When it comes to front-end development, the tools you choose are almost as important as the final design. That's because they decide what your final design will look like, how well it will be supported, and how much control you're left with.
To help you make the right decision from the jump, we've put together this list of the ten best front-end tools.
The dos and don'ts of choosing a front-end stack
Before diving into that list, however, we want to spend some time looking at the dos and don'ts of choosing a front-end stack. Think of these as your simple rulebook to consult before making a final decision.
Do: Consider an option that builds for mobile and desktop simultaneously
When it comes to comparing front-end tools, many solutions have you building one version of your website and another for mobile. This can lead to wasted time and effort, especially when several solutions exist to convert one version of your site to the other.
Not all solutions that do this are created equal, though, so it's not a hard and fast rule that one of these solutions is "good". It's just something to keep in mind when looking at various tools for your stack.
Don't: Choose an unpopular or under-supported option
That might sound harsh, but hear us out. When a front-end tool is unpopular and/or unsupported, then you're going to have a harder time finding solutions and getting that system to work.
And even if you're able to figure it out, there's a good chance that other members of your development team or future members of that team are going to have a hard time. It'll complicate updates, refreshes, migrations, and more.
For that reason, it's best to stick with a beloved option that has plenty of documentation and support. It'll simplify just about everything, now and in the long run.
Do: Invest in front-end tools with a strong community
Building on the last point, you want to look for front-end tools that have a strong community. Whether it's on Reddit, Stack Exchange, or GitHub, a community of developers will go a long way toward making your job simpler.
Any questions you have or problems you bump into will be much easier to answer when there's a large group of people standing behind a particular tool. It might not sound like much, but the time you spend on unexpected issues and points of confusion can really add up.
So in general, unless an unpopular tool is particularly compelling, make a point to stick with more widely used solutions.
The 10 best front-end tools
Now that you know how to navigate the world of front-end tools, it's time to cover the best around. Below are our picks for the best front-end tools in 2022.
The first item on our list of front-end development tools is TeleportHQ. It's a robust platform designed to make every aspect of front end development simpler, especially for teams of developers.
It integrates with all of the tools you already know and love (including several that are on this list) and is built for a variety of websites. Whether you're creating a standard static website or something as sophisticated as headless eCommerce, TeleportHQ will support you and your team.
Second on our list of tools is something that every developer should be using, GitHub. For those that don't know, GitHub is a site and service that allows you to upload your code and its Git version history to a public or private repository. Anyone on your team can share a GitHub repository, so it can work for everyone, not just you.
The pros of GitHub are plain to see. It's free, readily available, widely used, and easy to use.
There aren't too many drawbacks, aside from the general risks associated with uploading your intellectual property to a popular website. If that's something you're worried about, then you may want to go with a more exclusive repository method.
CSS is great, but it can be a bit limiting. That's why Sass was developed. It's a front-end development tool for scripting that compiles into CSS. It includes features like variables, nesting, and inheritance, things that aren't possible (or at the very least would be very difficult) with CSS.
Using Sass is straightforward and oftentimes easier than CSS. It allows you to be more precise and manipulative when changing aspects of your site such as color and UI.
Any team at any size can use jQuery, so there aren't any limitations behind it. If these are tasks that your team is going to be working on frequently, then you can adopt jQuery to help save time.
Fourth on our list of great front-end development tools is Grunt. If you like automation, then you'll love Grunt. It takes a lot of the "grunt" work out of web development, performing tasks like minification, compilation, and unit testing automatically.
This is another completely free and open source tool, which means that it's consistently getting new plugins to make it even more valuable. The one downside to Grunt is that it can take a while to configure it how you like it, so getting started can take a bit.
A front-end tool that you may find yourself taking or leaving is Sublime Text. That's because it's a text editor, and if you've been developing for some time, you probably already have a text editor that's fully configured and, let's face it, "yours".
But if you're still looking for a text editor for front-end development, then Sublime Text makes a great option for several reasons. Like all of the best editors, it's open source, so there's a lot of configuration and plugging in to be had. Features like "GoTo Anything" and side-by-side file editing are what make Sublime a favorite.
Earlier in this post, we mentioned finding front-end tools that are just as great for mobile development as they are for desktop. If that's something you're looking for, then you may already know about React.
For those who are a little less code-savvy (or just pressed for time) there's Novi Builder. This is a drag-and-drop web builder with extra oomph. Rather than limiting you to templates and simple designs (like Squarespace and company), Novi gives you access to your source code.
That means you can build a drag-and-drop website, then go back into the source code and fine-tune your website. It's an excellent feature that allows you to quickly template and visualize a website without compromising your control over that website.
You will need a membership to use Novi Builder, though the most expensive plan is a one-time fee of $149, so it's not expensive by any means.
Not to mention that TypeScript includes instant feedback on your code, helping you spot problems before they become problems.
That brings us to Visual Studio Code. Visual Studio Code is one of the most popular front-end dev tools, and it's easy to see why. It's a fully-featured IDE from Microsoft, making it much more robust than your typical text editor.
You can interact with a terminal, view your code in real-time, create virtual environments, and more with Visual Studio Code. It consolidates several features and apps into a single tool so that you can spend less time switching between windows and more time writing.
That's our list for the top 10 front-end tools with component based development.
Set your team up for success with TeleportHQ. If you're looking for a flexible and powerful front-end tool for your team, then make TeleportHQ your go-to. It's packed with collaborative features that teams will love, regardless of what kind of site you're working on.