What is the biggest challenge in your life as a software engineer?
To sit at a desk, isolated for the most part, and code the day away.
The best minds in the world are busy working on increasing the time you spend getting distracted. That’s made it imperative for all software developers to choose the tools that aid them in getting to where they want as fast as possible.
For this reason and for being the best among the many professionals thriving in the dynamic tech industry, it is important to stay updated with the latest tools that help ship code faster.
But the question remains, what are the different types of productivity in software development?
Any tool that reduces the time it takes an engineer to write lines of code, make commits, review pull requests, and submit PRs is a productivity tool for developers.
But in reality, developer productivity is not as simple. It is complex, and nuanced, with different implications for software teams around the world. The study of developer productivity has remained elusive but the SPACE framework developed by Microsoft can be considered a good universal starting point.
It captures the different dimensions of productivity to give a wholesome perspective. Its metrics include:
- Satisfaction and well-being
- Communication and collaboration
- Efficiency and flow
All the productivity tools that we have included in this list aim to improve one of the above five metrics.
Without further ado, here are the productivity tools developers must have in 2023
All our work is spread out as URLs, and scurrying for each link in thousands of Slack messages, email threads, bookmarks, etc. is a frustrating task. On average, each developer spends ~9 hours every week just looking for information in the workplace.
OSlash, an enterprise URL manager, helps developers get from where they are to where they want to in less than a second! With one click, it’s easy to name any URL using a shortcut such as o/payslip or o/trd-feature for your whole team. This makes it possible to intuitively access knowledge and information in the workplace, no matter where it is saved.
Outlined are the benefits of using OSlash shortcuts every day:
- Naming a page creates a single source of truth for the engineering team such as o/roadmap or o/prd
- Shortcuts allow everyone to surface information blazingly fast without losing context or time
- It allows you to share links simply by saying them out loud with the other team members
Recommended reading: Top 10 OSlash shortcuts for engineering teams
Tabnine is a powerful AI assistant for developers that helps millions of engineers write code every day.
It suggests tailor-made code suggestions as you write code in whichever language/IDE you prefer. Tabnine predicts your next block of code delivering accurate code completions directly in the editor of your choice.
It is best used team-wide so that it learns all the patterns and preferences used in a project. With more usage, the suggestions become more accurate and tailored to suit you.
Here are the benefits of using Tabnine:
- It helps developers code faster with AI completions that get better over time
- Tabnine learns your code patterns and serves as a virtual expert available to every member of your team. This facilitates async knowledge sharing
- It improves the consistency and quality of your code by suggesting code completions that align with your project
- Tabnine provides code guidance that’s correct and consistent with your patterns and style, saving costly and frustrating code review iterations
- Silver Searcher
Silver Searcher is a free and open-source tool useful for searching code snippets. Also called Ag, it is very similar to Ack, but is much faster!
If you spend a lot of time reading and searching through your code, then Silver Searcher is a must-have.
Here are the benefits of using Silver Searcher while you code:
- It allows you to look for a line of code easily and quickly in a large document
- It makes coding easier and less time consuming
- If there are files in your source repo you don't want to search, just add their patterns to a .ignore file
Pieces is a great AI assistant that helps you save code snippets instantly for later use. It is essentially a clipboard manager that comes as an extension for your favorite IDE, and automatically or manually saves code from anywhere. This in turn powers up with code auto-completion from your own snippets.
Here are the benefits of using Pieces:
- It helps developers save code snippets in less than a second
- It auto saves useful code snippets based on your behavior
- It suggests code auto completions as you type in your IDE
Slack and Zoom may have made remote work a breeze but they are far from perfect for pair programming.
A trio of software developers created Tuple to make pair programming in the remote environment super easy to navigate.
With simple, high-quality screen sharing, crisp audio, and efficient CPU usage so it has full functionality even on a low-latency connection, Tuple has changed how pair programming works in the remote world.
You can look at using Tuple to advantage from the following:
- Tuple gives seamless mouse and keyboard control to both developers on either side of the screens
- An active Tuple call uses less memory than Chrome in its idle state. With a crazy low CPU usage, Tuple works everywhere
- It is a super handy tool for those who like their entire screen to be a whiteboard with the freedom to draw anywhere
Finding a bug in many many lines of code is exactly how it sounds — exhausting. MantisBT is an open-source issue tracker that makes the process super smooth.
Much like its namesake, the mantis, this tool leaves no stone unturned when it comes to hunting down a bug in your code.
MantisBT scans through your code, finds a bug, sends an email notification to everyone in the team whenever it finds a problem.
- Cold Turkey
While the internet is the portal to your code and work, it also is a portal to infinite distractions. From YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to Netflix, it’s never been easier to fly through work hours having done absolutely nothing.
Enter Cold Turkey. It is the toughest website blocker in the world that can block games, applications, and websites to help developers reclaim their time and boost productivity.
By using Cold Turkey you will get:
- A website blocker that is impossible to cheat
- Help in developing self-control and enhancing productivity
- Subscription free, one-time purchase
F.lux is a very simple application that makes the color of your computer display adapt to the time of the day.
With f.lux, your screen would look warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
According to their website — f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you're in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.
Developers often work through the night, and having a tool like f.lux can go a long way in minimizing the impact on eyes, health, and sleeping patterns.
AutoHotkey is an automation scripting language built for Windows. It is free and open-source and allows developers to easily create small to complex scripts for all kinds of tasks such as form fillers, auto-clicking, macros, etc.
With AutoHotkey, it is easy to create your own hotkeys using simple lines of code. You can define hotkeys for keyboard and mouse, autocorrect replacements, and remap buttons or keys. In addition, it comes with built-in commands that beginners find easy to use.
AutoHotkey also supports command-based and object-oriented languages. It includes arrays, objects, GUIs, hotkeys, and hotstrings. With its flexible syntax, you can leverage the freedom of automating multiple tasks as it is fast, lightweight, and super useful.
Your ability as a software developer depends a lot on the tools you employ. As a professional, you must aim to never spend an hour more than estimated on any task. With the right mix of tools, you can find what works for you and watch your efficiency skyrocket!