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Front-End Developer Toolbox (Software Edition)

There is so much front-end developer software out there to choose from and finding your cup-of-tea is a battle in and of itself. Like any master craftsman that has countless tools at their disposal they will still rely on the trusty toolbox. They carry in it a select number of items that they know can be used in any situation and get them out of any pinch.

So here I am sharing my toolbox with you. I have rounded up the 5 different software assets that I find essential to my daily workflow.


Disclosure Statement: Not all of the software tools mentioned are free of charge and available for both Windows & Mac. Your career is worth investing in.

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1: PhpStorm

Don't let the name fool you. This html/css/javascript/php IDE developed by the kind people at Jet Brains is a powerhouse. From groovy customization to deployment configuration and beyond, whatever you need to get done PhpStorm will do it for you.

Cost: US $89.00/yr. Cost decreases over time

Availability: macOS, Linux, Windows

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2: SourceTree

Their mission is simple. Sourcetree simplifies how you interact with your Git repositories so you can focus on coding. If you fear the command line as I do then SourceTree is your side-kick in the battle with version control. Available for Windows & Mac, SourceTree will have you saying Sayōnara! to the command line.

Bonus: Their UI is as slick as Johnny Bravo's pompadour.

Cost: Free

Availability: macOS, Windows

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3: Transmit

The people at Panic are cooking up some pretty radical things. Among those is the handy file transfer app Transmit. Transmit handles the classics — FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and S3. But it also includes other could services such as Backblaze B2, Box, Google Drive, DreamObjects, Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace all in a familiar UI.

P.S. They have their own code code editor Nova coming out soon!

Cost: US $45.00

Availability: macOS

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4: Prepros

Prepros is your friendly web development companion. Don't mistake its kind appearance for lack of grit. Not only does this workhorse compile everything from Sass, Less, Stylus, Pug/Jade, Haml, Slim, CoffeeScript and TypeScript, but it also transpiles your JavaScript, reloads your browsers and makes it really easy to develop & test your websites so you can focus on making them perfect.

Cost: US $29.00

Availability: macOS, Linux, Windows

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5: Local by Flywheel

This software can be described as a top tier ergonomic setup: You didn't know how bad you needed it until you got it. Simply put Local is a fuss-free way to develop WordPress sites locally. Flywheel not only gave us delightful managed WordPress hosting but they over achieved and gave us a tool that can install Wordpress in one-click, contains staging/production environments, hot-swappable PHP environments, plus many more awesome dev treats.

Do yourself a favor and give it a whirl.

Cost: Free/Pro Pricing

Availability: macOS, Linux, Windows


Well there you have it! I hope you found the tour of my trusty Front-End Developer Toolbox enjoyable, or at the least compelling. It's important to note that these tools are what help Me. My hope is that what I shared might help You.

What tools do you use on a daily basis that ease your workflow?

-Hector C. Supplier of Gloriousness

Top comments (10)

amg28 profile image

Source tree on Windows is quite poor choice. It works flawless on Mac, but Windows version is much less optimized, slow and buggy. I would not recommend anyone to use it.
I would suggest: Github Desktop, Tortoise Git or even just VSC with built in git version control.

hcardonaweb profile image

Thanks for your input! I have a Mac so you are correct it works great for me.

I appreciate you sharing other options. Thanks!

zquintana profile image
Zachary Quintana

Great article! Someone a while back introduced me to PHPStorm, I was super reluctant, but I tried it. Since then it's one of my yearly expenses I gladly pay. Their product makes building and maintaining large software a breeze. You should definitely check out their integrated git tools. I love using the terminal (maybe because I've watched Hackers too much), but I end up using the integrated tools a lot just because they're so convenient.

hcardonaweb profile image

Thanks Zachary!
I agree it’s worth the investment. I will be sure to hit you up with any PhpStorm questions I might have 👍🏽

webmasterjedi profile image
Christopher Hendershot

Well done! I would like to add that with PHPStorm I don't need that many other apps along side it. I use it for Git, Database, FTP/SFTP, File watchers for compiling css & js, terminal, etc.
I would also suggest Sublime Text for a general purpose text editor for when you need to edit a single file without needing to make a full blown project out of it.

brokenmold profile image
Jason Glass

VS Code if you have not tried it out. It will change your life.

hcardonaweb profile image

I have tried it before and it’s great. I have had issues before however. There were times when VS would freeze on boot up and my machine would overheat. So I had to delete it and reinstall it which became a burden. In the year I have had PhpStorm it’s been nothing short of spectacular.

Important to note that I still do have VS installed and use it from time to time. It’s just not my primary at the moment.

Thanks Jason!

struggzard profile image
struggzard • Edited

IMO, if you already using JetBrains IDE it's worth checking their integrated VCS for git. Also, the mentioned price of $200 is for organizations, for the individual developer price is lower.

hcardonaweb profile image
hcardonaweb • Edited

Thanks for noticing that! I’ll be sure to update the content 👍🏽

Also yes I do have VCS all set up with Git it’s fantastic!

saint4eva profile image

Visual Studio Code provides functionality of all the tools you mention above - for free.