Front-end development is all about the core creation and sometimes maintenance of websites. The front-end developer must know the lingo, tricks, computer languages, and more in the pursuit of creating effective and functional websites. What all are the exact skills one needs to excel here? The following 10 skills are among the most typically needed in front-end development work today.
Among some of the most basic and rudimentary skills needed in front-end development involve the ability to work with CSS and HTML. HTML, or hypertext markup language, is a language system for formatting text on websites, while CSS, or cascading style sheets, is a system of interfacing the work area to keep presentation info separate from markup. Without these most basic skills, there simply is no front-end development.
Knowledge of Frameworks
CSS pre-processing is a method, sort of like frameworks, that makes potentially repetitive code tasks much easier and more automated. Sass, LESS, and Stylus are some of the primary pre-processing programs out there for this very purpose today. Simply enter all info through one of these programs, then let it spit that back out, translated, for the final website product.
For anyone who has experienced doing lots of work for that work to then somehow not be saved and then tragically lost, version control is the answer when it comes to front-end development work. With this software, the developer can track and control changes to source code along every step of the process. GIT is one of the most common version control tools, and front-end developers are best suited to know it.
Responsive Design Abilities
When someone visits a website, that site will then adjust to display and function correctly according to that visitor’s device. We see this largely in how web pages can work with a mobile device as well as a laptop computer as a visiting device, for example. This is called responsive design, and today, the ability to utilize responsive design in code is incredibly important to assuring this universal usability across a website.
Testing and Debugging
In front-end development, “testing” refers to testing one’s site and code therein for flaws, typically referred to as “bugs”. This process is important, as it ensures a functional and safe experience for every user. “Debugging” refers to the process of removing and/or repairing any flaws found in the code after testing.
Use of Browser Developer Tools
Browser development tools are another essential to the front-end developer’s repertoire. These tools are made to help developers test their work but from within a web browser such as from where the visitor will view the site. Beyond just testing, though, these tools also allow for some very helpful tweaking and adjustment that can otherwise be much more of an extended task when carried out by other means.
Building and Automation Tool Use
Building and automation tools allow the developer to hone in on performance issues potentially linked to their site. Visitors want to experience a site that loads quickly with all other functions being highly responsive as well. These tools thus get into the nitty-gritty of performance management and optimization. Grunt and Gulp are two, popular programs for this purpose.
Command Line Mastery
Finally, command line mastery is yet another important skill in most front-end development endeavors. That’s because command line work is often required when graphic interface methods don’t allow for an easy, point-and-click option to do what needs to be done. By being able to enter commands manually, the developer is always able to do what they intend to do, whether or not pre-made tools aid in that effort.
Front-end developers are those professionals responsible for the detail-heavy job of designing websites entirely from scratch. There are many skills needed to successfully handle this job, but possessing the above-mentioned abilities aligns one as largely ready for the work. In conclusion, for anyone looking for additional information on front-end development or anything else in the web industry today, WebProfessionals.Org and the International Web Association are excellent resources with which to follow up further.