Kickstart Your Web Development Projects with Google’s Web Starter Kit

Google’s Web Starter Kit is designed to quickly get web developers up and running on new projects.

It’s packed with powerful tools like BrowserSync for simultaneous testing across devices, LiveReload to refresh your browser instantly on file changes, an HTTP Server for easy local hosting, PageSpeed for optimizing performance, ImageMin for reducing image file sizes, a Sass Compiler for CSS, JSHint for JavaScript error checking, and several templates.

These tools and resources are essential for developing responsive, multi-device web applications. Let’s dive into how the Web Starter Kit can streamline your web development process.

How to Begin with Google Web Starter Kit

You can download the Google Web Starter Kit from the Google Web Starter Page. It’s ready to use out of the box, but to leverage its full suite of tools, you’ll need to install some prerequisites.

Start by installing NodeJS, which powers various Gulp tasks like PageSpeed, ImageMin, and JSHint. Next, as the Kit utilizes Sass for CSS creation, ensure you have Ruby and Sass installed.

Finally, Gulp is essential. The Kit includes several pre-configured Gulp plugins within the gulpfile.js, located in the root directory. Install Gulp with the following command:

npm install gulp

With these tools installed, you’re all set to dive into the Web Starter Kit.

Setting Up Your Project with the Web Starter Kit

To get started, download the Kit from the Google Web Starter Page and unpack it wherever you like. Alternatively, clone it directly from GitHub using the git command:

git clone

This command downloads the Kit to your computer, creating a “web-starter-kit” folder filled with essential files, including an app folder, Gulpfile.js, package.json, among others. Next, install the Kit’s dependencies by running:

npm install

After installing the dependencies, your project is ready to go. You now have all the necessary files and folders to begin building your web application.

Screenshot showcasing Google Web Starter Kit's PageSpeed feature

Streamlining Development with Gulp in the Web Starter Kit

The Google Web Starter Kit comes packed with Gulp plugins designed to streamline your development tasks. Here are some key commands to familiarize yourself with. Use these in your Terminal or Command Prompt for efficient project management.

The gulp serve command launches your app in a browser, assigns it a localhost address, and activates LiveReload. This means any file changes you make will automatically refresh your browser page. Additionally, it initiates BrowserSync, syncing clicks, scrolls, and page reloads across devices, making multi-device testing a breeze.

Google Web Starter Kit on Chrome mobile emulation

Next, the gulp pagespeed command offers insights into your app’s performance by utilizing Google’s PageSpeed API. It’s a crucial tool for understanding and improving your page load times.

Google Web Starter Kit files and setup

Lastly, running the simple gulp command compiles your project into a new dist folder. This folder contains your project’s distribution-ready files, all optimized and compressed for the best performance, including HTML, JS, CSS, and images.

Important Considerations

The Web Starter Kit leverages the latest in web technologies, meaning it’s designed for the most recent versions of major browsers, including IE10+, Firefox 30+, Chrome 34+, Opera 23+, and Safari 7+. However, testing reveals some compatibility issues with IE9 and earlier versions of these browsers. For those needing to support older browsers, additional adjustments may be required to bridge technology gaps.

Wrapping Up

Embracing the Google Web Starter Kit can significantly enhance the development of responsive, high-performance web applications across multiple devices. With its ready-to-use templates and pre-configured tools, it streamlines the development process, allowing you to focus on creating an impactful user experience.