Most Cost-Effective Tools for Web Development

Empower your web developers without breaking the bank.
December 22, 2021
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Web development becomes more important with every passing year. What was once a luxury is now an absolute necessity for every business. This was made especially so when the world had to completely shift gears because of the pandemic. More and more companies had to offer e-Commerce solutions and give prospective users all of the information they needed via the web.

For some companies, dropping a large chunk of their budget into a website is a no-brainer. For others, however, it’s a challenge. If your business leans toward saving every penny possible, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of tools available that can empower your developers and won’t break the bank.

These tools range from website frameworks to image editors, HTML editors, and tools to help make the process more efficient.

Let’s take a look at some of them. 

WordPress

When someone mentions WordPress, you probably assume they’re talking about WordPress.com, which is the hosted version of the platform. But there’s another version, one that’s self-hosted and open-source. 

So, instead of paying the upgrade fees for a WordPress.com site, you can download the source and host a site on your own data center servers. Some third-party hosting providers offer easy installations of WordPress (to a domain and hosting you might have already purchased) with tools like Softaculous. 

If you go this route, you’re getting a full-blown WordPress installation, with all of the features offered in the paid version and without having to shell out extra money for the third-party host. You can even deploy WordPress as a container, and have it scale to meet whatever demand comes your way.

GIMP

At some point, your web developers are going to need graphics. No site is complete without images to entice users into clicking on sections or buying products. And without flashy and professional imagery, you’re missing out.

Fortunately, you don’t have to pay the high costs for tools like Photoshop. Instead, you can go with the open-source GIMP, which is a powerful image editor that offers nearly all the features found in Photoshop.

GIMP can be installed on Linux, macOS, and Windows and costs zero dollars. If you’re looking for a way to generate brilliant website graphics on the cheap, look no further than this application.

Bluefish

Bluefish is a powerful editor targeted toward web developers. It’s perfectly at home with HTML, CSS, Java, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby. Bluefish can also be used for many other (non-web) languages. But for website programming, Bluefish is an outstanding tool that is both open-source and free.

You can install Bluefish on Linux, macOS, and Windows. And with a very user-friendly UI, your developers shouldn’t have any problem getting up to speed with it. Outside of the usual code editor features, Bluefish also supports dialogs and wizards for most HTML tags, image insert dialog, thumbnail creation, and linking, and user-customizable toolbars. 

Angular.js

Angular.js is one of the most popular frameworks used for creating single-page web applications. Although this isn’t traditional web development, most companies have started adopting SPAs, due to the high volume of web traffic coming from mobile devices. 

Angular.js makes it easy to build SPAs with HTML and JavaScript. And although using straight-up HTML is great for some instances, your developers will need the power of Angular.js for declaring dynamic views in web applications.

Like most of the tools in this list, Angular.js is free to use (as well as open source).

Sass

Sass stands for Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets and is a CSS preprocessor scripting language that is compiled into Cascading Style Sheets. By employing Sass, your developers can add special features to CSS, such as variables, nested rules, and mixins. This extends the feature set available to CSS, thereby making it more powerful and flexible.

Sass has become the industry standard CSS extension and is used by large companies around the world. And because Sass has been around for over 15 years, it enjoys a very large community of developers.

What’s more, Sass is free and open source.

Chrome DevTools

The Chrome browser includes a very useful feature for developers, called Chrome DevTools. This makes it possible for developers to view and change things (such as CSS) on the fly. On top of that, Chrome DevTools makes it easy to:

  • Inspect animations
  • Identify potential CSS improvements
  • Inspect the CSS grid
  • Force print preview mode
  • Log messages
  • Run JavaScript directly from the console
  • Watch JavaScript values in real time
  • Inspect network activity
  • View, edit, and delete cookies
  • View and edit local storage
  • View and change IndexDB data
  • View app cache data

The Chrome DevTools offers so many built-in options that it should be considered a must-have for every developer. And since Chrome is free (and cross-platform), so is DevTools, too.

GitHub

GitHub is a code repository that also serves as a version control system. Any developer that works on a team should consider GitHub a must. Store all of your website code in a GitHub repository and give other team members access, so they can collaborate with you on your project.

GitHub is used by millions of developers across the globe and has become the go-to for most teams. GitHub can be used free of charge unless you want to add special features (such as codespaces, protected branches, and draft pull requests). 

At some point, you will need a code repository and GitHub should be your first choice. 

Conclusion

It shouldn’t cost much to empower your web developers to work productively. Adding any of these tools will help your teams while preventing you from going over budget. Give these applications a try and see if they don’t wind up being a part of your team’s go-to dev toolkit.

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