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he abundance of web development tools available can make the process of selecting one a little overwhelming. In the end, it comes down to personal preference and what fits your needs. Basically, you need a way to create your code and then preview, test, and debug it. You might also require specialty tools depending on the project.

I'm sharing which tools are must-haves for my web development projects. My list includes a code editor, browser tools, and a framework for turning designs into reality.

Building your application

Whether it is standard HTML or dynamic code like PHP or ASP.NET, you need a good editor to put it all together. I have used a number of editors over the years, and the one I like and use daily is WebMatrix. The latest version is a free download and has everything you need to build prototypes and the final product. In addition, there are a variety of templates available to quickly build an application.

Although WebMatrix is a Microsoft offering, you are not restricted to Microsoft technologies, as it can be used for PHP-based applications and those using HTML/CSS/JavaScript standards. It only runs on Microsoft Windows, though I run it on my Mac in a Windows VM.

I know Microsoft doesn't have the best reputation in the web development community, so if you choose to explore other options, you might start with Dreamweaver, Brackets, or a cloud-based tool such as Cloud9.

Browser tools

The latest version of Firefox offers some great tools, but I'm still a big fan of Chrome and its developer tools and the wide variety of extensions available. With a few clicks, you can easily access the JavaScript console and developer tools. The tools allow you to dig into every detail of a web page and its code: JavaScript, HTML DOM, CSS classes and elements, and so forth. One of my favorite features is the ability to edit CSS elements on the fly to quickly view how cha