May 23, 2024
min read

25 Essential Tools for Front End Developers

Ashutosh Mishra

The web development field has evolved greatly in recent years and is continuously evolving — at a rapid rate. Every now and then, new front-end development tools are released. Not all of them make it big, but there are a few tools that fundamentally change the way you work. Today, I am going to introduce you to some of these great frontend development tools that will help you greatly in your development workflow.

What is frontend development?

Every website has two parts- frontend and backend. Frontend development deals with everything that happens on the screen and is visible to the end user. Open any website in the world and whatever you see there- layout, design, animation, functionality, everything has come to life because of frontend development.

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What are the top frontend development tools?

Now that we have defined frontend development, let's discuss the 25 essential frontend development tools that you must know and use (some of them). I have further divided all the tools into 3 different parts for better understanding.

📚 Libraries and frameworks

1. Tailwind CSS

Tailwind is a utility-first CSS framework loved by developers for its ability to quickly create modern user interfaces. It has a huge bunch of classes that are pre-defined with a specific CSS property. There are different utility classes for different properties. For example, the text-centre class for the text-align: centre; property, etc.

2. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a popular CSS framework used to create responsive and mobile-first websites and web applications. It provides pre-built HTML, CSS, and JavaScript design components to help developers in building user interfaces. According to W3Techs, Bootstrap is used by 19% of websites on the internet.

3. Sass

Sass (Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets) is a CSS preprocessor that adds extra functionalities to CSS, such as variables, nesting, selector inheritance, mixins, etc. Sass makes developers more efficient when writing and managing large and complex stylesheets.

Fun fact: Bootstrap, the framework we discussed earlier, is built on top of Saas.

4. React

React is a frontend JavaScript library by Meta that is used to create Single Page Applications (SPA). Undoubtedly, it's the most popular frontend framework and makes it easier for developers to create complex applications. It comes with extra features like component-based architecture, Virtual DOM, and a huge support community, making it the best choice for any developer to learn the technology.

5. Next.js

Next.js is a React framework used to create full-stack web applications. It has additional features like Client and Server-side Rendering, file-based routing, built-in optimisations for images and font, etc that gives you a true advantage when building React apps. According to the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Next.js climbed from 11th to 6th place this year, probably because more people learning to code are using it.

6. CSS Loaders

CSS Loaders brings you over 600 CSS-only loading animations — and they are all made with a single HTML element. You can find everything here, from simple dots to intricate three-dimensional effects. And, it's super easy to use; you just have to click on any loader to view and copy its CSS code immediately.

🎨 Design tools and resources

7. LottieFiles

LottieFiles has the world's largest collection of free-to-use animations, with thousands of unique designs that can be used for both personal and commercial projects. The animations are professionally designed, and you can also change the colour, height, width, animation speed, and so on to match the theme of your website. Once you've finalised all of your inputs, copy the generated code and paste it wherever you want in your project.

8. Google Fonts

Google Fonts is a library of thousands of font families created by Google that you can use in your project for free. It helps you level up the visual experience of your website by improving typography. The fonts are available in multiple weights, styles, and scripts, allowing for a wide range of design possibilities, and can be easily integrated into your project.

9. Figma

Figma is a web-based design tool that allows collaboration between designers to create user interfaces for mobile and web applications. Figma provides designers with a variety of design tools, such as vector editing, prototyping, animation, etc, allowing them to produce high-fidelity designs and interactive prototypes. The application also includes a number of plugins that allow designers to integrate with other design tools and enhance the platform's capability.

10. Coolors

Coolors is a website that provides a wide range of colour palettes to use in your designs. You can go through all the existing colour palettes and search for palettes based on colour, topic, and style. You can also generate new palettes if the existing ones are not good enough for you. Frontend development is a lot about great designs and colours, and Coolors make sure that you get the colours right.

11. Neumorphism

Neumorphism is a popular design trend that is frequently seen in user interfaces. Neumorphism.io is an excellent generator tool for creating the ideal Neumorphism style based on your preferences. You can use this tool to visually select the design's size, radius, distance, intensity, blur, and shape. Finally, CSS code is generated based on your inputs.

12. SVG Chart Generator

Do you ever struggle with creating charts? Then, SVG Chart Generator is your new best friend. It's a super user-friendly tool that helps you draw up impressive SVG-based line or bar charts. You can interactively adjust the chart’s dimensions, the number of data points, smoothness, and other settings. What’s more, you can also upload your own data, and get customising!

🔨Other frontend development tools

13. VS Code

Visual Studio Code took the top spot in the 2023 Stack Overflow developer survey — retaining it’s top position from 2022 — as the most preferred IDE among developers. Its immense popularity is due to its huge extension marketplace, user-friendly interface, built-in terminal, debugging capabilities, and more. If you are new to programming or are looking for a code editor, VS Code is the ideal choice in 2024.

14. Git and GitHub

Git is a version control system developed by Linus Torvalds in 2005. It is used for tracking changes in code and collaborating with other developers on a given project. It allows you to efficiently track changes made to the code repository by developers in your team over time.

GitHub, on the other hand, is an online platform for hosting and sharing such Git repositories. It is the largest platform of git repositories and provides lots of amazing features for developers to host their code online and collaborate with other developers. Together, these two are must-have tools in the life of any developer.

15. Chrome DevTools

Chrome DevTools is a set of debugging tools inside the Chrome browser. It allows you to analyse, debug, and manipulate your websites very fast. It allows you to inspect and edit HTML elements and CSS properties in real-time, monitor network requests, analyse performance, check local storage, and so on.

16. React Developer Tools

React Developer Tools is a must-have frontend development tool for all React developers. It's a browser extension that adds up to your browser devtools and provides you 2 more tabs- Profiler and Components and the ability to debug and inspect React components. It provides a tree view of the component hierarchy and the option to inspect and edit the props and state in the selected component.

17. FlyCode

FlyCode's Git Workflow is a tool that allows you to make edits to your text and images on frontend visually. To do so, install FlyCode-App on your selected Git repositories; it will scan your code in a few minutes. You can now make all the changes you want to your app visually through the dashboard and once you submit those changes, FlyCode will auto-generate a pull request for your developers to review. This tool is really useful if you work on a product that requires frequent changes on the frontend.

18. PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a web-based tool by Google that allows developers and website owners to measure and analyse the performance of their web pages. It assigns a score between 0 and 100 to a page's mobile and desktop versions, as well as a list of recommendations for improving the page's performance. PageSpeed Insights analyses various aspects of a webpage like loading speed, responsiveness, optimisation, UX etc.

19. Responsively

Responsively is a frontend development tool that lets developers preview how their website would look on multiple devices and screen sizes, in one screen. It comes with features like real-time mirror interactions, customisable layouts, in-built elements inspector, hot reloading and device profiles, etc. which makes it a really great choice for a debugging tool.

20. Grunt

Grunt is a JavaScript runner tool designed to automate routine tasks. It helps to automate routine tasks like minification, compilation, unit testing, linting, etc. Grunt offers more than 6000 different plugins to install and automate a particular task with minimal effort. If these are not enough for your use case, Grunt also gives the option to create your own plugin to scratch your own itch.

21. Codepen

Codepen is an online platform for frontend developers to host and share HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code snippets. Codepen pens are one of the best ways if you want to show your website to someone along with the code or want to embed it into a webpage. Codepen also allows real-time collaboration between team members on a single project.

22. Leporello.js

Leporello.js is an IDE for JavaScript, and comes with some awesome features like time-travel debugging. This feature lets you rewind and inspect your application’s past states, which making it a lot easier to spot and fix bugs. It's particularly useful when you are working with complex JavaScript code.

23. TW Elements

TW Elements is a comprehensive collection of over 500 components from Bootstrap, redesigned using Tailwind CSS. For those who are familiar with Bootstrap and need a modern substitute, it's a great option.

24. Mamba UI

We have a few Tailwind-based tools on our list, and Mamba UI is definitely one of my favourites. It's a UI library with more than 150 components and templates built on the popular utility-first CSS framework. Make sure to give it a try!

25. Termino.js

Termino.js is a JavaScript component that requires no dependencies at all to work. You can easily add terminal-style animations, games, and apps right onto your web page. You can customise it to create cool effects like simulating keyboard typing etc. Check out the demo page to see some basic examples, and see what’s possible!

Wrapping up

Finally, we are coming to the end of this article. We have covered lots of frontend development tools under different categories in the article, both the tools that are must-use and the ones that increase your productivity depending on the situation.

What I want you to do now is to go through all these tools and see if you find any tool that readily solves any of your problems or if you know about other tools that you like to use and are useful in the development workflow, let me know.

Happy Coding!

25 Essential Tools for Front End Developers

May 23, 2024
min read

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