Web design and development has significantly changed over the years, as have the tools and technologies involved. With these advancements come tools to make our lives easier, provide higher quality work and better services for our clients. Communication and collaboration over vast distances is no longer painfully frustrating (or impossible) and project or task management is now easier than ever.
Web designers and developers can also jump on virtually any internet connected computer with a modern browser to get work done without their main desktop applications. Wireframe, design, test, develop, deploy and so much more, straight from the web.
Here are 51 web apps to make web designer’s and developer’s lives easier than ever and crank up their capabilities.
With Splashup you have more than basic image editing capabilities at your fingertips, anywhere you go. You can edit multiple images and layers together, use a variety of filters and tools as well as access your stored images just about anywhere (Flickr, Picasa, etc).
Like Splashup and Aviary, Pixlr brings image editing to the web. Pixlr is more of a Photoshop clone than the other two, with a GUI that will likely be more comfortable for Photoshop users. Pixlr packs some extra features as well such as RAM usage, FPS performance and lots of tools and filters.
Photoshop.com is a very basic online version of the popular desktop application Photoshop. By basic, I really mean basic. It’s intended for photos and video with a very limited set of tools. It does however, include free photo storage, albums and quick access to your photos on sites like Flickr and Picasa.
Price: Free (2GB storage) – $499.99/yr (500GB storage)
Adobe kuler makes it quick and easy to create, share and discover beautiful color schemes to fit your needs. Starting from a base color or an image, you can quickly create all types of color schemes such as analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary and more.
Color Scheme Designer offers a simpler interface than kuler for color scheme creation while also offering a couple other helpful features. Preview the color scheme and an example light and dark template with the colors. Color scheme types such as complimentary, triad and tetrad are all supported.
Typetester is a fast way to test and compare up to three types of fonts with customized settings all side by side. Change the sample text and font options, then when you’re done you can get the custom CSS.
How often do you see a font somewhere on the web or in a magazine and wonder what it is? Upload an image of the font via URL or locally to WhatTheFont and get a list of possible matches. You’ll also get links to buy the possible font match(es).
Requires: Image of text for font discovery.
templatr is a template generator which gives you the ability to build a website template online and download the finished package. Select your desired layout, upload your graphics and customize every element by clicking it to select, then specifying its settings.
iPlotz lets you create and collaborate on mockups and wireframes quickly and easily. It provides a huge selection of elements for websites and applications and is very easy to use. It also offers multiple levels of collaboration for clients, co-workers, etc.
Price: Free – $495/year
Let’s face it, forms aren’t exactly fun to create. Wufoo has managed to change that with their easy to use, drag-n-drop form creator. You get a lot more though like reports, security and payment integration. You can also use it just to create valid HTML/CSS forms for your own development if you’d like.
Price: Free – $199.95/month
Like Wufoo, JotForm lets you create forms using a drag-n-drop interface. JotForm isn’t as pretty as Wufoo but it still has a lot to offer and simplifies the process of creating all sorts of different website forms. Reports, payments and more is also supported.
Price: Free – $9/month
Quickly create repeating stripes with Stripe Generator. You can customize stripe size, spacing, colors, background style, shadow and orientation. Then download the 18px * 18px repeating image and you’re good to go.
With Genfavicon you can create faivcons of different sizes quickly and easily. Upload your image from HDD or URL, select the desired size option and use the image selection box to select and position the image how you would like. It’s a basic but a useful and nifty app.
Create custom menus and preview them before downloading the final work. IzzyMenu offers an easy to use interface to customize graphics, colors, fonts, etc. You can also find prebuilt menus from their catalog. Signup is required for some of the more advanced features like jQuery effects.
Price: Free – $70/month
Bespin is an extensible code editor in the clouds. With it you can create, edit and share projects or even connect to other open-source projects and publicly accessible repositories. There’s a tremendous amount more that can be done with it, even theming it if you’d like.
Requires: Firefox 3.x, Webkit Nightly Builds, Google Chromium
Like Bespin, PHPanywhere is an online code editor supporting PHP/HTML (possibly more?). It even includes a fully featured and integrated FTP client. Tabbed editing, graphic file management, unlimited “undo” and “redo” and many more great features are included. There are many more features currently in development as well.
Requires: Opera 9+, Gecko-based browsers (Firefox, Camino, etc.), Support for IE, Safari and Chrome coming soon.
Yahoo Pipes gives you the ability to easily pull content together from around the web into several different forms like widgets, badges, maps, etc. Using the visual editor, you can create all sorts of great things without writing any code.
Google offers a tremendous number of services and API’s. Fortunately they also provide an easy way to test, learn and build virtually anything via their Code Playground. Access API examples, customize, debug, run, save and export your work.
Requires: N/A (uses PHP)
Dabble DB gives you an easy way to create online databases but it does a whole lot more. Take the information in your databases and create reports with charts, maps, etc. or collaborate with others and it’s all done in a easy to use user interface.
Price: Free – $8/month
The thought of cross-browser testing will make many of you cringe. Adobe Browserlab makes this task faster, easier and much less painful. Several additional options are available as well, such as viewing multiple browsers side by side or even overlaid.
Test your website in all the major browsers from IE6+ to Firefox 2+ (Windows and OS X) and Safari 3+ (Windows and OS X).
Like Browserlab, BrowserCam lets you capture screenshots of websites of your choice but in a much larger selection of browsers, including handheld devices like BlackBerry’s, iPhones and more. If you need to interact, you can also get remote access to testing systems.
Price: $19.95 – $999.95/month (Free trial available)
ViewLike.us is basic but quite useful. Input your web URL of choice and select a browser size to view it including iPhone, Wii and many of the most popular screen resolutions. Testing websites but your screen is too small for testing 1929×1200? No problem, just scroll the viewing window.
If you’re not already familiar with W3C’s validation services, now is a good time to do so. Validate your markup and CSS via URI, file upload or direct input. Specify additional options such as document type, clean up markup with HTML tidy and more.
Google Analytics gives you easy website tracking and analysis with easy to use tools. Automatically generate reports, grant other’s viewing or control access, view your statistics graphically and much, much more.
Although Mint is a self hosted website tracking web application, it rivals Google Analytics and offers many of the same features. Graphical statistics and easy break downs of your website information are all included.
Price: $30 per license
Pingdom Tools is a collection of tools for testing page load time, ping and traceroute. You’ll get a breakdown of all sorts of information for each test that is very helpful for performance and error testing and more. You can even monitor website performance and uptime for free.
clickdensity is a different type of website tracking application that lets you analyze visitor clicks, searching and other usability functions. View click heat maps and other reports to help you improve your website interface.
Price: Free – $400/month
CushyCMS is a totally different CMS that doesn’t require installation on your web server and is easy enough to use that you won’t have to train your clients how to use it. It’s great for non-programmers and super fast to implement.
Price: Free – $28/month
Like CushyCMS, LightCMS is a simplified content management system that doesn’t require installation and is easy enough for clients or non-programmer web designers to use. It includes hosting and all the tools necessary to manage your sites.
Price: Free – $99/month
Box.net gives you a simple interface with enough tools and features for businesses and teams to share, collaborate and manage files. It’s about more than just files though, it improves workflow and communication unlike many other similar solutions.
Price: Free – $15+ per user per month
Dimdim is a powerful platform for web conferencing that doesn’t require any downloads. I’ve used it for several client (and family) demonstrations and even a few presentations. It works very well and the distance factor for many clients.
Jumpchart really takes the pain out of the concept and project approval and workflow between web guru’s and their clients. Collaboration, wireframing and more in a visual and easy interface for both you and your clients.
Price: Free – $50/month
Domai.nr is another simple but creative and useful tool. Easily search for domain names by word and get instant availability results and creative suggestions. Then view additional links for registrars, TLD and tools like WHOIS.
If you’re not familiar with Twitter already, I highly recommend doing so. For designers and developers, it’s one of the best communication tools available. Although there are many Twitter clients for different platforms, Twitter.com is always fast, reliable and easy to use.
Zoho is a competitor to Google Apps (below) and offers a multitude of web applications for just about everything. With Zoho, you can tackle email, document editing, web conferencing, invoicing and a lot more. The link below will take you to a full list of applications.
Price: Free – $3+ /month
Google offers a staggering number of web apps covering email, document editing, RSS, calendar, 3D model builder and a lot more. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Picasa and Reader or just browse their full list of products here.
There’s a staggering number of web apps for just about everything. Yup, there’s an app for that. 😉
Web designers and developers typically require much more powerful applications however, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, Dreamweaver and other IDE’s. With the advancement of cloud computing and web technologies like HTML5, more powerful web applications are appearing all the time. In the not so distant future, it will likely be very possible for many designers and developers to work completely from the web, anywhere, anytime.
We know there are a tremendous number of web apps for designers and developers available so if there are any great applications that weren’t listed here, please share them with us in the comments below.