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5 frontend development tools you should use in 2016

The last couple of years radically changed frontend development. Now that 2016 is here, let sum up some of the coolest tools in frontend development today:

EcmaScript 6

If you haven’t switched to ECMAScript 6 (ES6) yet you should do so today. ES6 offers many improvements over traditional JavaScript and will work on all major browsers (once compiled with Babel or Traceur). These improvements allow you to write better and cleaner code. For a nice list of new ES6 featues checkout es6-features.org.

Once you’re setup with Babel or Traceur (preferably using a task Gulp or Grunt) you’re good to go and ready to write some kick-ass modern JavaScript.

jspm

Package management is becoming more and more important and with NPM and Bower, you might think you’ve already got it covered. jspm however, is a package manager that specializes not so much in a offering registry (it can load modules from any registry, like NPM and GitHub) instead, it specializes in easy module loading for any module format (ES6, AMD, CommonJS and globals) using systemjs.

jspm can radically speed up your workflow and I recommend using it as your default package manger for frontend requirements.

Sass/Less

CSS is the technique we all use to style the web. However, it’s not as flexible and advanced as we’d like it to be. Both Sass and Less tackle this issue by “upgrading” the language with several features like nesting and variables.

Personally, I’m more a fan of Less, but since the rest of the world seems to think otherwise I can only recommend Sass as your new stylesheet language.

Gulp/Grunt

Every developer knows that repetitive jobs sneak into every project, whether it’s compiling Sass files, minifying JavaScript or running a test suite, these taks can kill jour workflow.

Gulp and grunt are “task runners” that execute these tasks using a simple interface and a wide variety of plugins. This is is useful for further automation of your workflow.

Both Gulp and Grunt are task runners that aim to automatie these jobs and they both seem to do pretty good job. I recently moved from Grunt to Gulp because of better jspm support (using a plugin) and I noticed that Gulp files tends to be a little bit cleaner. if you haven’t decided yet, try Gulp.

Aurelia

Frontend frameworks are advancing quickly and Angular seems to be the most popular. Still, I'm not a big fan of the framework since it tends to be very intrusive and sometimes seems to be "reinventing the wheel".

Aurelia is a new frontend framework founded by former a Angular 2.0 team member Rob Eisenberg and is built around modern web technologies. Aurelia utilizes ES6 for cleaner code and JSPM for stress free package management and offers tons of features for all kinds of apps. If you're looking for a frontend framwork you should definatly give it a shot.

Conclusion

With websites and apps becoming more complex every day, it's important you choose the right tool for the job and stop wasting time on repetitive jobs. These tools can definitely help you improve your workflow and help you to build better apps.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Regards!

Published on Jan. 23, 2016, 1:55 p.m.