The Best Tools for Front-End Web Development

An Evolving Industry

Web development tools have advanced significantly in a span of just a few years. This can be attributed to businesses having realized that a sleek and efficient UI not only creates a better user experience, it also improves conversion rates and ROI. Nowadays there are numerous tools available to developers, each with their own pros and cons. As each platform has its own learning curve and acclimation period, we think it’s best to invest your precious time learning how to use only the best tools for creating amazing front-end experiences. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the most feature-packed and widely used tools in the industry.

Chrome DevTools

The first on our list comes from industry titan Google. Chrome Developer Tools has been around for over a decade, is well organized and widely used, and is relatively straightforward to learn. You can edit and debug your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript codes in real time. There is a ‘Timeline’ panel for recognizing and fixing runtime performance issues, a ‘Device Mode’ for simulating performance and responsiveness, a ‘Network’ panel for debugging networking issues, and more. Google also releases milestone updates every six weeks, so you can rest assured knowing that your tools are always up-to-date. There’s even an official Google Developers YouTube channel that frequently posts guides and announcements.

Sublime Text

Arguably one of the most popular front end development tools, Sublime Text is well-designed, runs efficiently, and has a clean, snappy interface. It supports many programming and markup languages, and offers Python-based plugin API. However, the true beauty of Sublime Text is its vast array of keybind shortcuts and the command palette feature which allows the custom keybind mapping of virtually any command. You can also make the same changes to multiple selected areas through its simultaneous editing feature. When you spend countless hours working with an editor, having quick navigation through menus and files via keybind shortcuts can save an enormous amount of time.

jQuery

jQuery is a widely used cross-platform JavaScript library that simplifies the front-end process. It can assist you with a number of tasks, such as event handling, animation, DOM manipulation, CSS manipulation, and more. The open-source editor is compatible with a number of other libraries and plugins, offers extensive browser support, is free to use, and is supported by a massive development community. Although jQuery has seen a slight decline in popularity in recent years, it is still used in 78% of the top 1 million websites worldwide including Twitter, Udemy, and Uber.

Git

Git is an extremely popular open-source version control and web development platform that allows easy collaborative development between multiple teammates at the same time. Having all the code stored in one place which can easily be accessed and edited simultaneously by the whole team can significantly reduce instances of code conflict. It also saves each version of your software, so it’s possible to easily revert it back to a functional state in case of an error. Git outclasses many of its competitors with features like cheap local branching, convenient staging areas, and multiple workflows. You can host and share your code on the GitHub repository, and use the active community forums to discuss everything from feature updates to troubleshooting tips.

Sass

One of the oldest and most widely used CSS extension languages in the world, the Sass tool augments the functionality of CSS through inheritance, variables, nesting, inline imports, and more. Conveniently, Sass is compatible with every single CSS version and offers advanced features such as control directives for your libraries. Using a simple command you can compile Sass to your CSS for well-formatted, easily readable style sheets. Numerous large companies such as Airbnb, Robinhood, and Kavak use Sass in their tech stacks; and many popular frameworks such as Bourbon, Bootstrap, and Foundation are built with Sass.

CodePen

CodePen is an online coding community for testing and displaying user-created HTML, CSS, and JavaScript showcases. Create a website, show off your projects, learn by building and debugging test cases all through CodePen’s in-browser console which lets you see your code update in real-time. It’s a great way to learn by tinkering around with new technologies for the first time. You can even use CodePen to build and store components which can then be exported to your other projects. There’s also a collaboration feature that allows multiple people to code together, and a ‘fork’ option to instantly make your own separate copy for feature testing.

Sencha Ext JS

Sencha is one of the most “comprehensive JavaScript frameworks for building data-intensive, cross-platform web and mobile applications for any modern device.” It comes loaded with over 140+ pre-tested UI components including menus, panels, windows, grids, pivot grids, exporters, charts, and more. Sencha claims their data grid is over 300 times faster than their competitors. It’s also ADA compliant and features hundreds of available user extensions made by the community. Beyond that, Sencha offers a flexible layout manager that organizes and displays your data and content across all mobile and desktop platforms. 

Creative Tim

Perhaps one of the easiest tools on this list to learn, Creative Tim provides bootstrap design elements for web and mobile development. Built on top of modern frameworks such as Vue.js, React, Angular, Sass, and Bootstrap, Creative Tim offers UI Kits and example pages as well as premade segments and elements. There are admin templates and fully coded dashboards to simplify and streamline routine maintenance and operation. Creative Tim is used by several notable clients including Amazon, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, MIT, Harvard, and Stanford.

Jonathan Blog Image

Lithios is a web/mobile app development shop located in Raleigh, NC. This is a blog written by one of our guest contributors.

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