- Some basic computer skills (and a computer)
- Enthusiasm to learn
- A web browser
- A text editor
There is no need to get web hosting or to buy a domain name. You can, if you want, but it is not necessary when you are starting out.
If you can:
- Install programs on your computer
- Uninstall programs from your computer
- Navigate the folders / directories on your computer
- Create new folders / directories on your computer
- Delete files / folders / directories on your computer
then you should have all the skills you need to do front-end web development.
I am not recommending any specific tools. You can start with one and, if you find it is not working out for you, you can try another. I use different tools for different tasks. The important thing is that you are comfortable using it.
There are many web browsers. Some are platform specific, others are available on all the platforms:
- Mozilla Firefox (this is the browser I prefer)
- Google Chrome (this is the browser preferred by many web developers – many courses recommend this browser)
- Microsoft Edge (Windows only)
- Apple Safari (MacOS only)
Regardless of which browser you use, you should have multiple browsers installed on your computer because not all web pages render the same in all browsers. With modern browsers this isn’t so much of a problem, however, you may use a feature and discover it is not supported by all browsers.
Your normal workflow will be to develop using one browser and to test using other browsers.
A text editor is different from a word processor. A word processor will insert additional codes in your document. A text editor does none of that – it saves exactly what you have on-screen and nothing more.
A text editor may also be known as a code editor or programmer’s editor. Many times, a text editor is part of a larger program known as an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
Some text editors are available on all computer platforms, others may be limited to a specific platform:
- Visual Studio Code (the most popular editor among web developers in the Stack Overflow 2018 survey)
- Brackets (commonly recommended editor in many web development courses)
- Notepad++ (Windows only)
- Sublime Text
There are many, many editors available. A quick search will turn up dozens more. You may find yourself liking one editor for a while and then finding it doesn’t quite do what you want and switching to a different editor.
You may find some developers recommending Vim or Emacs. Both are very old editors (dating back to the 1970s) that still command a large following among developers. If you are just starting out, I don’t recommend them because they have very steep learning curves. While I have used both, I prefer modern editors.