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JavaScript Tools Every Developer Should Know

JavaScript Tools Every Developer Should Know

JavaScript consistently tops the list of popular programming languages, since it’s DevOps-friendly and can be used equally well for frontend and backend apps. Frameworks including React, Vue.js, Next.js, and the most recent Remix all work with JavaScript.

There are plenty of tools available for JavaScript developers. Whether you’re a newbie just learning to write JavaScript or a seasoned developer who’s used the language for multiple applications, you’ll find tools in this roundup to help you write clean and efficient code. With increased productivity and easier debugging, you’ll improve your developer experience (DX).

Debugging Tools

Debugging is a routine task in software development. Bugs can be caused by syntax errors, incorrect algorithms, incomplete loops, or other things entirely.

According to ACM Queue, developers spend thirty-five to fifty percent of their time validating and debugging software, and debugging, testing, and verification can cost fifty to seventy-five percent of the total budget of a software project.

JavaScript debugging tools simplify the process of finding these bugs, saving you time, energy, and resources. There are several types of tools that help with JavaScript debugging.

Browser Console Tools

Browser Console

The console object provides access to the browser’s debugging console via methods including console.log, console.trace, console.assert, and console.group. The following are some examples:

Console.log

console.log() is used for outputting text to the console. For example, to output a single object to the console, run this code:

let someObject = { str: "Some text", id: 5 };
console.log(someObject);

The output will be:

[09:27:13.475] ({str:"Some text", id:5})

You can also output multiple objects by listing them with the .info() method, as the following:

let car= "Dodge Charger";
let someObject = { str: "Some text", id: 5 };
console.info("My first car was a", car, ". The object is:", someObject);

The output will be:

[09:28:22.711] My first car was a Dodge Charger . The object is: ({str:"Some text", id:5})

Console.trace

The .trace() method will show you the call path taken to reach the point at which you called console.trace(). For example, in this code:

function foo(){
  function bar() {
    console.trace();
  }
  bar();
}

foo();

The output of the code will look something like this:

This is handy when you need to find all of the places in your code that call for a particular function. Just call console.trace() at the point where the function is declared.

Check our MDN Web docs for more about the browser console methods.

React Developer Tools  

React Developer Tools is a Chrome and Firefox DevTools extension for open source React JavaScript library. It allows you to debug your React application from your browser. Both the root component and the subcomponents show all loaded components, events, and states.

Vue Devtools

Like React Developer Tools, Vue Devtools helps JavaScript developers debug Vue.js applications. If you are using an unsupported browser or have specific needs, the extension can be installed as a standalone application using the Node package manager.

VS Code Built-In Debugger Tool

If you use the popular Visual Studio Code editor, it comes with a powerful debugger that helps accelerate your edit, compile, and debug loop. The VS Code documentation offers excellent information on how to use it.

Linting/Code Formatting Tools

Linting is the automated process of checking for programmatic or syntax errors during programming. A linter scans your code and flags style bugs or warnings about inconsistencies in code styles. For example, the code below has a syntax error that JavaScript wouldn’t approve:

const someObject = { str: "Some text", id: 5 };
const someObject = { name: "Olive" };
console.log(someObject);

JavaScript does not allow the constant declaration of variables to be repeated. This sort of error is so minor that it would be hard to detect in a large codebase, but a linter would flag it. Some code formatters will also fix the code after detecting an error.

The following are several good examples of JavaScript linters.

Prettier

Prettier is an opinionated code formatter. Just save and your code will be formatted automatically. Your team won’t need to discuss style in code review — just add a prettierrcdocument at the root of your project with the required style options.

ESLint

ESLint is a static code analysis tool for identifying and reporting patterns found in ECMAScript or JavaScript code to improve code consistency and prevent errors. ESLint helps maintain code integrity, offers suggestions for code changes, and allows you to format automatically on save.

ESLint is available as a VS Code extension. It is also available via JavaScript package managers such as npm and yarn, as follows:

npm install eslint --save-dev
yarn add eslint --dev

The ESLint website offers detailed documentation in how to configure ESLint for your needs.

Productivity Tools

The way to increase productivity is to automate what you can, saving time and energy, while you focus on writing code. There are multiple JavaScript tools to enhance productivity.

RegExr

RegExr is a web tool to learn, build, and test regular expressions by visualizing the results. RegExr also provides a cheat sheet for regular expressions.

Faker

Faker is a JavaScript library for generating fake data sets that can be used in testing software.

Faker can be installed using any of the following:

npm install @faker-js/faker --save-dev
yarn add @faker-js/faker -D
pnpm install @faker-js/faker -D

The Faker guide offers a detailed explanation of installation and usage in the browser, Node applications, and Deno applications.

Documentation Tools

Documentation is a key part of the code review process because it helps developers, testers, and QA engineers to more easily understand the codebase, making maintenance easy. However, the documentation process can be complex, which is where these tools can help.

Postman

Postman allows you to build, test, and document APIs and web applications. It can be integrated into your application using the Postman API, and it offers a built-in tool to mock data for API testing. Postman has extensive documentation and a cheat sheet.

Swagger

Swagger is a JSON schema that describes the structure of an API. It’s a good tool for documenting APIs and web applications. Swagger helps you automatically generate and update API documents, ensuring they stay up to date as the API evolves.

JSDoc


JSDoc is an API documentation generator for JavaScript, similar to Javadoc or phpDocumentor. After you add document comments next to the source code, JSDoc scans the source code and generates an HTML document. This makes project documentation easy.

Testing Tools

Testing helps to ensure that your code is working as expected and is bug-free. It also ensures that updates don’t introduce new bugs or break other parts of the codebase. These tools save you the trouble of manual testing.

Jest

Jest is a JavaScript testing framework that runs tests in Node.js. Originally built to test React, Jest is available as an npm package. It helps you to write tests that are fast, reliable, and maintainable.

Cypress


Cypress is an end-to-end testing framework using snapshots. The all-in-one testing framework with assertion offers a built-in tool for mocking and stubbing. Tests are written in pure JavaScript and work quickly, as they execute directly inside the browser. Cypress is available as an npm package.

Code Completion Tools

Code completion is the process of providing coding suggestions during programming, which helps you to write code faster and more efficiently. The following tools will enhance the consistency and readability of your code.

Tabnine

Tabnine is an AI code completion assistant that learns from every interaction, providing personalized, contextually relevant code completions. It supports the most popular languages, libraries, and frameworks, including JavaScript, and it’s available on the major IDEs as extensions.

GitHub Copilot

GitHub Copilot is a GitHub-powered, open-source code review tool that helps you write code faster and with less work. It simplifies coding with a new or unfamiliar language or framework. It’s available as an extension for VS Code, JetBrains, and Neovim.

Conclusion

As JavaScript’s popularity keeps growing, its ecosystem continues to expand as well. This means many more opportunities for developers to find JavaScript tools that help improve their code and optimize their workflow.

The tools listed in this article offer some solid options for your software projects. Using them, you’ll be able to write code faster and more efficiently for a better-quality development lifecycle.

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