What are your favorite developer tools?

wuz profile image Conlin Durbin ・1 min read

Happy Friday!

We're getting new laptops at work, which means I have a good opportunity to re-evaluate my development setup. What lesser-known tools should I check out?


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Some of my must-have tools are the followings. With no specific order.

  1. Postman πŸ™ƒ
  2. devdocs.io/ - browser-based offline documentation of your favorite language or libraries. 😍
  3. TablePlus - Lightweight yet does everything that I need to manage a database. πŸ‘ŠπŸΌ
  4. Evernote - The note-sharing works really brilliantly. πŸ€“
  5. Github desktop - Sometimes it just helps πŸ˜…

Gitkraken is better alternative to github desktop offering vast variety of features. Its free too.


When i opened GitKraken for myself, I was surprised that the VCS can be simple & clear.


I will check it, thanks for the suggestion πŸ˜‡


Here's a few of mine:

Clip-Path Generator: bennettfeely.com/clippy/
Box-Shadow Generator: cssmatic.com/box-shadow
Palette Generator/Gradient Gnerator: mycolor.space/
RegEx Playground: regex101.com
Babel Playground: babeljs.io
DevDocs(works offline): devdocs.io
Cubiz-Bezier Generator for Animations: cubic-bezier.com/
Animations: animista.net/
Cross-Browser Generator: css3please.com/
Dev Hints/Tips: devhints.io
CommandLine One LIners: commandlinefu.com/
VMware ESXi VM Commands Cheatsheet: code.vmware.com/docs/4164/vsphere-...
JSON Editor and Formatter: jsoneditoronline.org/
TLDR For CommandLine: github.com/tldr-pages/tldr

I've got more somewhere but can't remember where they've gone to. devdocs and devhints and regex101 and babel playground are my jams. Use them a lot


It's certainly not lesser-known, but Visual Studio Code really can't be beat for any platform at this point. What may be lesser known (?) is that its remote tools (they really are just "wrappers" for well-known services like SSH, but they finally got integrated) are very evolved now and work very well on nearly any platform, and are "better" in many cases than third-party plugins (they put your workspaces and many of your plugins onto remote servers/local VM's/etc, which is very solid).


Don't know about other languages, but VS Code is clearly not the best Java IDE.


I've never used it for Java. They've just recently released a Java version of it, and like most open projects it's completely dependent on which plugins you install--it's FOSS and written in the Electron framework, and the root front-end is all TypeScript (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Studi...).

If you install the right plugins, it's the best PHP IDE I've used, and there's a consensus that's it the best for JavaScript/TypeScript (for really obvious reasons). The plugin community is really why it has taken over.

Their Java plugin is not as good as what Intellij Idea, Eclipse or NetBeans offer, yet.

Vs code is maybe the best code editor but it's not an IDE and if you make a project you need an IDE.
For PHP just try PhpStorm. After loosing 2 hours on a laravel project I switched to jetbrains software and now Vscode is only for markdown or code reading.


An the debugger is love 😊


I'm really loving the terminal setup Ali Spittel goes through in this post. I'm super new to Mac so being able to easily make my terminal work and look like my Ubuntu terminal made me feel right at home. 😊


Not exactly a "developer tool", but I've really been enjoying Coda for the past week or so. It's like a Google Doc, but you can embed mini databases within it (like more structured and more powerful spreadsheets). It was launched earlier this year, and I first heard about it from their announcement here on DEV:

Just this week, I thought about setting up a small SPA to help me with tracking a D&D campaign. But then I remembered Coda, tried it out, and have found it to be really nice for something like this. And now, I don't have to maintain a crappy app to have easy access to the data I want!


Here's the D&D tracker I've been working on, which might give you an idea of the kind of stuff you can do with Coda. And if anyone plays D&D, I'd love feedback on how to improve it, I'm trying to release it as a template in their Template Gallery.



I find it a bit off that they don't support Firefox


I use neovim with a plethora of plugins to work, but I also love the sublime suite (Sublime Text for editor, Sublime Merge for git).

I like the Kickstart tool for bootstrapping projects, no matter their type.

For daily web browsing, I use the qutebrowser browser, but for development, I prefer Firefox, especially for its dev tools.

Music goes through VLC, sourcing its tracks from my NAS (Synology DS218j, RAID of 2 1TB disks).

Terminal is Powershell when on windows, xterm when on linux, using ZSH (and oh-my-zsh).


Windows Subsystem is so great. It's Linux. Built into Windows. So amazing. I have all my favourite Linux tools - in Windows!


Docker - docker is love, docker is life
exa - ls replacement, written in rust
ripgrep - smarter+faster grep
entr - watch files, and run something when the files change
shellcheck - shell script linter
ngrok - tunnel your local ports out to the internet
bpython - amazing python REPL
blackbox - safely store secrets in version control
ranger - console file manager with some dope addons

tmux + tmuxp - terminal multiplexer, and a session manager
kitty - GPU accelerated terminal, supports ligatures
mailhog - modern mailcatcher
postman - API tester
metabase - Beautiful DB tool

if you use kubernetes a ton:
kubectx + kubens - easier management of many k8s clusters and namespaces
kubetail - stream logs from any number of pods in k8s


Fiddler - Web Debugging Proxy
Postman - Test, Document & Monitor APIs
JSON Formatter - Format and Beautify JSON data
Chrome Developer Tool - Web Debugging Tool
Clockify - Tracking the time you spend on various programming activities is vital


A total must have for me is some sort of clipboard manager.
Ditto for example is my favourite software for that at the moment.


On Windows, I use Cmdr (with git tools) as my terminal and Sublime Text for editing. On Linux, I use Gnome Terminal and Sublime Text.

I tried VS Code at one point, but I'm comfortable enough with Sublime Text that I didn't see a good reason to switch. My environment works for me. I don't change things just for change's sake.


Most of my favourite tools have already been mentioned, so I’ll just add autojump for bash. The ability to jump from folder to folder that are not parents increased my QOL so much !


Try lsd, a fast colorls alternative


Meld. It is a tool which shows you a visual comparsion of your text files, especially code files and directories. Super helpful.

also this one. not a native app but a web based tool to live edit serialized arrays. sciactive.com/phpserialeditor.php

supports yaml, php and json

  • PHPStorm and/or Vim with plugins
  • Git cola
  • Simplenote
  • Slack
  • Firefox tool developper (F12)
  • Gitlab

I really like gitpod.io. it is an online ide for github based on vs code. i use this tool when I am away from my main computer or using a low end machine (it even runs well on my raspberry pi).


iterm2 + tmux + neovim is my basic setup, I also use Intellji IDE for java


PHP Liip
Apache Server MPM: event


Also if you have time to try different noting app, I think Notion is good