In this post, we will take a look at a few tools that frontend developers cannot do without in 2022 and what I love about them.
If you are a developer or looking to become one, this is a good piece to get started with or refresh your memory around the tools you use for frontend development and why they are so important.
Frontend, like the name implies, refers to the client-facing part of a web application—the elements and features that the users see and can interact with. Frontend development is making sure that that everything the user sees works as expected and with a smooth experience.
The frontend developer’s work usually starts after a designer has visualized what the application should look like. The dev brings those designs to life using UI elements like buttons, images, layouts and concepts like navigation and animation, among many others. This is while making sure the experience is identical across many device sizes and browser types, and that the size is memory efficient.
Let us look at a few tools that frontend developers cannot do without in 2022 in different categories.
A code editor is the first thing developers use in their workflow to write the code that turns the designs into an actual functional web application. There are many code editors available today such as VS Code, Sublime Text, Notepad ++, Atom, etc.
Visual Studio Code is an IDE by Microsoft that has a code editor among other amazing features. It ships with support for hundreds of programming languages, which include highlighting syntax, code snippets, bracket matching, auto-complete capabilities and much more.
I think VS Code stands out as one of the best code editors out there because of the robust marketplace and how smooth the extensions are. Another strong point is the integration with GitHub, in addition to the whole Microsoft developer ecosystem, and how seamless it is to access and utilize your GitHub right from VS Code is a great thing. It gets even more interesting—you can customize VS Code to your taste, from the theme to the icons and categories—everything!
It also has the Kendo UI Template Wizard extension, which you can use to scaffold any Angular, Vue or React app without ever using the CLI.
Most libraries you are using or will use are installed like this:
npm install package/library name
npm does a great job of installation and even resolving dependencies. It also gives you information on packages, the versions, compatibility and advice on upgrades or other packages to install.
One final thing to mention is how a big library can be broken down into various smaller packages and you can install just the package you need, and stay lean and efficient. It has a robust repository you can check out to learn about various new packages people are working on, if they are constantly maintained and how popular they are.
A lot of frontend developers believe that CSS is the hardest part of doing frontend development. I personally agree. I have struggled with centering a div or a card myself too. This is why there is a huge number of frameworks that abstract the use of CSS in various degrees—to make it easier or no longer required. One of the most-used ones is Bootstrap, which helps you build responsive web apps easily.
Bootstrap is a free CSS framework with a strong mobile-first focus with hundreds of design templates you can literally copy and paste or customize to suit your own needs easily. It is the most popular CSS framework—in fact, over 3 million projects download it weekly.
If you or your team is responsible for building out a robust application or even a family of tools, consider taking Kendo UI for a spin.
Now you have all the tools to build out your web application. The next thing to think about is how to manage your workflow—that is where version control comes in both for you alone and for when you are working in a team.
Git is a CLI tool that allows you to do version control, which refers to managing files from one version to another, tracking the changes and rolling back to previously tracked changes. This is a revolutionary tool on which a lot of other tools like GitHub were built for public use and to foster collaboration.
GitHub is to team what Git is to one person. GitHub took Git and made it a team collaboration tool where you can work with multiple people on the same project, and do version control in the most efficient way. GitHub, now owned by Microsoft, has grown into a super tool every developer (not just frontend developers) use. You can do task management, write documentation for your library/package, host apps, use CI/CD tools to do automation, and many more things.
After making sure this is the version of the web app you want to put out there, the next thing to think about is usually: How do I host it? Hosting especially static web applications is a common thing frontend developers do to test that everything works as it should. There are a lot of hosting tools available, some of which include Netlify, Firebase, GitHub Pages, etc.
Netlify stands out as one of the most comprehensive platforms for your web apps, with serverless functions if you do not want to do backend integrations with the tools you already use like GitHub. You can host your app in seconds straight from the GitHub repository or even do a drag-and-drop of the compiled files from your machine.
It gets better: Netlify has to deploy previews, so you can see a preview before it all goes live, you can get a custom domain and you can even do branch deploys instead of the entire app version.
One last thing you will want to do when your app is live is to look at Chrome DevTools—the prompt you see when you right-click in your browser and choose to inspect. This really comprehensive tool helps with troubleshooting your web app live. It comes with a console, element inspection, network pane, performance pane, and even my favorite one—Lighthouse.
We have taken a quick look at a few tools you cannot do without while doing frontend development in 2022. We have also talked about how useful they are and why you should try them out. Do let me know your favorites in the comments.
Nwose Lotanna Victor is a web technology enthusiast who documents his learning process with technical articles and tutorials. He is a freelance frontend web developer based in Lagos, Nigeria. Passionate about inclusion, community-building and movies in Africa, he enjoys learning new things and traveling.
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