulation

  • setting orientation

  • network throttling

Related: 35 Web Designer Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

9. Application

The application tool displays the contents of your application storage, such as web structured query language (SQL) and local storage. It also provides a granular management option for your cookies. This is very helpful if the page contains cookies or local storage information. You can access this tab to view a list of all cookies associated with a certain page. You can also inspect the contents of your cache or session storage if you wish to know why your updates are not appearing. This is a convenient approach to testing different user permission levels set using cookies.

10. Security

The security section of the dev tool provides basic security details, such as the HTTPS certificate and the transport layer security (TLS) state of a website. This can be helpful during HTTPS migrations as it allows you to spot security issues on any page using the security panel's information. You can determine whether the page is secure and has a valid HTTPS certificate, the type of secure connection in use and whether there are issues with mixed content because of the non-secure origins of any resource.

11. Audit

Many factors can affect the performance of the website, including the size of the web page, the number of HTTP requests, network latency and server response time. The audit tool creates reports on the functionality and structure of the site automatically. This report can assist developers in identifying critical flaws and improvement opportunities for optimising the website or a web app's performance.

12. Lighthouse

With the increasing popularity of JavaScript-based frameworks and libraries, most notably Angular and React, more organisations are turning toward web applications rather than static websites. In such cases, the performance of these applications has taken precedence over all other considerations. Lighthouse is a web application auditing tool that allows you to evaluate the web application based on various criteria, including performance, mobile compatibility and progressive web app (PWA) implementations.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about website development tools:

How do website builders differ from tools for web development?

Website builders help determine the components of a website. Tools for web development focus more on debugging, auditing a website and efficiently testing various changes directly inside the web browser. Both are crucial to ensure effective end-user experience.

Related: How To Create A Web Developer Resume (With Template)

What framework and languages do web developers use?

A web developer's toolkit varies according to their work type. Front-end developers typically use HTML, CSS, JavaScript and frameworks such as React, Bootstrap, Backbone, AngularJS and EmberJS. Back-end developers often work with server-side languages such as PHP, Ruby and Python and technologies such as MySQL, Oracle and Git.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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