The ultimate list of developer tools to accelerate coding
Discover new developer software and APIs to build faster and smarter across languages and platforms.
In today's digital world, developers face increasing pressure to build high-quality applications at warp speed. With the rise of web, mobile, cloud, and IoT projects, the right developer tools are absolutely essential to writing, testing, and deploying code quickly and efficiently.
However, the crowded marketplace makes it challenging to identify the most useful tools for your specific needs. Between open source projects, paid services, niche startups, and enterprise stalwarts, the options are endless.
This post covers key developer tool categories with popular examples across languages and platforms. Whether you build for the frontend, backend, mobile, DevOps, or anything in between, there are amazing tools waiting to boost your productivity.
Platforms like DevHunt showcase new and innovative developer tools daily. So expect a few unexpected suggestions mixed in too.
Let's dive in and build your ultimate toolkit!
Code editors are the foundation for writing and modifying source code. They provide features like syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and extensions to speed up development.
Visual Studio Code is Microsoft's free, open source editor. It has a massive extension marketplace and deep integration with frameworks like Node.js. Built-in Git support, terminal access, and debugging make it a versatile IDE.
Sublime Text is a fast and responsive editor beloved for its minimal interface. Robust keyboard shortcuts, macros, and customization provide efficient coding. It supports cross-platform use and boasts a thriving plugin ecosystem.
Atom is an open source editor created by GitHub. It provides built-in Git control and great web development support. An active community contributes packages and improvements.
For terminal-based editing, Vim remains a popular choice. Its modal editing philosophy enables powerful text manipulation without ever touching the mouse.
More enterprise options like Visual Studio and NetBeans also provide robust IDEs with deep language integration. But they may be overkill for many projects.
Visual Studio Code
Microsoft's open source and extensible editor has become hugely popular for its broad functionality:
- Built-in Git support, terminal, and task runner
- IntelliSense code completion and debugging
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts, color themes, and snippets
- Integrated testing, Jupyter notebook support, and more
With its vibrant ecosystem of extensions, VS Code can be tailored to almost any workflow.
Sublime Text delivers a lightweight but mighty editing experience:
- Very fast and responsive interface with minimal clutter
- Powerful "Go to Anything" and multi-select features
- Robust plugin API for adding new functionality
- Customizable with macros, key bindings, and configurations
- Cross-platform support across Windows, Mac, Linux
Its speed and flexibility make Sublime Text a top choice for many developers.
As an open source editor created by GitHub, Atom offers some unique advantages:
- Highly customizable experience thanks to native packages
- Curated package repository with thousands of community options
- Built-in package manager keeps extensions up-to-date
- Good embedded Git and GitHub workflow support
- Active community improving Atom across platforms
Atom's focus on extensibility via packages makes it shareware you can shape to your needs.
Languages and Frameworks
The programming languages and frameworks you choose dramatically affect your productivity. Let's overview some of the most popular options.
Python is the Swiss army knife of coding, powering everything from automation scripts to machine learning. Its huge scientific computing libraries and simple syntax make Python a breeze to use.
For mobile, Kotlin and Swift provide modern takes on Android and iOS development. And Flutter enables building for both platforms with a single codebase.
Some more niche languages like Go, Rust, and Elixir also provide interesting capabilities like speed, safety, and concurrency.
- Universal usage on the frontend, backend (Node.js), and mobile
- Massive ecosystem of frameworks like React, Angular, Vue, Express
- Approachable syntax to build simple scripts or complex web apps
- Integrates across the stack from database to browser runtime
- Powers websites, apps, IoT devices, microservices, and more
As a general purpose language, Python excels for tasks like automation and data analysis:
- Huge collection of scientific computing and data science libraries
- Simple and readable syntax using significant whitespace
- PyPI repository provides packages for virtually every domain
- Great for system administration, web backends, network programming
- Rapidly growing usage in machine learning and AI
Python's simplicity, ecosystem, and power make it a top choice for programmers across disciplines.
Java remains a key language for robust and scalable applications:
- Statically typed and excellent runtime performance
- Massive open source community with libraries for any domain
- Write once, run anywhere across operating systems
- Heavily used for enterprise backend services and Android apps
- Integrates well with major SQL and NoSQL databases
If you want bulletproof and portable applications, Java delivers in spades.
Browser Developer Tools
Built-in browser devtools provide powerful frontend debugging without any setup.
Chrome DevTools is the gold standard, with comprehensive features and mobile simulation. Firefox DevTools offers responsive design tools and integrates nicely with MDN docs. For Microsoft fans, Edge F12 Tools provide capable debugging and network analysis.
Handy plugins like React and Redux DevTools extend functionality further. And services like Bugsnag and Sentry provide robust error monitoring.
The devtools included right in Google Chrome provide deep frontend debugging capabilities:
- Network panel tracks requests with detailed timings
- Audits panel analyzes page load performance
- Supports Vue, React, and Angular browser extensions
- Device mode emulates mobile screens and throttles CPU
Chrome DevTools should be your first stop for tackling frontend issues.
Firefox has its own set of robust web developer tools:
- Page inspector examines DOM structure and alter CSS
- Network monitor tracks requests with filters and timing
- Responsive design mode previews mobile experiences
- Integrates well with MDN Web Docs resources
While lighter than Chrome DevTools, Firefox DevTools still deliver a capable debugging experience.
Edge F12 Tools
Microsoft's Edge browser includes F12 Developer Tools for frontend work:
- Network tool with request filtering and performance analysis
- Emulate mobile devices with toggled viewport dimensions
- Issues tab surfaces CSS, accessibility, and browser compatibility errors
- Snapshot entire page or specific DOM nodes for easy comparison
Edge F12 Tools provide a solid debugging starting point.
Rigorous testing is crucial to ensuring quality and reliability. Popular frameworks like Jest, Mocha, and JUnit make test authoring a breeze.
Postman dominates API testing with its fully-featured request builder and test suites. Commercial options like Runscope provide further functionality like shared environments and monitoring.
Utilities like Mockito, Mountebank, and Pact facilitate stubbing and mocking external dependencies. And Istanbul and JaCoCo give you code coverage metrics to improve test quality.
The right combination of testing tools can dramatically boost your confidence to ship.
- Fast interactive watch mode ideal for test-driven development
- Powerful mocking, spying, and isolation libraries
- Snapshot testing quickly catches UI regressions
- Built-in coverage reports, assertions, mock data generation
- Seamless integration testing React, Vue, Angular, and Node apps
Selenium automates browser testing with an open source framework:
- Cross-browser compatibility across Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari
- GUI and headless modes for local or remote test execution
- Integrates with CI/CD pipelines and test runners like JUnit
- Vibrant community improving and maintaining Selenium
For comprehensive browser test automation, Selenium is hard to beat.
Postman dominates as an API testing and development platform:
- Write tests, mock servers, generate code snippets and docs
- Fully-featured API client makes exploration intuitive
- Monitor test suites across environments with dashboards
- Integrates smoothly with continuous integration workflows
- Workspaces enable collaboration across organizations
Postman takes the pain out of API testing.
Choosing the right database for your application needs can impact everything from performance to scalability.
Relational databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL provide ACID compliance and complex querying. MongoDB leads the NoSQL movement with flexible schemas and high availability.
Hosted services like AWS RDS and Azure SQL simplify deployments. And niche tools like Redis and Apache Kafka enable real-time data pipelines and queuing.
Graph databases like Neo4j shine for interconnected data, while InfluxDB is purpose-built for time series analysis.
MySQL remains the world's most popular open source relational database:
- Available across on-premise or all major cloud providers
- Optional GUI tools like MySQL Workbench simplify data modeling
- Robust access control and security options
- High performance and scalability with optimized queries
From small projects to massive workloads, MySQL has the proven reliability to handle it all.
PostgreSQL is a powerful open source object-relational database:
- Fully ACID compliant with advanced SQL support and correctness
- Excellent for analytics workloads with native JSONB columns
- Extensible through custom functions, data types, aggregates etc.
- Trusted by enterprises like Apple, Reddit, Snapchat
- Active community improving PostgreSQL across environments
If you need a standards-compliant database with customization options, PostgreSQL is hard to beat.
As a leading NoSQL document database, MongoDB makes it easy to store non-relational data:
- Flexible schemas using JSON-like documents to represent objects
- Built-in replication for high availability and automatic failover
- Rich querying and powerful aggregation pipelines
- Indexes support faster queries and geospatial lookups
- Scales horizontally with automatic sharding across clusters
For rapidly evolving data schemas, MongoDB delivers the flexibility and scale you need.
Deployment tools help translate code into production applications reliably and efficiently.
Platforms like Heroku, Netlify, and Vercel provide fully managed container environments to simplify deployments.
Docker containers and Kubernetes orchestration make deploying and managing applications more consistent and scalable.
AWS remains the industry leader for cloud infrastructure, while Azure and Google Cloud provide robust PaaS and SaaS options.
Tools like Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, and Pulumi enable infrastructure as code. And CI/CD platforms like CircleCI and GitHub Actions automate delivery workflows.
Heroku pioneered the platform as a service model for streamlined deployments:
- Fully managed container-based architecture
- Developers focus on apps while Heroku handles infrastructure
- Add-ons provide everything from databases to monitoring
- Integrates seamlessly with GitHub for automatic deploys
- Free tier makes it easy to get started
By handling the operational burden, Heroku allows developers to focus on creation.
Docker dominates software containerization and distribution:
- Package apps with dependencies into portable containers
- Containers share machine resources while isolated from each other
- Define development environments that match production
- Standardized units for continuous integration and deployment
- Massive ecosystem of tools like Docker Compose and Kubernetes
Docker enables building, shipping, and running applications consistently across environments.
Amazon Web Services provides a massively scalable cloud platform:
- Over 200 services from servers to machine learning
- Broad and deep product functionality
- Industry leader with a huge ecosystem of tools and support
- Global infrastructure that is reliable, secure, and compliant
- Pay only for what you use with transparent pricing
For unmatched scale and capabilities, AWS leads the pack.
This post just scratches the surface of the amazing developer tools available today. Code editors, languages, databases, testing frameworks - there are so many categories filled with options to improve your productivity.
The key is choosing the right tools for your specific technology stack and use case. Don't be afraid to explore and experiment. Platforms like DevHunt showcase new and innovative developer tools daily, so bookmark it to stay on top of the latest launches.
What tools can't you live without? Share your favorites and let us know what we missed! The ultimate developer toolkit is a constantly moving target, so we'd love your help refining this list.