ToolsWeb Design

Thanks to thriving open source communities in 2020, web designers are swimming in free high-quality web design tools.

While being spoiled for choice is a treat, it can be tricky knowing which open source tools you need for a full-stack web design suite.

For a 2020 web designer, you’ll need five layers of open source web design technology:

  • Code Editor
  • Web Server
  • Application Development Framework
  • Database Management System
  • Build and Deploy Tool

Gearing yourself up to design, build, and launch websites?

Read this article to learn which open source website design tools are essential for 2020 web designers.

Premium Open Source Code Editors

A high-quality open source code editor will allow you to code the design for your website in a fluid and straightforward way.

In this section we’ll take a look at some great open source code editors.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #1: Eclipse

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Eclipse is a top industry-level code editor with excellent versatility.

Though most popular with Java developers, Eclipse supports various coding languages. For example, PHP web designers can use a PHP plug-in.

Web designers particularly like the auto-completion feature (less code to remember!)

The dashboard is also a big hit, as all files can be viewed and managed from one screen.

Additionally, Eclipse integrates seamlessly with several test plugins including TestNG and Junit.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #2: Apache Netbeans

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A good open source web design platform for beginners, Apache Netbeans is easy to download and set up from the get-go.

Apache NetBeans is applauded for its GUI builder. Web designers enjoy the simplicity of building fluid GUIs thanks to its Swing Application Framework and data binding capabilities.

Not only does it support a bunch of coding languages, but there’s also integrated support for popular languages like PHP, Javascript, and Groovy.

Get real-time insights and rapid diagnostics from the software’s industry-grade debugging suite.

Apache NetBeans is a popular open source web design code editor for teams, thanks to its collaborative capacities.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #3: Eric

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For Python developers, Eric is the top Python-only open source coding tool.

It’s a winner with Python web designers as it’s super lightweight, despite being an extremely comprehensive code editing tool.

Eric users highlight the Qt form preview function as a top feature, as it’s super helpful for developing Qt GUIs.

While this code editor is tough to get to grips with at the beginning, it is an essential open source web design software for a Python web developer.

Top 2020 Open Source Web Servers

A robust open source web server is essential for all web designers.

This is the web design tool that stores your website, handles its processing, and delivers its web pages to visitors.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #4: NGINX

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NGINX is the second largest open source web server in the world. It currently hosts 30% of all existing websites.

NGINX is a premium open source web development tool due to its scalability. The web server boasts light resource usage, enabling faster processing for better scaling.

Web designers choose NGINX for its super-efficient load balancing capabilities and Reverse Proxy Server.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #5: Apache Tomcat

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One of the best open source alternatives, Apache Tomcat is known for its unparalleled security.

An extra-lightweight tool, Apache Tomcat is also highly robust. Running independently of your Apache installation, the web server remains ultra-stable.

This web server is most used by Java developers, but it can be extended using Coyote.

The Best Application Development Frameworks

Application development frameworks make it easier to develop applications and GUIs as they give web designers a standard software framework on which to build tools.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #6: Angular

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Running on all popular desktop and mobile browsers, Angular makes building applications easy with its intuitive dashboard.

This web design software is particularly useful to recycle code with reusable components, enabling quicker design.

Web designers praise Angular for the sleek functioning of Single Page Application and its unit testing capabilities for bug tracking.

It’s a great choice for web developers using short code, who value flexibility.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #7: React

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Highly flexible and lightweight, React is seen as an essential web design tool for Java developers.

React is a top-shelf tool for writing your own components, thanks to the integration of JSX, an optional syntax extension.

Not only does React give each web developer the ability to reuse code, but the application development framework is also popular for its robust code stability.

Web developers enjoy super-fast rendering with React, along with SEO-friendly design features.

One of React’s winning assets is its mobile app development tool, ‘React Native’.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #8: Ruby on Rails

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The Rails Framework is known to be the most developer-friendly open source web design framework.

Repeating tasks is easy thanks to the reusable code features, making the tool quick to learn.

The Rails Framework is a prime open source tool for building the back-end of web applications (such as Zendesk or Github). Its superb array of ready-made plug-ins facilitate straightforward integration for quicker development.

This framework is known for being reliably scalable.

Most Popular Database Management Systems

Database management tools identify, process, fetch, and organize while providing web designers with a usable interface to manage this data.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #9: MongoDB

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MongoDB is an impressively quick data management system that deploys auto-sharding for enhanced scalability.

Leveraging JSON style documents, the software boasts document-oriented storage. This allows users to filter on any attribute and make deep queries.

Web designers enjoy MongoDB’s speed and efficiency, characterized by high availability and seamless replication.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #10: PostgreSQL

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PostgreSQL has an extremely diverse open source community as it supports all programming languages akin to PL/SQL in Oracle (such as PL/Python, C/C++, and PL/Perl).

This varied open source community also means that PostgreSQL is updated with improved features frequently, keeping it as a high-functioning tool.

It’s a popular tool with web designers as it supports several kinds of replication and enables diverse indexing techniques.

Supporting ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability), users can be assured that this database management system is highly reliable.

Top Open Source Build Management Software

Build management software allows you to build, test, and release software, websites, and apps. This is the place where all your components come together.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #11: Gradle

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A premium website builder and automation solution for Java, Gradle offers users one of the most essential and flexible open source web development tools available.

Web designers use Gradle from the code compilation process, all the way through to the website launch.

Highly scalable, Gradle facilitates all build aspects, including streamlined integration with tools like Flyway, Buddy, and Bitrise.

Web developers revere Gradle for its excellent testing capabilities that ensure websites are bug-free.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #12: Apache Maven

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An intuitive website builder, Maven is extremely simple to use for all levels of web designer. Pom files make it super simple to pop all your dependencies in.

If you’re stacking projects, Maven is a top tool for managing the design of multiple websites at once. Equally, developers can integrate projects in multiple environments.

Bonus – Top 2020 Open Source Graphic Design Tool

Innovative graphic design gives websites a clean, sleek finish that exudes professionalism. Luckily, there are plenty of open source graphic design tools available in 2020.

Essential Open Source Web Design Tool #13: Gimp

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Gimp is a cracking all-rounder for web graphic design.

A top-rated GNU image manipulation software, Gimp works with scripted image direction across multiple programming languages, including Perl, Python, and C++.

The tool enables web designers to edit and alter graphics and photos in a similar way to Photoshop.


If you’re scouting out essential website design tools for 2020, you’ll need to ensure you have a complete suite for full-stack web development.

To build a responsive website, you’ll need the following open source tools:

  • A high-quality code editor, like Eclipse or Python
  • A robust web server like NGINX or Apache Tomcat
  • A flexible application development framework like Angular or Ruby on Rails
  • A fast-processing database management tool like MongoDB or PostgreSQL
  • A comprehensive build management platform like Gradle or Maven

Just remember that the open source community is full of valuable resources.

Why not boost your essential extra open source web design tools with supplementary open source solutions, such as a graphic design app, a text editor, or video editing software.