While few front-end coding projects are started from scratch - thanks to readily available code repositories, libraries, frameworks and a plethora of plug-ins - some front-end coders still like to tinker with true coding and improve their problem-solving and coding skills in the process. Below are a few tips on doing just that. Though unlikely to be practical when being limited by time and budget factors involved in developing for paying clients, they are a great way to improve your skills when practising on private projects.

Frameworks

Most projects - even those by leading developers/ engineers - are based on pre-existing frameworks like jQuery and similar front-end frameworks and varying CMS platforms (WordPress, etc) on the back-end. Writing you very own framework is invaluable when it comes to understanding language syntax, improve problem-solving skills and get a clearer grasp of the concept of frameworks as a whole. Such a framework may take weeks months or even years to create and is likely never to be used, but its value in learning terms is exceptional.

Developer Tools

In most instances, front-end coding problems are dealt with by reaching for developer tools like Web Developer Extension, Firebug and similar options. While this is obviously the most viable option when working under time-pressure, debugging JavaScript or CSS without the help of these tools will do much to improve your understanding of deep JavaScript parts and CSS. While it will take a lot of time, it is likely to teach you enough to avoid similar errors in future projects.

Browsers

Most developers will go back and forth between browser and editor to continually test their JavaScript functionality and CSS lay-outs. By not using the browser to test your efforts until the complete project has been coded, the coder is forced to continually visualise the outcome of his/ her efforts. In addition, he or she will be able to remain fully focused on writing every line of code correctly. Being able to visualise outcomes is a vital part of understanding the requirements and processes of coding fully.

Code Generators

Code generators are perfect when facing rapidly approaching CSS deadlines. They do, however, do little in terms of understanding the underlying concepts of style sheets. Manually typing every line forces coders to learn all of the important elements of varying syntaxes, what is represented by different values and so on. Having to check back with specification drafts and other references, however, will provide a much better understanding of how code works.

Time-consuming they may be, but these methods will ensure that when you use code, you know exactly what you are doing - meaning you are less likely to make mistakes that then need to be found and corrected when you really are under pressure to deliver.