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My Favourite Tools for Working With JavaScript | by Tommaso De Ponti | Jun, 2022


5 not-so-popular tools and apps I use every day

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Photo by Moritz Mentges on Unsplash

I want this article to be as schematic as possible to give the reader a structured overview, so I won’t dwell on introducing the article. This piece will be about some of the tools I use the most when working with JavaScript, which as a full-stack developer (that is mostly working with blockchain as of now) is a language that I still use daily.

While I’m also using other languages that work well in the field like Elixir and Rust, I’m starting to put in practice what I’ve been learning for the last few weeks about this great language.

Anyways, my point is that JavaScript is still one of the most important languages in the industry, and I’d like to share with you what are some apps and tools that helped me make the job easier.

Let’s start!

This tool has now become essential for my daily frontend JS routine. So, what are we looking at here?

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JavaScript, despite being a relatively simple language to learn, has its own complications that can more than often reflect in our projects (especially more complex ones). RunJS is a clean and minimal environment to run JavaScript code from your desktop.

You can run js code as if it was in a browser but in a live environment. This tool is now playing an important role in my day-to-day development workflow: when I don’t feel confident with a feature I just learned, or when I face a bug, I fire up RunJS and play around with the code until I get the desired results.

Ever heard of serverless?

Cloudflare workers allow you to deploy serverless JavaScript code with incredible ease of development, and I really mean incredible.

You can build and deploy an API in a matter of minutes, and for free! (As long as you are not seeking more than 100.000 requests per day, more wall-time per request, or more key-value storage.). For example, two out of the three projects I am working on right now use Cloudflare workers.

If you are wondering what is wrangler, it is the CLI tool for developing, testing, and publishing your worker.

I am recommending it since I am sure that it will help almost every reader that uses JavaScript. Even if you are only working frontend, you may use a worker as a bridge or a handler to reformat data from another API. Really, anything.

Also, for those really interested, CF workers natively support Rust, C++, and C besides JS.

I’ve had my fair share of learning to use the Chrome (or Firefox) developer tools while I was hunting for bugs in web apps about a year ago. I can’t stress how much it made me realise I had been missing out by not using the dev tools properly for web development. Anyways, this article is already becoming too long (kudos if you’re still reading to this point), so let me list a couple of things I really like about two specific dev tools tabs:

  • source tab — debugging, specifically breakpoints and conditional breakpoints (basically, pause the code if a certain condition is met).
  • network tab — understanding the app’s technologies and workflow, requests copy (and edit and replay them).

I’d like to go into much more detail here, but this article isn’t about the developer tools, although I’ll have an article ready for you soon.

When the creator of Node.js (which I also use by the way) realised that some things about Node.js could have been done better, he decided to go on and start building Deno with Rust. Deno focuses on some key factors:

  • security — the code is sandboxed, and permissions have to be explicitly given.
  • modules — what was the last time you import(ed) a module through URL? Never, probably. Deno does not rely on a registry such as npm for its packages, rather it downloads the modules from the provided links (and then caches them so we don’t have to download them each time)
  • TS support, without further configs.

When it comes to scripting, Deno is in my opinion the best, but it’s also emerging for larger use cases.

Snowpack is a frontend build tool that actually builds fast, all while keeping it extremely simple thanks to ESM. According to my experience with it, there isn’t really much to say. Just try it out, and you’ll be most likely satisfied with what it provides. You can start here.



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