Published Nov 12, 2023 ⦁ 5 min read

List software development tools and level up your workflow

Developing software is a complex process that requires using the right tools for the job. With so many options available today across categories like IDEs, testing frameworks, databases, and more, it can be overwhelming to determine which solutions to use.

Choosing tools tailored to your specific tech stack and team structure is key for optimizing efficiency. For example, if your team uses React.js, leverage React Testing Library for streamlined unit testing of components.

The goal of this post is to provide an overview of the must-have software development tools to improve coding efficiency, collaboration, and overall workflow. Whether you need to boost your individual productivity or streamline team coordination, leveraging the appropriate tools makes a huge difference.

IDEs and Code Editors

IDEs and code editors are centerpieces of the software development workflow as they allow you to efficiently write, navigate, and understand code.

IDEs like Visual Studio Code are more full-featured development environments that integrate features like intelligent code completion, debugging, version control, and more. VS Code in particular has quickly become many developers' preferred option due to its versatility, customizability via extensions, and cross-platform availability.

Lightweight code editors focus more on the editing experience with features like syntax highlighting, themes, and extensions. Popular options include Atom, Sublime Text, and Vim. These provide essential features like:

  • Syntax highlighting and theming
  • Extensive customization and extensions
  • Fast performance and minimal interface
  • Power user features like keyboard shortcuts

Code editors strike a nice balance between simplicity and utility for quickly opening projects to edit code. They can also provide IDE-like functionality when combined with plugin extensions.

For quickly editing code, Visual Studio Code is one of the top versatile options available today.

Language-Specific IDEs

Here are some top IDEs optimized for specific languages:

  • JavaScript - Visual Studio Code, WebStorm, Atom
  • Python - PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, Spyder
  • Java - IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, NetBeans
  • C# - Visual Studio, Rider, Visual Studio Code

These IDEs include functionality tailored to their target language like intelligent code completion. While specialized IDEs have advantages, general IDEs like VS Code with extensions can still work very well for many languages.

Source Control Systems

Source control systems allow developers to track changes and collaborate on shared projects. Distributed version control systems like Git have become predominant in recent years.

Key features provided by source control include:

  • Change tracking and history
  • Branching for isolated development
  • Merging changes from multiple contributors
  • Reverting to previous versions
  • Access controls and permissions

For managing source code, Git has become the de facto standard for most developers today. Its distributed model provides inherent benefits for collaborating with team members and open source communities.

Git Platforms

GitHub in particular has achieved massive popularity as a development platform thanks to its ecosystem of public open source projects. Leading competitors like GitLab and Bitbucket provide similar collaboration capabilities for private team repositories.

For sharing code and managing access on projects, services like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket have become indispensable for many teams' workflows.

Build Tools

Build tools automate compiling, linking, packaging, and deploying your code to create runnable applications. They provide a consistent way to build, test, and release software.

Popular JavaScript build tools include npm, Yarn, Webpack, and Babel. These enable streamlined workflows from development to deployment of JavaScript applications.

For JVM languages like Java, Maven and Gradle are the leading build tools used today. They standardize builds across projects and teams.

Using the standard build tool for your language or framework is recommended to leverage shared toolchains and avoid reinventing the wheel.

Testing Frameworks

Automated testing is crucial for maintaining confidence when changing code. Testing tools support practices like test-driven development (TDD) and continuous integration/deployment (CI/CD).

Some key types of automated tests include:

  • Unit - Isolate and test individual classes/functions
  • Integration - Test interactions between modules
  • End-to-end (E2E) - Simulate real user workflows

JavaScript Testing

The Jest framework provides a robust JavaScript test runner. When combined with utilities like React Testing Library for testing React components, JavaScript code can be thoroughly unit and integration tested.

For end-to-end testing, tools like Cypress and Selenium simulate interactions in real browsers to test full user flows.

Java Testing

JUnit and TestNG are ubiquitous test runners for Java code, while Mockito allows mocking dependencies. Spring Boot includes useful annotations for testing REST APIs and database access code.

Testing needs to cover units, integrations, and end-to-end workflows for comprehensive coverage.


Persisting and accessing data is a key part of most projects. Relational databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL, and OracleDB are common choices for apps needing ACID transactions and complex querying.

NoSQL databases like MongoDB offer more scalability and flexibility with flexible schemas and horizontal scaling.

Object-Relational Mapping

ORM libraries like Hibernate (Java), SQLAlchemy (Python), and Sequelize (JavaScript) simplify database access by abstracting away SQL queries.

Choosing the right database and data access tools tailored to your use case is key.


This post summarized key software development tool categories to improve coding efficiency, collaboration, and delivery workflows. Carefully choosing solutions tailored to your tech stack is crucial - regularly evaluate new tools as they emerge.

GitHub, React Testing Library, and other real-world tools were mentioned as exemplary solutions developers should consider leveraging. The landscape is constantly evolving, so stay updated on community best practices.

Hopefully this overview sparked some ideas to boost your productivity. Check out DevHunt to discover even more developer tools and level up your workflow!