Co-founder and CEO of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, mentor and startup advisor.
Due to technological progress and advanced tools appearing on the market, the creation of new IT products and software turned into a smooth, fast, and enjoyable process. From add-ons and plug-ins to code-optimizing processors - all at the service of the large IT community.
However, since new development tools are emerging almost daily, selection of the best ones becomes a daunting task. To help you with this challenging choice, we've compiled a list of front-end development tools to help you get started easily.
It is a feature-rich text editor with tons of plugins adaptable to just about anything: themes, APIs, and languages that you use. The editor itself is developed by GitHub based on their Electron platform, which includes Node.js and the Chrome rendering engine. As a result, it allows you to develop web-based desktop applications.
Pricing: free of charge.
Sublime Text is another top text editor designed for coding, creating markups, and plain text. It has a user-friendly and fully customizable interface. There is always an opportunity to switch the basic theme of the editor (right now, its main theme is black) to the most convenient one for you.
Its rich editing features include:
Pricing: for $80 you can acquire a personal license key that is valid for years.
VS Code is an open-source IDE created by Microsoft. It is an easy-to-use code editor suitable for cross-platform development and web/cloud apps. VS Code includes a unique solution - IntelliSense, which allows smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules.
Price: free to use.
CSS preprocessors are great front-end development tools created to ease the coding process. These are add-ons on top of CSS itself, which open up new possibilities for Java. Developers call them syntactic sugar. Those are special coding constructions that do not introduce anything fundamentally new into the technology, they only make working with it more convenient and simpler.
Sass, the absolute top of the CSS preprocessors, was introduced in 2006 as a way to make CSS easier to work with and immediately became popular among developers. Some people think that Sass has slow performance but this is only true when working on extremely large projects.
Sass has two syntaxes:
Price: $39 per user in the CodeKit app. Scout-App allows free usage.
In 2009, Alexis Sellier presented a new tool for more flexible work with styles called LESS. The first implementation was developed by Ruby, which meant that Sass had a competitor. LESS preprocessor allows you to introduce variables and loops that make working with CSS easier.
Nesting makes your code neat and concise:
Price: free of charge.
The popularity of CSS preprocessors has influenced the creation of similar technologies for HTML. Their goal is absolutely identical: to simplify coding making it less time-consuming and save a developer from repetitive work.
Note: the use of preprocessors alone will not make your code better, and if the code was weak in the first place, their use can make it even worse. Despite all the great features that preprocessors provide, you still have to work carefully on its structure yourself. The main rule when working with preprocessors is you should always remember what is stored in a variable and what the mixin returns.
It's hard to imagine modern web programming without auxiliary front-end development tools. We are going to discuss the best ones, like Chrome Developers Tools, Firefox Developer Edition, and Puppeteer.
It helps developers test, debug, profile, validate code in real-time. The Chrome DevTool comes in handy for debugging websites and developing web applications. They conduct both the most basic operations like traversing the DOM, as well as more advanced ones, like inspecting network requests and even profiling the performance of your application.
Price: free to use.
If you’re looking for an alternative, consider Firefox Developer Edition. It is an extended version of the Mozilla browser, which is aimed primarily at web developers.
Some of its key features are:
Price: free to use.
Puppeteer is an open-source tool that has an API for controlling Chrome. It is basically a Node.js library developed and supported by Chrome. Puppeteer is capable of many useful things: tracks performance issues of your website, conducts UI testing, tests Chrome extensions, etc.
Price: free to use.
Let’s review the main benefits and features of these libraries.
Without a doubt, React is the most popular framework because of its flexibility and ease of migration between different versions. Developing with React provides great SEO optimization possibilities (it is easier for robots to browse sites built on this framework). React comprises language templates and feedback functions to render HTML-JS bindings - components that remember their internal state. Since React utilizes a component-based pattern, the need for templates, models, and controllers disappears.
You can read more on top open-source React developer tools for 2021 here.
Angular has a lot of features, the most important of which are MVC framework, filtering, two-way data binding, templates. When using this framework, the risk of errors is significantly reduced as compared to development on other frameworks.
Node.js allows you to send multiple requests at the same time. With its help, it is possible to create separate instruments completely independently. Using Node, you can create a site much faster in comparison with other languages, since this framework is more web-oriented.
Price: with these libraries, development is free of charge.
Generally speaking, the developer’s work comes down to three simple operations: removal, addition, change. But the larger and wider the project, the more people are involved in it. The work of each developer on each version becomes difficult to control.
With the advent of VCS, it has become much easier to:
GIT is a powerful VCS that allows tracking large amounts of data and avoiding small errors. It is the most widely-used and sustained tool up-to-date. GIT enables developers to produce multiple, autonomous parts of code, creation, deletion, and integration of which happens easily and smoothly. In GIT, all operations are atomic, which makes testing and finding errors much easier.
Another great option is Subversion. It is a free, centralized VCS with advanced features such as:
Both GIT and Subversion are centralized tools, which means that their users work and store data on the client side. Mercurial, on the contrary, is a distributed source management tool that grants access to user development history.
Key benefits :
Reviewing of your code and checking the website/app for errors is an essential component of product creation and improvement. It's the only way to reassure that all functions run properly. Besides front-end development tools or operating systems utilized in the process of creation and launch, testing is a must. Developers have to test constantly - it's a big part of their job. Luckily, there are many solid tools that help them with this job.
Price: it’s free. In fact, ESLint has many contributors that support its work.
Price: free to use
Jasmine is a behavior-based testing framework created with Java. It has a neat, easy-to-understand syntax. With this tool at hand, you can conduct browser/Node.js tests in the same environment.
Price: free to use
When creating websites, developers usually write a huge amount of code to design the web page. Certain branches of it are constantly present on different sites, so special frameworks utilize ready-to-use code to speed up the work. Bootstrap became especially popular among programmers.
The components that are embedded inside the Bootstrap provide the following benefits:
The release of updates impacts the capabilities of Bootstrap; they are constantly expanding, the approach to creating sites is changing.
Even though Bootstrap is the most popular framework and some believe that there are no good enough alternatives, we offer the one that can compete with it.
Semantic UI comprises a wide range of commonly used components such as buttons, icons, images, labels, etc. the use of which makes coding faster and easier. It provides options to integrate code into React or Meteor. As with other CSS frameworks, you will find a responsive grid and tons of components and modules in Semantic UI that will surely interest you both in terms of design and functionality.
Price: all these amazing tools are free to use.
Boilerplates are a real saver from repetitive work. They comprise templates of codes that help you speed up development. HTML5 Boilerplate is an absolute leader in this regard.
HTML5 Boilerplate is definitely the number one choice in this matter. It is not a CSS or HTML5 framework. This is a basic HTML/CSS/JS template - the latest technology that will come in handy regardless of what browser you use. It brings together the best hacks for cross-browser compatibility, performance tuning, and even things like cross-domain Ajax requests and Flash. With its help, you can easily create fast, non-buggy, and future-oriented websites.
Take a look at a basic HTML Boilerplate site:
Key benefits that lie in the box with HTML5 Boilerplate are:
You can also try out CSS reset if you have cross-browsing issues. The thing is any browser has its own cascading style sheets that it uses to present non-styled sites. In addition, each browser provides specific padding values for almost all elements.
This certainly creates difficulties for CSS coding, related to cross-browser compatibility, (ensuring a consistent look of the site in all existing browsers).
The key benefit of using CSS Reset is that developers can force any browser to reset all of its style settings to zero, which minimizes the risk of cross-browser issues.
Another option to use for the creation of a new project is Vue.js boilerplate. It constantly evolves and improves its development environment. It is the best fit for large projects.
Take a look at how linting and test scripts are organized:
Prices: all frameworks mentioned are free of charge.
Today, there exists a variety of front-end development tools that allow you to optimize the development as much as possible and make all the processes convenient and understandable. The most popular task managers are GNU Make, Gulp, and Grunt that work through Node Package Manager. After working with these tools, you will never want to go back to the way you worked before.
Make is a unique tool. To start working with it, developers must assemble the makefile that will contain all info about the program they are creating. Building and installing the package you’ve created becomes easy because you already input all data in the makefile.
Price: free of charge.
Price: free of charge.
Gulp is a task manager that automates repetitive processes: building and optimizing CSS and JS files, automatically refreshing the browser, raising the server, and others. One of the tangible benefits of Gulp is its use of streams. They pass data alternately from one function to another, which interact in a certain way with this data. Such a system allows you to speed up the assembly.
Price: Gulp collects donates ranging from $2 to $10 per month. However, these are optional and you can use it for free.
Proven libraries, ready-to-use code, modern collaboration tools - all this can improve your workflow providing more options when it comes to complex technical work. With all the available front-end development tools and frameworks, the creation of IT products has become faster and easier.
If you are looking for exciting projects to work on, Ideamotive Talent will provide you with some great software development project opportunities matched with your personal needs and requirements.
Robert is a co-founder of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, who with passion spreads digital revolution all around the internet. Mentor and advisor at startup accelerators. Loves to learn and discover new business models.View all author posts
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