Tools and testing

Once you've started to become comfortable programming with core web technologies (like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), and you start to get more experience, read more resources, and learn more tips and tricks, you'll start to come across all kind of tools, from JavaScript frameworks, to testing and automation tools, and more besides. As your web projects become larger and more complex, you'll want to start taking advantage of some of these tools, working out a reliable toolchain to give your development process superpowers.

On top of that, we still need to keep cross-browser support in the forefront of our minds, and make sure that our code follows best practices that allow our projects to work across different browsers and devices that our users are using to browse the Web, and be usable by people with disabilities.

Working out what tools you should be using can be a difficult process, so we have written this set of articles to inform you of what types of tool are available, what they can do for you, and how to make use of the current industry favourites.

Note: We have referenced a number of tools in this topic, not because we endorse them or think they are the best, but because we know they work and have good industry support. In most cases there are other tools available, old ones will go out of fashion, and new ones will no doubt appear.

Learning pathway

You should really learn the basics of the core HTML, CSS, and JavaScript languages first before attempting to use many the tools detailed here. For example, you'll need to know the fundamentals of these languages before you start debugging problems in complex web code, making effective use of JavaScript frameworks, or writing tests and running them against your code using test runners.

In addition, you should start with the first module in this topic, which gives a useful overview of the general area.

Modules

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.
Understanding client-side JavaScript frameworks
JavaScript frameworks are an essential part of modern front-end web development, providing developers with tried and tested tools for building scalable, interactive web applications. Many modern companies use frameworks as a standard part of their tooling, so many front-end development jobs now require framework experience. This module gives you some fundamental background knowledge about how client-side frameworks work and how they fit into your toolset, before moving on to tutorial series covering some of today's most popular ones.
Git and GitHub
All developers will use some kind of version control system (VCS), a tool to allow them to collaborate with other developers on a project without danger of them overwriting each other's work, and roll back to previous versions of the code base if a problem is discovered later on. The most popular VCS (at least among web developers) is Git, along with GitHub, a site that provides hosting for your repositories and several tools for working with them. This module aims to teach you what you need to know about both of them.
Cross browser testing
This module looks specifically at the area of testing web projects across different browsers. Here we look at identifying your target audience (e.g. what users, browsers and devices do you most need to worry about?), how to go about testing, the main issues that you'll face with different types of code and how to fix/mitigate those, what tools are most useful in helping you test and fix problems, and how to use automation to speed up testing.