Monday, May 16, 2022
UncategorizedMost Essential Frontend Web Development Tools in 2022: The ultimate list

Most Essential Frontend Web Development Tools in 2022: The ultimate list

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Boom. That’s the only word to describe what has happened to the web development industry in the last decade.

As we rush towards the trillion-dollar software market, here’s a handy list of the tools that will be any front-end developer’s lifeboat in this cutthroat industry.

Note – the tools on this list are free, or have a lifetime free use case scenario unless otherwise mentioned.

Photo by Clément Hélardot on Unsplash
  • Code editors

Cost: Most are FOSS (free and open-source software)

Needless to say, this is where a developer will spend most of their time. A code editor is a developer’s workshop — the place where the magic happens.

Choosing the code editor that suits your needs is hardly a hard task, given that you likely already know your requirements.

Head on over to the official websites of our top three recommendations,(linked below) to figure out which editor is right for you.

Recommendation Name Price
1st Choice Visual Studio Code Free, No strings attached
Runners-up Atom  Free, No strings attached
Also Consider Sublime Text Free, $99 per year per user

 

I would have recommended Atom as the first choice, but ever since VS Code added notebook support to its core functionality, there’s been no beating it.

Coupled with its “IntelliSense” auto-code completion feature, it is both beginner-friendly as well as useful to veteran coders.

  • Boilerplate templates

Cost: Free

No two websites are alike, be it in terms of features, UI, or UX.

However, that doesn’t mean that these sites cannot be similar — indeed, most websites will invariably share similar characteristics.

This is where the use of a skeleton, or “boilerplate” framework comes in handy.

The clue is in the name: the resource package provides the skeleton, to which you add the core muscles, features, and looks.

Boilerplates are resource sets consisting of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files that will become the base of your project.

Using a boilerplate template has the huge benefit of saving hours of work by doing the routine setup development work for you.

Here are my boilerplate recommendations for frontend coders:

Recommendation Name Price
1st Choice HTML5 Boilerplate Free, No strings attached
Runners-up Initializr Boilerplate Free, No strings attached
Also Consider Reset CSS Free, No strings attached

 

The first choice in this list is not mine alone — it’s number one in the world. 

Even HTML5 Boilerplate’s website proudly states that it is “the web’s most popular frontend template”.

Initializr gives users a wider range of configuration options but is also a bit harder to wrap your head around, which is why HTML5 boilerplate is the best overall.

Last, but certainly not least, Reset CSS offers only CSS stylesheets. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but it offers consistency across web browsers and provides uniformity in terms of looks and renders (across devices).

close up on computer code| Business News Scotland

  • Version control/ Source control

Cost: Free, with optional upgrades.

Nobody’s perfect, trust me. 

At some point in his life, even Steve Jobs had to recheck his code and revert to an earlier version of it.

Whether you’re a solo developer or part of a team of sixty professionals, proper version and release management is the key to, well, not ripping your hair out when a bug pops up.

When that does happen (and it will), you don’t want to have to spend hours of your life recalibrating your project to make it stable again.

The alternative is to have local copies saved on your computer before every update — which is perfectly fine for small builds, but is certainly not a “best practice”.

So what is? I’ll tell you what: using one of these recommended version management systems:

Recommendation Name Price
1st Choice Git or Github Free, $48 per year per user
Runners-up Apache Subversion Free, No strings attached
Also Consider Mercurial Free, No strings attached

 

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do you mean by “Git or GitHub” — aren’t they the same?

The difference is simple: 

Git is a version control and management software, and GitHub is a cloud-based service that lets users manage their Git repositories and collaborate amongst themselves.

  • Preprocessors for your CSS

Cost: Free, some paid, most with optional upgrades.

CSS template sheets are already a pretty cool toy to play around with, but what if I told you that things can get even better?

It may seem hard to believe, but a CSS preprocessor may help you do just that.

How? 

Well, here’s the TLDR: CSS is a language that styles your web page or application. CSS preprocessors are co-languages that give you even more CSS features (more toys!).

As an added bonus, installing and using a CSS preprocessor makes it easier to maintain and share your code when it’s done: a win-win-win situation.

Here are my recommendations for CSS preprocessors:

 

Recommendation Name Price
1st Choice Sass Free, No strings attached
Runners-up Less Free, No strings attached
Also Consider Post CSS Free, No strings attached

 

Each of the three options listed above shines in its own way, but here’s the basic idea: 

Sass is the hardest to wrap your head around but is also the most flexible in terms of usability, which is why it bags the number one spot on my list.

Photo by Pankaj Patel on Unsplash

  • Dev tools

Cost: Free

Developer tools, often shortened to “dev tools” are a lifeline for every frontend programmer out there.

They usually come in the form of browser extensions that allow developers to “preview” changes to the webpage in question before the changes are permanently added to the live server.

This allows developers to make any necessary modifications and minute changes that may be required of them, before goofing up and hitting that “save” button.

Recommendation Name Price
Chrome Chrome Dev Tools Free, No strings attached
Safari Safari Web Inspector Free, No strings attached
Firefox Firefox Page Inspector Free, No strings attached
Edge Microsoft Edge Developer Tools Free, No strings attached

 

There is no single “best” dev tool out there, so this particular list reflects the most popular tools for various popular browsers.

Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels
Photo by Soumil Kumar from Pexels
  • Automation tools

Cost: Free, optional upgrade(s) available

Sometimes, you just need someone to do the mundane, boring things for you.

That’s where automation comes in: there are several tools on the market that will help you out with the boring things such as minification, unit testing, and compilation.

Here are the recommendations:

Recommendation Name Price
1st Choice Grunt  / Alternate Link Free, No strings attached
Runners-up Gulp Free, No strings attached
Also Consider Webpack Free, No strings attached

 

You will, however, need to do the initial NPM set up for Grunt on your own, which can be a pain (but is totally worth it).

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash
Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash

Last, but not least — additionals

Don’t forget to take a peek at these bonus tools too (although you probably know most of them).

Recommendation Name Price
JS Framework AngularJS Free, No strings attached
JS Library ReactJS Free, No strings attached
Code Validator WAVE Markup Free, No strings attached
“Jazz factors” Google Fonts

Unsplash

Free, No strings attached
Frontend Framework Tailwind CSS Free, No strings attached
Online Coding Environment CodePen Free, No strings attached

 

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Like I said at the outset of this article, the software development industry is seeing an unprecedented spike as of late.

Amidst this boom, it is becoming harder and harder to source reliable and vetted talent for projects in the industry.

However, every cloud has a silver lining: people who want to hire dedicated front end developers can now do so remotely.

That said, I hope this list has proved useful for you. See you in the next one!

Sources:

 

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