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Developer Productivity Tools: The Top 20 in 2022

Developer Productivity Tools: The Top 20 in 2022

Developers are professional jugglers: balancing multiple projects, their personal lives, time in and out of the office, and — usually — several different tools.

The problem is that juggling can be challenging and costly for productivity. To avoid this, choosing the tools that deliver maximum value is critical for keeping devs on track.

We firmly believe that a high-quality, intentionally chosen tech stack can really improve your productivity. In this blog, we'll look at some of the developer productivity tools devs are saying give them the best ROI. We've chosen 20 that tackle a wide range of productivity concerns – from reducing distractions to simplifying bug tracking to writing better-quality code.  

Let's get started!

Best apps for tracking developer productivity

You can't tell if you're team's performance can be or is improving without measuring productivity first. Here are our favorite productivity trackers for developers:

1. (FREE) Software Development Productivity Grader, by Zenhub – generate productivity stats instantly

Measuring productivity to gain insight into your team's performance shouldn't come at the cost of wasted time reporting. Zenhub's free-to-access productivity grader tool takes data straight from your GitHub repository to give you insights into your team's performance. Better yet, the grader compares your results to the top 100 GitHub repos, so you know where your team stands regarding their productivity.

Features include:

  • Insights into weekly issue completion
  • Weekly PR throughput
  • Cycle time & code review time
  • Benchmarks – compare your performance to the top 100 GitHub repositories

2. Clockify – easy time tracking

If you prefer to measure your productivity in terms of time spent working or you wish to understand how much time you spend on individual tasks, a time tracker like Clockify is a great tool. Clockify allows you to see a breakdown of how you spend your time and includes invoicing features useful for freelance developers and teams at development firms.

Features include:

  • Desktop and mobile apps available
  • Integrates with various project management, messaging, and documentation tools
  • Reporting dashboards
  • Invoicing based on tracked time

Developer tools for spending less time searching for bugs and lines of code

Few things make a dev's work life more frustrating than searching through thousands of lines of code to locate bugs and make other changes. Here's how you can spend less time on this tedious task:  

3. The Silver Searcher – efficiently searches through code

How much time have you spent searching through lines and lines of code to find a single line? The silver searcher makes searching through a document for a single line of code faster, easier, and more accurate than ever. Check out the open source project here.

Features include:

  • Open source, free-to-use tool
  • Fast and accurate searching (The Silver Searcher claims to be similar to Ack, but faster)

4. Mantis Bug Tracker – instantly finds bugs in code

Don't waste time bug-hunting. Mantis Bug Tracker searches through your code and sends your team email notifications whenever a bug occurs. While it's been 22 years since its initial open-source release, devs worldwide still benefit from this bug tracker, as it's now available in 49 different languages.

Features include:

  • Open source and free-to-use
  • Many integrations, including GitHub
  • Changelogs and WIki documentation integration
  • Roadmaps

5. Pieces – save code snippets without a disrupted workflow

Pieces code snippets

Ever wanted to save a snippet code for later use only to have to copy and paste it into an unknown and unorganized document? Pieces is a way to save your code snippets without disrupting your workflow. Pieces also lets you get more organized with your snippets with AI-generated titles, tags, and smart descriptions.

Features include:

  • Save code snippets without disrupting your flow
  • Saves code, screenshots, architecture diagrams, text notes, code files, and more
  • Text vs. code differentiation
  • Smart syntax highlighting
  • AI-generated titles, tags, and smart descriptions

Developer productivity tools that eliminate distractions

Don’t worry, we’re not pitching you a paradox. Obviously, any extra tool is arguably a distraction in and of itself. But it might be worth it if you can find a tool that can eliminate other, more intrusive, or more frequent distractions. Here are the favorites:

6. Toby—Easy tab management

Toby's easy tab management system

If you’ve ever gone down a rabbit hole 42 tabs deep frantically Googling answers, you’ve also probably had a moment where you accidentally closed them all. Or you were smart, bookmarked pages for later, then forgot what they were called and lost them in your overloaded bookmarks tab. An app like Toby can help with that by letting you manage multiple tabs simultaneously, grouping them into easily retrievable collections that can be shared across desktops.

Key features include:

  • Saving and opening browser sessions with a click
  • Easily finding any website in any collection
  • Speed-dialing into apps and websites
  • Access on any page with a right-click

7. Divvy – window management

Startup desks often resemble ad-hoc art installations with geometric combinations of monitors and collages of windows arranged just so. Dealing with all those windows may not be the most significant time waster, but it might be the most annoying. Enter Divvy, an effortless window management tool that eliminates the constant sizing and resizing of windows across monitors. Duncan, a programmer who heads up product at Jebbit, says, "Divvy is a window management tool that enables me to move and resize windows without taking my hands off the keyboard."

Features include:

  • Move and resize windows with the "Divvy grid"
  • Customizable grid size
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts
  • Compatible with multiple monitors

8. BlockSite—An end to mindless scrolling

While we all love to blame everyone else for the seemingly endless parade of distractions during the workday, we all know the terrible truth: most of the time, we’re our own worst enemies. Who hasn’t killed what could’ve been a productive hour mindlessly scrolling social media? Look no further than BlockSite: it does what it sounds like.

Key features include:

  • Scheduling when to block certain sites
  • Password protection to help protect you from yourself
  • Site redirection
  • Sync blocked sites and schedules across devices

9. SaneBox—Make your email work for you

If you’re distracted by an overflowing inbox full of half-relevant nonsense or emails you don’t want to deal with right now, SaneBox might be able to help you out.

Key features include:

  • Automatic sorting of distracting emails, newsletters, and CCs
  • Scheduling breaks from notifications
  • Scheduling arrivals to your main inbox
  • Create custom folders with examples, and SaneBox will sort them for you automatically

Dev productivity tools that save developers time

Devs are a creative bunch, and when it comes to building tools that can save themselves time, there is no shortage. Here are two of our favorite open source tools that'll save you some time:

10. GraphQL – a faster query language

Though one could debate whether an API query language is a productivity tool, developers love what GraphQL does for their efficiency. Created by Facebook and open-sourced in October 2015, GraphQL boasts lower payloads and less bloat compared to REST.

Nominated by Pedro Parra, a senior dev at MarketGoo, GraphQL is quickly gaining steam and may replace REST in the coming years. GraphQL helps users define service APIs and connect them with the server in the most efficient way possible. Rather than making five REST requests, developers can accomplish the same task with just one well-formed GraphQL request.

Features include:

  • Open source and free-to-use
  • Aggregate data from multiple UI components
  • Create natural data representations
  • Ensures data is statically typed

11. Babel – more efficient syntax translation

Browsers are notoriously slow to support upcoming JavaScript versions, and that's where Babel comes in. It's a JavaScript compiler that translates code written with the newest syntax – or even future syntax – into a version of the language with wider support. Babel helps users test and use syntax from the newer JavaScript versions without waiting for them to be compatible with browsers for more efficient testing.

Features include:

  • Integrates with build tools like Gulp, Grunt, and Webpack
  • Test syntax from new JS versions
  • An extensive list of plugins
  • Open source and free-to-use

Developer productivity apps for efficient security & compliance

Ensuring your product is secure and complying with privacy laws can involve many tedious tasks. Here are some of our picks for tools that save you time on security and compliance:  

12. CloudSploit – efficient AWS misconfiguration scanning

If you're one of the 1M+ Amazon Web Services users out there, you might want to check out CloudSploit. This security tool hooks into your AWS instance and regularly scans for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that could otherwise place your infrastructure at risk.

"While AWS provides an incredible amount of security options and offers solid protection for its users, the onus is on the user to properly configure them," notes the company. CloudSploit aims to find these misconfigurations, then provides suggestions for users to secure their accounts, saving development teams a ton of time on monitoring.

Features include:

  • Regular monitoring of AWS accounts for vulnerabilities
  • Free and open source with paid upgrades available for more frequent monitoring and other features
  • Slack integration
  • Email notifications
  • API access

13. Tonic.ai – fast, compliant ai-data generating for testing

Tonic.ai

Tonic.ai is self-dubbed the "fake data company." With Tonic.ai, devs can quickly create safe-to-use ai-generated data for running realistic pre-production environments. What does this have to do with productivity? Manually-generated data can be time-consuming to create and can lead devs to use actual private data that is non-compliant with privacy laws. With Tonic.ai, devs can model, shape, and size the data to their specific requirements without security issues.

Features include:

  • Generate production-quality privacy law-compliant (fake) data
  • Replicate user journeys to reproduce bugs
  • Shrink your database to speed up testing
  • Integrates with a wide variety of databases

Productivity tools for software developers that want to improve their focus

Getting in "the zone" can't always happen at will, and for that, we've got a few tricks (or should we say tools) up our sleeve for making it happen:

14. Brain.fm — Creativity-boosting beats, backed by science

Brain.fm

Most like listening to music, and it can certainly help get you through the driest of workdays. But most music is designed to get your attention and distract you. Where brain.fm differs is that it has been purpose-built to do just the opposite: blend into the background and help you focus.

Key features include:

  • Background blending that minimizes distraction
  • Neural phase locking that encourages neurons to coordinate activity
  • Gentle, rhythmic pulses in the music that help support sustained attention

15. Pomofocus — Improve your structure

The way you structure your work also affects your focus. You might want to try Pomofocus, which helps you use the Pomodoro technique. The technique breaks up work into timed intervals separated by short breaks, designed to maximize productive time and minimize downtime while avoiding burnout.

Key features include:

  • Being both desktop- and mobile-compatible
  • Responsive design and color-shifting to signal work vs. rest time
  • Audio notifications
  • Customizable timer intervals

Best tools for writing better quality code in record time

Sometimes you really do just need to get ship done. And, of course, it helps to code faster. Here are our choices for tools that help you write better-quality code faster:

16. Resharper – multipurpose tool for improving the quality of and generating code

Resharper isn't a new tool – it was originally released under the name IntelliJ back in 2000 – but continues to impress as a developer productivity tool. Resharper extends Microsoft Visual Studio with over 2000 inspections in various languages, providing quick fixes, unit tests, and more. With all of its features, one developer called it a "swiss army knife for developers."

Features include:

  • Autocompletion
  • Refactoring suggestions
  • Code quality analysis
  • Code generation for boilerplate code

17. Tabnine—Make the computer do the coding

Tabnine

If you’re getting bogged down in code work, Tabnine can help by using AI to complete your code. It uses context and syntax to predict and suggest your following lines of code. Basically, it’s autocomplete for developers.

The advantages are obvious: work faster and more easily. You’re essentially doing the same amount of coding but with fewer keystrokes and less mental effort.

Key features include:

  • Functions both locally and in the cloud
  • Analysis of coding patterns to make suggestions in line with your style
  • Covering coding languages from JavaScript and Python to Rust, Go, and Bash

18. GitHub Copilot – AI pair programming and auto-completion

GitHub calls Copilot its "AI pair programmer,"– and with its smart code suggestions, there's no doubt why. GitHub copilot is an AI trained on billions of lines of code that enables developers to save time writing boilerplate lines of code and reduce the risk of human error. According to GitHub, nearly 40% of the code is Copilot-generated in files where Copilot is enabled – think about how much time is saved!

Features include:

  • Works with a variety of popular editors
  • Suggests code and functions in real-time
  • Suggestions are based on your project's context and style conventions
  • Free for open source teams

19. Tuple – more efficient pair programming

Pair programming is often used to increase code quality, train developers, and reduce the likelihood of bugs. Pair programming, however, can sometimes come with challenges that slow down the process – challenges like screen sharing and only giving one programmer access to the controls. Tuple is easing those challenges by enabling both programmers to control mouse and keyboard functionality.

Features include:

  • Mouse and keyboard control for both programmers
  • Low CPU usage
  • Live streaming in 5K

Best developer productivity tool overall

When it comes to productivity tools, sometimes you can hit two birds with one stone. Here's our choice for best overall:

20. Zenhub – developer productivity insights, integrations and automation

agile workflow automation
Agile workflow automation in Zenhub

We'd be remiss not to mention Zenhub. It's the best way to help your software team focus and get more done. After all, Zenhub is built directly into GitHub to reduce context-switching and has tons of baked-in features that are dedicated to helping your team be more productive. Here's what that looks like for your team:

  • Get valuable insights and visibility into your team's productivity with real-time burndown charts, velocity tracking, release reports, and more.
  • Connect your codebase to your team's strategy with multi-repository boards powered by GitHub-derived data for a unified view of private and public repos and real-time roadmaps.
  • Spend less time in meetings and more time focusing on the code with automated agile processes, including automated sprint planning and workflows.

Learn more

If you’re curious about how to leverage Zenhub’s productivity powers, check out the blog we wrote about it, or better yet, try Zenhub for free. And if you’re finding distractions in GitHub itself, you might want to read our blog on how to avoid the most common ones.

Start improving your team's productivity by up to 75% today with Zenhub. Try for free.

Software DevelopmentDeveloper Productivity
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