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15 Top Open Source Software Tools that Web Development Companies Should use in 2019 and 2020

03/08/2019

Below are some of the software apps that we have used in our projects. They have saved us from subscribing to large licensing fees, and get our development work done on time. We are not getting paid to review of recommend any of these apps below, just sharing our experience over the years using them.

Chrome Developer Tools

Quick Front-end Code Inspection

Google Chrome is the number one browser in the world. As other web agencies, we use Chrome as a benchmark browser for front-end testing of web apps and desktop sites. On most cases before apply layout changes we use Chrome’s developer tools to preview our code changes. Developer tools helps us inspect code for javascript bugs, page load speed, responsive layout problems, compression of code, and a whole lot of browser rendering related issues.

15 Top Open Source Web Development Tools 2019 2020

Android Studio

Android Development

When developing Android Apps, Android Studio has become our must use software. Not to put down Eclipse Android Development Tools (ADT) but Android Studio is much easier for our developers to work with. We use Android studio for our Android native apps that require highly Android stock features.

Node.js

Dynamic Code Builder

Built on chrome’s javascript engine, we use Node JS to build complex, awesome, dynamic, real-time experiences. On our projects where live chat, data streaming apps, financial charts, lined reports need to change in real-time. Most of these advanced projects are ones where significant investor funding is involved. We depend on Node JS to enable more real-world user experiences. Not to mention at our lab we use Node JS alongside Docker to test Internet-Of-Things apps ( IoT).

CodePen

Code Sharing, Code Learning

An online environment for testing and sharing user-created HTML, CSS and JavaScript code snippets. We use its online code editor to quickly test and solve front-end related issues when our in-house developers need quick reference and solution snippets. Its a great resource for us to prove a concept and helps save code time through quick checks.

GitHub

Code Testing, Bug Tracker

Another great online community for testing and sharing of code. Its open source version control system is a must use tool for our developers. We are able to manage projects and code alongside millions of other developers world-wide. Initially we were drawn to use GitHub as a bug tracker as an alternative to the more resource-needy MantisBT (https://www.mantisbt.org/) installed on our servers.

Sizzy

Responsive Front-end Testing

We love Sizzy. It makes it less annoying for our developers to test responsive design on multiple devices. As one of the most frustrating stages of code roll out, our developers need to swift through thousands of lines of code to check for bugs. Sizzy enables our guys to sleep better at night knowing their work will look consistent across multiple devices.

AngularJS

Standardizing Code

HTML is limited. AngularJS extends it with new attributes. It is one of our favorite go to frameworks for building our mobile and desktop web applications. We started using AngularJS in our projects late 2015. After trying a few other light frameworks such as PureMVC(https://puremvc.org/) and jQuery Mobile(https://jquerymobile.com/), AngularJS became our main go to framework due to changing client needs.

Bootstrap

Front-end Code Helper

As far as front-end responsive code is concerned we go Bootstrap always. This framework allows our front-end coders to not have to worry about code not working on certain devices. It also takes the hassle out of writing extra lines of code to make layouts adapt to multiple mobile devices. We choose to go naked on Bootstrap when developing all our custom web apps and sites.

Bower

Installed Frameworks Update Helper

We use a lot of frameworks at the agency. Its always difficult to keep track of new updates that lead to code conflicts. To take care of outdated code we use Bower. It not only tracks what frameworks are used on our development projects but automatically updates them for us. Updates are important to tackle security hacks, but not all updates go smoothely, thats where Bower shines as well.

Grunt

Automation, Time Saver

In code development there is always repetition of steps and tasks that standardize development. At our agency we take the procress seriously as it helps us build clean safe code. Grunt is our go to helper in automation of frequent tasks such as server setups, code minification, compilation, framework installs, and anything that we need automated on almost all of our development projects. Its a time saver.

LibreOffice

The Free Office Suite

Our developers like to keep their machines light. Most of the times while the designers and video team have heavy Adobe software, our developers keep their machines resource optimized by using alternatives. Our go to office software suite for our developers handling .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, and .pptx files is LibreOffice. The user interface (UI) is not nice as Microsoft Office Suite but thats what our developers like – non flashy distracting UI.

Sublime Text Editor

Write Code

Our developers love to code on minimal UI interfaces. There are plenty of text editors used for development such as Coda, Notepad++, and the mighty Atom. Over the years we have used each of these text editors and each developer has their prefference based on the project. Sublime is the most used text editor at our studio. We love it for its simplicity and low resource foot print on our Macs and PCs.

Apache

Primary Server Software

When it comes to reliable server software that doesn’t come with high licensing fees, you can’t go with with Apache. About 80% our development projects depend on this free and open-source cross-platform web server software. Its easy to find developers to can work with Apache, setting it up is a breeze. Not to forget that Apache runs really well on Linux servers.

Gulps.js

Workflow Automation

Another work procress automator that we love to use is Gulp. Gulp is a time savor when it comes to deploying files to development, staging and production servers. With multiple projects running on our development servers, we need the code out quick during official site transfers and launches. Our developers also love using it for compiling Sass to CSS code. We cant forget helping automatically refresh our web browser’s windows every time coders make a change in the editor (on every device currently displaying the page).

Browsershots

Front-end Browser Testing

Even though Chrome is the number one used browser world-wide by a huge margin of 46.78% (as of august 2019). There’s other browsers such as Safari, Internet Explorer (IE), MS Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Brave. We typically build our web code for the big five browsers in the world – Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE, and Edge. Code should look great on the big five but we like to know what the rest of the browsers and machines render pages like. This is where Browsershots comes in as its free. We also use LambdaTest and Browser Stack for mobile apps.

There is more open source softwares out there as well for almost any industry, just depends on what its being used for. You can read more here.


About us:
Lordeys is an international digital agency that uses engaging content, crafted design, and web technologies to support business globally. From crafting brands, visual identity, to websites and apps including content creation. We’ve have been delivering solutions for over 200 clients since 2013 from our offices in London, Dar es salaam, and Shanghai.