Developer in a high-tech armor suit. The suit has the logos of the top front end tools for web development.

Top 10 Front-End Tools for Web Development in 2019

The primary goal of front-end development tools and technologies is to make web developers more efficient. Front-end tools and technologies make development faster, simpler, and better.  

Some of the key benefits of front-end development tools include:

  • Providing reusable templates and components
  • Task automation
  • Code optimization and debugging
  • Increasing developer productivity
  • Generally making life easier for the developer

There are thousands of available front-end tools for web development and it can be quite overwhelming to choose between the many front-end developer tools available. Fortunately, we’ve hand-picked our Top 10 Front-End Tools for Web Development in 2019 just for you.   

1.) Chrome DevTools

Google Chrome has a terrible secret… a terribly wonderful secret! Chrome DevTools, the most widely used web debugger in the world.

You can manipulate the DOM and CSS, debug network activity, profile memory usage, and uncover security problems.

It has a built-in console for running JavaScript and can simulate different screen sizes and devices.

DevTools is an essential front-end developer tool for many, and that’s why it’s at the top of our list.

While most developers agree that Google Chrome’s DevTools is #1, most modern web browsers also feature similar front-end web development tools. Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple’s Safari are a few of the popular browsers that offer their own integrated web development tools.  

“When I first discovered that I could edit a web page and view the changes immediately, I was wowed!”—Every web developer ever

2.) Vue.js

Vue.js is a progressive framework for build user interfaces and single-page applications. At the time of writing, it has overtaken React as the top JavaScript framework on Github.

It is easy to learn, and its setup is very straightforward.

Vue.js is renown for its simplicity and it will only become more popular in 2019. We love it here at Full Scale!

3.) React

React is Facebook’s JavaScript library used primarily for building user interfaces. It is a declarative, component-based library {known for its/with unrivaled} flexibility.

React is fast; one of the fastest frameworks available. Its focus on self-contained, reusable components makes React a great choice for web app development.  

Another key advantage of React is that you can reuse your knowledge to build mobile apps using its native counterpart, React Native. React Native components and APIs can also be run on the web using React Native Web; talk about going full circle.

4.) Angular

Angular is a popular JavaScript library created and maintained by Google. What started out as a side project for simplifying web app development (AngularJS), has now evolved into a development platform for web, mobile, and desktop applications.

Angular is a highly opinionated framework, meaning it enforces its “way of doing things.” Angular is like a large corporation with lots of processes developed through experience; less likely to go wrong, but not as flexible as a startup.

React gives more freedom and flexibility, while Angular says, “this is how we are going to build your app, my way or the highway.”

“Less freedom to go wrong.”—Angular

5.) Ionic 4

Three words; Progressive Web Apps. These are web apps that deliver a mobile, app-like user experience. The folks at Ionic believe that by 2020, half of all apps will be PWAs.

The Ionic Framework is the world’s most popular open source SDK for building cross-platform mobile and Progressive Web Apps. It has a giant community of over 5 million developers. In the past, it was tightly coupled to Angular, but with the release of Ionic 4 in January, it is now distributed as a set of Web Components. Since it is built on top of standardized web technologies, it can be used in most front-end frameworks including Angular, React, and Vue.

“Write once, run anywhere.”—Ionic

6.) HTML5 Boilerplate

HTML5 Boilerplate is a front-end template packed with useful contraptions, hacks, and cross-browser libraries. It touts itself as “the web’s most popular front-end template” and is backed by a great community. HMTL5 Boilerplate’s strength is its simplicity. It’s great for quickly starting a small web project; simply clone it from GitHub to your local machine and you are good to go.

For bigger projects, you’ll most likely end up using a more sophisticated framework, but HTML5 Boilerplate can be a great starting point.

7.) Bootstrap

Bootstrap has been around for a long time. It was created in 2010 by a designer and a developer at Twitter and is the world’s most popular front-end component library. Bootstrap makes front-end web development faster and easier by providing mobile responsiveness, components, and plugins. Millions of sites are built with Bootstrap.

Due to its popularity and pervasiveness, most web developers learn about Bootstrap at the early stages of their career. If you need a simple solution for site layout and responsiveness, Bootstrap is the way to go.

If you want an awesome alternative to Bootstrap, check out Foundation.

8.) npm  

npm is a package manager and the world’s largest software registry. npm has both public and private collections of packages of source code for front-end web apps, mobile apps, robots, routers, and a ton of other JavaScript-related stuff.  It helps JavaScript developers easily share their code and reuse others code. npm makes it easy to use the latest (or preferred) version of other developers’ code in your own app.

Like most of the other tools, you could live without npm, but it makes life easier for JavaScript developers around the world. And it can make your life easier too.

9.) Grunt

Grunt runs JavaScript tasks. That sounds nice, but what why would you want to do that?  

Grunt automates repetitive tasks such as minification, compilation, unit testing, and linting. Grunt has thousands of useful plugins available for automating mundane but essential tasks.

You can customize pre-existing plugins for your specific needs or create your own! It is awesome!

10.) GitHub

GitHub is the world’s largest code hosting platform for collaboration and version control. Millions of developers and companies use GitHub to host and keep track of changes in their source code. It is an ideal platform for reporting bugs or issues, suggesting code changes and improvements, and communicating and collaborating with other developers.

All of the front-end development tools mentioned in this article have their code hosted on GitHub. That’s how pervasive GitHub is.

Summarizing the importance of front-end development tools

Front-end development tools have come a long way since jQuery (which we still love). Some of the “more seasoned” web developers like to reminisce about the times when we didn’t have to choose between React, Vue.js, Angular, and the plethora of other available front-end development tools. Those were simpler times, with simpler sites like this one.  

Two developers sitting behind their laptops talking about which front-end tools to use for web development.

The tools we have today, empower web developers everywhere and enable the creation of better web applications faster, and more efficiently than ever. But this gigantic, ever-growing ecosystem of front-end development tools can sometimes leave us confused. Should you learn React or Vue.js? Foundation or Bootstrap? Angular or AngularJS?

These are very important questions that would highly depend on your needs and capabilities. At Full Scale, we have teams of highly proficient web developers that can help you with your web app. Let us know your goals, and we’ll help you achieve them.