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.

(blue star) – 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

Tool

Description

Links

Google Analytics

Web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.

Domo

KPI dashboard tool that pulls in data from various sources.

ForeSee

VA.gov survey data.

Will be replaced by Medallia.

ForeSee website

Medallia

VA.gov survey data. Replacing ForeSee.

Medallia website

Communication and collaboration tools

Tool

Description

Links

ZenHub (blue star)

Project management tool used by the Platform.

Slack (blue star)

Messaging app used by everyone who works on VA.gov.

Chrome Extension: ZenHub

Helps you make use of integrated ZenHub options and extensions.

ZenHub for GitHub extension in the Chrome webstore

GitHub (blue star)

Used for VA.gov product documentation.

Design and research tools

Tool

Description

Links

Design System

Guidance, standards, and tools to help teams build a consistent, intuitive, and Veteran-centered experience across VA.gov.

VA.gov Design System

Sketch

Digital design tool used for UX and UI design. VA.gov design system library is Sketch-compatible.

GitHub (blue star)

Used for documenting research.

Development tools

Platform-built tools

Tool

Description

Links

vets-api repo

Backend for VA.gov.

vets-api

vets-website repo

Frontend for VA.gov.

vets-website

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.

VTK repo

Forms Library

VA.gov Forms Library provides a simple way to create a consistent experience for complex forms for Veterans

VA.gov Forms Library

React Component Library

Documentation and examples of VA.gov UI design system components.

VA.gov Design System Component Library

Feature Toggles

Can be used in both vets-api and vets-website to manage unreleased features in a continuous integration environment.

Platform Feature Toggles documentation

Third-party tools

Tool

Description

Links

AWS console

AWS cloud access management.

AWS console website

Drupal

The VA.gov Content Management System (CMS) Drupal 8. It acts as a Content API for the WEB application, and a CMS for VA.gov Content Team.

GitHub Actions

CI/CD. Developer workflow automation. Allows you to build, test, and deploy your code right from GitHub.

GitHub Desktop

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.

Desktop.GitHub.com

Jenkins

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.

AWS.Amazon.com Parameter Store product guide

Credstash

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

Docker

App containerization tool. Needed to run Ruby, Postgres and all the necessary tools to execute the VA APIs.

Docker.com

PGAdmin

PostgreSQL Tools. Used to interact with Postgres database sessions. You can use PGAdmin to perform database administration required for a Postgres database.

PGAdmin.org

Postgres

Database engine used for the API

Postman

Needed to test and develop REST APIs.

GetPostman.com

Sidekiq

An open source job scheduler written in Ruby. Sidekiq jobs execute background processes for Ruby applications.

Sidekiq.org

Google Chrome

Needed for frontend development plug-ins.

Google.com Chrome product guide

Homebrew

Recommended for installing NVM

Brew.sh | Homebrew website

Storybook

A user interface development environment and playground for UI components.

GitHub (blue star)

A web-based version-control and collaboration platform.

GitHub.com

Monitoring tools

Tool

Description

Links

AWS Cloudwatch

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service.

Will be replaced by Loki.

Amazon CloudWatch website

Grafana Loki

Open-source tool for aggregating and indexing logs

PagerDuty

Incident management platform that provides reliable notifications, automatic escalations, on-call scheduling, and other functionality to help teams detect and fix infrastructure problems quickly.

PagerDuty.com

Prometheus

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

StatsD

Used to aggregate and summarize application metrics.

DataDog

Backend system metrics.

Replacing Prometheus

Sentry

Error monitoring

Speedcurve

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.

SpeedCurve.com

Testing tools

Tool

Description

Links

Chrome Extension: redux devtools

Debugging application state changes. Used by developers writing e2e tests, to record information entered on forms.

chrome web store | Redux DevTools

Cypress

End-to-end (e2e) testing framework. Cypress tests run in the browser and programmatically simulate a real user using a web application, or product.

Cypress.io

Locust

Open source load testing tool.

Locust.io

Pact

Contract testing tool. Test integration points with vets-api in a non-production environment. Catch issues with integrations before they reach production.

Review Instances

Use review instances to preview and demo changes before deploying to production.

Platform review instances user guide

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 User Dashboard 🧦

TestRail

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 web store | axe DevTools

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 web store | axe-coconut

Chrome Extension: Lighthouse

508 accessibility scanning: recommended. Audits for web performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO

chrome web store | Lighthouse

NVDA

Screen reader tool for Windows.

nvaccess.org

VoiceOver

Screen reader built into Apple Inc.'s macOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iPod operating systems

Apple.com | VoiceOver product guide