12 Front End Tools Web Developers Can Use To Save Tons of Time
With the growing popularity of web applications, developers and organizations are constantly looking for solutions to save development time so that the time can be used to produce more and more code. With that idea in mind, the most important consideration in how to choose the right technology stack for your web app is making use of the most efficient tools.
The front end and the back end are two vastly different areas, and I believe one article would be too short to cover all aspects of web development. For that reason, I’ll talk about only the front end development technologies here.
A lot of enterprises find themselves confused when choosing the best front end technology for their business. Even those wanting to start a career in web development are sometimes baffled by the alternatives available to them. Here are the tools I’ve used successfully; they are the most dominant and relevant front end tools developers can use for quick and effective web development.
A successor to AngularJS, Angular 2+ versions are also very popular and more relevant for today’s front end needs. Angular boasts some of the industry’s finest features. Its dependency injection enables easy testing, while the reusable components facilitate more functionality with minimum coding. The framework also contains numerous templates and features such as deep-linking, server communication, and filters.
BackboneJS exchanges information through events, thereby making your code cleaner, nicer, and easy to maintain. Using this simple library, you can separate business and user interface logic. This separation makes coding simple and organized for you. In other words, it acts as a “backbone” for any project. It also allows you to manage the data model and present that data on the server-side in the same format as the client-side.
Twitter launched this front-end focused library back in 2011. Bootstrap is an open-source tool-kit for faster development of highly responsive designs. The library has a 12-column grid layout and is compatible with multiple platforms.
Since it is quite easy to learn, a lot of developers use this library for their projects. You only need a basic understanding of HTML and CSS to get started. Furthermore, most developers find it very simple to customize.
Web development comes with its own share of problems that might be daunting for developers. You may encounter issues while adding a new feature or updating an existing one. These issues can be solved with the help of development tools. Chrome DevTools are web authoring and debugging tools built right into the Chrome browser.
CodePen is a front-end web development environment used by designers and developers for seamless and quick development. As it provides all the features of an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in the browser, you can build entire websites and test cases. CodePen has a coding environment that is better than most front end development tools. Its customizable editor helps you build components that can be utilized later in multiple projects.
CodePen features a collaboration mode through which multiple developers can write and edit code at the same time. On top of that, its prefill API makes it possible for you to add links, demo pages, media files, etc. without having to code anything.
GitHub is a software development platform with project management features. Because it integrates easily with the existing tools, you can use GitHub for personal projects or experiment with new programming languages.
Enterprise-specific functionalities such as advanced auditing, unified search and contribution, code review, and invoice billing are also available in GitHub. Plus, GitHub also takes care of the security aspect using security incident response and two-factor authentication. All these features collectively make GitHub an immensely beneficial platform for enterprises.
Grunt contains a lot of bundled plugins for common tasks. Also, it is extensible in the sense that it allows you to write custom tasks according to your needs. What’s better is that you can combine these tasks to get the best results. Interestingly, you can also create your own Grunt node package manager (npm). For that, you always need an updated npm.
npm takes good care of you with basic support and automatic warnings for unsafe code. It also looks after a great number of enterprises that rely on its services by offering them security expertise, access control, and unrivaled support. npm facilitates the management of public and private code using the same workflow.
Reactjs was developed by Facebook software engineer Jordan Walke in 2011. It is an open-source JS library for building reusable UI components. It has found a major application in the development of responsive and appealing user interfaces.
Reactjs has a component-based architecture that enhances the maintainability of code while working on large scale projects. It implements one-way data flow and uses virtual DOM, which improves the performance of the applications. The library can be used on the client as well as the server-side which makes it an SEO-friendly technology.
HTML5 Boilerplate, a front end template that serves as a front end foundation for an app, is widely loved by the community across the globe. Many giants like NASA and Microsoft are known to make the best of Boilerplate for designing robust web apps pretty quickly. Many front end developers also like to use it for cross-platform app development.
The Bottom Line
Of course, there are many, many more tools out there that can prove to be super useful for web development. However, these were the tools I have personally used and found to be very effective.
My team and I mostly work on medium to large scale web applications, and this is what I have learned: To make front end development faster, we use a full-fledged framework like Angular or a library like Reactjs. However, I’ve found that all of these tools can be helpful.
It makes sense to use some sort of readymade architecture instead of building everything from scratch. By using a framework on the front end, you can save time, which means you can get more work done in a shorter amount of time and still produce high-quality work.