50 Top Design & Development Tools

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In the early days of my career as an Internet professional, rarely did my discussions about online success venture into the virtual waters of Web design.

But as the industry has placed increasingly higher values on user experience and the relationships between design and conversion, the visual development of webpages has taken its rightful place on center stage in the digital business world. At least it has for me.

Once the dominion of but a handful of the most artistic and technical among all Web workers, design has evolved significantly over the past few years. And so have the tools, platforms and frameworks that are used to produce aesthetically pleasing websites with which our users interact. Few designers code their websites in something as barren as a text editor anymore. Instead, highly customized tools, very robust platforms and powerful frameworks are filling the necessary roles of solutions used to develop not just Web properties, but applications; the entire digital presence, so to speak.

When you have an audience as diverse as that of Website Magazine, assembling a list of just 50 tools to aid in the design process can often seem to be a Sisyphean task. There are those just getting started that opt for ease of use from tools provided by their hosting provider; a good example being the 1and1 product MyWebsite, which is No. 17 on our list.

Many others will use one of myriad available platforms that require little in the way of design experience but yield stunning finished products, including Wix (No. 6), Yola (No. 12) or Webnode (No. 13). More experienced designers, however, wouldn’t dream of using anything but Adobe’s market-leading products – including Dreamweaver, Photoshop and InDesign (not to mention the video tools that Adobe provides).

And, wouldn’t you know, it gets even more complex. The roles played by content management systems such as Word- Press (No. 2) and Joomla (No. 14) have dramatically changed our perceptions of the overall impact that design has on one’s success on the Web.

Of course, it does not stop there. Entirely new definitions of design and development are emerging. The role that applications (Web and mobile) now play in the digital realm is vital, and frameworks have emerged that enable designers to take their existing coding language familiarity to entirely new heights.

There are many of the same requirements, and you will still need those wireframing tools and should not cast aside any video-editing tools or visual design products that have been staples in the design world for many years.

The definition of design and the role that it plays for you personally is greatly dependent on the type of enterprise you have and want to have in the future. Design is one element of success over which you have a great deal of control, so let these tools, platforms and frameworks support your objectives for ’Net success.



1. Adobe.com

2. Wordpress.com

3. intuit.com

4. Microsoft.com

5. Weebly.com

6. Wix.com

7. Squarespace.com

8. Ucoz.com

9. Jimdo.com

10. Webstarts.com

11. Moonfruit.com

12. Yola.com

13. Webnode.com

14. Joomla.org

15. Appcelerator.com

16. Drupal.org

17. 1and1.com

18. Blinkweb.com

19. Coffeecup.com

20. Jigsy.com

21. Snappages.com

22. Doodlekit.com

23. Zend.com

24. Xsitepro.com

25. Kompozer.net

26. Htmlkit.com

27. Bravenet.com

28. Webeden.net

29. Swishzone.com

30. Evrsoft.com

31. Djangoproject.com

32. Sencha.com

33. Netobjects.com

34. Trendyflash.com

35. Codeigniter.com

36. Cabanova.com

37. Expressionengine.com

38. Webstudio.com

39. Aptana.com

40. Sitecube.com

41. Sitekreator.com

42. Site2You.com

43. RhoMobile.com

44. Buildyoursite.com

45. 350.com

46. Roxer.com

47. Cubender.com

48. Dojotoolkit.org

49. Ezgenerator.com

50. Ibuilt.net


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Juac 04-04-2012 1:07 PM

This article really is misleading as the majority of those listed are not really design or development tools or even frameworks but sites that let you build websites from THEIR templates.

This list should have been broken into categories to discern the difference for the uninformed.

Aaron Sperling 05-25-2012 5:39 PM

vFlyer Sites Website Builder service should be included list based on site traffic. Please consider it for subsequent articles.

DukeH 06-12-2012 7:53 PM

I see no commentary about selection criteria much less a brief list of features for each item. Is this missing on iPhone only or everywhere?

~ Commented through my Website Magazine iPhone App!

Web Deisgn and Development 12-03-2014 10:20 AM

Thanks for sharing these tools that would really be so helpful in design and development projects.

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