The VA.gov Platform provides several tools to help you build quality, stable, reliable digital experiences for Veterans. Some of the tools the Platform provides are “home-grown” at the VA to meet our specific needs. Others are 3rd party tools selected by the Platform.
We’re continually iterating to make it easier for you to build better, faster. In the future, we plan to eliminate the need for you to access some of these tools directly. Until then, this is the full list of Platform tools.
🧦 – requires access to our SOCKS proxy server. To learn how to access tools using the SOCKS proxy, see Internal tools access via SOCKS proxy.
– managed by the VA CTO office. The Platform may have processes and guidelines for the use of the tools, but we do not own them and can’t provide full support without VA involvement. For example, getting access to the DSVA Slack workspace requires assigning a ticket to a VA employee.
Analytics and insights tools
Web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
KPI dashboard tool that pulls in data from various sources.
VA.gov survey data.
Will be replaced by Medallia.
VA.gov survey data. Replacing ForeSee.
Communication and collaboration tools
Project management tool used by the Platform.
Messaging app used by everyone who works on VA.gov.
Chrome Extension: ZenHub
Helps you make use of integrated ZenHub options and extensions.
Used for VA.gov product documentation.
Design and research tools
Guidance, standards, and tools to help teams build a consistent, intuitive, and Veteran-centered experience across VA.gov.
Digital design tool used for UX and UI design. VA.gov design system library is Sketch-compatible.
Used for documenting research.
Backend for VA.gov.
Frontend for VA.gov.
VFS Toolkit (VTK)
Ruby gem that helps engineers to quickly start developing on VA.gov. Provides a command line interface that allows the use of simple commands and parameters to do everything from setting up a development environment to building out a directory structure and creating necessary files for separating code into its own module.
VA.gov Forms Library provides a simple way to create a consistent experience for complex forms for Veterans
React Component Library
Documentation and examples of VA.gov UI design system components.
Can be used in both
AWS cloud access management.
CI/CD. Developer workflow automation. Allows you to build, test, and deploy your code right from GitHub.
Desktop Git client that allows us to work with the GitHub-hosted VA repositories. It addition to a UI, it also installs the Git command-line client.
Automation and deployment.
Will be replaced by GitHub actions for CI purposes and with ArgoCD for CD purposes.
Visual Studio Code
IDE to modify and debug code, especially front-end React, but also back-end Ruby/Rails. Sticking to this popular IDE makes it easier to recommend and standardize code-assist/quality extensions (plug-ins).
AWS Parameter store
Used for managing secrets.
Used for managing secrets and configuration values.
While this tool is still technically in use, it should not be used going forward. Any secrets or configuration values should be stored in AWS SSM Parameter Store
App containerization tool. Needed to run Ruby, Postgres and all the necessary tools to execute the VA APIs.
PostgreSQL Tools. Used to interact with Postgres database sessions. You can use PGAdmin to perform database administration required for a Postgres database.
Database engine used for the API
Needed to test and develop REST APIs.
An open source job scheduler written in Ruby. Sidekiq jobs execute background processes for Ruby applications.
Needed for frontend development plug-ins.
Recommended for installing NVM
A user interface development environment and playground for UI components.
A web-based version-control and collaboration platform.
Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service.
Will be replaced by Loki.
Open-source tool for aggregating and indexing logs
Incident management platform that provides reliable notifications, automatic escalations, on-call scheduling, and other functionality to help teams detect and fix infrastructure problems quickly.
Primary storage of system metrics data. Scrapes metric endpoints that are exposed on EC2 instances, and on ‘exporters’ and stores that in a time-series database.
Being replaced by DataDog
Used to aggregate and summarize application metrics.
Backend system metrics.
Provides performance feedback of each app such as page size and how long it takes to load a page. Can show you the impact new features have on the performance of the app.
Chrome Extension: redux devtools
Debugging application state changes. Used by developers writing e2e tests, to record information entered on forms.
End-to-end (e2e) testing framework. Cypress tests run in the browser and programmatically simulate a real user using a web application, or product.
Open source load testing tool.
Contract testing tool. Test integration points with vets-api in a non-production environment. Catch issues with integrations before they reach production.
Use review instances to preview and demo changes before deploying to production.
Test User Dashboard
Allows you to search for test user accounts that you can use to log in to VA.gov applications and features for testing purposes.
Test case management tool. Requires an account in the Platform TestRail instance.
Chrome Extension: axe DevTools
508 accessibility scanning: required. Catch accessibility issues during development before they are flagged by the build.
Chrome Extension: axe-coconut
508 accessibility scanning: required for new development. Catch WCAG 2.1 accessibility issues during development before they are flagged by the build.
Chrome Extension: Lighthouse
508 accessibility scanning: recommended. Audits for web performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO
Screen reader tool for Windows.
Screen reader built into Apple Inc.'s macOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iPod operating systems