If there’s one thing developers love, it’s their tools. And when your job revolves around technology, having the right tools is incredibly important to getting the job done. The term “tools” is often used loosely, but we’re defining the term on two levels: physical tools, such as your computer and hardware; and online tools, including websites, software, and apps. We spoke to developers all over the world to see what they think are the best tools for web developers. Employers, take note.
Powerful and speedy computers are a no-brainer for programmers, but what about the other hardware? We’ve found that developers prefer two monitors, ideally 30” LCD screens, at their workstation for maximum productivity. Here at Stack Exchange, all developers are given whatever they need to get their job done, whether it’s a high-end keyboard, three monitors, or a laptop to take home.
Jon Chan, a developer at Stack Exchange, gave us some insight into his favorite tools for developers. “When it comes to hardware, I like having a souped-up MacBook that I can also plug into two thunderbolt monitors. It lets me work when I travel or work from home and supercharges my workflow when I get to plug into my station.”
"For online tools: I love using Trello for project management; Google for docs, slides, email, video chat, and calendar; GitHub for version control on our open source stuff; and Invision for working with design (it's great for interactive mockups)."
Jerry Reptak, Chief Engineer at JobHero, has similar favorites. His must-have hardware includes two monitors (one wide and one tall) with 1440p resolution, which is great for that extra-wide real estate to split windows in half. “Github’s tracker Issues is great for quickly jotting down a bug and Trello is awesome for keeping track of what’s being worked on and what to do next,” Reptak said.
Brian Pontarelli, CEO of Inversoft and an open source developer, weighs in on the Mac love as well. “Every developer at Inversoft uses IntelliJ IDEA for our IDE (integrated development environment), mainly because it is easily the most powerful IDE available. Everyone here uses a Mac so we get that cool *nix flavor without the headache of running a Linux desktop.”
Elburz Sorkhabi, Technical Director of nVoid, has the following on his must-have tools for developers: a good quality mouse like the Logitech M570 and headphones for blocking out distractions. For tools, he uses Sublime Text as his code editor and Pocket to save tutorials and references for later review.
For developers, having all the right tools and resources can make a large difference in their work. Providing developers with the tools and hardware they want will ultimately show that you respect their work and value their contribution. Take a look at your current developer environment and ask your current team what tools would would prefer -- both in terms of hardware and software. By choosing to invest in their preferred elements, you'll not only be building out a more productive team, but also a happier one.