When you have made your choices and want to start development as a web developer, there are a lot of things you need to learn and different tasks you need to do. If you get hold of the right tools at the beginning and follow some basic guides to learn these tools, your learning curve will be less steep.
Target should be to select opensource tools first as developers are very smart people, if they need a feature, they will build it, this approach has made many paid tools less user friendly in the long run. While you will find some tools fighting it out, these are usually expensive for the beginner and may not be the best choice after a couple of years. Opensource also does the same things
Begin by selecting an ide. IDE depends on the language you chose. Below are some of the good ones you might want to check out
– Netbeans : php , java etc
– Eclipse : php , java etc
– atom : nodejs etc.
– for others, use the official tools
atom is growing extensively with a huge list of plugins. vscode is relatively new but is better in some scenarios like typescript.
Netbeans / eclipse is preffered choice for older php users but do try atom or vscode too as these have now better support through plugins and do not make your ide heavy as you only pick what you need.
A good text editor like nodepad++, sublime for quick scrapping, searching is also useful.
use git for source control, git is very important specially if you want to develop opensource in future. There is an easier to understand alternative mercurial too which is good if you are staying away from github and collaboration with other opensource developers.
Use gulp or grunt to automate tasks you do repeatedly. Sometimes you can do the same using npm plugins too.
Use evernote or a nicely structured document folder where you keep all things you want to note down and are not available readily on the internet in a convenient place.
Print out your own cheat sheets or find some good ones online for the languages and frameworks you are learning. The sheets should be pasted next to your screen(s).
Use dual monitor , it helps increase productivity specially when you are learning as you need to keep the tutorial / docs etc open on one side and code on the other. Some people even like to use 3 screens where you have one for coding, one for doc and third one for preview of your app which live-reloads as you make changes to your code.
If you need to edit graphics a bit and are not going pro, its not wise to spend money on photoshop and instead use inkscape and gimp for your small image editing needs.
For sql , use a suitable gui tool like mysqlworkbench , sql server management studio express etc. It helps understand where you are in the database structures.
Write your readme’s in markdown if you are going github specially .
Use the xampp stack if you are developing in php as it provides you all the server side tech you need in one install.