10 Best Productivity Tools For Developers
We at Stormotion love optimization. There’s time to have fun and time to work, and when we work we want to know that we’re doing our best. That’s when productivity tools for developers come in handy.
There are various approaches and management tricks that help our developers stay Agile, which means being organized and flexible. However, it would be quite a challenging task without our list of magic tools that help us deliver more value to our clients in shorter time frames.
Hope, you’ll find something useful there for you, too!
📝 Code Editing Tools: Sublime Text Editor, Vim
Let’s start with the tools that improve the way we work with the code. These are editors that set up a more comfortable environment and speed up the routine processes, letting us concentrate on really important tasks.
Sublime Text Editor
If your team has ever used any code editor, you probably heard of Sublime Text Editor.
It’s definitely one of the best productivity tools for programmers and that’s why it’s used by almost everyone at Stormotion. Here’s what we think about it:
- Helps you quickly navigate through files and lines as well as perform fast searches.
- This editor supports code-highlighting of many programming languages, making it useful for our whole development squad that includes iOS, Android and React Native Developers.
- Plain and clear design, that doesn’t distract from work.
- If we consider it as an IDE, then it doesn't cover all developer needs: for example, it’s impossible to use a debugger with it.
- Some other helpful features (like specific refactoring and quick fixes) are missing.
Pricing: Sublime Text may be downloaded for free; however, a license may be purchased for $80 as well.
Alternatively, your team can also give a try to Vim, an open source code editor. It greatly relies on its users and supporters, who developed over 15,000 of different packages so far.
Vim’s noticeable features include:
- multi-level undo tree;
- broad plugin system;
- good replace and search capabilities;
- support for a wide range of file formats and programming languages.
However, unlike Sublime Text, Vim doesn’t support a GUI, so all the navigation should be done using the keyboard shortcuts.
Pricing: Vim is absolutely free.
🗂 Task Management Tools: Trello, Jira
If you’re the Head of an Agile-driven Team (just like ours!), you know well that correct and appropriate Sprint Planning & Task Management can greatly influence the success of of your Product Development.
Moreover, if your developers have a list of your tasks right in front of their eyes (you can see them as well), your team will never waste time on thinking what to do next. Moreover, task boards are a great way to make the work transparent. It shows you what your squad is working on right now and lets you guide them in the right direction.
Trello is a powerful collaboration system which is more than just a task board. We consider it as one of the best tools for developers not only because it provides standard task management functionality (like creating your own lists and prioritizing feature development) but also because it encourages teamwork & cooperation.
Trello is also great for working with the remote developers.
Here are a few more reasons why we like it:
- The intuitive card design with drag-and-drop functionality allows simple editing and makes the whole program easy to use.
- Trello is available across all platforms — you can either manage tasks through the browser, download the desktop application or use the mobile app (both iOS and Android).
- Trello pays a lot of attention to personalization. Just to mention: you are free to create your own boards and lists; rename them; set up the access to other team members; link attachments, schedules, tags and checklists etc.
Pricing: a free version is available along with Business & Enterprise offers starting from $10/month.
Alternatively, you can use Jira (it is also known as one of the most popular developer productivity tools) which is used for the project management.
Just like Trello, this is a perfect choice for Agile teams who respect collaboration and pay a lot of attention to teamwork. With Jira, you can also create personalized lists, prioritize feature development, fill the backlog, discuss tasks etc.
Moreover, from the very beginning, Jira was mostly aimed at software developers. With the features that let your team oversee the releases or create visual reports on your team’s performance, you can improve developers productivity and keep the project’s structure clear and transparent at the same time.
Pricing: just like many other tools for developers, Jira has a 7-days trial period. The long-lasting partnership will cost you $10 a month for a small team (up to 10 members) and $7 per person a month for larger teams.
💬 Communication Tools: Slack, Screen Hero
We at Stormotion truly believe that it’s impossible to create a great product with a poor communication within the team. These tools become especially important for CEOs and CTOs that build remote teams.
In this case, Slack & Screen Hero (which is a part of Slack) will be your main bridges that connect your In-House team with your Remote Squad located abroad.
At Stormotion, Slack is definitely considered the best communication tool for developers. That’s the place where we can ask each other for an advice, discuss project details or even share a funny video during the lunch.
Here are a few other Slack’s advantages to mention:
- Slack is available as a website and a desktop/mobile application. You are free to choose the way to work with it that suits you the best.
- The app provides you with many management possibilities: you can create new channels, define who will have access to them, share attachments etc.
- It supports integration with almost all other developer productivity tools (like Trello and GitHub). For example, we integrated the Standup Alice Bot that helps us hold our daily Agile Standups or set up the GitLab bot to know when the CD-system has prepared a new build.
- Flexible searching system that works similar to Google search commands. You can easily surf through the history by filtering the results according to the date, channel or specific people.
- Reminders, mentions and other similar features help you quickly reach needed people and keep the communication intensive.
Pricing: a free version will probably cover all your needs, but if you require even more, it’s possible to purchase the advanced plans.
Since December 2017, Screen Hero isn’t available as an independent product — it had been acquired by Slack in 2015. Two years later it moved all of its features there and stopped operating as one of the standalone productivity tools for work.
However, we couldn’t help but tell you about how its functionality makes our developers’ conversations even more productive. For example, it greatly saves time when you need to show something on your screen and has no need to describe it with words.
By the way, it’s an additional reason to download Slack!
Initially, Screen Hero was a screen sharing tool that could be used by just 2 people. However, after it was incorporated into Slack, it quickly scaled and increased its own capabilities. As of now, Slack’s screen sharing functionality includes the following features:
- You can connect up to 15 participants at once.
- Participants can also draw over the shared screen to focus attention on specific areas.
- Furthermore, Slack & Screen Hero Squads have implemented the so-called “interactive screen sharing” that lets you provide each participant with their own cursor and ability to type, scroll and edit the on-screen content.
Pricing: shared screen functionality becomes available with any Slack’s paid plan.
👓 Tools to Avoid Eye Strain: Time Out, F.lux
This group of productivity tools for work may not seem like a good choice to measure developer productivity or increase their effectiveness at first glance. However, small breaks at the right time help our developers stay fresh, healthy and concentrated during the whole workday.
Available only for macOS, Time Out definitely tops the list of the best productivity tools for programmers to organize breaks. We love it for the plain & clear interface as well as wide customization capabilities.
Typically, there are 2 kinds of breaks that keep our squad vigorous:
- short ones — for 15 seconds every 15 minutes — are enough to make a short eye exercise;
- long ones — for 10 minutes every hour — are perfect to do some stretching, walk around and just relax.
However, you can customize this process in any way. For example, add or delete kinds of breaks, change their cyclicity or length.
At Stormotion, we usually add a few lunch breaks for 15-20 minutes at 11 am, 2 pm and 5 pm instead of “long breaks”.
Time Out can be also used as a productivity measurement tool since it provides you with info on how much time you’ve spent away from the Mac and in each app you were using.
Pricing: this tool is free to use; however, you can show your appreciation and buy a supporter status. It provides you with access to advanced features.
This point on our list is a bit different from other mentioned productivity tools for developers. Actually, it’s quite helpful not only for developers and not only during the workday.
The main idea behind F.lux (which, by the way, is available for all main OS) is to adjust the screen of your computer to the environment. As your display adapts to the time of day, the eyestrain is decreased, making it more comfortable to work either in a darkroom or under the office lighting.
Pricing: F.lux is free to use by individuals (you can support developers with $10 using PayPal) but it also has paid corporate edition that costs a one-time payment of $10 per user.
⌚️ Time Management Tools: Rescue Time, Timely
Finally, software development at Stormotion can be hardly imagined without time-tracking instruments that also help us to measure developer productivity. With their help we can easily find out how effectively we spend our time. Let’s take a closer look!
If you’re looking for the top productivity measurement tool, then Rescue Time is just for you. Available on all main OS, this software provides you with a perspective of how your team manages their time.
Here are some particularities that we especially like:
- Detailed Reports that reveal how much time has been spent on specific websites and apps.
- The Goal Setting Feature allows improving developers productivity and shapes the way we work. For example, it’s possible to set up a “spend less than 1 hour a day on emails” rule or limit the use of Facebook to 30 minutes during the work time.
- Finally, Weekly Email Summaries are great to take a retrospective look and perfect our workflow even more as well as use this data to better plan the next week.
Pricing: the features described above are included in the free version of Rescue Time; it’s also possible to buy a Premium subscription ($9 monthly or $72 annually) with some additional functionality.
In case you’re looking for an alternative productivity measurement tool, Timely is a great option to consider.
Their team made a wager on AI and succeeded. In practice, it means that Timely not only keeps the record of the used websites and apps, but also adds specific tags so you can see how you perform on each project or activity in particular. The more you work with it and correct it, the more accurate results it will deliver to you in the future.
Project Time Management functionality is another thing that greatly helps to measure developer productivity. It allows you setting time frames for every project and activity within it (for example, design, development, QA and so on), and track how you perform it.
Moreover, it provides you with the insights on how each team member contributes and whether your squad keeps up with the budget.
Pricing: Timely has different pricing options, starting from $7 a month for individuals, if billed annually.
So this was the list of the top productivity tools for developers that are used at the Stormotion HQ. They help us to stay productive and get the maximum of our efforts on Product development for our clients.
We hope that some of these tools will come in handy for your team — In-House or Remote — too. If there are some great productivity tools for work that haven’t been mentioned in this article, we’d be happy to hear from you!