In the series “Back to Front” our consultant Eoghain will look at the latest developments, releases and news in technologies from (you guessed it) the Back-end to the Front. He is happy to talk technologies suggested by our readers and answers any questions you have.
What a time to be a JS developer… I’m serious, these days there’s an abundance of tools and frameworks that you can learn about on any given day, the stacks are ever changing and getting better. I’ve found ways to work solo that would have only been possible if I were working in a team a few short years ago including CI solutions that will review your pull requests for antipatterns and standards violations, run tests and even enforce security best practices. All of this means you can write and deploy quality code faster and theoretically better.
But there is a downside to this ever-growing JS ecosystem, and I bet you already know what I’m going to say… the churn rate. For someone like me that is not currently professionally working as a coder it can be daunting to keep up (I’ve only recently got to grips with the finer points of ES6), which is fine I suppose, I’ve got time… but the churn happens so fast that what I’m learning now will almost certainly be outdated by this time next year.
With all that in mind, here are some of my favorite tools that I just keep coming back to ( I do realize that this could start a war in the comments but to paraphrase the dude… it’s just like… my opinion, man).
Let’s just start with the basics, a good code editor:
My pick for this is Atom.io, it’s easy to tailor and hack this to work the way you want. It has a thriving open source community, providing packages and writing new features and you can even upgrade it to a fully featured IDE.
Next up we’ll go for a good package manager:
Well, there will be no surprise here but it will have to be NPM since its use is practically a requirement these days. I can’t think of a single project that I’ve worked on that I didn’t need to use NPM.
Then there’s my task manager of choice:
It may be considered a little on the old side now but grunt.js is still my favorite, it just makes setting up a project so much less hassle, I know there are other task runners out there that are great, Gulp springs to mind but I suppose familiarity breeds comfort and that’s why I’m sticking with my tried and tested solution.
My front-end framework pick:
React definitely takes the prize here, I don’t know many who would argue against this. It’s allowed me to move away from using PHP (which I absolutely loathe). Creating components is simple and I love using JSX to write my HTML… in fairness I am a novice when it comes to React but so far, I love it and can’t wait to build my knowledge of it.
I suppose the takeaway from all of this is that the churn can be overwhelming and I find comfort in well-established tools and technologies with large communities based around them.
Let me know what your fallback choices are and what tools you would suggest I try out next.
Read Eoghain’s first blog here.
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