What’s front-end development? If you’ve been on a website, any website, then you already know what it is. How this website looks to you, where the buttons and menus are placed, the embedded photos and animations. These were all coded by a front-end developer, a coder who focuses on the user’s experience (UX).
Pay attention: the color combinations that most easily trap your gaze, the videos that play when you roll your mouse over them, even the pattern along which your eyes move across the screen, are all key points that these developers take into account.
The web’s fastest growing field?
Front-end has been gaining more notice in recent years, as companies focus more of their marketing budget on designing and coding a website that will knock your socks off. Every developer in this industry is likely fluent in HTML, the code which browsers read to display a website on your computer.
Front-end developers tend to use “frameworks” and other tools and programs that make it faster and easier to handle the unwieldy amount of code that working with these languages sometimes demands. Here are five of the most beloved front-end development tools that industry experts are using today and why they’re so useful to the field.
Syntactically Awesome Style sheets (Sass)
An established voice in the industry, our first tool has been around for a while. This style sheets application works directly with CSS to make spicing up your website much easier. Sass is an established, widely approved voice in the industry, and they have built up a significant community of coders who lend their expertise to discussion. Their brand and web presence speak to the stability of a product that has had more than enough time to work out the kinks.
Although it’s not the first of its kind, and it hardly carries the same industry esteem that others in its field do, Chrome’s DevTools is a free set of frameworks built into the browser itself. Google keeps this toolbox up-to-date, and there is an active community who keep track of bugs and share tips. Chrome DevTools specializes in live-editing Sass files. The application also provides analytics for metrics like page render time. For a free piece of software, I’d say that’s not too shabby.
Front-end developers need a platform on which to program. Notepad may seem like a great canvas, but there aren’t any features to help you keep your ducks in a row. That’s where Sublime Text comes in. It’s like Microsoft Word for your source code. The software is cross-platform, and it features several different ways to select huge chunks (or several little chunks) of text at a time and apply edits and commands to them without the tedium. This is really a tool for the solitary coder, as the developers offer a “distraction-free mode.” With a sleek backdrop of Gunmetal Gray, a color-coded font (pun intended), and a simple user interface, Sublime Text isn’t just easy to use, it’s a joy to work with.
If you haven’t heard of Git, it’s a source code repository and version control system. If Sublime Text is Word for your code, Git is document management for it. Now, GitHub takes the functionality of Git and brings it one step further. GitHub has a web interface, a desktop app, and a mobile version. It gives you a virtual social network, complete with wikis and commenting capabilities, for maximum collaborative coding. When you’ve got a whole dev team working together, GitHub is your best option.
We haven’t even scratched the surface. There are hundreds of programs, both free and commercial, that front-end developers make use of. These are just some of the most popular. As the market for front-end grows, so will the number and quality of frameworks, and so will the quality of websites that users visit. Take another look at our list, and ask yourself—are you staying ahead of the game?