Published Oct 29, 2023 ⦁ 10 min read

Top Dev Tools to Boost Productivity in 2023


In today's fast-paced world of software development, using the right tools can make an enormous difference in productivity and efficiency. The most effective developers know how to avoid wasting time on tedious tasks by integrating the best tools into their workflows. This allows them to focus their efforts on being creative and solving complex problems.

With so many options to choose from, it can be tricky to identify the top dev tools that will provide the biggest boost. This post will highlight some of the most popular and highly-rated tools across key categories like integrated development environments (IDEs), source control, debugging, project management, and real-time collaboration.

The goal is to showcase both free and paid tools that make coding lives easier, regardless of whether you work solo or on a remote team. By using top developer tools that streamline workflows, coders can spend less time on overhead and more time building innovative products. The right tools lead to happier, more engaged developers by removing roadblocks to productivity.

Integrated Development Environments

An integrated development environment (IDE) is one of the most essential types of software a developer can use. IDEs provide a centralized interface for writing, testing, debugging, and deploying code. The best IDEs enhance developer productivity with features like intelligent code completion, built-in terminal access, code repositories, robust testing tools, and extensive customization.

When evaluating IDE options, key factors to look at include language support, themes/customization, collaboration features, and pricing. There are excellent free and paid options across specific languages and platforms.

Visual Studio Code

As a streamlined, lightweight, and versatile IDE, Visual Studio Code has quickly become many developers' preferred option.

  • Extensive language and runtime support provides rich IntelliSense, linting, debugging, and code navigation across JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, C#, Java, and more.

  • The built-in debugger allows setting breakpoints, stepping through code line-by-line, and examining variables, call stacks, and threads.

  • Integrated Git support and extensions like GitHub Pull Requests facilitate code reviews and version control workflows.

  • Highly customizable with thousands of theme, shortcut, snippet, and settings syncing extensions.

  • Massive extension ecosystem with over 34K plugins for added functionality like Vim/Emacs keybindings, code formatting, live sharing, and more.

  • Free, open source, and cross platform with availability on Linux, macOS, and Windows.


PyCharm provides a robust, Python-centric IDE optimized for web development, data science, and scientific apps.

  • Intelligent code assistance features on-the-fly error checking, autocompletion, and quick-fixes for Python code.

  • Unit testing, version control, database tools, and remote interpreters are tightly integrated.

  • The powerful debugger facilitates step-through evaluation, remote debugging, performance profiling to diagnose bottlenecks.

  • While the community edition is free and open source, PyCharm Pro offers additional features like database management and scientific tooling support.

IntelliJ IDEA

Trusted by developers across enterprises to build robust Java applications, IntelliJ IDEA is a leading IDE for JVM languages.

  • Intelligent coding assistance and deep refactoring tools streamline development in Java and other languages like Scala, Kotlin, and Groovy.

  • Integrated tools cover the entire development lifecycle - building, packaging, testing, deploying, running, and monitoring.

  • Powerful static analysis identifies code issues and errors even before runtime.

  • Beyond the community edition, IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition adds capabilities for enterprise developers like advanced testing tools, database management, and cloud development features.

Version Control Systems

For both solo developers and collaborative teams, source control is essential for keeping track of code history, enabling collaboration, and easily rolling back changes. Some of the most widely used version control systems include Git, Mercurial, SVN, and Perforce.

Git has emerged as the de facto standard, striking a balance between being distributed while having robust centralized repository hosting options. GitHub in particular has firmly established itself as the largest development community, with over 96 million registered developers. However, hosted alternatives like GitLab, Bitbucket, and AWS CodeCommit are also popular.

On top of command line usage, GUI clients provide user-friendly ways to visualize changes and manipulate Git repositories. Top options include GitHub Desktop, GitKraken, SourceTree, and Git Extensions.


Far beyond just code hosting, GitHub fosters community and collaboration in the development process.

  • Issue and project tracking features help organize tasks and feature requests.

  • The pull request workflow enables code review and discussion around proposed changes before merging.

  • Actions provide continuous integration and deployment capabilities for automating software workflows.

  • Team and Enterprise plans offer unlimited private repositories and enhanced security controls required by organizations.

  • Free for public repositories, paid plans start at $4/month for private repos. Student and nonprofit discounts are also available.


GitKraken is a cross-platform Git GUI client with an intuitive interface and visual representation of repositories.

  • Side-by-side diff views make comparing file changes and history easy.

  • Built-in support for Git workflows like Git Flow and git-flow help with branching strategies.

  • Integrates with popular remote services like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Azure DevOps.

  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

  • Free for open source development, with paid Pro plans starting at $4/month per user.

Git Extensions

Trusted by developers who prefer a powerful Windows Git client, Git Extensions is a robust, free, and open source tool.

  • Advanced users can flexibly manipulate commit history with cherry-picking, rebasing, and interactive history editing.

  • Continuous integration support built-in for Travis CI and AppVeyor.

  • Custom queries help find commits by message, author, date, or change set.

  • Completely free and open source, with an active developer community.

Debugging Tools

Debugging tools are critical for identifying issues efficiently. They move beyond basic logging by allowing developers to step through code execution to pinpoint bugs.

Standard debugging features involve breakpoints, step-through evaluation, and examining call stacks and variables. But innovative tools are also integrating these capabilities into specialized contexts.

For example, the React Developer Tools browser extensions aids debugging React component hierarchies. And hosted services like Raygun aggregate errors and performance issues across end users to identify trends.

React Developer Tools

This debugging extension is invaluable for inspecting React component trees in Chrome and Firefox.

  • View the component hierarchy and examine their props, state, hooks, and rendered output.

  • Make granular modifications to state and props to immediately observe the effect.

  • "Hot reloading" keeps component state intact when editing on the fly.

  • Inspect component hook usage including local state, effects, refs, and more.

  • Completely free tool from Facebook, also open source on GitHub.


Raygun provides robust error and performance monitoring by aggregating issues from end users in production.

  • Real-time alerting helps identify problems as they occur. Weekly digests reveal usage trends.

  • Integrates with all major languages and frameworks including .NET, Java, Ruby, Python, and PHP.

  • The free plan offers basic error monitoring while paid plans add features like user tracking and crash reporting.

  • Trusted by over 6,000 organizations including Microsoft, IBM, Arm, and Atlassian.

Debugger for Chrome

The built-in debugger in Chrome's Developer Tools allows debugging JavaScript across the browser, extensions, Node.js and more.

  • Set breakpoints, step through code, and inspect stack traces to pinpoint issues.

  • Examine the values of variables and object properties live at runtime.

  • Debugging capabilities work across frontend, mobile, backend, and Chrome extension development scenarios.

  • Completely free and built-in to the Chrome browser, powered by the V8 engine.

Project Management

Issue tracking and project management tools help developers collaborate effectively on complex long-term projects. Popular options include agile-focused platforms like Jira and Trello which provide kanban boards. Others like Asana and Basecamp focus on to-do lists, reminders, and calendars to organize teamwork.

When evaluating options, consider integrations, mobile apps for remote access, and pricing. Many capable tools like Trello have generous free plans, while paid versions offer enhanced permissions and controls. Adoption is driven by matching tools to existing team workflows.


Trusted by agile development teams, Jira provides customizable boards, backlogs, reports, and workflows.

  • Kanban boards with flexible swimlanes visualize work and map to team processes.

  • Roadmaps keep stakeholders aligned on long-term plans and upcoming releases.

  • Integrates tightly with Confluence, Bitbucket, and other Atlassian tools.

  • Robust access permissions and project templates accelerate team onboarding.

  • Wide range of paid plans based on number of users and desired feature set.


With its intuitive interface and flexible views, Asana is ideal for workflow-driven task management.

  • Teams can customize statuses, fields, calendars, boards, and workflows.

  • 100+ app integrations connect Asana to tools like Slack, Dropbox, Chrome, Gmail and more.

  • Handy mobile apps keep teams productive on-the-go.

  • Generous free plan for small teams, paid tiers unlock additional capabilities.

  • Asana is trusted by leading brands including Uber, Spotify, and Skyscanner.


Easy to use without extensive training, Trello leverages kanban boards to visualize and organize projects.

  • Flexible cards capture tasks, due dates, attachments, comments and more.

  • Boards and lists can be structured to match any workflow.

  • Intuitive features like drag-and-drop, filtering, and labels make getting started easy.

  • Great free plan for smaller teams. Paid Business Class unlocks advanced controls.

  • Available via web, mobile, and desktop apps.

Real-Time Collaboration Tools

For remote teams, real-time collaboration tools allow developers to code together in the same environment regardless of location. Leading options include Visual Studio Live Share, GitHub Codespaces, and CodeTogether.

Built-in audio/video chat keeps developers aligned while sharing servers, terminals, debugging sessions, and more. The ability to co-debug and edit code in real time unlocks new opportunities for mentoring, pairing, and working transparently.

Visual Studio Live Share

Live Share enables real-time collaborative development, debugging, and testing directly within Visual Studio and VS Code.

  • Teams can share debug sessions, terminals, localhost web apps, breakpoints, and more.

  • Audio/video chat helps discuss changes as they are coded.

  • Supported across VS, VS Code, browsers, and platforms like Windows, Linux, and macOS.

  • Integrates with tools like GitHub, Azure DevOps, testing frameworks, and more.

  • Free for Visual Studio subscribers; available as an extension.

GitHub Codespaces

Codespaces provides instant cloud dev environments for teams to code together.

  • Prebuilt containers provide ready-to-code environments for common projects.

  • Tight GitHub integration enables seamless pull request and code review workflows.

  • Scale compute power up and down based on current needs.

  • Currently in limited public beta; pricing TBA.

  • Eliminates local environment configuration challenges.


CodeTogether is a plugin from JetBrains enabling real-time collaboration across IntelliJ IDEs.

  • Collaborators can code, chat, run diffs, share terminals and webservers.

  • Audio/video helps discuss changes in real-time.

  • Supports Java, Kotlin, Python, PHP, and more.

  • Free plugin pre-installed with JetBrains IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA.


The right developer tools can optimize workflows, reduce overhead, and boost productivity for both individual developers and teams. This allows focusing energy on solving problems and creating value vs configuring environments.

Hopefully the top dev tools highlighted here across categories like IDEs, version control, debugging, project management, and real-time collaboration provide some new options to consider integrating into your workflow. Keep an eye out for innovative tools that simplify workflows and enable you to code more efficiently.

At the end of the day, the best tools stay out of your way while making you happier and more productive as a developer. By removing distractions, they enable you to spend energy on your creativity and passion for building software. If you're looking to further explore tools to improve your development productivity, check out DevHunt which showcases developer tools across many categories.