The objective of designing a site is to ensure that when the users open up the site they see the information in a format that is easy to read and relevant. This is further complicated by the fact that users now use a large variety of devices with varying screen sizes and resolutions thus forcing the designer to take into consideration these aspects when designing the site. They need to ensure that their site comes up correctly in different browsers (cross-browser), different operating systems (cross-platform), and different devices (cross-device), which requires careful planning on the side of the developer.
To help you out, we’ve created a list of essential tools for frontend development to get you started. If you’re interested in finding out about one in particular, simply select it from the list below:
Let’s start with the basics: a first-rate code editor – one that features a well-designed, super efficient, and ultra speedy user interface. There are several that do this well, but arguably the best (and most popular) is Sublime Text.
Artfully run by a one-man development team, the secret to Sublime’s success lies in the program’s vast array of keyboard shortcuts – such as the ability to perform simultaneous editing (making the same interactive changes to multiple selected areas) as well as quick navigation to files, symbols, and lines. And when you’re spending 8+ hours with your editor each day, those precious few seconds saved for each process really do add up…
You can start coding with Sublime in this free web development tutorial (no sign-up necessary).
Google’s built-in Chrome Developer Tools let you do just that. Bundled and available in both Chrome and Safari, they allow developers access into the internals of their web application. On top of this, a palette of network tools can help optimize your loading flows, while a timeline gives you a deeper understanding of what the browser is doing at any given moment.
Google release an update every six weeks–so check out their website as well as the Google Developers YouTube channel to keep your skills up-to-date.
The most important tools on Chrome Dev tools are:
It’s every developer’s worst nightmare–you’re working on a new project feature and you screw up. Enter version control systems (VCS)–and more specifically, GitHub.
By rolling out your project with the service, you can view any changes you’ve made or even go back to your previous state (making pesky mistakes a thing of the past). There are so many reasons why GitHub is vital to developers. The repository hosting service also boasts a rich open-source development community (making collaboration between teams as easy as pie), as well as providing several other components such as bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis for every project.
Many employers will look for finely-honed Git skills, so now’s the perfect time to sign up–plus it’s a great way to get involved and learn from the best with a wide array of open-source projects to work on.
Getting tired of typing in that same styling for a container? How about that button that keeps cropping up? Once you start building frontend applications regularly, you’ll start to notice the same patterns emerging.
UI frameworks are an attempt to solve these problems by abstracting the common elements into reusable modules – meaning developers can scaffold the elements of new applications with speed and ease.
HTML is usually the cornerstone of any frontend developer’s toolbox, but it has what many perceive to be a serious flaw: it wasn’t designed to manage dynamic views.
This is where AngularJS, an open-source web framework, comes in. Developed by Google, AngularJS lets you extend your application’s HTML syntax, resulting in a more expressive, readable, and quick to develop environment that could otherwise not have been built with HTML alone.
The project is not without its critics: some feel that this sort of data binding makes for a messy, non-separated code, but we still think it’s an invaluable skill to have in your frontend kit.
Web dev tools that save time are your best friend, and one of the first things you’ll learn about code is that it needs to be DRY (“Don’t Repeat Yourself”). The second thing you’ll probably learn is that CSS is usually not very DRY.
Enter the world of the CSS preprocessor, a tool that will help you write maintainable, future-proof code, all while reducing the amount of CSS you have to write (keeping it DRY).
Perhaps most popular among them is Sass, an eight-year-old open-source project which pretty much defined the genre of modern CSS preprocessors. Although a little tricky to get to grips with initially, Sass’s combination of variables, nesting, and mixins will render simple CSS when compiled, meaning your stylesheets will be more readable and (most importantly) DRY.
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