Published Nov 10, 2023 ⦁ 8 min read

Must-have developer tools - The 2023 definitive list

In today's fast-paced world of software development, having the right tools can make all the difference in productivity, collaboration, and end results. With new developer tools emerging while long-time favorites gain new capabilities, it can be challenging to identify the essentials that likely belong in every developer's toolkit.

This definitive guide aims to provide an overview of must-have developer tools that no dev stack should be without in 2023. We'll cover top options across categories like languages, frameworks, infrastructure, testing, collaboration, AI, and more. For each tool type, we'll highlight newly launched gems along with existing staples to consider.

Choosing the optimal tools for your needs depends on factors like your tech stack, team size, and app requirements. Still, some tools have cemented their place as indispensable based on community adoption, capabilities, and support. Throughout this guide, we'll reference where DevHunt provides helpful data like rankings, comparisons, and tutorials to further research these must-have developer tools.

Code Editors

As a developer, you likely spend much of your time heads-down in a code editor. Choosing one that matches your preferences and workflow is key for an optimal coding experience. Here are some of the most popular, capable, and customizable code editor options as of 2023:

  • Visual Studio Code: With its vast extension marketplace, intuitive interface, and cross-platform support, VS Code has quickly become many developers' editor of choice.

  • Atom: Developed by GitHub, Atom emphasizes hackability and community collaboration through its open source approach. Downsides include performance issues.

  • Sublime Text: Boasting speed and sophisticated text manipulation, Sublime Text delivers a lightweight yet powerful editor. However, it lacks some larger IDE capabilities without extensions.

  • IntelliJ IDEA: Popular in Java shops, IntelliJ IDEA shines for enterprise development with robust refactoring tools, app profiling, and built-in frameworks support.

  • Vim: Vim's keyboard-driven interface makes it fast and efficient for editing once learned. It's highly extensible but has a steep initial learning curve.

When evaluating code editors, consider your language ecosystem, customization needs, and desired interface. DevHunt provides helpful editor comparisons and reviews.

Visual Studio Code

As an open source editor built by Microsoft, VS Code has become massively popular thanks to its active community continually improving it. Its extension marketplace unlocks everything from Git integration to JavaScript debugging. The intuitive UI also makes VS Code friendly for coding newcomers.


Developed by GitHub, Atom emphasizes an open source, hackable approach. Its package manager makes installing plugins and themes easy to customize your editing experience. Atom also touts cross-platform support across Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Programming Languages

Choosing the right languages for your project impacts everything from developer experience to hiring and long-term maintenance. While personal preferences vary, these languages continue gaining popularity based on their capabilities and ecosystem support:

  • JavaScript: Capable across the full stack, JavaScript sees widespread use in web, mobile, serverless, and more thanks to its thriving open source community.

  • Python: With simple syntax and extensive libraries, Python excels at tasks like data analysis, machine learning, web services, and scripting.

  • Java: Boasting scalability, robust tooling, and enterprise usage, Java powers backends, Android apps, financial systems, and more.

  • C#: Blending modern features with performance, C# dominates .NET development and complex applications like games.

  • Go: Go's efficiency, scalability, and built-in concurrency make it ideal for distributed systems and infrastructure.

  • Rust: Offering speed, safety, and low resource usage, Rust is growing for systems programming and web assembly.

Evaluate languages based on your target domain, runtime needs, and desired community support. DevHunt provides helpful news and resources for major languages.


JavaScript's versatility across domains like web, mobile, IoT, and serverless fuels its popularity, backed by a thriving open source community. Frontend frameworks like React enable complex web UIs, while runtimes like Node.js power server-side JavaScript.

The ecosystem of libraries and tools makes JavaScript flexible for full-stack applications ranging from simple websites to large-scale enterprises.


With simple syntax focused on readability, Python makes writing clean, maintainable code easy. Its extensive data analysis and machine learning libraries have fueled Python's rise for AI applications. Leading web frameworks like Django and Flask also drive Python's popularity.

Development Tools

Beyond languages and editors, developers rely on a vast array of tools for needs like databases, testing, CI/CD, and more. Here are some must-have categories:


Every app needs data persistence. Relational databases like MySQL provide ACID transactions and structured querying. NoSQL options like MongoDB offer flexibility and scalability for modern apps.

When choosing a database, consider your data structure, scalability needs, and ease of use. DevHunt offers database reviews and comparisons.

Testing Frameworks

Rigorous testing requires frameworks like Jest, Mocha, and Selenium to write unit, integration, and end-to-end tests.

Look for features like test runners, mocking, and code coverage analysis when evaluating options. DevHunt ranks top testing frameworks.


Automating builds and deployments via CI/CD pipelines improves team productivity. Popular self-hosted options include Jenkins and Drone, while services like GitHub Actions provide a managed approach.

Consider factors like configuration complexity and integration support when choosing CI/CD solutions. DevHunt compares top options.

Collaboration Tools

From version control to chat, collaboration tools help teams work effectively together.


For managing code history and team workflow, Git has become ubiquitous. Web hosts like GitHub provide collaboration features beyond raw code management.

Getting started with Git and branching can be challenging. DevHunt offers extensive Git tutorials and cheat sheets.

Project Management

Keeping projects on track requires tools like JIRA, Trello, and Asana to manage tasks and workflows. Consider ease of use, flexibility, and integrations when comparing options.

Web Frameworks

Full-stack frameworks like Django and Rails speed web development and simplify complexity. On the frontend, declarative frameworks like React and Vue have gained immense popularity:


With its component architecture, React offers an intuitive yet powerful way to build complex UIs. The React ecosystem provides abundant libraries like for routing and state management.

Given its versatility and active community, React skills remain in high demand, as DevHunt's dedicated React job board shows.


As an batteries included Python framework, Django accelerates web development through its ORM, admin interface, and templating engine for managing databases, back-office capabilities, and content.

Django scales from small sites to large platforms like Instagram, especially with add-ons like Django REST Framework. DevHunt offers Django tutorials.

Mobile Development

For building mobile apps, options range from native languages like Swift to cross-platform frameworks like React Native:

React Native

Leveraging React patterns and JavaScript, React Native allows building native iOS and Android apps from a shared codebase. While performance lags behind fully native options, React Native benefits from React's vast ecosystem.

For those new to React Native, DevHunt provides extensive learning resources.


Flutter takes a different approach, using Dart to render high-performance UIs across platforms. Flutter offers extensive built-in widget sets and declarative programming familiar to web developers.

To learn more about Flutter app development, explore DevHunt's Flutter resources.

DevOps Tools

Robust DevOps toolchains increase delivery speed and reliability through infrastructure-as-code and CI/CD. Essential categories include:


Docker simplifies creating isolated app environments using containers, avoiding "works on my machine" issues. Docker Compose eases running multi-container apps locally.

For learning Docker, reference DevHunt's containerization guides.


As a container orchestration system, Kubernetes efficiently manages and scales containerized workloads across clusters. It has become the standard for running containerized apps, despite complexity.

DevHunt's Kubernetes tutorials help navigate deployment challenges.

AI/ML Tools

Building and training ML models requires robust libraries like:


Created by Google, TensorFlow enables building and training ML models thanks to its scalability and cloud integrations. It provides APIs for model training alongside production deployment.

To leverage TensorFlow, browse DevHunt's TensorFlow resources.


Backed by Facebook, PyTorch offers a Python-first framework focused on speed and debugging for AI development. Its tools for visualizing and iterating on neural network designs aid understanding.

Discover PyTorch models, tutorials, and techniques on DevHunt.


This guide provided a comprehensive look at must-have developer tools across essential categories that likely deserve a place in your stack. With new tools constantly emerging, keeping current can be a challenge. DevHunt aims to help by serving as your one-stop-shop for discovering, evaluating, and integrating the top developer tools of today.

We encourage you to explore the recommendations here further and provide your own reviews of tools you've used. Choosing tools is an ongoing journey as projects and technology evolve. Hopefully this guide serves as a solid starting point for assembling your optimal toolkit over time. What essential tools did we miss? Let us know!