Best Resources for Front-End Developers in 2021
Web development is the process of creating, designing, and maintaining webpages and applications using various programs and software. It is worth mentioning that web development and design are different matters, but they are closely linked to each other. While the former takes care of functionality and the structure of the website, the latter focuses on its appearance and is concerned with the overall user experience.
If you are thinking about how you can be a front-end developer, you need to have a desire for building webpages as well as have a taste for design. You should also be prepared for constant learning. In the development world, everything changes very quickly, so you have to keep up to date with the latest trends in programming languages and practices.
What better way to keep yourself on your feet than to learn from the many resources available to us? Here are some useful such resources I compiled that will also help you succeed in your front-end development career!
Tutorials and Guides
Let’s start with the basics of learning: tutorials and guides. The following include free courses, blogs, and front-end developer tools that teach basic to advanced web development and design. You can use them as references; they will help you prepare for your next web design project. These courses and lessons are made and shared by professionals to help out many beginners and amateurs out there who wish to expand their knowledge of front-end development.
Frontend Masters is a great learning platform for beginners and intermediate-level web designers. This course will teach you exactly how to use modern CSS techniques to create a responsive design for your website. It will assist you in closing the gap with a typical HTML designer and an individual who can design working templates and prototypes.
W3Schools is one of the largest resources available for learning web development online. It has hundreds of hours of tutorials and courses on the basic languages and frameworks used to build the web. The interface may seem a bit clunky, but the incredible volume of high-quality free lessons makes up for it. You don’t even need to register with your email to get started.
CSS and HTML are the foundational building blocks of a webpage, and if you’d like to start learning the bare basics, including web design, you can do so with Jon Duckett’s CSS and HTML learning course. These subjects are still my favorite today because the pace is great and the general scope of what they cover has given me a stronger foundation in this regard.
If you can get your hands on HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites from Jon Duckett, it’s also a solid starting point for learning HTML and CSS (with a pinch of web design). It is highly rated (4.7/5 on Amazon) and offers a solid introduction to the world of web development. It’s a beautiful book thanks to its clean design with large letters and colorful pages.
Simple Programmer started as a blog in 2009. Its founder, John Sonmez, has the goal of helping IT professionals, software developers, and programmers who are just starting out to have all the information they need in an easy-to-read book.
Being a front-end developer does not only mean designing whatever we want. It is important that we also conform to the principles and learn development stuff from other perspectives. In this blog you can read articles like “Web Development Principles” and resource content like “Top 7 Tools To Improve Your Web Development Workflow” that come from experienced and professional developers.
Major Cloud Providers
Google Cloud Storage (GCS) is highly scalable object storage for developers or enterprises. This tool allows you to utilize Google’s data analytics and machine learning to further quality results and data. You will find all the products and tools offered by the Google platform here.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides decentralized IT infrastructure to many organizations. You can create an account in the AWS Cloud and use its services according to your IT infrastructure needs. The different features of AWS include storage, web computing, database access, and messaging.
The AWS Monitoring Extension monitors the health and the performance of their services remotely through an AWS Cloud. You can also always monitor your AWS account and retrieve all their service data from your AWS CloudWatch.
Zend Studio is a commercial PHP IDE developed by “Zend by Perforce,” a company specializing in enterprise-grade PHP solutions. You can install it individually or as an Eclipse plugin through the Eclipse Marketplace. Zend Studio adds many enterprise-grade features to the free PHP development tools for Eclipse.
It integrates seamlessly with other Zend products, specifically with Zend Server, Zend Debugger, Zend Guard, Laminas Framework (formerly known as Zend Framework), and Laminas API Tools (formerly known as Apigility). However, it is not tied to the Zend ecosystem, as Zend Studio supports many other frameworks, debuggers, web servers, and tools.
IBM Cloud is an enterprise cloud in which technological experiences such as web or mobile applications can be designed and developed in any type of business of any size. The idea is to feed the cloud with information and data so that real problems can be solved that increase the value of our business or application.
Once the information is systematized, you can choose the computing model that best suits your purposes and the volume of work. No matter how small or large the project is, IBM Cloud can adapt to any workload.
HTML is not a programming language, which means that it does not have the ability to create dynamic functionality. However, it is the core foundation of a website, as it builds and informs a browser what a webpage has.
Building the structure of a website must be something a front-end developer must learn. We need it in order to have a good understanding about how a website works and to eventually create a web design that is effective and efficient for users.
The W3C Markup Validation Service is a validator created by the W3C that enables users to parse well-formed and valid HTML and XHTML documents. Markup validation is an important step to ensure the technical quality of webpages. While the W3C validator is important for checking site usability and browser compatibility, the effects it has on SEO have not been confirmed.
Bootstrap is also known as the most widely utilized web development framework internationally. Bootstrap websites are, quite literally, all over the place. You can find it in the source code of almost every website. To add to this, the growing phase of Bootstrap has not halted yet. The new and refined version called Bootstrap 4 is on its way to the market. Millions of this tool’s users are looking forward to the release of this newer version.
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is important in web development, especially for front-end developers. CSS makes websites more attractive, as it allows us to play with the properties of every web element such as layout, color, and fonts and even allows us to add effects to the images we use. Many of these resources have premade CSS effects that you can readily use in your project. They will also help you learn about CSS and will help ensure that you are applying it correctly in your design.
A CSS validator tool ensures that you comply with the CSS standards that are set by the W3C or World Wide Web Consortium by checking your CSS. It is a valuable tool that helps you find typos, errors, or incorrect usage of CSS so you can fix it and improve the usability of your website.
Animista was developed by Ana Travas, who wanted to develop a playground where one can go through premade CSS animations. When you find the one that suits your needs or the aesthetics of your project, you can easily copy code and apply it to your project.
Loading spinners reduce user uncertainty by enabling users to be informed of the current working state and increase their likelihood to stay and wait for the page or information to load. With this, I recommend trying SpinKit, which was developed by Tobias Ahlin. It is an open-source collection of cool and simple loading spinners that are animated using CSS.
CSS Effects, for example, is a collection of practical CSS animations that you can copy and use for your own website. So far, these CSS resources show that you don’t always need to develop your own CSS because there are a lot of open-source CSS that you can use for your web design.
The minification is the action of eliminating characters or comments in a code file (.html, .css, or .js, for example), since its omission does not make the code stop working. The goal is to reduce their overall size and therefore download them faster from the browser. In very large CSS files, this usually has a considerable influence, so it is a good practice to use minification tools and reduce the size of the CSS file by condensing all its information, eliminating spaces, carriage returns, etc.
As mentioned, Bootstrap is a widely-used framework for web development. Since HTML and CSS go hand in hand, Bootstrap is a useful resource to help with CSS as well. It has many CSS-based templates for forms, buttons, grids, navigation, image carousels, and a lot more and also helps you create mobile responsive designs.
One of the things that people don’t realize is that when you use a website, a lot goes into it. One of them being the small icons that make the user interface so much easier and accessible to anyone! These are the sites where you can download and integrate icons on your web design.
The icon section of Font Awesome is very comprehensive and can provide you with all the versions of an icon you will probably need. Due to how they work, regardless of how you size them, they will always come out looking crisp and clear. You don’t need to stress yourself over how to integrate the icons, as it’s as easy as copy-pasting the code that they themselves provide.
Colorful and vibrant are the best words to describe the icons they provide at Flaticon. They usually come in packs, and even though most are free, you may have to pay a premium to be able to use others. You can tell which ones these are because they have a little crown attached to their packs. Despite this, the free-to-use icons are still really beautiful and add a nice touch to your website.
Graphic Burger, like Flaticon, also offers their icons in sets. Most of them are very colorful, and they can be downloaded in PNG, SVG, EPS, and Sketch formats. Icons come in different shapes. Some of them can be very minimalistic and others very colorful. You can also find better-looking free emoticons you can integrate into your work.
Color is very important when designing your website, and different colors have different meanings. If you are a front-end developer, you need to at least learn how colors affect people so you can use it as a basis when developing a website for a client. For example, if you are developing a UI for a SaaS tool or a business that wants to look trustworthy and dependable, the blue color would be the best choice, as blue is associated with trust and calmness. For food industries, the color yellow will stimulate one’s appetite and happiness.
Color also increases brand recognition, and it highlights the more important parts of a website. Determining the perfect color scheme for your website is vital when you want it to stand out.
As we’ve already seen, W3Schools is a great resource for web development. Their color pick, in particular, is amazing. Not only does it provide the RGBA, Hex, and HSL values of a color, but it also shows you the many shades associated with the color. You can also see what a white or black text would look like on your chosen color.
This site has been recommended by a lot of people, from Colt Steele to bootcamps, that offer coding courses. Coolors randomly pick colors that you can use for your project. If you’re building something from scratch and you’re not sure how to go about using the palette, it gives you five random colors that you can use as the main color and a couple of accents. When you’re creating palettes, you have the ability to pick some colors you like and keep changing the others until it matches the theme you’re looking for.
ColorZilla is a popular plugin used by a lot of web developers. To use it you have to download it and attach it to your browser. Once you have it, all you have to do is click on the dropper icon that will appear at the upper right of your screen and then pick a color you want to know. For example, if a website is using a color you like, all you have to do is click on the dropper icon and drag it over the color you need to know. It’s great when you’re interested in recreating a website from scratch and you want to be as accurate as possible.
Converting Colors doesn’t get a lot of love, but it’s a very good resource when you’re into creating gradients and learning proper color theory. Besides RGB and Hex, it also provides you with different color formats. If you scroll lower, you’ll see different harmonies associated with the given color and what that color would look like as a font or background. There are also instructions on how to properly integrate the colors you want in your CSS code.
Sometimes, a generic happy photo of a family just doesn’t cut it; or you just can’t find a picture that goes with the color scheme of your website. The next thing you can use is illustrations. If you can’t draw, it’s OK! There are a lot of websites out there that provide images in .png and .svg format that you can use in your projects for free.
Undraw is a well-known resource among web developers. It provides different and free illustrations and graphic art one can use for their projects. They’re perfect for people who are creating portfolios or the first version of a site and need a placeholder image that isn’t boring.
Just like undraw, it provides good images for your portfolio and business. You can download the image as a .svg or a .png. It has images for all kinds of situations, from social media to cute imagery of a man on the moon. They may also provide different versions of the same image. If you need the image in a specific color, it has a color picker on the top that can color it for you.
Not everyone has the time and money to crank out a photoshoot so they can produce visual mediums for their websites. The next best thing you can do is go to sites that offer stock photos. Don’t worry, not all of them ask you to pay. Some of them only ask that you credit the site and the photographers. The following sites are great for looking at photos that can fit with the theme and look for your website. I also recommended a tool that can help you remove background from images instantly.
Unsplash is a website filled to the brim with beautiful images that are free to use. You are bombarded on the first page, and no matter how much you scroll down, you’ll still be given examples of what they have to offer. If you’re interested in the works of a particular group, you can check out their profile and see if they are available to work with.
Pexels is a huge bank of images and videos that can be used for projects of any kind. People upload their pictures there as a way to show off their photography. Their licensing is very simple and straightforward: All the images are free to use, without needing to credit the photographer—though doing so would be very much appreciated.
Shutterstock is the standard when it comes to providing beautiful HD images. They have images from professionals that you can use for your commercial or personal site. At $29 per month, it’s affordable for anyone who constantly needs new and fresh images to use for their works.
If you have encountered certain images that have a great subject but distracting background, you can use Removal.AI, a background removal tool. This way, you can clean those images with loud backgrounds to use for your own campaigns and projects. The best thing about Removal.AI, besides the fact that it processes your images in a few seconds, is that it’s free!
Even before the pandemic, more and more people spend most of their time online whether for social media, skimming, shopping, or even building their business. Inevitably, a high number of people using the internet have different kinds of disabilities. For this reason, there is a growing movement in making sure that websites are also usable for people with disabilities. Developers should always make sure that their sites and applications are easy to use and navigate for everyone.
This tool allows you to test the accessibility of your website. It scans your website and highlights potential accessibility issues. It will also show you where your website performs well in terms of being accessible to everyone. It will show you in a very clear way where accessibility guidelines are not being met, what is not being met, and how it could be resolved.
This is comprehensive documentation for users who are interested in developing websites that are accessible to users with disabilities. It’s long and very detailed, so you will need to take time to go over the whole thing. But it will be worth it, especially since more and more people from different walks of life are using the internet.
Before you can roll out your website, you will need to deploy it somewhere where you can first show it off to your clients. It’s also a way to share with your nontech friends your work and see if they can catch any errors or bugs when going through your site. Deployment is just the process of making your work available to anyone. Here are some places where you can have your site hosted.
Netlify is one of the easiest places to host your static website from. All you need to do is drag the folder of your work or just connect your online repo (Gitlab/Github/etc.) to Netlify, and you’re good to go. Do you need changes that you have to push to your project? You just push the changes to your repo, and it will automatically appear on your site.
Heroku is a PaaS tool that gives support to several programming languages. This tool currently backs up PHP, Java, Node.js, Go, Python, Clojure, and Scala. Heroku operates apps on virtual forms that can be changed or retrofitted based on customer requirements. Heroku virtual computer systems are known as dynos and can be modified at any time according to the changing needs of the users. Heroku users are able to apply more resources by means of horizontal or vertical scaling.
With the Right Tools, You Can Do Anything
So there you have it, resources that will help you become a front-end developer. Try to remember that the key is to practice as much as you can. It may seem scarier at first, and you will feel like you are not understanding much, but that is normal, and over time you will feel like you are getting better and better.
With these tools, you’re steps closer to your front-end development career success. Also, do not forget to ask for help if you are stuck. You will be surprised by the number of people willing to help.
Now that you know more about the subject, you can implement web development tools to meet the needs of users that, as we have already seen, have been changing due to the circumstances in which we have lived.