Top Tools for Frontend Development

Frontend-development implies creating a convenient, beautiful and efficient client part of the application. Many beginners start with this programming direction, studying markup languages such as HTML and CSS, gradually connecting JavaScript and technologies based on it.

The quality and speed of work depend on the choice of tools, and it is determined by the tasks that the project solves. Let's say most sites today are created using frameworks. But sometimes a project can be written in pure CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Below we have collected the most important tools that a frontend developer should own.

CSS Preprocessors

According to ValueCoders , the best-known CSS preprocessor is SASS, which also looks a bit like LESS. Thanks to these two libraries, you can create more active code.

The term “SASS” can be applied to both technology and syntax. SASS and LESS are not languages ​​in essence, but a bit of an extension for CSS. SASS / LESS code compiles to plain CSS.

The principle and method of work is the huge difference between them. SASS is compiled using Ruby, while LESS uses JavaScript (or Node.js).

It has to be noted that mastering CSS preprocessing requires at least familiarization with Terminal / CLI commands.

Gulp

Gulp is a task manager that automates repetitive processes: assembling and optimizing CSS and JS files, automatically updating the browser, raising the server and others. Thanks to Gulp, development processes are accelerated and optimized as much as possible. The Gulp tool was created as an offshoot of the Grunt project, and it surpassed its parent.

This manager works on the Node.js platform, the source code is written in JavaScript. As for the tool itself, it does not have so many opportunities. However, it has a wide variety of plugins that can be combined in any sequence and quantity. To run the desired task, use the command line.

One of the tangible benefits of Gulp is the use of threads. They transmit data in turn from one function to another, which interact in a certain way with this data. Such a system allows you to speed up the assembly.

Gulp helps solve problems:

● creation of a web server, as well as updating pages in the browser with any changes and saving the project;

● introduction to the development of preprocessors (JS, CSS, HTML) to speed up the layout;

● combining, optimizing and reducing the amount of source code;

● creating a CSS file name prefixes to support browser styles automatically;

● managing files and folders;

● uploading the project to an external server;

● copying project files, creating backups;

● creating projects of any complexity and much more.

The project that uses Gulp has the root gulpfile.js file containing detailed instructions for managing the system.

ES modules and CDN

ES-modules - a standard for working with modules in the browser, unified ECMAScript. Using ES modules, you can easily encapsulate functionality into modules that can be used via CDN. With the release of Firefox 60, all major browsers support ES modules. The Node team is working on adding support for ES modules to Node.js. Besides, the integration of ES modules for WebAssembly will take place in the next few years. Just imagine, isolated JS components used through CDN.

Javascript Libraries

The development of frontend has undoubtedly shifted to full JavaScript support. From dynamic page elements to the animation of JavaScript - one of the main tools of every web project.

But recently, it seemed that more and more developers were choosing JavaScript libraries, which pretty much simplified the process of writing code. This is great because libraries sometimes contain simplified concepts that can facilitate interaction with methods such as AJAX. And it doesn’t depend on the role of age in coding - it correlates more with the abilities and skills of a particular frontend developer.

AngularJS

This is a popular enterprise-level framework used by many developers to create and maintain complex web applications. Angular is positioned as an “HTML extension” for building complex web applications. If you are familiar with TypeScript, then you might be interested to know that Angular 2 is written on it.

Angular is MVC framework. In Angular, you can create reusable view components. And thanks to the service framework available in it, you can easily build the interaction between the backend and frontend. And finally, Angular is pure JavaScript.

ReactJS

React - JS library for creating user interfaces. This is an open source project, mostly developed on Facebook, with the participation of a number of large companies. From the point of view of the MVC model, React refers to V, almost ignoring all other aspects of the application architecture. It implements the component layer, which facilitates the creation and combination of UI elements. Interface rendering is optimized by abstracting the DOM, which also allows you to render React from Node.js.

Isolation, Reuse, and Composition of Components

Speaking about the future development of interfaces and components, it is impossible to ignore the perspectives and capabilities of Bit.

Bit (open source project) isolates and converts your components into building blocks that you can use, including all your projects and applications. And here the magic begins: you can also use Bit to develop components from other projects, gaining full control over source code changes and all dependencies.

Simply put, you can instantly use a component from one project in another project with Bit. You can also synchronize changes during the development process. As a team, this process is made easier by bit.dev. This is a component hub where you can share code with your team.

The Bit hub provides everything you need for sharing and collaborating on components, for example, search, viewing projects, interactive code testing, full CI / CD support and much more.

Using Bit, you can create applications with full and instant access to all the components ever written by your team or the open-source community, as well as exchange new components or offer updates to existing ones.

State Management

What's a new in-state management? In the end, we just ship everything to the Redux global store?

This approach makes it difficult to use the full potential of modularity and reusability inherent in the components. The new Context API React and Hooks allow you to abandon third-party libraries and manage states at the level of functional components, improving modularity and reusability. Therefore, looking ahead, we could try to think about state management more in terms of encapsulated components than in terms of global application storage.