The Developer Tools I Use (2021 Edition)

Here are the list of tools that I use in my developer life 🔥🔥.

Almost all of the tools are free, or reasonably priced. We live in exciting times - a developer in a “developing country” can do business globally by using the most amazing tools that humankind has produced.

Note before you scroll -

  • This will be a WIP post in perpetuity
  • I am writing the post in mid 2020 and call it 2021 edition. If that does not convince you to stop reading, I am sure nothing can
  • The list is focused on platforms and tools to make a developer’s life easier - I code mostly for the web (so YMMV)
  • I consider programming platforms and languages “tools”, but they are covered at the very end so that you can rage quit this page after scrolling all the way down
  • This is not an ad and I will gain little from you agreeing with me (maybe affiliate income to make me a millionaire by accumulating pennies - but those will be clearly suffixed with afl, which stands for affiliate link)
  • You may not share my love for these tools and that is ok. Don’t waste your precious time to review, comment and try to justify why Pluto is not a planet (it is)

Also - there is little of pretty pictures and marketing talk.

Coding

VSCode

It is 2020 and there is no reason for anyone to use any other code editor - except, maybe, if you can’t download enough RAM.

I have nothing but gratitude for developers who created VSCode, and for the many many kind souls who created great extensions on it.

Github

Code + version control + some basic actions to automate tasks + host.

Next on my list of admiration - Github has simplified my code version control + backup. And, since I am a lesser mortal - I still do not have an “all green” Github profile.

Alternatives:

Design

Logos

Hatchful @ Shopify

Hatchful was probably the first decent and easy enough logo creator that simply works. There are quite a few tools now but I still go back to Hatchful for every new product I create.

Alternatives:

Icons

Icon Generators

Generate icons in multitude of standard sizes.

Images

What does a developer do with images?

Many many image sites
A few illustration sites

Whoever says no to illustrations.

Desktop Power Tools

Make peace with your OS

  • Cmder: Saved me from searching from a dozen command line windows - now I can search with tabs instead. Slow to start than the new (in preview) Microsoft Terminal, but the features are far far too many for me to switch.
  • WSL2: I was holding my breath for the May 2020 release since May 2019 - Linux on Windows, fast Docker.
  • Ditto Clipboard Manager: Yes, you need that thing called clipboard manager.

Media & Presentation

  • ShareX: Take screenshots and rejoice.

  • LICEcap: Record quick demos through GIFs.

VPS, Website Hosting and such

  • Netlify: The greatest host that the world has seen - for static sites
  • Hetzner: Cheap, reliable.
  • Digital Ocean aff: Location’s everything, and there’s certainly one near you. Link gets you $60 credits.
  • Jelastic: Not in the mood to host? You should totally try out this PaaS.
Inexpensive Wordpress Hosts
Domains

Find domains and pricing -

Website Development

Hugo

The static site generator that is rumoured to have changed the speed of earth’s rotation also happens to be the best at its job.

Gridsome

And then God said - “let there be a SSG that is SPA”.

Wordpress

For those times when you need a website within 15 min flat.

Other
  • Vuepress: Create a really quick documentation site
  • 11ty: The SSG that deserves a lot more love

Programming Languages

I would have loved to query everything I admire, but that would have been the next Mahabharata. So, the list on programming languages (and platforms might I add) is focused on things I use at least six times an year.

Javascript

There is little in the world that makes this much sense.

C#

I would love to code everything in C# one day - but that day may never come.

Other
  • Python: Oh.. I wish I knew more about this beautiful thing.
  • Go: Makes the world go round and round. Not quite, but it’s super cool

Application Development: Frontend

VueJS

The framework that makes a lot of sense.

Svelte

Still on the fence on this one, but I use it anyway.

Styling: Quasar:

The best styling library + Vue-based UI framework that there is - many, many useful components and utilities

Styling: Other
  • Vuetify: The most popular library for Vue
  • Buefy: where performance matters
Charts: echarts - Apache

You don’t need any other charting library.

Application Development: Backend

Node

This is the only thing that made sense, and still does :). If there is one thing from this planet that you want to take with you in a H2G2 situation - I choose Node.

Fast development, many useful libraries, and easy deployments.

Node comes prepackaged with npm, but you have to absolutely try -

  • pnpm - save space, lots of space.
  • yarn - fast, but headed in a new direction with v2
AdonisJS

Fast, light-weight, stable, and well-structured. The development is quite slow, and there is a smaller community - but this absolutely rocks the world (or whoever uses the framework).

FeathersJS

Make service, not MVC.

StrapiJS

Been using it since alpha, one of the best free CMS’s out there.

Alternatives:

  • Keystone: v5 has some great improvements, but I miss the template driven sites)
Fastify

The low-overhead framework.

ASP.net

Not quite back-end alone. It is “blazing” its way forward, but I don’t use it enough to show more love.

Also - industry-standard for the next twenty years, or until the world ends in 2050.

Application Development: Supporting Tools

Chrome

You didn’t expect this - did you?

I may cry about Chrome performance all day, but the fact is simple - my debugging has never been easier.

Alternatives:

Laragon

Keep your webserver and databases organised - even when you don’t use Laravel. Just like XAMPP and cousins, but much more flexible.

DB Tools
  • HeidiSQL: Small, fast, and invaluable DB client for MySQL. Works on Postgres as well - but with more meh.
Testing
  • Insomnia: Test your APIs like there’s no tomorrow
Prettier

Deserves a mention even though it is plugged into the code editor or linter. Has probably saved thousands of hours that would have otherwise been spent on aligning lines, brackets, and educating others on how to tab (and why space is a bad idea; and don’t even get me started on lazies who ignore semicolon).

Regex 101

“Regex is easy”, said no one.

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