So, you’ve just hired some new developers. Congratulations on increasing the team! Now, it’s time to make sure your new hires have the best available apps for developers.
After all, it makes no sense to hire qualified people — let’s say that you made sure your hires have passed the best certifications for software developers, for instance — and then leave them to work with stone-age tools. Great developers deserve to work with great apps for developers.
Let’s face it: you only care about three things when it comes to your developers: that they deliver good code, that they provide it on time, and that they are a pleasure to talk to! Or, at least, that they don’t start ghosting you the minute your server explodes into a flaming ball of fire.
This sounds like a tall order, and sure, part of achieving it is making sure that you know how to attract great developers that behave like pros during your hiring push. But you can also nudge them in the right direction by ensuring they have access to the best software tools for the job.
Quality software development relies on a combination of quality organization and communication, productivity, the code itself, and how it is deployed. As such, it will come as no surprise tools for software developers are usually designed to improve efficiency and quality in one of those areas.
What follows are recommendations for the best tools in three categories: the app for coding (to deliver great code!); the best productivity tool for developers (for delivering code on time!); and the best communication app (so it’s always a pleasure to hear from them! Or, at least, not a massive hassle.).
Best Software for Developers in 2021
When we talk about the best apps for developers, your mind should immediately go to code. After all, developers code. It’s what they do. If we talked about the best apps for cooks, you’d expect cooking timers and recipe databases, right? So let’s talk about the best software for developers that will allow them to deliver great code.
Best App for Coding: Visual Studio Code
“Free” and “open source” are probably not the first things that come to your mind when you think about IT business powerhouse Microsoft. Yet, that’s precisely what their coding platform is: Visual Studio Code is free and open-source!
It’s also smooth, ultra-responsive, and beautiful. (Remember WindowsME? It’s precisely the opposite. Microsoft sure has come a long way since then!).
With smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules, plus the ability to debug code right from the editor, built-in Git commands, a vast library of extensions that make it infinitely customizable, and the ability to deploy across a variety of programming languages through Azure… Winded yet? Visual Studio Code is as feature-rich as it can get.
Best Productivity Tools for Developers: Ye Old Pomodoro Timer
Productivity tools are a big deal in a remote-first world, but there’s a particular secret to being focused at work without the risk of overwork and burnout. And it has to do with… Italian tomatoes!
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 80s. It uses a timer to break work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is called a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato,’ named after Cirillo’s tomato-shaped kitchen timer. (Confession time: for most of my life, I thought “Pomodoro” meant “egg” because I only ever saw egg-shaped kitchen times. No wonder my Italian recipes never worked out as advertised!).
Personally, I prefer my Pomodoro timers to work in 50-60 minute increments, and then I take 10-15 minute breaks. Your developers, too, should adjust the method to what works best for them. Just keep in mind the central concept — tracking time on your work sessions is critical for healthy work practices and delivering on time.
So if you are looking for the best productivity tools for your developers, you can find many, many Pomodoro apps everywhere. But for extra happiness points, buy an actual physical one and ship it to your developers! They’ll never forget the gesture.
Best Communication Apps for Developers: Twist
As far as finding the best software for developers to communicate with you and each other, I bet you think you have it all figured out, right? After all, everyone uses Slack with a task-tracking tool like Asana or Basecamp, correct?
But the problem with Slack is that it’s super-distracting. The constant pinging and notifications will result in your developers losing focus time and having, in general, a Really Bad Time ™.
If you are not a micromanaging control freak (please, don’t be a micromanaging control freak), you’ll find better results with an app that encourages calm, measured communication: Twist.
By the makers of favorite task-list app Todoist, Twist is a notification-light take on asynchronous communication. It gathers conversations into neat, easily searchable threads. (When was the last time you could use Slack search to find what you needed? Yeah, me neither. I always go back to pinging someone.)
If you want to communicate with your dev team in a way that doesn’t drive them crazy AND keeps everything documented by default, Twist is the way to go. Be sure to check this handy guide about how to communicate successfully in international projects, too. Even if your team is not spread worldwide, the basis is the same.
Coding, Productivity, and the Best Apps for Developers in 2021
There are thousands of tools, software, and apps for developers to achieve impressive results in a remote-first world. The two apps (and technique/set of tools) we suggested are just a sample of those, but we use them ourselves and stand by them. Of course, experiment to find out what works best for you. But if you have new hires starting and need some guidelines, the tools covered here are a great place to start.
Best Software for Developers in 2021
- Best app for coding: Visual Studio Code
With smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules, plus the ability to debug code right from the editor, built-in Git commands, a vast library of extensions that make it infinitely customizable, and the ability to deploy across a variety of programming languages through Azure
- Best productivity tools for developers: Ye old Pomodoro Timer
you can find many, many Pomodoro apps everywhere. But for extra happiness points, buy an actual physical one and ship it to your developers! They’ll never forget the gesture.
- Best communication apps for developers: Twist
If you want to communicate with your dev team in a way that doesn’t drive them crazy AND keeps everything documented by default, Twist is the way to go.