The Best And Useful Software Development Tools in 2021

The software industry is one of the most wide-reaching and ever-growing industries. In today’s era, the use of software or applications has increased more extensively than ever before. Whether you are a web developer working on someone else’s projects or you run a business yourself, utilizing the right tools of the trade is essential.

Development of an application for use by various platforms – both static and mobile – requires numerous lines of coding and software development tools that assist in assembling, compiling, bug testing, design, analysis and a variety of other aspects. Every software development company does not require every tool. However, it’s useful to know which tools are doing well in the web development ecosystem, particularly if you’re looking for a new cross-platform software development tool.

To make decisions easy for you, we have curated a list of popular tools used in agile software development and programming tools so you can get an idea of what each of them offers.

1. What Are Software Development Tools?

1.1 What Are Software Tools?

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Software Development Tools?

A software or a programming tool is a set of computer programs that are used by the developers to create, maintain, debug, or support other applications and programs.

Software development tools are simply tools (generally software themselves) that programmers practice to create other software. Any software deploy tool that enables a programmer to build stable software matching the needs or goals of a customer is placed into this category.

1.2 Types Of Software Development Tools

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There are a variety of tools available to aid in the software development process. This is not a software development tools list available in all environments, they are only some of the most important categories of tools.

Integrated Debugging Environment (IDE)

The IDE is where most developers spend the majority of their day working. It serves as a combination code editor and debugging interface. The IDE is also an integration point for many other types of tools.

Build Tools

Build tools include not just the compiler and link editor that translates the human-readable programming language statements into machine-executable instructions, but also the capabilities of managing dependencies.

Tools To Support Methodology

Some software development methodologies lend themselves to tools that make it easier to conform to the rules and guidelines imposed by the methodology. For example, tools exist that allow teams to organize use cases or user stories into time-bracketed sprints and track progress in addressing them over time.

Source Control

Managing access to the source code of the project is critical in the day-to-day work of any programming team. Concurrency must be managed so that one developer’s changes don’t overwrite other developers’ work. Also, source control is extremely useful for creating branches/variations of the source, and merging changes between the branches. It also provides versioning and archive access to the source code as it changes over time.

Bug Trackers

Bug tracking is essential to ensuring that defects found during (and after) the development process are addressed and then re-tested. Bug trackers are often used as a primary interface with Quality Assurance.

Profilers

A variety of tools exist to report on the resource utilization of a program. Profilers can analyze memory usage, input/output, and processor usage in order to help developers detect and react to problems in the way their code is executing.

Automated Deployment/Continuous Integration Tools

Modern applications can be complex to deploy. Automating (or partially-automating) this function can reduce errors and save time. By employing a policy of continuous integration, problems in integrating the various components and features worked on by each developer can be spotted quickly and then addressed while it’s still fresh in the developer’s mind.

Testing Tools

Testing a software product is a key activity in assuring that it meets the requirements and is free of defects. Often it is desirable (or even policy) to create a test for every function in the program, and to run that test each time the function is modified to ensure that it produces the expected output and is free from any harmful side effects. In addition to this low-level “unit testing”, testing of the program at the user interface level is necessary. Tools exist to assist in many different types of testing, and can often automate or partially-automate the task of performing each test.

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1.3 Why Do Software Development Tools Matter?

All professionals need software designing tools in order to do their jobs. Software developers need the right software planning tools for accomplishing their respective assignments. Software development tools play a very important role in the IT field.

Software development tools can be things like interpreters that work directly with code, but they can also be tools that help to make the lives of developers simpler and easier. For instance, while a user panel assigned to answering the questions of programmers and sharing knowledge might not have a direct influence on the development of a particular piece of software, it does provide relevant solutions for developers who necessitate answers to vital questions.

The selection of software engineering tools to be used in its development process can completely shape or break a project. Once the targeted ecosystem and programming language(s) are chosen, and the requirements and end goals are also well-enough understood, the next task of starting the work of a software development project is to choose the tools that will be utilized throughout the process. It’s also important to be knowledgeable of the types of tools that are available for employment, their benefits, and the implications for using them.

1.4 Where Are Development Tools Found?

You can find software development tools in many different places, and in numerous different configurations. For instance, APIs consist of tools that enable software developers to achieve a specific goal, such as programming language libraries. SDKs include a very wide range of programming tools that allow programmers to create software for specific platforms and systems. Integrated development environments provide entire toolbars for programmers, allowing them to create programs in a single environment, test them in the same environment and even deploy them at the opportune time.

2. Uses Of Software Development Tools

2.1 Making Program Information Available To Humans

The high complexity of software makes it difficult to understand a whole program at a glance.

Programming tools allow software developers to find bugs in the programs they are working on and allows them to avoid creating new bugs when they are extending a program.

Such tools enable software developers to properly envisage different kinds of information about the program they are working on.

2.2 Translation From Human Language To A Computer Language

Programming tools translate a program from a human-readable source language into a language that can be executed by a computer through a user interface.

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3. The Evolution Of Software Development Tools

Many changes in IT happen as an indirect result of the development or induction of some other technological innovation. Some changes in the development of IT systems come and go faster as compared to fashion in clothing. IT trends are less like a straight timeline of incremental advances, and more like a churning cycle of twirling ideas that gain fame and then fall out of service as people strive to see what works and what doesn’t, what’s more effective, and vice versa.

Originally, software development tools hold only those tools that are used during the actual design and testing phases of software development. However, today, there are software management tools that can be used throughout the software development life cycle. The original software development toolbox might have contained a basic text editor, as well as a linking loader, a compiler, and a tool for debugging software.

Today, things are much more complicated, with tools that can be used during quality assurance, all phases of testing, and even during the design and deployment phases.

Software development tools continue to evolve and change, as the needs of programmers grow. In the near future, we may be using more of our development efforts in developing systems that can emerge and acquire by themselves (machine learning), but someone still has to process those systems. Human power is still needed to operate the tools.

4. How To Pick Software Development Tools?

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There are several factors to consider when deciding which tools to utilize to aid in the development of a software project. Not all tools are necessarily appropriate for a given project, while others might be critical. Each team should consider a number of factors when deciding on the tools to use in the software development of each project.

Usefulness

The primary factor when deciding on whether to use a type of tool, and which implementation of that tool is the usefulness it will provide to the overall completion of the project.

Popularity

The popularity of a tool in developer communities is a good indicator of its usefulness and capabilities. The fact that hundreds to thousands of developers and organizations depending on a tool for getting their work done makes a good case for its value. Popular tools are also likely to be improved faster and maintained better.

Relevance And Maintenance

It is crucial that the tools you opt for be relevant, up to date, compatible with the latest software, and well maintained. It doesn’t matter if they were the best in the business a year or two before. The software industry moves fast—things change—libraries and tools get outdated quickly. We want tools that can keep up with these changes.

Applicability To Environment

Not all tools apply to all environments. For example, a Windows desktop application will have no use for a web deployment tool.

Company Standards

In larger organizations, and often in smaller ones as well, use of certain tools will be mandated in order to achieve goals or to comply with established policy. Standardization of tools can help an organization move developers easily between projects as needed, and gives management an assurance that similar processes are followed among different projects and project teams resulting in homogeneous product quality.

Prior Team Experience With Tool

To some degree, almost all software has a learning curve. The selection of specific tools can be influenced by the level of experience developers may already have with it. That specific experience can also be used as a resource in deciding whether a tool might be useful in the project or not, as developers usually form strong opinions on such matters and are usually not shy about expressing them.

Support

If you have some experience with software projects, you’ll know how there will always be bugs to fix, new features to add, and components to optimize. This is why we curated this list considering tools from organizations that are active in shipping fixes, updates, and new releases – providing frequent support for requests from the community.

Integration

No tool can not take care of all aspects of software development. So when you use multiple platforms to get things done, integrating them turns out to be super helpful. This integration allows them to complement the functionalities of each other better, and therefore makes your workflow much more seamless and coordinated.

Overhead

All software has a learning curve, to one degree or another. Complex tools can also require time and effort to deploy with the team and integrate into existing development software. In addition to initial deployment and learning curve, many tools take some amount of time and effort to use. This overhead should be taken into account when evaluating the overall value of the tool.

The selection of tools is a critical step in the development of a software project. Careful selection can have a tremendous impact on the efficiency and ultimate success of the software development project.

5. Best & Useful software Development Tools In 2021

We have researched and ranked the best software programming and development tools. Here is a review and comparison of each tool.

5.1 Software Development Collaboration Tools

Collaboration between developers, designers, and end-users is the foundation of efficient and successful software development. These tools are some of the basic collaboration tools for software developers that everyone from freelancers to remote workers, to in-house tech professionals can expect to use:

1. Monday

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This workflow management tool allows developers to integrate different third-party platforms in one place and visualize the tasks that need to be completed. The options to set deadlines and track the time spent on each task allows productivity to be documented as well.

Monday is a cloud-based Work Operating System(WOS) that provides a simplified way to run projects and workflows while creating a more transparent work culture.

Key Features:

  • Team management tool.
  • Allows visual planning, progress tracking, and advanced weekly view across multiple projects.
  • Conversations, files, briefs, checklists, and spreadsheets in one place.
  • Used as CRM software to track sales contacts through the pipeline.
  • It can be integrated with popular apps and services such as Dropbox, Excel, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Slack, and Trello.

Pros:

  • Can customize dashboards to display required workflow information.
  • Informs users when tasks are completed.
  • Easy navigation and project creation.

Cons:

  • You gotta pay more to get more functionality.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • More plan diversity and options for small scale businesses is required.
  • Inability to upload spreadsheets on dashboards.

2. GitHub

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This tool is a mashup between a collaboration platform and a development platform. On one hand, project managers can assign tasks and attract completion. On the other hand, developers can share and collaborate on code in a secure environment. Code libraries can even be integrated!

GitHub is a project management and code version control system. It is the social network platform for developers.

Key Features:

  • Provides codespace to code, build, test, debug and deploy.
  • Link issues and pull requests to track project updates.
  • Review and collaborate on open source and private projects.

Pros:

  • Git makes it fast and easy to develop projects in versions/branches. You can roll back to previous versions easily.
  • Easy collaboration with multiple team members makes merging easy.
  • Easy to identify contributors as all are tracked.

Cons:

  • A bit harder to push unresolved merge conflicts.
  • Be careful with merge operations; bad merges can be painful to reverse.
  • Hard to migrate repositories to other services.

3. BitBucket

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This collaborative software development environment allows code to be organized in private repositories. This allows users to focus on the specific goal, process, or product they are working on while also having all the code at their fingertips.

Bitbucket is a Git repository management solution. It gives a central place to manage git repositories and collaborate on code.

Key Features:

  • Code access control.
  • Pull requests with in-line commenting for collaboration on code review.
  • File storage services, tracking of issues, Wikis, integrations, and add-ons.

Pros:

  • JIRA integration for full development traceability.
  • Unlimited private and free repositories for teachers and students.
  • Faster and powerful search mechanism.
  • Comes with an easy-to-use integration for Trello.

Cons:

  • The dev community is smaller compared to GitHub’s.
  • A bit rough code management UI.
  • Does not have simplified PR management tools as other competitors.

Even if your employer or client uses a different tool or combination of tools for real-time software development collaboration, some of the functionality and features will likely be similar to these programs.

5.2 Entry-Level Software Development Tools

While some collaboration platforms allow for integrated development, other projects will need separate development platforms. These might have more storage, more security, or be integrated with code libraries and other features. Here are some of the more simple entry-level development environments a coder might work within.

1. Quixy

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Enterprises use Quixy’s cloud-based no-code platform to empower their business users (citizen developers) to automate workflows and build simple to complex enterprise-grade applications for their custom needs up to ten times faster. All without writing any code.

Quixy helps eliminate manual processes and quickly turn ideas into applications making business more innovative, productive, and transparent. Users can start from scratch or customize pre-built apps from the Quixy ‘s app store in minutes.

Key Features:

  • Build the app interface the way you want it by dragging and dropping 40+ form fields including a rich text editor, e-signature, QR-Code scanner, Facial Recognition widget, and much more.
  • Model any process and build simple complex workflows be it sequential, parallel and conditional with an easy-to-use visual builder. Configure notifications, reminders, and escalations for each step in the workflow.
  • Seamlessly integrate with 3rd party applications through ready-to-use connectors, Webhooks, and API Integrations.
  • Deploy apps with a single click and make changes on the fly with no downtime. Ability to use on any browser, any device even in offline mode.
  • Live actionable Reports and Dashboards with the option to export data in multiple formats and schedule automated delivery of reports through multiple channels.
  • Enterprise-ready with ISO 27001 and SOC2 Type2 Certification and all enterprise features including Custom Themes, SSO, IP filtering, On-Premise deployment, White-Labelling, etc.

Pros:

  • It is a no-code platform, so anyone can use it without any programming knowledge.
  • Ready to use templates and components.
  • Document generator.
  • Excellent support from the customer team.

Cons:

  • Online documentation tools lack clarity and in-depth coverage of features.
  • Costly when compared to other alternatives.
  • Certain dashboard features like charts and graphs need improvement.

2. Embold

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Embold is one of the unique tools for software development. It can fix bugs before deployment, which saves a lot of time as a consequence.

Embold is also a lot more than a development tool—it is a software analytics platform that can analyze source code and find errors that can affect the app stability, security, maintainability, and other core things which are essential for any application to function properly.

It is one of the fastest apps of its kind on the market, which allows the user to focus on other things.

With Embold you can also learn the best practices and build better architecture.

Key Features:

  • Very Fast
  • Fixing Bugs Before Deployment
  • Software Analytics
  • Numerous Integrations
  • Several Plugins Available
  • Gives a great Insight to Managers
  • Slick UI
  • Easy to Use
  • Source Code Analysis
  • Debugger

There is a free version available, which should be enough for any regular user. The premium plan supports up to 1000 users.

Pros:

  • Uncovers hard-to-detect anti-patterns.
  • Makes code maintainable and less error-prone.
  • You can run it within the current Dev-Ops stack, on-premise or in the cloud privately or publicly.

Cons:

  • Design issues are not recognizable for some languages like C/C++, C#, Objective C, and Java.

3. Linx

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Linx is a low-code software development tool that can be used for creating, automating, and integrating business applications.

It is very easy to use. Linx employs a drag-and-drop interface where you can easily move elements and create (or edit) applications, transfer data, manage files, and many other things.

In a nutshell, Linx consists of many specialized tools such as real-time triggers, data validations, data parsing and manipulation, built-in schedulers, etc.

You can connect Linx to various databases as well, like MS-SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and Postgres.

Key Features:

  • Easy Maintenance
  • Runs Complex Integrations Smoothly
  • Great at Transforming Data
  • Easy to Deploy
  • Very Fast, no Lag
  • Automates Complex Processes in no Time
  • Great Support Team
  • Compatible with all Operating Systems
  • Several Software Development Tools Incorporated in One

Pros:

  • Thousands of drag and drop programming functions for rapid application development.
  • Automate back-end processes via various ways like directory events, timers, and message queues or expose web services, and call APIs via HTTP requests.

Cons:

  • Supported for Windows OS only.
  • Fewer tutorials and community help.
  • Have to pay to use the most wanted features.

Just like with the development models and collaboration platforms, each team will make its own choices about the development environment. However, a general similarity between these tools means the more you are familiar with, the easier it will be to adapt.

See more: Top 10 Most Popular Programming Languages to Learn in 2021

5.3 More Software Development Tools And Techniques

Once you reach a certain level of experience as a software developer, you’ll benefit greatly from the flexibility of more powerful tools. While they might have a steeper learning curve for newcomers, they offer greater flexibility and power. These are some of the tools that can be used to develop apps and software from the ground up, or to make changes to the front-end and back-end securely and efficiently:

1. Zoho Creator

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Zoho – One of the best software development project management tools

Zoho Creator is a low-code software development platform used to build, integrate and transform your digital business.

The coolest thing about Zoho is that this tool is so simple it allows you to make every necessary change quickly, and securely, regardless of your coding knowledge or the complexity of your requirements!

If you want to create highly customized applications, this software development tool is the right choice for you.

However, if you are still unsure what you want, you can even explore and experiment with their pre-built applications.

Key Features:

  • Low-Code
  • Get More with Less Effort
  • Very Secure
  • Create Insightful Reports
  • Connect and Share Your Data across Teams
  • Integrations with Other Apps Available
  • Usable with Any Device
  • Easily Customizable
  • Great for Small and Large Teams
  • Saves a Lot of Time for Developing Apps

Pros:

  • Critical features like Artificial Intelligence help in tasks such as language detection.
  • Launch native multi-device applications without re-coding.
  • Create insightful reports.
  • Integrate all applications.

Cons:

  • Limited GUI customizations.
  • A non-programmer may not fully understand the capabilities of Zoho Creator because it has its own scripting language.

2. Cloud9

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The Cloud 9 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) was purchased by Amazon in 2016. This environment is used to create, test, debug, and run code in the cloud. One unique feature is that web and mobile developers can work on code together, and will also receive code completion suggestions (kind of like autosuggest) to help them work more efficiently.

Key Features:

  • Code from anywhere.
  • Multi-language support.
  • Smart code completion and suggestions.
  • Clone entire development environments.
  • Built-in Terminal for a command-line wizard.
  • Unlike other IDEs, it has a good debugger for JS/Node.js.

Pros:

  • Real-time code collaboration.
  • Create multiple split views by simply dragging a file.
  • Easy to use interface.

Cons:

  • It runs slow for larger projects.
  • Not as many plugins and extensions.

3. Atom

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Atom is a free editor that allows developers to edit the front-end look of software without changing the source file. These edits will be applied across platforms, letting you make changes on the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of an app in one place. Used in conjunction with Electron, it can also be used to create applications from scratch.

Key Features:

  • Cross-platform compatibility and support.
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Support for multiple languages.
  • Comes with a built-in package manager.
  • Direct integration of git and GitHub.
  • Find, replace, preview texts in single file, multiple files, or across all projects.

Pros:

  • We can split the interface into multiple panels, which helps in comparing codes and editing files.
  • Very flexible and smart autocomplete.
  • Real-time collaboration to work and edit code together in teams.

Cons:

  • No option to run code directly.
  • Slows down the PC if too many packages are installed.
  • Lags a bit when connected to the server.

4. Eclipse

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Eclipse is the most popular development environment for the Java language, though it is also used for many other programming languages. It can even be used to create other development environments for mobile, cloud, and desktop. The platform has many advantages like debugging and code completion and can integrate with many other tools.

Key Features:

  • Multi-Language support.
  • Integration with SVN and Git.
  • Integration with Maven.
  • Smart autocomplete and re-factoring.
  • Automatic error reporting.
  • Error debugging.

Pros:

  • A large number of plugins available from the marketplace makes it one of the best Java development tools.
  • Great community support.
  • Fast Startup time and performance compared to other IDEs.
  • JUnit integration.
  • Excellent options for JEE projects.

Cons:

  • The Project Explorer is not that good.
  • No theme customization.
  • The UI has an outdated look.

5. Adobe Dreamweaver

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Adobe Dreamweaver is a website and web app development tool for Windows and Mac that has been in use in some form since 1997. Though it is an HTML editor at the core, Dreamweaver can incorporate over 15 other coding languages. It is also available in over 18 human languages, making it a valuable platform for international software development collaboration.

Key Features:

  • Preview sites and edit in real-time from any device.
  • Supports many markup languages like CSS, XML, HTML.
  • Multi-monitor support.
  • Git Integration.

Pros:

  • Plenty of plugin templates.
  • Advanced features like syntax highlighting and code completion.
  • Create dynamic pages and sites by connecting to the database.
  • Code validation and accessibility checks.
  • One of the best Javascript dev tools for beginners.

Cons:

  • It is pretty costly.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • Bulky and complicated code in dynamic sites.

With so many different coding languages and the products created using them, new software development tools are being engineered every day. Some companies have even instituted proprietary development environments designed just to meet their specific needs and workflow.

Conclusion

The selection of tools is a critical step in the development of a software project. There is a wide variety of types of tools available. Many more than have been discussed in our list.

Within each type or category, there are many specific products to choose from. We hope this list helped you to some extent. Don’t forget to match up the software development tools features against whatever your company or project requirements are. Regardless of company size or location, you’ll be able to work with various developers, track changes, monitor progress, and manage development projects seamlessly from start to finish. Consider the features of each option, research prices, and select the tool that will best bolster you and your team’s goals.

Oftentimes, the inability to purchase the right program leads to project failure or success in the long run. Careful selection can have a tremendous impact on the efficiency and ultimate success of the software development project.

If you’re looking for top-notch tools to streamline your projects and processes, check out our recommendations for the best software development tools. Our recommendations have been compiled directly from the industry experts themselves.

See more: TOP 10 Best Programming Languages for Android Apps

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or contact us to get the right advice for your project needs.