Your strengths as a software developer can be found not only in the code you write but also in the developer productivity tools you surround yourself with. From collaboration tools to management platforms, picking the right tools for the job is a skill that takes many years to develop — but it can be a determining factor in your productivity and efficiency as a developer.
Unfortunately, there are so many developer productivity tools out there that it can be hard to know where to start. Productivity tools can help you boost your performance, increase your happiness and satisfaction, and make the most of your work hours. The wrong tools, though, can slow you down and add unnecessary complexity to your daily routine.
In this article, you’ll learn about some of the most helpful productivity tools in several categories: time management, auto-completion, and collaboration. While not all of these tools will be a perfect fit for you, there’s sure to be a few that will take your productivity to new heights.
Pieces for Developers
Every day, you encounter a snippet of code that should be stored for later use. Maybe you need to share it with your colleagues for review purposes, you’d like to take a closer look at its implementation, you want to use it to create documentation, or you want to use it in a future project.
Instead of pasting each snippet into a new document, consider Pieces for Developers. Just download an extension for your favorite IDE, and you can save your most important snippets in just one click. Pieces for Developers allows you to save snippets from within the IDE or your Chrome browser without breaking your flow. It also captures important context about the snippet, making it easier to reference later.
Beyond saving snippets and other developer materials, Pieces for Developers allows you to share snippets via Pieces link or GitHub gist, search your saved materials in your IDE or in the Flagship Desktop App, and explore snippets of code with just a click. Your Pieces repository is also super searchable, not just for exact strings but by language and code structure.
This just scratches the surface of what Pieces for Developers can do; it’s truly the ultimate developer productivity tool.
Time Management Developer Productivity Tools
Time management is a struggle for many developers. The busier you get, the harder it becomes. Poor time management leads to last-minute crunches, rushed work, and missed deadlines, not to mention the stress of constantly scrambling to get things done. Thankfully, there are a lot of time management tools out there.
Time is your most precious resource. Developer productivity tools like Clockify can be your best friend in understanding how you’re spending your time. Clockify is a time-tracking app that allows you to start a timer when you begin a new activity. You can then switch between different timers as your activity changes.
At the end of the day, you’ll be able to review a color-coded chart that shows you exactly where you spent your time. This offers great insights on the following:
- What time and activity you are most productive in.
- Where you’re losing time to unnecessary tasks.
- What your typical day looks like in terms of activities performed.
- How much of your time you’re spending on the core functions of your work.
After spending some time with Clockify, you may be surprised by how much time you spend on activities you thought were trivial. You may also discover that something that feels like a huge part of your day is actually a much briefer task than you’d assumed.
There’s something special about telling other people about your goals. The subtle pressure of someone’s attention can be very motivating, improving your performance and helping you stay on task.
This is the principle behind Focusmate.
With Focusmate, you can book a time slot of twenty-five or fifty minutes of focused work. After signing up for your session, you’ll be paired with another person. There’s a brief introductory chat where you tell each other what you’re hoping to accomplish in this session and then you start work. Cameras on! You and your partner work together in silence, keeping each other focused during your shared session.
When the session ends, there’s a post-mortem to share how the session went and cheer each other’s successes. This solution is especially great for people working from home, as the human connection and the knowledge that someone’s working with you can help keep you focused and productive.
One of the most important productivity principles is to avoid distraction. As developers, it can be hard not to let your focus wander during the day. After all, you literally have the whole web just a click away.
LeechBlock allows you to temporarily block or limit your access to up to thirty sites. If you find yourself falling down the YouTube or Wikipedia rabbit hole during work hours, you can block your access to those sites, making it much easier to stay on task.
LeechBlock is a browser extension and works with both Firefox and Chrome, as well as Chromium-based browsers such as Opera and Microsoft Edge. While you can simply block a website from nine to five, it also allows you to set more complex time rules for limiting access. For example, you could block a site after you’ve used it for fifteen minutes or allow access for ten minutes every hour.
WakaTime is similar to Clockify in terms of time tracking, but it’s a much more detailed developer productivity tool. It offers access to metrics on how much time you’ve spent working on a specific file, branch, or language. At the end of every week, you’ll get an email summing up key stats.
WakaTime also works as a task manager. You can use it to set personal coding goals or as a developer collaboration tool. It allows you to use the same dashboard as your colleagues to share data about the time you’ve spent coding.
Auto-Completion Developer Productivity Tools
Your ability to type code quickly and accurately is crucial for a productive workflow. To help you with this issue, many modern software development tools come with auto-complete. Your editor will often show you predictions about how to complete what you’re typing.
Apart from increasing your coding speed and making your typing less error-prone, modern auto-completion tools are evolving. Thanks to AI, they’re turning into coding assistants with better predictive skills that can suggest entire blocks of code.
Tabnine is your personal AI code assistant, here to boost your productivity with every line of code you write. The tool suggests tailor-made code completions in whatever language you choose for your project and for whatever IDE you prefer.
You can use Tabnine alone, but its real power is unleashed when you activate its team-learning functionality. The more members of your team who use Tabnine, the more it will learn about your preferences and patterns for the project’s code, making it one of the best collaboration tools for software development teams.
Coding Developer Productivity Tools
Coding is the bread and butter of a developer’s work. The days of doing it all manually are long gone. Using an IDE with features to enhance your work won’t just make you more productive — it will also make you a better developer.
Visual Studio Code
In recent years, Visual Studio Code has established itself as one of the most popular IDEs for developers. In addition to a great interface and code tools, Visual Studio Code is an incredible tool for productivity thanks to its endless customization options.
Inside the IDE, you can set up its extensions to facilitate your daily tasks. For example, I set up the GitHub extension so I never have to visit GitHub in my browser when fixing pull requests.
The beauty of VS Code is the endless opportunities for extensions and customizations, from code highlighters to completion tools and live servers.
If you’re interested in checking out some cool Visual Studio Code customizations to enhance your productivity, have a look at the following:
- GitHub for Visual Studio Code manages your pull requests and issues directly from your editor.
- Turbo Console Log allows for easier debugging using `console.log`.
- Live Server lets you launch a live server running your code directly from Visual Studio Code.
- Pieces for Developers saves, enriches, shares, and explores all types of developer materials in your IDE.
Collaboration Developer Productivity Tools
Part of your productivity as a professional is always influenced by how you interact with your peers. Are your meetings with them useful? Do you turn every interaction into something enriching?
To make the most out of your team, it’s important that you choose the best software development collaboration tools for you and your team, ranging from task management tools to pair programming platforms.
Behind an efficient team, there must be an efficient tool. Trello is one of the best project management options out there.
With Trello, you can create a kanban board for you and your team to track your tasks. Each task is created on a card. Click the card to open it, and you’ll find important information like the task description, deadline, people working on the task, comments left by your teammates, and relevant files attached directly to the card.
In addition, Trello offers a great deal of customization, allowing you to configure it to suit your team’s needs. It integrates with all of the apps your team already uses, like Slack, Jira, Microsoft Teams, and Google Drive. Trello also offers a no-code approach to automating tasks, like creating cards or scheduling team assignments.
is a powerful collaborative development tool, that allows you to manage different situations for your project, from using pair programming with team members to setting up containers and deploying a development environment for your business.
In particular, with Codeanywhere, you can do the following:
- Launch an IDE directly in your favorite browser, supporting every feature you would expect from a great code-writing tool, including syntax highlighting, linting, debugging tools, and support for all of the languages VS Code supports.
- Connect directly to your project servers. With Codeanywhere, you can connect to your servers from any device using all standard protocols (SSH/SFTP, FTP, or FTPS) and start editing your files immediately.
- Set up your containers. Codeanywhere allows you to develop and run your project directly on their containers, making hosting your app an effortless operation.
Habitica gamifies your team’s goals, making productivity an enjoyable group challenge. Just like in an RPG, you start by creating a character, but unlike an RPG, the monsters you fight and quests that you’re sent on are correlated with the tasks and daily goals that you set. Every day, you log your progress, unlocking awards and in-game add-ons if you complete your tasks — or losing them if you fail to stick to your plans.
The real strength of Habitica comes when you adopt it with other people. You and your colleagues or friends can form a group, challenge each other by completing team goals, and work together to level up your characters, challenge bosses, and win awards.
It’s a great tool to increase developer productivity or to inject a little fun into your work day.
Your abilities as a software developer show not just in the code you write, but in the tools you choose. As a professional, maximum productivity should be your goal, and you’ll need the right tools to achieve it. The best developer productivity tools in this guide are a great place to start — give them a try and watch your efficiency skyrocket!