Top 10 tools for front end web development
If you want to build dynamic, responsive sites, you’ll need some powerful tools at your disposal.
Fortunately, the web development world is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tools that boost your productivity and aid your creativity. We’ve put together 10 of our favorites.
This task runner using the Node.js platform does just what its name suggests: grunt work. It automates common processes and repetitive tasks to significantly speed up your development time. Imagine getting rid of the menial tasks involved in front end dev. Grunt can do that for you.
Grunt is plug-in based, so how you use it will depend on the plug-ins you need. You can find more than 40,000 different plug-ins for tasks such as:
- Unit testing
- Compiling Sass files to CSS
- Compring image file sizes
Not only will Grunt save you a lot of time, but it’ll also allow you to focus on more fulfilling dev tasks.
AngularJS lets you cut down on front end dev time by expanding on HTML syntax to invent new syntax just for your site and its functionality.
Vue.js is specifically used for building user interfaces and single page applications. Best of all, it can be put in place incrementally. You can integrate Vue.js with existing libraries and projects.
If you need to build a dynamic page that easily integrates with back end Java code, Mocha should be your beverage of choice.
Mocha also runs on both the client and server side, with an interpreter determining where to execute each part of the script. While it has declarative and style tags like HTML, it also allows you to conditionalize tags to create dynamic content.
Give Mocha a miss if you only need to build a static page. But for dynamic pages that need both client side and server side components, Mocha goes down smooth.
Sass gets the prize for both the best name (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets) and best logo in front end web development. But Sass is more than clever branding. It supercharges your CSS.
Sass allows you to do things CSS normally can’t, such as create variables, inline imports, mix-ins and nested rules. Creating variables massively reduces your CSS coding time, as you won’t have to go through and change every instance of a rule any time a design changes.
6. Chrome DevTools
We could probably write an entire article about the benefits of Chrome DevTools. And, who knows? Maybe we will. But for now just take our word that this set of browser-based tools from the Almighty Google is a godsend.
Chrome DevTools lets you edit pages directly from Google Chrome so you can see your changes immediately. It’s not actually an integrated development environment (IDE). It’s more like a sandbox that lets you play around with a site’s code (any site’s code) to change the styling of a site, debug it and run performance and speed audits.
If you want to get really fancy and throw some machine learning into your web development, Google’s TensorFlow is your solution. The open-source library allows you to develop and train machine learning models.
You can use TensorFlow for functions like image recognition, natural language processing, handwritten digit classification and more.
9. Sublime Text
Every developer has their favorite text editor, and sublime text is ours. We love it for the slick, easily navigable user interface, but Sublime Text is more than a pretty container for your code.
Some of the handy features of Sublime Text include its multiple selection tool, which allows you to view and change multiple lines simultaneously, and its package control which gives you access to thousands of packages built by the Sublime Text community.
Sublime Text also works cross-platform. With a single license, you can use Sublime Text on multiple machines, regardless of whether they’re Mac, Windows or Linux.
Responsive design is a must in a mobile-first world, and Bootstrap helps you keep your UI looking stunning on any screen size.
But Bootstrap does much more than enable responsive design. It also helps you build reusable modules for multiple projects. Bootstrap will provide styling for all your HTML elements, which you can then tweak using its defined CSS classes. It also keeps your design tidy by applying a CSS grid that you can customize to your liking.