June 19, 2023
min read

10 Essential Figma Plugins for Frontend Developers in 2023

Eli McGarvie

In 2023, tools for frontend developers drop by the minute, and Figma might be the most visually appealing. The cloud-based UX and UI design tool that simplifies almost any design process recently scored a scanty 20-billion-dollar sale, and it was partly for allowing programmers and designers — yes, two tribes that are often considered worlds apart — to create user interfaces for mobile and web applications and collaborate without hassles.

Just like the legacy Photoshop allowed users to install fonts or bokeh presets, or just like Chrome can be revved up with convenient extensions, Figma lets in several plugins that developers can use to boost its capacity a notch up. Installing plugins is very easy: You only have to click the “Install” button on the websites we’re about to feature.

With so many options out there, this article will focus on the best UI and Web Development Figma plugins. These are the latest and most relevant ones, useful and approachable for frontend developers in 2023.

1. Figma to React 

Figma to React converts your Figma to React codes instantly. This plugin aids in this process by turning Figma designs into usable React components, effectively translating the visual design into code.

To better understand this, let's consider a simplified example. Suppose you design a simple button in Figma with the label “Submit” (or “absenden,” if you’re working for a Munich startup). In Figma, you would visually design the button with the appropriate size, colours, and text. With the Figma to React plugin, you can convert this design to a fundamental React component, which might look like the following:

The Figma to React plugin does much more than this simple example, as it can convert complex designs with multiple components, nested elements, and dynamic behaviour. However, the basic concept remains the same: the visual design in Figma is converted into a React component (or components) that you can use in your actual application. Sounds like a 20-billion-dollar idea, doesn’t it?

2. Figma GPT

Figma GPT is a plugin that can have “conversations” (mind the quotation marks) with ChatGPT. With this shortcut, you’ll be able to make use of all the advantages of ChatGPT without leaving Figma. You can also run AI code generation (which can be easily copied and executed) and code completion.

Want one Easter Egg? Online users reported that ChatGPT’s API won’t stash away information like chatting on the official ChatGPT website does. This means the API is way more convenient if you’re concerned about privacy or intellectual property. So, if you’re a potential Samsung employee, make sure you mention you’ve already ensured you won’t share any copyrighted content with OpenAI. On the other hand, this is your opportunity to create a browser-based chat web app that interacts with a LLM but does not store your information or conversations. How about PrivacyGPT for a name?

3. Anima 

The Anima Figma plugin is a tool that allows designers to export their Figma designs to HTML, React, and Vue code. With Anima, designers can create fully responsive prototypes, add live text inputs, videos, charts, Google Maps, and more. 

The plugin also offers collaboration tools to build consensus across teams and create real experiences rather than clickable prototypes. Additionally, Anima offers a Storybook add-on that extracts the Storybook data and transforms stories into Figma components for a better design-development workflow.

(If you still haven’t caught wind of it, Storybook is an open-source tool that allows developers to build, test, and document UI components in isolation. By using a plugin to extract the data from Storybook and transform it into Figma components, designers can easily design and prototype with up-to-date and accurate components, and developers can build components that are consistent with the design and functionality of the final product.)

4. Forms 

Forms is (or are?) a plugin that can generate various forms that can be customised and integrated with your design library. You can customise your forms, their typography, spacings, and colours.  There’s no need to create variations for error, disabled, focus, and hover states, as every form element will automatically generate them. 

5. SVG Motion

The SVG Motion plugin for Figma is a tool that animates vector lines with the “Stroke” property to create animations of logos, backgrounds, titles, loaders, John Lennon headshots, and more. It allows users to quickly and easily create vector line animations within their Figma designs. The plugin is available for purchase and has been used by designers and businesses to create animated graphics and icons for websites and other digital assets.

Their creators are going against the tidal wave of Internet purchases, though: they sell the plugin for a single payment of $39 — with no recurring subscriptions. If you’re not convinced, browse through their obviously Figma-based, picturesque website.

6. Run Plugin API  

Brought to the Figma community by a self-assessed developer and designer, Run Plugin API is a plugin that can, as the name states, run the Figma Plugin API, which allows developers to create their own plugins that can be run within the Figma design interface. The Plugin API enables communication between Figma and external applications or services using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Run Plugin API can be highly beneficial for frontend developers in several ways:

  • Creating custom plugins: As a frontend developer, you might have specific workflows or tasks that you perform repeatedly when designing interfaces in Figma. You can automate them. Or maybe you want to land a spot in this article. That’s why this plugin is so meta.
  • Learning and experimentation: If you're a frontend developer looking to learn more about plugin development or are interested in experimenting with the Figma Plugin API, the Run Plugin API plugin provides a sandbox for you to test, learn, and iterate. 
  • Bridging design and development: With the Run Plugin API plugin, you can manipulate Figma documents programmatically, using code.
  • Prototyping and testing: Developers can use the Run Plugin API plugin to prototype and test out ideas for new plugins or to create proof-of-concept models for new functionality.

7. Stark 

Stark is a convenient tool that helps every frontend developer create and test accessible software in record time. The plugin checks for colour contrast, text spacing, image alt text, and other accessibility properties, and provides suggestions for improving these properties. By using the Stark plugin, frontend developers can create software that is more inclusive and accessible to users with different abilities, which can lead to a better user experience for everyone. So if you want your website to be accessible in stark contrast to your competitor’s, run this plugin.

8. Inspector 

Inspector is a plugin that provides an easy way to view and explore node properties. You only need to click on a layer to display that node's properties and styles within the inspector panel.  

Each of them has a copy-to-clipboard button for finding the properties you need while working on Figma. The Inspector plugin is a useful tool for developers who need to access node properties in their Figma projects, without having to use console.log statements.

So, for instance, if a button in your Figma design has a Hex colour value of “#C0C0C0”, font size of “16px”, and padding of “10px”, these values can be quickly copied from the Inspector panel and pasted into your CSS code.

9. Instance Finder 

The Instance Finder plugin allows users to find all instances of a specific component used in their Figma file, by searching through all pages and frames. It creates a list of all instances used, which can save time when working on larger Figma projects with multiple instances of the same component. The Instance Finder plugin is a useful tool for designers and developers who need to manage and locate components within their Figma files.

Ever noticed a website using two different shades of blue for two seemingly paired buttons? Instance Finder can also support a frontend developer’s consistency in design by ensuring that the same components are being used consistently throughout the project.

10. Flowbase Component Library 

Flowbase Component Library is only a plugin because it exists in Figma’s “plugins” section; it’s more like a catch-all Swiss Army resource repository. This so-called plugin — an understatement, certainly — gives you access to over 1000 components which you can copy and paste instantly. Wireframes, templates, and layouts are all ready for the fatigued frontend developers to snatch up, so that lack of inspiration won't be an issue here. If “Leave the design for designers, let's focus on the development” were a plugin, it could be this one.

10 Essential Figma Plugins for Frontend Developers in 2023

June 19, 2023
min read

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