Five great tools for building websites:
CSS is a powerful tool used to control the layout of a website, but it does have limitations. CSS preprocessors extend the language of CSS. Using a preprocessor involves using a slightly different syntax, often a simplified version of CSS that makes writing stylesheets significantly faster. The code written in the preprocessor syntax then gets compiled into CSS, which is what the browser reads in order to display our beautiful designs! Sass is one of the most popular options out there.
Time and time again, you’ll hear that a good developer is also a lazy developer. We strive to make our processes as efficient as possible. That often means finding ways to automate parts of those processes. Task runners are tools made to help developers do just that. A “task” can be anything from compiling Sass into CSS to compressing images to launching a server. My task runner of choice is Gulp. It works by passing a file (or files) through a series of functions. Each of these functions does one specific thing, and it’s up to the developer to combine them in a way that makes sense and allows for a more efficient workflow.
The DevTools make editing applications on the fly a breeze! Often used to work through problems with the layout of a site, the DevTools allow the developer to see changes to the code immediately reflected in the browser window. Other web browsers have very similar tools, but Chrome comes with a great set of tools right out of the box.
Perhaps the simplest of these tools is also the most important. Your text editor will be your constant companion on the road to becoming an awesome developer. You don’t need anything fancy to get started because, at its heart, the code you write is really just plain text. Keep in mind that it is not rich text. A word processor like Microsoft Word will add formatting that you don’t need. Atom is a very simple tool that can be customized and extended into whatever you want it to be. If there’s some functionality you need that doesn’t come with it out of the box, it’ll probably be very easy to find a package that will add that functionality.
Do you have tools for building websites that I know should know? Tell me in the comments!