Quick introduction, my name is Mitchell Sholly and I recently started a small creative agency in Irvine California called Sholly Creative, Inc. Original I know. I was always a designer at heart. As a business major, I was much more interested in designing the letterhead or logo of in-classroom fake company, than anything else.
But CSS and HTML no longer pay the bills. I need to expand if I wanted to be relevant in today’s web connected world. So here’s my multi-part blog series of learning tricks and technologies to make me into a Front End Developer.
The Essential Tools
NPM is the best tool out there. Period.
All other tools on this list probably comes from NPM. For new developers, NPM is a package manager that makes it insanely easy to take advantage of open source projects to integrate into your projects. Need to install Angular? NPM has it. Want to learn a build/automation tool? NPM has the components for it.
First install Node.js. NPM gets installed along with it. Now get lost in the command line!
Formally IO.js – imagine building native desktop applications for Mac, Windows, and Linux with just web technologies. Forget C++ and learning how to make a nice looking UI for your app. Toss in some CSS3 and you have a beautiful desktop application.
I hear stories of lower than ideal performance, but honestly I haven’t noticed any. This series will probably focus a ton on Electron, bringing my Intelligent Concepts application from planning to development to public release
Same idea as Electron, building apps with web tech, but for every mobile platform out there. iOS and Android not enough? Also build Windows, Blackberry, FireOS and more with the same codebase. Even better – these apps can share the same code base as your Electron hybrid app. Write once, deploy everyone. An absolute godsend for a designer like me.
Text Editors I use
I like to check out new IDE from time to time, but here’s my current lineup.
Visual Studio Code – https://code.visualstudio.com/
Built with Electron, so you know its a good tech
Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition
Free and essential to work with a corporate team that uses TFS
Brackets – http://brackets.io/
Lightweight and customizable
No easy GIT or FTP solutions, but there’s a few out there
Atom – https://atom.io/
Same idea as Brackets, but had some performance issues for a few releases so I looked into Brackets
Great GIT integration and one of the nicest looking code editor