Understanding client-side web development tools

Client-side tooling can be intimidating, but this series of articles aims to illustrate the purpose of some of the most common client-side tool types, explain the tools you can chain together, how to install them using package managers, and control them using the command line. We finish up by providing a complete toolchain example showing you how to get productive.


You should really learn the basics of the core HTML, CSS, and JavaScript languages first before attempting to use the tools detailed here.


1. Client-side tooling overview

In this article we provide an overview of modern web tooling, what kinds of tools are available and where you'll meet them in the lifecycle of web app development, and how to find help with individual tools.

2. Command line crash course

In your development process you'll undoubtedly be required to run some command in the terminal (or on the "command line" — these are effectively the same thing). This article provides an introduction to the terminal, the essential commands you'll need to enter into it, how to chain commands together, and how to add your own command line interface (CLI) tools.

3. Package management basics

In this article we'll look at package managers in some detail to understand how we can use them in our own projects — to install project tool dependencies, keep them up-to-date, and more.

4. Introducing a complete toolchain

In the final couple of articles in the series we will solidify your tooling knowledge by walking you through the process of building up a sample case study toolchain. We'll go all the way from setting up a sensible development environment and putting transformation tools in place to actually deploying your app. In this article we'll introduce the case study, set up our development environment, and set up our code transformation tools.

5. Deploying our app

In the final article in our series, we take the example toolchain we built up in the previous article and add to it so that we can deploy our sample app. We push the code to GitHub and deploy it to GitHub pages, and even show you how to add a simple test into the process.