Every company needs a website in today’s digital age - but how do you create the best one? There is an almost unlimited amount of web development options out there, so it can be hard to choose.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best tools for web developers, different types of back-end development, and the benefits and disadvantages of each. By the end of the article, you will know which tasks each tool is best for and should be able to make the right choice for your business.
Choosing the right back-end web development tools
Web programming is not a straightforward task. Not only do you need access to experienced back-end developers, but you also need access to various development tools. Some webdev tools are obligatory for building a successful website, while others may not be essential but can be very helpful in ensuring organization, productivity, and security.
That’s because back-end web development is not just about editing text files and compiling them. There are several other activities your development team will need to go through in order to fully build the back-end of your website. These include building and improving server code, server-side applications and databases, which will eventually need to be combined with front-end codes, to help create a functional, seamless experience for the end-user.
There are many different tools for backend web developers. Some of them can complete multiple tasks, while others specialize in certain areas. As well as the features provided by each webdev tool, you also need to consider the skills required to use it, the costs involved and how it integrates with your current software. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the top back-end web development tools below, so you can choose the ones that suits your team and project best.
Integrated development environment
An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software for building applications that combines common back-end developer tools into a single graphical user interface (GUI). IDEs are useful for consolidating all of the basic tools you need to write and test software in one place.
As the name implies, IDEs integrate several tools specifically designed for software development.
These tools usually include:
- An editor designed to handle code (with, for example, syntax highlighting and auto-completion)
- Build, execution, and debugging tools
- Some form of source control
IDEs help software developers code more efficiently, as they bring together tools for software editing, building, testing, and packaging. This will help boost the productivity of your team.
Let’s take a look at the different IDEs available for back end web development:
Jetbrains provides a huge range of IDEs for developers, including Intellij, GoLand, Pycharm and many more. Their IDEs are extremely popular for the main programming languages such as Python, C, C++, Go, Swift and Ruby. This means JetBrains offers something for projects on any platform or in any programming language.
VS Code (Microsoft)
Visual Studio Code, also commonly referred to as VS Code, is a source-code editor made by Microsoft. It is free and open source, meaning anyone can access it. It is popular for its easy-to-use UI and many plugins available.
Vim is another free and open-source, screen-based text editor program. It is designed for use both from a command-line interface and as a standalone application in a GUI. It is popular because it is lightweight, fast and extensible.
Sublime is a shareware cross-platform source code editor. It allows a range of functionalities, including split editing, command palette, multiple selections, plugin APIs and more. It is popular as a user-friendly code editor with a low learning curve for new developers.
A terminal in web development is text-based and serves as the command-line interface (CLI) you can type your commands in. A shell takes these commands and tells the operating system to execute them.
Web developers spend a lot of time using terminals, so they need to be as functional and convenient as possible. Here are some of the best back-end development tools for a terminal.
iTerm2 is a replacement for Terminal and the successor to iTerm. It works on Macs with macOS 10.14 or newer, and is licensed under GPL-2.0-or-later. Its main features include split panes, a hotkey window, an advanced find-on-page search feature, autocomplete and copy/paste options. It is also highly configurable, meaning developers can customize it to suit their needs.
Oh My Zsh
Oh My Zsh is an open-source, community-driven framework for managing your Zsh configuration. It collects thousands of helpful third-party plugins and themes for the Z shell which help transform the terminal to help developers move faster. The Z shell (Zsh) is a Unix shell that can be used as an interactive login shell and as a command interpreter for shell scripting.
Fish is a Unix shell with a focus on interactivity and usability. It is designed to give the user features by default, rather than by configuration, meaning convenience for web developers. Fish is considered an ‘exotic’ shell since it does not rigorously adhere to POSIX shell standards. It is popular as its default features save time for developers and make it user friendly.
Version control software is essential to help developers manage changes, organize revisions, and collaborate effectively with team members. It keeps track of any modifications made to code in a database. If mistakes are made, developers can use this software to compare versions of the code to identify how to fix the mistake. This allows changes to be made without impacting team members.
Here are some of the most popular version control software tools:
Git is free and open source software for distributed version control and tracking changes in any set of files. It is free, open source, and known as an easy-to-learn and lightweight tool for version control. Features like cheap local branching, convenient staging areas, and multiple workflows allow for rapid development.
A web-based repository that helps with code management and sharing local file changes with a remote repository. GitHub is primarily used as a hosting platform for Git repositories.
Again, this is a web-based repository with multiple tools available for version control and overall DevOps. GitLab provides a comprehensive version control solution to deliver better software faster in a single platform, simplifying how to implement version control
Bitbucket is a Git-based source code repository hosting service owned by Atlassian. Bitbucket offers both commercial plans and free accounts with an unlimited number of private repositories. Bitbucket supports distributed version control and makes it easy for developers to collaborate on code.
Containerization and orchestration
Containerization is the packaging together of software code with all its necessary components, like libraries, frameworks, and other dependencies so that they are isolated in their own "container." Orchestration is the management of the different containers used during back-end web development.
Container orchestration is the automation of the deployment, management, scaling, and networking of containers. Developers need specific tools to orchestrate containers effectively and keep projects organized and streamlined.
Here are some of the best tools for container orchestration in back-end web development.
Docker is a set of platform as a service products that use OS-level virtualization to deliver containers. With Docker, you can treat containers like extremely lightweight, modular virtual machines. It is extremely flexible – you can create, deploy, copy, and move them from environment to environment – which helps developers move seamlessly and also optimizes apps and websites for the cloud.
Podman (the POD manager) is an open-source tool for developing, managing, and running containers on Linux® systems. It is popular because it is considered light and faster than many other containerization tools, and there are no licensing fees. Podman also allows for non-root privileges for containers, which are considered safer than containers with root privileges.
Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that helps manage distributed, containerized applications at massive scale. You tell Kubernetes where you want your software to run, and the platform takes care of almost everything it takes to deploy and manage your containers. Kubernetes is so popular because it allows high workflow portability, flexibility, and lack of fragmentation.
API/Web testing tools
An application programming interface (API) is a way for two or more computer programs to communicate with each other. It is important to test these endpoints to ensure functionality and seamless interfacing with other parts of the back-end web development.
API/Web testing tools typically analyze an application program interface (API) to verify it fulfills its expected functionality, security, performance and reliability. The tests can be performed directly on the API or as part of integration testing.
API testing is important because it makes sure that your API performs as expected when faced with a broad range of expected and unexpected requests. The process is designed to test the API's functionality, as well as its reliability, performance, and security.
Here are some of the best API/web testing tools available to back-end web developers:
Postman is an API platform for building and using APIs. Postman simplifies each step of the API lifecycle and streamlines collaboration to make the development of APIs faster. It is very popular, being used by over 20 million developers. It has a simple, user-friendly interface, allows developers to create different testing environments and boasts a wide range of functionalities.
Curl is an open-source command line tool and library for transferring data and URLs. It communicates with a web or application server by specifying a relevant URL and the data that need to be sent or received. curl is powered by libcurl, a portable client-side URL transfer library. cURL supports multiple protocols, including HTTP and HTTPS, and runs on almost every platform. This makes it ideal for testing communication from almost any device from a local server to most edge devices.
Selenium offers tools and libraries for browser automation. At the core of Selenium is Selenium WebDriver, an interface to write instructions that work interchangeably across browsers. It is popular because it enables rapid, repeatable web-app testing, which allows developers to deploy new releases faster and with confidence.
A structured query language (SQL) client connection is software that provides this type of connectivity. SQL client software is most commonly used in Microsoft programming languages. This connection technology is specifically designed to transmit data over the Internet to an external database. SQL Clients are crucial database administration tools. A good SQL client enables developers to easily and accurately manage or maintain their databases during back-end web development.
Here’s a list of the most popular SQL Client softwares available:
DBeaver is a cross-platform and open source SQL client software application and a database administration tool. DBeaver is popular as it is free, simple to use and platform independent. It offers a wide range of DBMS support, easy movement of data between databases, automatic driver download and Import-Export data.
pgAdmin is an open-source graphical user interface (GUI) administration tool for PostgreSQL. It can be used on Linux, Unix, macOS and Windows to manage PostgreSQL and EDB Advanced Server 10 and above. It is popular because anybody can use it, anywhere. You can configure it to run on any cloud server and then access it from all of the major operating systems. It is very feature rich and flexible.
DataGrip is a powerful database management environment from JetBrains for SQL on macOS, Windows, and Linux. It is designed to query, create, and manage databases. Databases can work locally, on a server, or in the cloud. DataGrip provides smart code completion, code inspections, on-the-fly error highlighting, quick-fixes, and refactoring capabilities. It saves you time by making the process of writing SQL code more efficient.
DbVisualizer is a universal database tool for administrators, developers, and analysts. It runs on all major OSes and connects to all commercially viable database engines. This makes it extremely accessible for back-end web developers working on almost any project.
Organization and communication
Any back-end web development project doesn’t just require coding and testing tools. Development teams also need to be able to communicate with each other, and to plan and organize different parts of the development.
That’s why team collaboration platforms are very important to back-end web development. Here are some of the best tools for doing that:
Slack is popular messaging platform for work teams. It allows you to create different project channels and subject-based messaging boards, as well as sharing important documents securely. By bringing people together to work as one unified team, Slack transforms the way organizations communicate.
Jira is a bug-tracking, issue-tracking and project-management software application. It allows for very efficient, customizable workflow management and enables teams to communicate effectively with each other and with clients. It’s also popular for its clear and transparent reporting function, intuitive dashboard and extensive integration capability.
Trello is a web-based, Kanban-style, list-making application. Trello is a popular platform for managing and collaborating on back-end development projects with team members. Visually, Trello's Kanban boards are great for clear, simple organization, allowing lots of detail on each card, and they let you team members who's working on what, at any given time.
GitHub Issues offers project planning for developers. Some of its functionalities include creating issues, breaking them into tasks, tracking relationships, adding custom fields, and having conversations. Developers can use it to visualize large projects as spreadsheets or boards, and automate everything with code.
Getting ready for successful back-end web development
As this article shows, there are many different tools for each aspect of back-end web development, from IDEs to project management software. It’s important to note that this means your team will need a number of different tools throughout your web development project. Some will help with coding, others with testing, and some with data management and transmission.
Some of these tools have very similar functionalities or do the same thing. Which one you choose will depend on personal preferences, but also on your project and team requirements. Anything from your overall budget to the level of developer expertise should be considered when choosing which back-end web development tools to use.
Web development is more accessible than ever before because of the availability of these tools. If you’re ready to get started with your back-end web development now, but unsure which tools to use, speak to one of our friendly Netguru experts today - we’d love to help!