What Are Your Favorite Open Source Tools? (Open Thread)

Modern sites and apps rely heavily on open source projects such as JavaScript frameworks (jQuery, Angular), UI frameworks (Bootstrap, Foundation), content management platforms (WordPress, Drupal), CSS preprocessors, and then package managers (Bower, npm) to keep track of them all.

Let’s talk about our favorite open source tools for building sites and apps.

Some potential talking points:

The floor is yours!

This open thread will be open until April 8, 2015 (Wednesday).

By the way, you can use these HTML tags to format your comments:

This was published on Apr 4, 2015


Jacob Gube Apr 04 2015

OK, I’ll start.

I use a ton of open source tools — I’d say 99% of the things I’ve worked on would break/not exist without them — so I’m just going to talk about the open source projects I’ve just started using recently:

  • Gulp – I just actually started playing around with Gulp this week. And it was because of Pedro’s post on web performance. His guide intrigued me, it seemed like writing tasks was easier with Gulp compared to Grunt. My hunch was right. The only problem so far: issuing gulp mytask instead of grunt mytask – habits are hard to break. Grunt’s got its own merits though, and you really can’t go wrong with either one.
  • Jade – This is a really, really, really powerful HTML templating system, but I’m just using it to generate an HTML markup boilerplate (I’ll talk about this in another post)
  • Handlebars.js – I was messing around with this before I stumbled upon Jade. It’s great too, and very intuitive.
  • Myth – A while back, I wrote a tutorial for SitePoint that covered this CSS preprocessor. It allows you to use experimental W3C specs, such as CSS Variables and Custom Properties and calc(), and it will compile it to current CSS specs that today’s browsers understand (without dynamic calculations for calc() and whatnot). It’s legitly useful but, to be honest, I haven’t had a chance to utilize it in production, simply because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.

Also I want to mention my favorite code editor: Brackets. I’ve probably mentioned a million times how much I love this code editor.The highlight of Brackets for me is Live Preview, it’s awesome in a dual-monitor setup (I use an LCD monitor as my primary screen and my laptop as the secondary screen). I’ve installed these extensions: Code Folding, jade-brackets, and the Monokai theme. What other Brackets extensions should I install?

    Doug Clayton Apr 06 2015

    Great list. I would suggest you get and learn the emmet extension for brackets. You’ll see what I mean.

      Jacob Gube Apr 06 2015

      Thanks Doug. Looks awesome. I’ll play around with the Emmet plugin as soon as I can.

poisonborz Apr 05 2015

Inkscape – while the GUI is admittedly awkward, I use it exclusively for on-the-go for-web SVG editing. For simple shapes and paths its faster and just more intuitive than Illustrator.

As a php dev i’m using codeIgniter php framework.
CodeIgniterPHP framework : simple to learn, easy to use, a lot of libraries available, good community and support. No need to reinvent the wheel, my code is reusable from one project to another, projects are quickly maintened; I learned MVC model with it and it worth to be used I’m loving it !

    Jacob Gube Apr 06 2015

    What do you think of Laravel? I’m looking for a PHP framework because I’ve been itching to work on app development the last few months. (I’ve been focusing on the front-end, but I really miss server-side programming.)

Lee Adam Apr 06 2015

Mine is most simple and most renowned one, WordPress.


Lee Adam

Mohsin Rasool Apr 06 2015

I use WordPress for cms sites.

I use Bootstrap + CodeIgnitor is awesome combination for web apps.

My favorite editor is Bluefish. Lightweight, fast, and awesome support for zen coding.

    Jacob Gube Apr 06 2015

    Looks like another +1 for CodeIgniter. Interested in your thoughts about other PHP frameworks such as Laravel.

Michael Apr 07 2015

Grunt – run tasks for whatever you want, its easy extendable and tons of tasks are out there

Codeigniter – easy to learn php framework.

Chromium – nothing to say about this. ;)

SASS – CSS preprocessor, i started using it because of variables in CSS. But with @mixins and @functions it´s a powerfull tool to enhance your workflow.

WordPress – I started with wordpress years ago, because it was so “trendy”. With every single version it gets better and more extensible. BUT: there´s one big contra for wordpress, the frontend should be for the developer – he decides which markup to use, it´s hard to kill or extend the given markup from WordPress (menus for example)

Jesse Nichols Apr 07 2015

I like Brackets for my code editor.

Pedro Semeano Apr 07 2015

Gulp – Grunt is also great, but I found Gulp a lot easier to configure.
Yeoman – Awesome tool for scafolding your apps!
Sublime Text – Simple and flexible editor. I’ve used Atom and Brackets before and ended up returning to Sublime. But I think I’m going to give Brackets another chance…
Git – A must-have for any developer.

Apart from tools, I’m going to mention the frameworks I use the most: AngularJS and Laravel.

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