Top Software Development Tools of 2021
In today’s remote work environment, collaborating on software development projects has grown increasingly complex. Organizations of all sizes need the ability to streamline their workflow and manage projects while working with developers across the globe. The question is, how exactly can teams collaborate on projects in an efficient, timely manner?
Software development tools are a game-changing solution for developers and programmers to remain ahead of the curve. High-quality software development tools encourage new innovations while fostering teamwork, communication, and collaboration amongst countless organizations and industries. Essential capabilities include but aren’t limited to:
- Editing code
- Code sharing
- Tracking coding changes
- Project pipeline management
- Website testing
- Workplace communication
- Software deployment
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. Each expert has shared their favorite tools, along with each tool’s features and benefits. Afterward, you’ll be equipped with the insights you need to make a sound purchase decision.
Why Are Software Development Tools Used?
Software development tools are used to manage IT-based projects at every stage of the development process. An advanced tool will enable team members to collaborate regardless of the time zone or geographic location. As developers make code changes to software and applications, all changes are tracked with a version control system. The version control system records each developers’ changes to open source code, providing complete transparency to all of the stakeholders involved.
Software development tools also offer the following features:
- Debugging: Recognize and eliminate errors from IT software, hardware, and systems
- User Interface Design: Design software and programs with an emphasis on usability
- Testing: Implement and test coding changes
- Security: Check systems for potential and existing vulnerabilities
- Automation: Automate systems and processes to scale output
- Deployment: Merge tested changes from the test environment to the production environment
- Project Management: Assign tasks, manage pipelines, identify roadblocks, and communicate with team members
Next, we’ll dive into each of the top thirty-four software development tools, recommended by the industry experts.
Bamboo builds, tests, and deploys software projects for all team sizes. It contains two different licensing options, ranging from $10-$1,500 and onwards, based on the number of remote agents. You can try Bamboo for free for thirty days with unlimited local agents.
Bamboo is an Atlassian software deployment platform that automates the process of building, testing, and deploying patches into applications, freeing up developers’ time to concentrate on product development. The tool enables IT, teams, to keep a close eye on deployment activity and provides end-to-end insight into release deployment across the network. It also helps to identify bugs and errors as soon as they occur, allowing for prompt action to be taken.
– Veronica Miller, Cybersecurity Expert, VPNoverview
Embold analyzes code and flags potential issues. The issues are displayed in a visual manner for corrections to be made. Embold offers three licensing tiers. You can sign up for free with either GitHub or Bitbucket.
Embold is an inactive analysis platform that offers AI-assisted code trial that not only distinguishes ineffective code and vulnerabilities but also recommends solutions to rectify them. The best part is you can get it immediately in your IDE—other than a cloud and on-prem instance, Embold proposes a free plugin for Intellij IDEA, so you can tap possible bugs, vulnerabilities and code detects in Java, with high-speed scanners that get you quick feedback as you alter the code, assuring that you can fix them before making commits.
– Thilo Huellmann, CEO, Levity.ai
3. Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is an open-source, code editing platform. It integrates with Git, in addition to various extensions including Version Lens, CodeStream, and Python. Visual Studio Code can be downloaded for free.
My favorite software development tools are Visual Studio Code. Visual Studio Code is probably one of the best and the most popular code editors that I use every time when I need to write a code. It’s free and supports all the languages I need. It makes the process easier because it has embedded syntax checking that simplifies debugging as you notice the error before it breaks your code.
– Joe Terrell, Founder, Web-Developer, & Entrepreneur, Drifted
Linx assists with developing and hosting custom APIs, integrations, and automation. It contains five different licensing plans from $49-$199 per month and onwards. Its Starter plan offers a free trial period, prior to making a purchase.
Linx is a low code advancement tool for the configuration and automation of backend services. IT specialists use Linx for code-free, enterprise-grade unification, business method automation, and data synchronization. Linx is the ideal fit for businesses wishing to build applications without the nuisance of building, designing, and maintaining a custom backend technology stack.
– Jeff Cooper, Manager, Messagely
Kite streamlines the coding process through AI-powered capabilities. It provides support for sixteen different languages and code editors.
It offers three licensing tiers priced monthly from $24.90-$40. It can also be downloaded for free with limited access to features.
We use the Kite code completion tool because it is safe, easy-to-use, and uses deep-learning guides trained on open source code to deliver the most distinguished code completion confidence. Numerous developers use Kite than any other code completion tool because it is secure, easy-to-use, and uses deep learning models trained on open source code to achieve the highest code completion confidence.
– Julian Goldie, CEO, Goldie Agency
GitHub is a famous development platform that caters to over 56 million developers and more than 3 million organizations. They service numerous renowned clients such as Adobe, Dell Technologies, and Ford.
You’ll have the option of purchasing three different plans, ranging from $4-$21 per month. You can also sign up for a forty-five-day free trial of their Enterprise Server plan.
GitHub is one of my favorites that is fantastic for front-end developers. It allows for code sharing, with great interactivity features that help build skills much more quickly than learning on your own. I use this tool at least weekly, to keep up with trends and new code development to both inspire and inform me on industry trends so I can keep my platform ahead of the curve as much as possible.
– Brian Dechesare, Founder, Breaking Into Wall Street
If I had to name a tool I couldn’t live without they would definitely be Atom. Atom is a free and open-source text editor which provides developers with a platform to create responsive and interactive web applications, whether it is for macOS, Linux, or Windows. It is really easy to hack and modify, which makes it, at least for me, the best text editor out there. I find myself using this tool on a daily basis and I think it will continue to be that way for at least the next couple of years.
– Tom Winter, Co-Founder, DevSkiller
Tinkerwell is a desktop tool that specializes in PHP code. It supports various frameworks like WordPress, Magento, and Laravel. It offers four pricing options ranging from $29.99-$420, based on the number of licenses your team requires.
Our favorite and most used software development tool is Tinkerwell. Tinkerwell is a platform that allows developers to run any PHP code on a remote environment in just a matter of seconds. It has an easy-to-use interface and it’s perfect to quickly run a Laravel Eloquent query on the company’s database. We use this tool daily because it is useful as it saves money and time, and we believe this is the future of tools for software developers.
– Juan Sarmiento, Software Developer, Artify
9. Zend Studio and Bootstrap
Zend Studio is a development environment for PHP. It specializes in intelligent code editing, profiling, debugging, and app deployment. It’s interoperable with Git, GitHub, CVS, and SVN.
Zend Studio is used by many notable companies such as Prada, Disney, and eBay. It includes four licensing options with prices ranging from $89-$670. It also offers a free thirty-day trial.
Bootstrap is a frontend, open-source tool that designs and customizes responsive websites, with a mobile-first emphasis. It offers several CSS and HTML templates to create user-friendly interfaces. Bootstrap is free to download.
Zend Studio and Bootstrap are among my favorites. One lets me code and improve my PHP projects while another is for adding to my project’s interface a standardized look.
– Caroline Lee, Co-Founder & Growth Marketer, Cocosign
10. Studio 3T
Studio 3T offers MongoDB tools for managing aggregation stages, imports, exports, and SQL migrations. Its clients include Microsoft, Tesla, and Atlassian. Its three different pricing plans cost $199-$699 per year, based on the number of users needed.
I use Studio 3T when I need to generate queries and codes faster and effectively. With effective field-level data obfuscation, the Data Masking tool in Studio 3T facilitates data enforcement and strengthens security. This one is a lifesaver, so it is a part of my daily software development process.
– Alina Clark, Co-Founder & Marketing Director, CocoDoc
11. JetBrains Rider
JetBrains Rider is a .Net IDE that offers cross-platform capabilities. It allows developers to create a large variety of applications, as well as providing over 2200 live code inspections. It runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Rider can be purchased individually for $139 for the first year of use. It can also be purchased with other JetBrains products, with annual prices ranging from $149-$249.
I used to work with Visual Studio (not Code, the ‘big’ brother of it) for almost all my career, and recently switched to Rider. It was not an easy choice, it’s like betraying a long knows friend, but there were certain reasons why it was necessary, and the first one is speed. Rider words significantly faster than the combination of Visual Studio + ReSharper, and it definitely worth changing habits. I use this tool every single day.
– Oksana Kushnir, Smm-specialist, Exoft
NetBeans offers cross-platform text editing capabilities with Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, and more. This tool can be downloaded completely free of charge.
– Oliver Andrews, Owner, OA Design Services
Cloud9 is an intuitive cloud-based environment. It’s great for testing, building, and updating websites. My team and I love it because it supports many common coding languages, and it allows for many coding shortcuts. It’s the best way to test apps and sites in the cloud as you create them. We use Cloud9 all the time to tweak and update our sites.
– Antti Alatalo, CEO, Smart Watches 4U
14. Zoho Creator
Zoho Creator is a low code development platform that enables users to build and customize applications. This platform is also an excellent option for beginners who have limited coding experience. Whirlpool, Zomato, and Audible are all distinguishable brands that use Zoho Creator.
You can choose from three monthly plans that cost $10-$35 monthly. If you’re still on the fence, opt into their fifteen-day free trial sign-up.
Zoho Creator builds business apps with less amount of coding delivering finished projects faster. With the rapidity it allows, we are able to test more projects than before, finding successful results with usually binned ideas. It’s fast and apps can be built in a fraction of a time, allowing for enterprise growth. Along with its uncompromising security feature, I find it the best option.
– Jerry Han, Chief Marketing Officer, PrizeRebel
Git is a rebound version control system that’s used by Microsoft, Google, and Netflix. You can download it from anywhere for free.
As a technology manager and a software engineer, it is hard to look past Git as one of my favorite tools for development. Git is a distributed version control system that allows development teams to contribute code to a codebase, and record a complete change history for a software project. When combined with online git hosting tools such as Bitbucket, Gitlab, or Github, teams can collaborate through the use of pull requests to seek feedback and review each other’s work to make sure that code meets agreed team standards of quality. My team uses Git every day. It is crucial to our ability to manage and maintain our codebase.
– Greg Skerman, Head of Software Engineering, iSeekplant
16. Octopus Deploy
Octopus Deploy provides deployment services to more than 25,000 organizations. Notable clients include NASA, Disney, and DocuSign.
You can choose to either access Octopus Deploy through your server or your cloud. The first ten deployments are free, with prices starting at $2,300 based on the number of additional deployment targets.
Octopus Deploy, which is compatible with ASP.Net, Java, Node.js, and Windows services, enables IT teams to deploy in the cloud, corporate data center, and on-site environments. The tool also enables the system-wide automation of emergency and routine activities. Its simple and intuitive dashboard assists IT teams in automatically upgrading config files and tracking application status. Employees who want to learn more about the tool can benefit from the free customer training tutorials.
– Eric McGee, Senior Network Engineer, TRGDatacenters
SolarWinds offers an array of IT solutions such as IT security, network management, database management, and systems management. You can test out the different tools with a thirty-day free trial, prior to making a commitment. Afterward, prices will vary.
Using SolarWinds Patch Manager, administrators can deploy software to thousands of Microsoft workstations, servers, and third-party applications. Admins can monitor changes to applications and conduct rollouts during continuous deployment using the dynamic automated scheduling function. During device deployment across the entire network, the tool helps administrators to customize configurations. You can also create custom software packages or use pre-defined software packages to suit your requirements.
– Daniel Foley, SEO Manager, CloudTech24
Puppet is open-source software that’s comprised of tasks and stages to effectively prepare projects for deployment. Additional tasks consist of testing, impact analysis, and task staging, to streamline each stage of the development process. Projects can either be managed with code or the web UI, based on your preference.
Puppet’s features can be accessed for free for ten days. Once you decide to make a purchase, you’ll need to contact their sales team for pricing options.
From seamlessly migrating your deployment infrastructure to a Puppet workflow to pushing automation through the majority of your applications, Puppet can do it all. Since everything is described in code, there is no need for complex inventory management systems and changing configurations is easy. Using Puppet Pipelines you can deploy across all systems or to specific systems on a schedule.
– Dusan Stanar, Founder & CEO, VSS Monitoring
Rancher is a comprehensive Kubernetes management platform for organizations utilizing containers. It helps streamline containerized projects with a variety of integrated tools for DevOps.
With Rancher, Kubernetes clusters can be deployed in the cloud or on-premise. If you’re interested in pricing options, you must submit a quote on Rancher’s official website.
Rancher helps in the transition from traditional deployment setup to containers. You can use it to get everything you need for a Kubernetes deployment into containers and ready roll out. Rancher is a complete solution for automating deployment, with the added benefit of allowing you to migrate to Kubernetes with minimal effort on your part. Rancher is capable of managing several clusters. All of your policies can be handled in one location.
– Lee Grant, CEO, Wrangu
Shippable is a DevOps automation platform that enables teams to create, test, and deploy applications at any time. In addition, you can utilize their security features to identify potential issues in real-time. To access Shippable, you must have an account with either GitHub or Bitbucket.
You can start using Shippable for free with select cloud providers. Once your free service ends, you’ll need to inquire about potential pricing options.
Shippable unifies all of your favorite tools under one roof to help you develop and simplify your deployments. To manage objects, testing, deployment, source control, and updates, you can use a variety of services or software provided by shippable.
– Chris Taylor, Marketing Director, Profit Guru
21. JetBrains TeamCity
JetBrains TeamCity is a CI/CD solution with an emphasis on team workflow and development. It’s used by over 30,000 customers, with notable brands like HP, Ferrari, and Citibank. It also integrates with multiple plugins including Octopus Deploy and Qodana.
License prices vary significantly, ranging from $299-$21,999. You can also get a free sixty-day evaluation license prior.
TeamCity’s open-source version allows you to create up to 100 different project configurations and run up to three builds at the same time. It also keeps track of your code and testing to alert you when you get sloppy. Create up to 100 different build configurations to use. Three builds can be run at the same time. Before committing to the deployment, test your code on the target.
– Michael Robinson, Security Expert, CheapSSLsecurity
CodePen is a social community for web developers and front-end designers to develop, code, test, and deploy websites. CodePen attracts numerous teams, including Grubhub, Adobe, and Salesforce. You can choose from four pricing plans, ranging from $0-$26 per month, depending on the tier.
– Tomasz Mlodzki, CEO, photoAiD
23. Dev-C++ by SourceForge
SourceForge’s Dev-C++ is a C/C++IDE that can be downloaded completely free of charge. Its features include GDB debugging, code completion, GPROF profiling, syntax highlight, and more.
Dev-C++ turns C++ code into programs that can be used on a computer. It is free, simple to use, and it works on older computers. I use this tool almost for every project and for reference.
– Alexander Mesfin
Buddy is a leading internet of things (IoT) and cloud-based platform, with a focus on providing digital transformations for customers worldwide. Notable customers consist of Six Flags, Rakuten, and Costa. You can get started with Buddy for free or upgrade to one of their three paid license tiers, ranging from $35-$200 per month.
I’m slightly obsessed with Buddy at the moment. Buddy is a tool for web developers and it uses delivery pipelines to allow developers to deploy, test, and build software quickly and easily – in fact, so fast that it takes just 15 minutes on the configuration. The tool also runs built-in isolated containers as well as supporting frameworks, languages, and task managers. I’m currently using Buddy several times a week.
– Jack Zmudzinski, Senior Associate, future-processing.com
25. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is a cross-platform source text editor used for code, prose, and markup. It sports a Python application programming interface while supporting several other markup languages and programming languages. Its features also include split editing, instant project switches, and robust APIs.
You can download Sublime for free to get an initial feel for the product. Afterward, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid individual or business license. Individual licenses start at a one-time cost of $80, while paid licenses begin at $65 per year.
We use Sublime Text to edit code. It’s basically a text editor that knows which language you are programming in and can run build scripts. Our favorite aspect is that it’s fast and easy to use on a daily basis.
– Jesse Brede, CEO, Lion’s Share Digital
26. RAD Studio
Rad Studio is an innovative IDE tool that caters to Android, Linux, iOS, macOS, and Windows. It’s used by more than 3 million organizations to design powerful applications.
You can choose from one of their three annual licenses ranging from $1,923-$4,223. Alternatively, you’ll have the option of registering for a thirty-day free trial.
As a software developer, my favorite development tool is RAD Studio. RAD Studio is a powerful Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for building native apps on different operating systems. It is helpful to design beautiful desktop and mobile App User’s Interface (UI) with less coding effort. RAD Studio is a better choice because of the ease and speed of development and the ability to design whatever you can think of. I use RAD Studio regularly in my work.
– Krishna Rungta, Founder, Guru99
Hirundin is a suite of software development tools that assist with creating, testing, analyzing, and deploying websites. Its features consist of customer journey mapping, user archetype templates, and research development insights. Hirundin costs $47 monthly or $470 annually with the option of a seven-day free trial.
My favorite tool, which I use every day, is Hirundin. For the former, it’s a fantastic, lightweight, extensible code editor which I can set up how I want, is quick to launch and handles huge files easily, and works on every platform I work with. It’s also astonishingly good value given the number of hours I’ve spent using it, and it doesn’t require a load of configuration to get up and running.
– Peter Watson-Wailes, Founder & CTO, Tough & Competent
Quickbase services a variety of industries to better connect organizations through data, collaboration, and systems. Their notable clients include Sprint, Columbia, and KAYAK.
They offer three different licensing tiers with the option of a thirty-day free trial. If you decide to upgrade to a paid plan, you’ll need to request a pricing quote online.
My favorite software development tool is Quickbase. Quickbase is a cloud-based, no-code/low-code application development platform. Quickbase allows users to quickly and easily solve complex business problems. Their solutions can be scaled and their integration tool, Pipelines, allows you to sync data across multiple systems in real-time. I use Quickbase every day to solve my clients’ problems.
– TJ Lawless, Senior Solutions Consultant, Quandary
Sourcetree is a Git client that caters to Mac OS X and Windows. It’s a desktop client that’s ideal for both beginners and experts alike to better interact with Git repositories. Sourcetree can be downloaded for free at any time.
I use Sourcetree. It helps to visualize Git history and solve merge conflicts quickly. For some unusual and complicated cases, it is much better than built-in IDE Git tools or Terminal. I use this tool daily as a primary development instrument.
– Ihor Diachenko, CTO, Cadabra Studio
30. Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft Visual Studio is a fully-featured IDE software that allows users to write code, run tests prior to release, and debug and diagnose errors. Its features allow for effective deployment. Visual Studio offers four paid subscription tiers, ranging from $499.00 to $5,999.00.
Our team uses Visual Studio for the development of embedded software. We use this software daily, depending on the target of the firmware. When implemented correctly, Visual Studio represents the most feature-complete design, build and target flow.
– Michael Garrett, CEO, Garrett Technologies Inc.
Project Management Software
Lucidchart is an intelligence diagramming application that allows teams to visualize their ideas, processes, projects, and data. Users have the ability to co-author projects and communicate with one another in real-time through in-editor chats. Lucidchart offers a free pricing plan and three paid tiers, starting at $7.95 per month.
One of my favorite tools is Lucidchart. Being able to map out and visualize workflows has been an invaluable tool to explain how something is going to function. We use this tool daily to show clients sitemaps, workflows, functionality, and timelines. It helps us spend more time planning what we’re going to build and get on the same page before we waste any time building something that no one asked for.
– Ryan Conway, Owner, Digital Tradesman
Trello enables teams to come together and manage projects from anywhere in the world. It services notable clients including Squarespace, Google, and Costco. You can sign up for a free account or upgrade to one of Trello’s paid plans, starting at $10 per month.
One of the top tools for software developers today is the collaboration tool Trello. Trello is a tool that helps you track and manage everything that’s happening across your entire development team. There are other tools that serve a similar purpose, but the fact is that modern software development is simply unimaginable without tools like Trello.
– Akram Assaf, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Bayt.com
Mural empowers digital teams to efficiently collaborate with one another. It caters to organizations of all industries and sizes. Notable clients consist of Intuit, Zapier, and IBM.
Mural has three license tiers starting at $12 per month. Larger-sized memberships cost $20 and upwards per month.
Mural is an easy-to-understand tool for visual cooperation. It would work regardless of whether we wish to host a storming event, workshops, scrum events, or have multiple boards at their discretion for the squad. The Mural helps you create a different space for each of them if you operate in multiple groups, making it easier to manage entry and coordinate murals. We often use it with our clients while conducting workshops remotely.
– Janusz Hain, Android Developer, Applover
34. Zoho Projects
Zoho Projects is a digital project management platform that offers solutions for day-to-day business projects. Its capabilities allow you and your team to plan new projects, assign tasks, track existing pipelines, and collaborate. Zoho Projects also offers seamless third-party integrations with tools like Slack and Google Drive.
It’s used by a variety of clients, including Standford University, Dell Technologies, and NFI. Zoho Projects offers three license options, with prices ranging from $0-$10. To test out paid features prior to making a purchase, you can sign up for a ten-day free trial.
My favorite software development tool is Zoho Projects. Zoho Projects combines project management and automation. Its other popular, customizable features are task management, kanban boards, reporting, time-tracking, Gantt charts, and chat functionality. We use Zoho Projects daily.
– Tehsin Bhayani, CEO & Founder, AirMason
Workplace Communication Software
Slack is a workplace communication tool that’s organized into chat rooms. Unlike email, Slack allows for immediate communication amongst team members.
Over 250,000 organizations use Slack, with clients like Fox, Target, and Carvana. Small teams can access Slack for free, while larger teams will pay $12.50 per month and onwards.
My favorite software development is none other than Slack. Slack helped us reduce the number of daily emails we got while also enhancing contact between teams. We build different channels in Slack and always have a common one where we exchange company news, jokes, and other data.
– Benjamin Rose, Co-founder, Trainer Academy
TimeOut’s leave management system tracks paid time off and breaks through automated processes. You can approve employee’s requests, track their time, and review their accrual history. Its minimum monthly cost is $60.
TimeOut is a tool for small breaks. Small breaks at the right time help our developers stay fresh, healthy, and concentrated during the whole workday. We use it on a daily basis during our Product Development process.
– Alex Bulavka, CTO, Stormotion
All in all, the right software development tools have the ability to transform team collaboration, maximize productivity, and assist with driving meaningful results. 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.