Software development tools

Five Software Development tools I actually use!

A lot of the everyday applications Zupa uses are purely web-based tools – covering the cycle from project management to code reviews and deployments. We know the benefits of staying within SaaS (everything from live roll-outs of updates, to easy scaling across teams) from our own products, including Caternet. Whether you’re starting out in your development career, or perhaps are a freelancer looking for best practice tips, read ahead for the five tools I use to produce future-ready software!

  • Visual Studio Professional 2019 & Visual Studio Code
    The Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is fairly standard when it comes to working within .NET environments. I like using it because of its range of features when writing and modifying code, searching for specific elements, and debugging. It also has a nice UI for working on Unit Testing. I tend to use this for all work pertaining to backend development.

    Visual Studio Code is an awesome text editor. Apart from fixing backend merge conflicts, I use it pretty much for front-end development as it is lightweight (compared to a full IDE). It has a decent merge conflict editor built in, which I find makes it as painless a process as I have ever seen. I can quickly and easily customise it with plugins, allowing it to work better with our JavaScript and CSS Linters.
  • Google Chrome (free)
    Aside from the sector-specific web-based tools, such as Github, Azure DevOps and Octopus, I also use Chrome because it has excellent integrated development function. Indeed, most browsers do but in my experience, Chrome is the go-to for the majority of developers. Out-of-the-box I can debug client-side code, check network activity and inspect the Document Object Model (DOM). For React.js I use a Chrome plugin that allows me to inspect and debug my React components as well as view a component state at a given point in time.
  • Postman (freemium)
    Postman is a tool that is used for making HTTP requests. It has an easy-to-use UI that allows you to build up your endpoints with any necessary additions, such as authentication tokens and/or JSON body data. These can then be saved so you can conveniently reuse them later. Postman is an essential, modern tool for testing web APIs!
  • Sourcetree
    Every developer has their favourite way of interacting with Source Control. There is no right or wrong solution. Personally, I like to use Sourcetree as I prefer to use a GUI tool over a command line for when I use Git. Sourcetree makes it easy for me to visually inspect the state of play for all branches I’ve checked out from origin, at the same time. This, along with a full history of the repository (at a glance) and lists for pushed branches, makes search processes incredibly easy.

An easy way to save time within Agile

  • ScreenToGif (free)
    Perhaps an unexpected addition, but within an Agile environment you’ll have the opportunity to present a lot of ideas whilst needing to generate clear instructions — therefore I make a lot of gifs! When raising PRs that include UI features, we have a convention to include these gifs within the description. This simple yet useful piece becomes a powerful way to provide other development or test teams with an instant context. ScreenToGif is a good, open source tool that is also completely free. You just drag a window to where you want to record, hit the red button and capture what you want on screen in a few seconds.

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