Best Open Source Tools For Developers ๐Ÿ› 

Sarthak Sharma on August 22, 2018

Are you as excited as I am? In my quest to find some of the best apps for you, I myself discovered some absolutely brilliant tools. The best thin... [Read Full]
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I've never really liked using Postman, the UI just seemed so unintuitive and difficult to use. But I've never needed to use it enough (read: been frustrated enough with it) to go find an alternative. But with just one request sent in Insomnia, I already like it better than Postman, thanks for the recommendation!


Insomnia looks pretty simple in comparison with Postman.

But Postman isn't just an HTTP requester with JSON pretty-print.
Postman has variables support, environments support, tests support, load tests support, cloud support, swagger support, and many other essential features for the everyday's life of a developer.

How do you integrate Insomnia in your CI ?


Glad I wasnโ€™t the only one who thought this.

In Postman, I make an OAuth call, which sets the token value to my environment variables, which then are used to auth all my subsequent calls (which were imported from Swagger). Thatโ€™s a huge part of my manual testing workflow now that I wouldnโ€™t want to lose.

You don't lose this with Insomnia. Insomnia supports first-party OAuth authentication. However, if you want to do it manually as you mentioned, you can also use Request Chaining to reference values from other request's responses.


Just want to point out that Insomnia also has variables, environments, cloud support (end-to-end encrypted) and even a few other things that Postman doesn't like plugins, GraphQL support, and wider choice authentication methods.

To your point though, Insomnia does not support non-http-client functionality like load testing, testing, or mock endpoints, nor does it plan to support these features in the future (unless through community plugins).

  • Greg (Insomnia developer)

The same goes here. I really liked Insomnia over postman. It even retains the response on the response window forever.


Liked the post because of insomnia. Just discovered it, GraphQL support means never having to say you're sorry


Might have to give Insomnia another shot. Thanks.


I know right? And I love how you can save frequent requests so that you can have them handy when to test again. Great tool that I just can't live without anymore :)


I've been using Insomnia for quite some time, since Postman stopped being a Chrome extension. For some reason the native version of Postman worked very slowly on my Windows 10, now I do not miss it. Insomnia supplies the main needs when working with APIs. Something that "I do not like" is that it is updated automatically, but hey, all Electron applications seem to do the same.


Some great suggestions above. I recently discovered iTerm2 which is a big improvement over the default terminal on mac, especially when paired with oh my zsh


Don't forget fish too! Feels a lot faster and has lots of the plugins zsh needs by default!


fish is probably the best compromise between "easy" and "fast". You'll still need a good scripting shell though.


On Windows, Cmder is a good replacement for the default terminal.


Or, if you are on Windows 10, get "real" terminal via WSL ?

WSL is a shell, not a terminal/console. You can run WSL inside Cmder :)

umm... Right.

I am a macOS user (considering moving to Windows+WSL+Ubuntu) So you are probably right (Haven't used Windows in several years)

If and when I move to windows, I'll give Cmder a try. Read good things about it (and how people use it with WSL)

Sorry, I should have posted more details in my comment!

A terminal emulator (sometimes referred to as a "terminal" or "console") is the app that gives you the interface to type commands into and see their output. For example, iTerm2 and Terminal are terminal emulators on MacOS.

The shell is the app that processes the commands. For example, bash and zsh are shells.

You run a shell inside a terminal emulator. When you run iTerm2, it runs bash (or whatever) inside it :)

Technically WSL is neither... It's a compatibility layer that allows Linux apps to run on Windows. It converts Linux API calls to native Windows API calls - Basically the opposite of the WINE project (which lets you run Windows apps on Linux). However, WSL comes with Bash, so when people "run WSL", they're running Bash (the shell) in CONHOST.exe (Console Window Host, the default Windows terminal emulator, the same one that CMD.exe uses).

Cmder is a replacement for conhost/cmd.exe. It can run the default Windows shell (cmd.exe) and WSL within it. Similar to how iTerm2 is an improvement over, Cmder is an improvement over conhost, providing features like tabs. You still run all the same shells (just like how you can run bash in either iTerm2 or Terminal), it's just running within a different terminal emulator.

If you do try Windows, try PowerShell in addition to WSL. It has its own unique set of features, and you may like it. PowerShell can run inside Cmder too. I even use PowerShell on Linux now, due to how powerful it is. The key difference with PowerShell is that it treats command output as objects rather than strings, so you very rarely need to parse command line output using grep/sed/cut like you do on Linux. Instead, you simply access properties on objects.

i 've set up something (i'm not the only one) that really makes me enjoy CLI on Windows 10 :

  • install Debian as WLS
  • install CMDER

Run Debian WLS, install fishshell.

Run CMDER set up a new task with command "debian.exe"

---> Enjoy Fishshell in a Debian env on Windows 10 :)


I don't think it's open source, but I am a huge fan of LightShot. It takes over the Print Screen key and makes it useful.

Pretty much two clicks and you can have a screenshot of anything


Hey, if you're looking for something that takes over the printscreen key, there is an awesome open source app called Katana. If you're looking for a Windows app, i would suggest Screenpresso. ( Yes I know, it isn't open source :) )


I can recommend Greenshot too - open source Windows screen grabber, though that doesnโ€™t really do it justice. Integrated upload to imgur and other places, all that stuff.

Ah - somehow I'd missed that when downloading the PC version at work. Thanks, I'll go grab it now. :)


I'm pretty happy with LightShot at the moment, but I'll definitely check those out!


For Windows, I'd highly recommend ShareX. It's open source!


Just to add to the discussion: I've been using ShareX for a couple years now and I absolutely love it. It's open source, customizable, doesn't bog down my machine, can automatically upload screenshots and videos to almost any site (even Gfycat!) you can imagine, and so much more. I can't sing its praises enough.


If you're into CLI-based tools, httpie, and its partners in crime: http-prompt and jq, are worth checking out ๐Ÿ˜Ž


If you like httpie, you should definitely try curl! It's just like httpie, except that it is more flexible (not just for HTTP), and leaves things like syntax highlighting up to you (just pipe the output into your favourite program - like jq for instance!).


I use httpie if it happens to be installed, like on my development laptop(s), otherwise it's curl all the way ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป


A big thank you for Marktext.
So I get to know mermaid and its flowchart.
And the app I am using to get some notes, Boosnote, supports this.

So it is going to be very useful for me.

I really love that this kind of reading and sharing experiences can lead to great things.

Thank you.


I just tried Mark Text and I don't like it because of the way it autocompletes closing symbols without being smart enough to let you overwrite them.
For instance, if I type [words it adds a ] after the cursor, and if I want to complete the section I have to use the arrow keys to move past its "helpful" insertion. The convention in most text editing software is that if you do helpful stuff like that, then pressing ] will be handled smartly, but in Mark Text, you end up with [words]] instead. I didn't spend enough time to see whether I could switch it off.

On a Mac, MacDown (which is also open source) gives you separate markdown and preview panes and makes a lot more sense to me if I want to see a preview. Usually I don't care about the preview anyway, though - the point of things like Markdown is that you're writing what you mean, not worrying about how it looks to someone who happens to be using exactly the same renderer as you. I think these "rich" Markdown editors are a step backwards.


Mark Text has Issuesโ„ข on large Retina screens; working in Source Code mode wastes prodigious amounts of screen space.

Alternatives worth consideration:

  • Twig. Just what you need for editing and preview; themes are simply CSS style sheets, and it ships with a lot;
  • MacDown. Install via brew cask install macdown. Featureful and stable under load. Like Twig, also supports side-by-side edit and preview;
  • Markoff. Not an editor, but a great previewer (it's from ThoughtBot, natch) that integrates with your editor.

Several good plugins for Visual Studio Code as well.


Great list, will check out insomnia!

I would like to add Flycut to this list, it's a great OOS clipboard manager.


If a picture is worth a thousand much is a screen cast? Screen casts have saved days of frustration.

I would submit GiT is a great OSS tool for devs as well :)


Interesting, I really liked reading through this article. Being a rather "old" kid on the blog here, I have been using open-source tools for my development works ever since the late 1990s and so far my toolbox looked considerably different and more "old-school". :) Liked seeing Brave on that list - just out of curiosity: Why Brave and not Firefox? ;)


Awesome! Thanks for sharing such great tools! I already know some of it :)


I didn't know about Mark Text. That's cool! Have you used Typora? How does it compare?


Well for starters Mark Text is Open Source ๐Ÿ˜€


Ill recommend AND.CO for a freelancer. They have many awesome features and its completely free.


Hi, are you aware of some tools that can help with code generation in asp net core ? Something that can generate controllers and views and models with relations and in the UI something like PyroCMS or Voyager for PHP ?



Man! Insomnia ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜!! i've been using Postman for at least 3 years and, call me lazy, but never actually looked for alternatives, even when i'm always complaining about it!
Thanks for the post!

PS. Im totally in for some JS projects!.. let me know


I actually liked screreencat and also it is in electron js so.. Just awesome


For markdown I use VIsual Studio Code. It has an option to see md results. It's not the best but just works for the sake of not having too many programs for everything.

Postman sucks ++


I actually contributed to Manta and can confirm that this is very mature and in the meantime there are enough contributors to react fast on errors and enhance it even faster.


Wow, Must say man a great Application. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ


Even I have Paw, I still use Insomnia, powerful and open source. And thanks for mentioning IconGenerator โค๏ธ


That a great list. Will definitely look into using some of these. Thanks for sharing.


Some good tools to investigate there, thanks. :) Iโ€™ve just started building some web stuff (on my own time), for the first time, so Iโ€™m looking for useful tools like Insomnia. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป


Hey @Sarthak, nice list. I developed a bookmarks manager for developers at, it is also open-source and free. Maybe you can have a look. I'd love to hear your thoughts...


big thanks for MarkText. Never really looked for a markdown editor but this one is awesome to write content with. luv it.


Thanks for sharing mate, definitely will check them out. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿค™


Can I reprint the translation into Chinese and share it with Chinese developers?
I will point out the source and author.

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