Every Front End Web Developer needs a set of tools to help them do their work as efficiently and accurately as possible. But with such a wide array of tools currently available, how can you know which tools are truly necessary and which ones should be omitted entirely? This guide will introduce you to the top tools for front end web development in 2021 to help you sort out the essential from the unnecessary.
1. Git and GitHub
Git is a free, open-source version control software designed to keep track of modifications made to digital files. Its most common use is in the realm of programming, where it’s used to manage code. With Git, programmers can view every change that’s been made to the code and even return the document to a previous state if necessary.
Git has become an essential tool for web developers because it allows programmers to work together on the same code without overriding each other’s changes. Developers also like that it’s fast, scalable, open-source, decentralized, and available at no cost. It’s these types of features that have made Git the most popular version control system in use today.
GitHub is often used in tandem with Git. GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service used to hold repositories of code. GitHub also offers project management and organization features to control workflow and provide feedback, making it even easier for team members to communicate and collaborate together on the same project.
2. Visual Studio (VS) Code
Created by Microsoft in 2015, VS Code is a free open-source code editor that can be used on Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms. Since its release, the popularity of VS Code has skyrocketed; in Stack Overflow’s 2021 annual survey, 70% of professional Web Developers reported that they use VS Code, which would make it the most popular developer environment tool in the world.
This popularity can be attributed to the flexible, streamlined, feature-rich nature of VS Code. VS Code simplifies coding and helps eliminate potential errors by providing smart code completion, syntax highlighting, and built-in debugging. Web Developers also like the fact that they can easily use VS Code with a variety of programming languages and add extensions to customize the application to meet their needs.
Sass, which stands for Syntactically Awesome Stylesheet, is a Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) preprocessor. CSS is one of the three core front end development languages, used to structure website layout and style elements on the site such as color, font, and buttons. CSS coding has a reputation for being repetitive and time-consuming; SASS was developed to solve this problem by simplifying the process of styling a website and reducing repetition.
There are a variety of CSS preprocessors currently available but as the first one ever created, Sass is considered a pioneer in the field. First released in 2006, Sass has maintained its popularity thanks to the features it adds to CSS including variables, mixins, imports, inheritance, nested rules, and built-in functions. To this day, Sass is still considered the most reliable, powerful, and well-supported CSS preprocessor on the market, making it an essential tool for Front End Web Developers.
React is an open-source front end library that was created by programmers at Facebook to simplify the creation and management of user interface (UI) elements. React was first released in 2013 and has steadily increased in popularity ever since. It was even voted the most commonly used library or framework among web developers in 2021, taking the top spot from jQuery.
Currently in use on more than 22% of all websites, Bootstrap has become a go-to framework throughout the industry due to its flexibility and ease of use. Developers use bootstrap to create the basic structure of a website and set HTML style definitions instead of having to repeatedly program each element individually. Having this framework in place helps to ensure that the website has a uniform appearance that remains consistent across various browsers.
6. Chrome Developer Tools
While all modern web browsers have dev tools built into them, Google Chrome is the uncontested industry leader; it’s by far the most widely used web browser across the globe, taking up more than 60% of the market share worldwide. The pervasive use of Chrome is what makes DevTools essential for those working in front end web development
7. Node Package Manager (npm)
Npm has become an indispensable tool for Front End Developers because it simplifies the management of multiple code versions and quickly resolves dependency conflicts between various code packages. Another unique feature of npm is that it offers a repository of more than a million code packages, making it the largest software registry in the world.
Honorable Mention: Stack Overflow
As the number one online community for programmers, Stack Overflow warrants a mention as an indispensable tool for Front End Web Developers. Stack Overflow is where programmers go to ask questions, provide guidance, resolve coding issues, and learn from one another.
This essential exchange of knowledge has been taking place since the site was originally founded in 2008. Since then, Stack Overflow has grown to include 16 million users making 11 million visits per day. An average of 5,700 questions are posted on Stack Overflow each day with 70% of those being answered by community members. With in-depth, precise answers provided by knowledgeable community members, Stack Overflow is a must-have tool for any web developer.
How to Learn Essential Front End Tools and Skills
Would you like to learn how to use some of front end web development’s most essential tools? If so, then you should check out the wide array of web development classes provided by Noble Desktop. Through Noble Desktop’s live online web development courses, you can learn how to use tools like Git, Bootstrap, React, and VS Code plus acquire additional fundamental front end web development skills.
If you’re looking to switch careers and become a Front End Web Developer, your best choice would be to enroll in a bootcamp. These accelerated educational programs are designed to prepare students for a new career in just a few short months. With their abbreviated schedules, focus on skills acquisition, and affordable tuition, web development bootcamps are considered an excellent alternative to a traditional college education.