Yashil GargBlog Author
Yashil Garg - An Experienced Content Marketer with a demonstrated history of half a decade working in diverse industries such as information technology and web development, Edtech, BSFI and Marketing.
What is or who is a full stack developer? This term has become so popular nowadays and almost all developers are thriving to become one? A full stack developer is someone who can work on almost every component of an application. Usually, an application includes components like front-end, and back-end. There are font-end developers who work on front-end component of application then there are back-end developers who work on back-end component of application.
And then Full stack developers who can work on both these components of application. Obviously full stack developers are in demand right now because of huge demands of highly scalable data-intensive applications today. But main benefit of hiring a full stack developer is to fill the communication gap between developers at different components of application, this also reduces cost of hiring for multiple roles. Arguably someone who understands the entire application can be more efficient than someone who only understands a part of it.
With that this article is not about how to become a full stack developer or about any component of full stack development, but to talk about full stack development tools, and different tools full stack developers use for developing applications. However, if you wish for full stack development training this is one of best Bootcamp training programs you will find.
Even in full stack there are different domains, different technology, tech companies, and so many different tools have been created by these companies. These tools have different purposes to fulfill developers’ needs in software development. In this article we will divide these tools into different categories as different categories serve different purposes in software development. Check here for the top reasons why people decide to become a full stack developer.
A software developer spends most of his /her time writing code, to create an application it takes millions on lines of code or even more depending on size and complexity of application.
Imagine spending so much time writing code with tools like Notepad, I am not trying to defame notepad here, notepad has different purposes, but it is not efficient enough to write code. It will take a lot of time to write code without any intelligence and inbuilt compilers. To help with this we have powerful code editors also known as Integrated Development Environments. IDEs have integrated compilers, library support, file explorers, plugins, templates, and many other tools in built which can help us write code very quickly. IDEs can be installed on your OS in devices as well as can be accessed by browsers.
One’s which are installed on devices can be called as Offline IDEs. For examples:
A very lightweight editor by Microsoft which supports many programming languages. Visual Studio Code presents a highly optimized source-code editor for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications. About 50% of developers use VS Code for writing cleaner codes. It consists of syntax highlighting, debugging, code refracting, intelligent code completion, embedded Git, and code refactoring. The default coding font is Consolas.
Another cross-platform IDE for lightweight software development. Sublime Text is a commercial editor tool for creating clean codes. It supports several programming and markup languages. In addition, community-built plug-ins enable the expansion of its functionality. It is best suited on the Python interface as the programming languages are C++ and Python. It has a highly customizable command palette and distraction-free writing mode.
A powerful code editor which supports customization.
A popular editor for Java-based application development. IntelliJ is an integrated environment for web development for JVM languages. However, its LightEdit mode mainly works as a text-like editor as it does not dispense IDI editor features like code navigation and completion. But it is a well-known tool for the creation and modification of code. It is more reliable and sturdier than most text editors.
A source code editor doesn’t have compiler support. Available in 90 languages, Notepad++ is a free, open-source code and text editor developed by Don Ho. It enables working on multiple open files in a single integrated window. Moreover, it allows code folding, plug-ins support, syntax highlighting and a tabbed editing interface. One essential attribute is the auto-saving of important files.
There are also online IDEs available that can be accessed in browsers with internet access and can be shared very easily. For examples:
You can also check out this web application development course to make your learning simple and handy.
Now that we have got our IDE to write code, we need a few more tools to help with application development. In Software development, there are a few tasks that need to be performed parallelly to writing code. For example, when you are writing CSS, before it can be sent to browser it should be minified for optimization purposes, the same needs to be done with JS files as well. This is just one of the many tasks which need to be performed parallel to code writing. These tasks include Bundling, Minification, Compression, Copying files, Compiling code, testing code, and many others.
To help with these types of tasks we have a set of tools that are used by developers to save time and write code more efficiently.
A few popular tools are:
Used for front-end tooling with many plugins.
A zero config tool for web development.
What is package management, let’s understand this first? Let’s say you are working Node.js, and you need to connect to MongoDB. To be able to work with MongoDB in Node.js you need to have MongoDB driver for Node.js. Question is, are you going to write that driver – you can if you want to assume you have got that much time and that kind of expertise, but if you haven’t got these then you need to use code that is written by someone else, probably by MongoDB developers. These save time as well as cost in many cases. Our application has dependencies on many such codes which are also called third-party libraries.
Now if an application is dependent on many such dependencies say dozens of them you need a tool to make sure you are getting these dependencies from the right place, having the right versions, and the tool which can help you with this is known as a package manager. Any language or framework you use, you need a package management tool to manage your dependencies.
Here are a few popular package management tools used for different frameworks.
Manages packages in .NET-based applications.
Helps Java-based projects for package management.
A package manager for python.
Here are some of the best-known browsers which provide browser-based tools. You can find more extensions in the browsers. Best browser extensions for
In-built Developer tool in Chrome browser. Chrome Dev Tools is a collection of Google's inbuilt developer tools which assist in the web-authoring, development, reviewing and debugging of websites within the browser.
Flexible, user-friendly and easily accessible framework tool, it has developer tools and tests web platform APIs that are updated regularly to offer advanced features.
More extensions for developers in Google Chrome browser.
To help with front-end debugging in Microsoft Edge Browser.
In build developer tool for Firefox.
Imagine working on a large project with hundreds of developers across the globe, writing and sharing thousands of lines of code every day, to manage all of this you need right tools which can allow you to manage, store your code, allow you to share it with your team, track changes in code, allow to revert changes and many other features. These types of tools are called Source Code Management tools.
Git and GitHub are the most widely used source code management tools. GitHub was recently taken over and is now being managed by Microsoft.
API is Application Programming Interface, which is created in backend of any application to serve its clients on different front ends. APIs are created independently without being tightly coupled with front ends.
Since APIs are created independently, we need tools to test them if they are working as per expectations. To help with testing APIs we have many tools available for use.
Most popular rest API client.
Helps with SOAP services testing.
Popular rest API client.
Another tool for testing rest API.
An open-source API test automation tool.
Used for continuous testing of APIs.
The containerization of an application is to put software or one of its components in an independent runtime environment with all its dependencies and resources in an isolated box which is called a container. The benefits of doing this are enormous. It makes our software easy to scale, easy to deploy and test, and increases fault tolerance since any faults in a container will not impact other containers.
To be able to create containers and then manage those containers on a very large scale we need tools.
Helps you create and deploy containers.
Helps orchestrate containers on large scale.
Helps create, deploy and manage containers.
Helps with container orchestration.
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In recent years there have been major changes in how we create web applications, and there have been huge demands for large scalable applications. If you look at the current scenario, we have got so many applications serving our needs. Examples are Uber, Netflix, Twitter, WhatsApp, and many more, these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are millions of applications being developed right now. With this demand for writing so many apps, we need great tools and frameworks for application development to be able to write applications faster with more efficiency. It is also to be noted that these tools can differ based on different technologies. For example, java front-end tools might differ from python tools. I have listed the best front-end frameworks and back-end frameworks in use today. If you are looking for web application development course, you can find it here on KnowledgeHut.
We can divide these tools into mainly two categories.
JS framework created by Google. Angular is a TypeScript-based web application framework maintained by Google. It helps in making single-page applications (SPA) effortless.
Comprehensive data binding and testing are the salient features of this framework. Besides this, extensive browser compatibility and the facility of creating custom components are preferred by most developers.
A front-end compiler for JS. A front-end compiler, Svelte has grown in popularity, with its awareness spiking from 75% to 94% in recent years. It was created by Rich Harris and is different and arguably better because it "compiles'' the steps.
Svelte is a beginner-friendly set of tools that provide clear syntax and is famous for being faster than other available options.
Mobile development framework created by Google.
Another popular CSS library.
CSS Preprocessor helps with writing advanced CSS. It is a simplified front-end scripting language developed by Natalie Weizenbaum and Chris Eppstein. Sass includes various color functions, nesting, variables and import features, making it one of the most diverse front-end full-stack developer tools. Its reusable functionality, clean codes, and CSS compatibility provide more stability by incorporating fewer codes.
Used by Companies
The New York Times, Avast
Easy data storage
Chrome Dev Tools
Accurate CSS display
High safety and security
Uber, Yahoo, Facebook
Offers virtual DOM and reusable components
Easy to learn and write
Adobe, Nintendo, Grammarly
Gives community support
Highly adaptable, component-based architecture
Gmail, Upwork, Microsoft Office
Superior framework with Model, View, and Control management
Provides design and development workflow
Airbnb, Trivago, StackShare
Fewer codes that make the process quicker
Powerful and stable
Mastercard, Spotify, LinkedIn
Increased speed, support, and responsiveness
Highly customizable and compatible
Tinder, Snapchat, Fiverr
Simple, readable, and reusable codes
Large library and simple syntax
Back-end development requires a lot more tools than front-end development because the back-end of an application has more responsibilities to perform. For example, API services, databases, web servers etc. We can divide backend development tools into different categories.
- JS runtime for server-side programming. Node.js is an open-source runtime environment based on Single Threaded Event Loop Model architecture, compatible with different platforms. It functions easily and offers dynamic page creation, and altering options to create, open, edit, delete, etc., the files on the server. Its fundamental usage is in event-driven, non-blocking servers. Its design has real-time, push-based architecture, even though it is used for back-end services.
This enables an easier, quicker, and orderly handling of data access layers and the basic presentation structure. Express also supports integration with template engines like Vash, Jade, EJS, etc.
Scripting language for web development.
A general-purpose programming language.
Another popular framework for creating all kinds of apps.
Django is a back-end full-stack framework written using Python, following a model-template-design pattern. It is used for making secure and manageable websites. Its tagline, "The web framework for perfectionists with deadlines", explains that it is focused on making the process simpler. It provides python-compatibility, an easy web development process, clean designs and high efficiency in web applications, among other features.
A general-purpose programming language by Google.
Most popular open-source relational database.
Relational database managed by Microsoft.
Another open-source relational database.
A DBMS by Oracle.
Most popular NoSQL database.
A popular web server to host web applications.
Web server mainly for hosting .NET-based apps.
Another popular web server with can also be used for load balancing.
Serverless Computing allows you to use backend as a service where a developer’s only concern is to write code, and all the server infrastructure will be taken care of by backend service provider. It can benefit with reducing cost of server management since you only pay for what you use in terms of server space, easier scalability of your application, and reduced network latency since you can choose the location of the server closer to your users.
Most of the cloud service providers provide back-end as a service or serverless computing.
Most of the code is written by humans and hence it is presumed to have bugs, but we can’t deliver code with bugs as it might not be what our customers are expecting. An application must be tested before being used by end users. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to test your code. There are different types of testing involved, also different approaches to testing are involved, there are test-based development approaches like Test Driven Development which is very popular nowadays.
To be able to perform different kinds of tests on our applications, we need either humans or computers. Humans are slow (no offense to manual testers), if this makes it up humans are also creative, more than computers. We still need humans to perform and write creative tests, but many parts of software testing can be automated using tools to save time as well as costs. I can’t imagine testing the entire Facebook by humans, it might take months even with hundreds of testers.
To help with automating our tests we have got tools for front-end code as well as back-end code.
Node.js library to handle test cases in headless chrome.
A Unit test framework
Helps with end-to-end testing
Another tool for end-to-end testing.
Test framework for Node.js
Another test framework for JS-based apps.
Test runner for js based apps.
Test framework for Java
Test framework for .Net
Test framework for .Net
Test framework for Python
A matcher library for Go
In software testing, to be able to write pure unit tests, you need to mock part of the application your unit of code is dependent upon. For example, if you are writing code to unit test an endpoint of API, it might have dependency on database access code. If you write tests that will call database access code too, it will become integration tests since multiple components (endpoint and data access code) are being tested now. To be able to write unit tests you need to mock any dependencies unit of code might have. This is where mocking tools help us to create mocks or fake objects of dependencies and configure them to provide constant results which then allows us to write unit tests.
Every programming language and framework has its own mocking libraries. Here are a few of them.
As you can imagine now how many responsibilities a full stack developer needs to perform in the process of application development. Starting from writing front-end code using some front-end frameworks, then moving to backend where you need to write APIs, work with databases which can be either a relational or NoSQL database. Full stack developers also need to write unit tests code as part of Test-Driven Development approach. Once writing code is done, then comes the part of containerization, deployments where you might have to interact with DevOps tools like Docker etc.
This doesn’t mean that as a full stack developer you need to learn all the tools listed above. You can choose probably one or two tools from all the categories we have mentioned, explore it, work with it and that would be sufficient to make you an expert level full stack developer.
There are a myriad of tools that a developer uses for effortless web or application development. These tools are divided into three main types—front-end, back-end, sublayers and database. These categories can be further classified into the following divisions:
Stack Overflow Survey suggests that Visual Studio Code and Sublime Text are the most popular IDE.
A full-stack developer must know:
It is not a difficult task if you set your mind to it. The basic structure of all the tools stems from fundamental concepts and understanding of HTML, CSS and JS. Mastering this will help you learn all the tools.