Developer Tools

Start here

Make sure you get the right tools installed on your computer to start developing for the web (still applicable if you aren’t going to use Rails).

Your most essential tools:

And take the time to read this great essay on the maker’s schedule, by Paul Graham of Y-Combinator.

Text editors

These are programs inside of which you’ll be writing into and saving code files. You will need to download one in order to write code, even if you make an account with one of the free online code editors below.

Online code editors


Atom is a text editor built by Github (and my go-to!).


Sublime is probably the most popular text editor.


An important text editor but one that can only be navigated with keyboard shortcuts, so it has a steep learning curve. But it’s really worth it to be able to create and edit files at the speed of thought. If you’re on a Mac or Linux OS, your computer already has it installed! That said, treat yourself to a better version via MacVim (which supports non-Mac computers as well).

Web browsers

The following are all browsers that support development needs, such as need to inspect HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.


Definitely a developer’s go-to browser, more extensively used and loved than any other on this list for its standard-setting developer tools.

Mozilla Firefox

Did you know the guy who invented JavaScript was the CEO of Mozilla?

Internet Explorer

Surprised to see it make this list? Don’t be–IE also has dev tools!

Virtual machines, development environments, and Docker

Support for computers and programs you’ll be using

Agile: managing development

What is Agile? It’s a way of working in teams, permitting you to be more, well, agile. The Agile Manifesto is the basis for this concept. Agile is wildly popular among development teams, and used extremely widely, so it’s a good idea to understand what working within an Agile environment is like.

Project organization

Managing your time