Top 11 Front-End Web Development Tools

Top 11 Front-End Web Development Tools
Top 11 Front-End Web Development Tools

Front-end web development tools are very handy as they save a huge amount of time and accelerate the development process. They make writing, viewing and maintaining the code much easier. Nowadays, there are so many different types of tools available for front-end web development.

When it comes to deciding which ones to use for your project, it can become quite confusing. We have created a comprehensive list with all the info you need to help you decide.

Let’s get started with the list of best tools available for front-end web development and explore their features:

CodePen: It is an elegant online open-source coding environment for front-end developers. It helps in smooth and faster development, as you can easily start coding in their online text editor and see the results right next to it. It also comes very handily while experimenting with new ideas, testing code snippets and speeds up the learning process. It consists of HTML, CSS and JavaScript along with other front-end libraries like React, different CSS preprocessors, useful templates, attractive design patterns, plugins and frameworks. You can build components on CodePen and reuse it later for your projects. You can easily share your work and learn from its large community of front-end developers. It also supports embedding of your code on other websites.

Bootstrap: It is one of the most widely used open-source front-end frameworks, made by Twitter. A front-end framework basically contains commonly used components like the navigation bar, buttons, dropdowns, forms, cards, alerts, carousel, etc. which can be easily reused by developers to quickly create websites without wasting time on designing these elements from scratch. Bootstrap has plenty of features and it cuts down the build time and code required. It is a good fit for beginners as all you have to do is to include the CDN (content delivery network) link or download the bootstrap files into your project and start using it. It is well-documented with powerful JS plugins and has a vast collection of pre-built components to quickly create responsive websites. Popular companies like Vogue, Creative Tim and Meteor have used bootstrap for their sites.

Sublime Text: It is an efficient, super-fast and popular source code editor. It is elegantly designed with a very user-friendly interface. It saves a lot of time while writing code due to its features like simultaneous editing to multiple selected areas, Goto Anything feature (ctrl+P) for quick navigation, highlight syntax and similar code sections, auto-indentation, extensive plugins and packages, and other useful keyboard shortcuts to save keystrokes. It supports many languages and is compatible with macOS, Windows and Linux. Some packages which can be added to extend Sublime’s functionalities are LiveReload for instantly refreshing the browser, Emmet for writing CSS faster, JSHint for working with JavaScript, Minifier to optimise code and All AutoComplete which extends auto-complete functionality to all open files.

React JS: JavaScript, being one of the most popular languages for front-end development can help create powerful responsive sites with amazing features. As it is very much in-demand, learning how to efficiently use its libraries can amp up your skills for front-end development. React JS is a trending JavaScript library for building high-performance complex user interfaces from reusable components. It is efficient and flexible. Over the past five years, it has become one of the most preferred web technologies for front-end development. Benefits of choosing React include its features like virtual DOM (document object model) which makes it faster, server-side rendering and readability. It uses declarative programming making it easy for the coder to predict the browser output and efficiently perform debugging. It has a componentised structure and has strong community support.

Many popular and successful companies’ apps like Netflix, Airbnb, Facebook, Instagram, OkCupid, Dropbox, BBC, Yahoo mail and PayPal are powered by React. You can get started with React by first trying it out on CodePen or run the create-react-app command and start coding in your preferred text editor like Sublime Text.

Chrome Developer Tool: It is a web development tool built directly into the Chrome browser. The main benefit of it is that you can quickly view how your website looks in the browser while making changes to the code and CSS styles. You can view the box model and edit the margins, padding and borders. It has network tools to optimise the performance, speed and loading flow of your website, work on the DOM, diagnose problems and debug JavaScript. You can also use it to see how your website looks on a different type of devices. Basically, browser developer tools save time by allowing developers to quickly experiment with a wide variety of changes. Additionally, they allow us to see the front-end code of other websites and learn from other developers. We recommend Chrome because it is neatly organised and easy to use. Some other reputable developer tools are Firefox Page Inspector and Microsoft Edge Developer Tool.

Angular JS: Unlike React JS, Angular is a JavaScript web application framework developed by Google. It is a great fit for single-page applications. HTML does not work with dynamic views, Angular lets you extend the HTML syntax for web applications. It simplifies the front-end development process due to its readable and expressive environment which could not have been built with HTML alone. It provides the features of plain JavaScript, Controller and Data Binding which eliminates DOM manipulation along with the features like form validation, deep linking and server communication for the back-end. It provides reusable components, directives and localisation for creating components. It also provides built-in testability. This fully extensible tool set can work with other libraries. It gives you the freedom to modify or replace the features according to your development workflow.

Popular websites like Fitbit community, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, SanDisk, The Guardian, Vevo, Upwork and Lego have been built using Angular. AngularJS is a great asset to add to your front-end skill-set.

blog banner 1

HTML5 Boilerplate: It is a widely used open-source front-end boilerplate. Basically, boilerplates are code templates, which make web development process quicker as you don’t have to start writing code from scratch. HTML5 Boilerplate consists of HTML, CSS and JS files in the download package which ensure that your website follows the best modern practices and makes it easier to set up fast, robust and adaptive websites. It includes Normalise.css, Apache server configurations for high performance, optimised version of the Google Universal Analytics snippet and good documentation.

HTML5 Boilerplate is used by websites of Microsoft, NASA, Nike, and Australia Post. Another good front-end boilerplate is Reset CSS which only has CSS boilerplate code as its name suggests. You can use it to style your website for a consistent look across multiple browsers.

Less: It is a CSS pre-processor and stands for Leaner Style Sheets. Basically, a CSS preprocessor provides more CSS features being a backwards-compatible language extension for CSS. Less makes writing the CSS code easier and more maintainable. It runs with the help of NodeJS as it is written in JavaScript. Less provides variables, nesting, mixins, operators, functions and a real-time compilation via less.js by the browser. Another widely used and powerful CSS preprocessor is Sass but it is more difficult to learn than Less.

CodeKit: This amazing front-end web development tool helps deploy websites faster with a wide range of features like processing Less and Sass files, preparing and compiling different types of files like ES6, JSON, Markdown, TypeScript and Haml, minifying JS files, image optimisation, cache busting for applying immediate changes, combining scripts to reduce HTTP requests and syntax check.

WebStorm: It is the aptest IDE (integrated development environment) for front-end development as it supports a vast variety of languages and frameworks for mobile and web applications like HTML, Stylesheets, JavaScript, TypeScript, Angular.js, React.js, Vue.js, Meteor, Ionic, Cordova, React Native and Node.js. Its wide features include advance coding assistance, code completion, error detection, navigation, refactoring, coding efficiency for working with large scale projects, built-in debugging, testing and tracing tool called Spy-js, command-line tools, compatibility with the version control system, and customizability according to the developer’s coding style and preferences. Popular companies like Accenture, Lyft, BMW, SoundCloud and Wix use WebStorm in their technology stack.

Font Awesome: Lastly, as a front-end developer you must make sure your sites look highly appealing. Front-end assets like graphics, icons, images and photos are a must-have tool in any web designer’s toolkit. Font Awesome offers hundreds of icons in font-format which can be inserted in your code using <i> tag. It is compatible with all modern browsers, loads fast leading to good performance and gives high-quality display on all types of devices and device sizes. As they are scalable vector icons, we can change their colour, size, shadow and create beautiful customisations.

Other front-end assets you can try out are Google fonts and Unsplash for free high-resolution stock photos.

Conclusion

This was our list of top eleven front-end web development tools you must try out to step up your game as a web designer and easily create attractive, interactive and responsive web pages.

To read more about Web Development, click here.

By Shifani Ram