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Top Build Tools For Frontend Development

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The code used in production is not the same as the code used in development. You must build packages that run quickly in production, handle dependencies, automate activities, load external modules, and more. Build tools are tools that allow you to turn development code into production code.

Over time, the number of web development tools has increased. As a result, deciding which ones to use on a regular basis is difficult. If you may go with what’s popular on one hand, it’s also vital to think about which tools can help you develop a solid approach on the other.

At Digilite, we specialize in creating world-class web and mobile apps for prestigious clients all over the world. As a result, we carefully choose our tech stack and work practices to ensure that we can not only give a fantastic user experience but also assist our clients in achieving their business objectives.

With that in mind, and based on our experience in front-end development, we are glad to share the top front end build tools that will help your business develop better experiences for your users. Let’s check the details together.

NPM (PACKAGE MANAGER)

The default package manager for Node.js is npm, which stands for Node Package Manager. When you install Node.js, npm is immediately installed as well, and you may use it from your command-line interface. You can use npm to install any Node.js package with just one command.

All existing Node.js packages may be found in the npm registry, which can be accessed using the search bar at the top of the npm webpage. Simply type the name of the package you’re looking for (for example, ‘postcss’) into the search field, and you’ll be sent to the package page, which contains all of the information you need about the package, its installation process, and all of its dependencies.

Here are several key features NPM has to offer as one of the best build tools:

  • The installation method is simple.
  • It provides software that runs on several platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS, and more).
  • Various packages are available.
  • Dependency management made simple with the package.json file.
  • There are numerous setup choices available (through the command line).
  • A lot of documentation and a friendly community.

YARN (PACKAGE MANAGER)

Yarn is a front-end package management that works as a substitute for npm. You must first install Node.js before you can use Yarn on your system, as Yarn is a Node.js package. After that, all you have to do is follow the installation instructions to start using it to manage your front end requirements.

Despite the fact that npm is a fantastic tool, creating packages with it might take a long time. If you don’t have many dependencies to install or don’t utilize a package manager on a regular basis, this isn’t a problem. If you’re a frequent user, however, you might want to look into Yarn, which prides itself on its lightning-fast build times.

Yarn speeds up the build process by caching all of your dependencies so you don’t have to download them several times. It also performs parallel processes to speed up the construction process even more.

Here are several key features Yarn has to offer as one of the top front end build tools: 

  • Cross-platform utility (Windows, Linux, and macOS) including installation tutorials for each platform.
  • All Node.js packages.
  • Build times are short.
  • Checksums are used to verify the integrity of packages, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Offline mode.
  • To avoid duplicates, use flat mode.

GRUNT (TASK RUNNER)

Grunt is a front-end task runner that helps you to automate common operations like minification, linting, and testing. They’re only necessary if you wish to repeat the same task(s) during each build.

Because Grunt is a Node.js package, you can use npm, Yarn, or another Node.js package manager to install it. The package.json file is where Grunt stores the custom dependencies it needs to complete your pre-defined tasks. You can define your activities in the Gruntfile, which runs during each build process and performs each task it contains automatically.

Looking for a must have web developer tools? Here are some common features Grunt has to offer:

  • Any operating system can use this cross-platform command-line utility.
  • The configuration process is simple.
  • Hundreds of plugins are available to add frontend tools (such as Sass, Jade, JSHint, Handlebars, RequireJS, and others) that finish the pre-configured tasks.
  • If necessary, asynchronous tasks can be used.
  • There is a lot of documentation.
  • It is widely used.

GULP (TASK RUNNER)

Gulp is a powerful competitor to Grunt and another automated task runner. Gulp, like Grunt, allows you to automate recurring front-end activities like CSS preprocessing, auto-prefixing, image optimization, and more. It’s also a Node.js package that can be installed using both the npm and Yarn package managers.

The most significant difference between Gulp and Grunt is that Gulp employs a more efficient automation technique, resulting in speedier build times. Gulp conducts in-memory operations without writing to temporary files, whereas Grunt requires temporary files to process tasks. Node streams are in-memory operations that can save you a lot of time, especially if you want to execute multiple tasks at once.

Here are some common features of Gulp:

  • Task runner that can be installed as a regular Node.js package on any platform.
  • To speed up operations, Node streams are used.
  • Thousands of plugins with a massive ecosystem.
  • Node.js best practices are used to create a high-quality codebase.
  • Documentation that is simple to understand.
  • For easy adoption, the API surface is kept to a bare minimum.

BROWSERIFY (MODULE LOADER/BUNDLER)

Browserify is a Node.js module loader that allows you to bundle your front-end dependencies and load them in the user’s browser as a single JavaScript file. The require() function in Node.js is used by package managers like npm and Yarn to load modules on the server-side. The need() method is brought to the client-side via Browserify, which can result in a significant performance boost.

With Browserify, your user’s browser just has to load one static JavaScript file that contains all of your project’s dependencies. You may now add your packaged JavaScript to your page as a <script> tag and you’re ready to go.

Here are some common features of Browserify as one of the best web application development tools:

  • All Node.js dependencies are bundled into a single file.
  • Improves the performance of modular apps that use numerous Node.js modules.
  • Allows external requirements (modules from other script> tags might be required).
  • Allows for the splitting of bundles if necessary.
  • Exclude, ignore, and transform functionalities.
  • Browserify comes with extensive documentation and a handy guide.

Concluding Thoughts:

Front-end build tools enable you to quickly convert your development code into production-ready code that works on any device or platform. In this collection, we’ve looked at the most widely used build tools, such as package managers, task runners, and module loaders/bundlers, that you can use in your web project.

If you still need professional help with your front-end development, make sure to contact us for further details!

Digilite is always here to help!