The 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




Google Analytics

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


KPI dashboard tool that pulls in data from various sources.

ForeSee survey data.

Will be replaced by Medallia.

ForeSee website

Medallia survey data. Replacing ForeSee.

Medallia website

Communication and collaboration tools




ZenHub (blue star)

Project management tool used by the Platform.

Slack (blue star)

Messaging app used by everyone who works on

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 product documentation.

Design and research tools




Design System

Guidance, standards, and tools to help teams build a consistent, intuitive, and Veteran-centered experience across Design System


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

GitHub (blue star)

Used for documenting research.

Development tools

Platform-built tools




vets-api repo

Backend for


vets-website repo

Frontend for


VFS Toolkit (VTK)

Ruby gem that helps engineers to quickly start developing on 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 Forms Library provides a simple way to create a consistent experience for complex forms for Veterans Forms Library

React Component Library

Documentation and examples of UI design system components. 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




AWS console

AWS cloud access management.

AWS console website


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


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. Parameter Store product guide


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.

Google Chrome

Needed for frontend development plug-ins. Chrome product guide


Recommended for installing NVM | Homebrew website


A user interface development environment and playground for UI components.

GitHub (blue star)

A web-based version-control and collaboration platform.

Monitoring tools




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


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.

Replacing Prometheus


Error monitoring


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.

Testing tools




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


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.

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 applications and features for testing purposes.

Test User Dashboard 🧦


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


Screen reader tool for Windows.


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