Top Software Development Tools to maximize the productivity of a Software Project 

Software Development is essential for all business owners as it can bring them huge benefits in terms of revenue and increased user base. With the increased demand for custom software development, we have witnessed the inclusion of new software development tools and technologies in recent years.

According to statistics, about 80% of people spend their time using mobile and web apps. It indicates the increased demand for technology software solutions in the market.

You may come across a lot of challenges when it comes to developing software. Therefore, you need to have the right set of software development tools for software developers to convert an idea into reality.

The selection of tools to be used in the software development process can either make or break the project. Once the programming language and the target environment is set up, the next step in starting the software development project to choose tools that will be used throughout the development process.

In this article, we shall discuss:

What are the different types of Software Development Tools?

1. Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Integrated Development Environment Tool is used for developing applications that combine developer tools into a single GUI (Graphical User Interface). An IDE consists of a source code editor, debugger and local build automation. 

It allows developers to begin programming new apps quickly because various utilities don’t need to be configured manually. Using IDE, software developers don’t have to spend hours learning how to use different tools when every utility is provided in the same workbench. It is extremely useful for new developers who can depend on an IDE to get up to speed on a team’s workflow and standard tools. Features of IDEs are meant to save time by eliminating the need to type out full character sequences. 

Since a single GUI represents the utilities, developers can perform actions without migrating between applications. An IDE can be selected based on the following factors:  

  • Number of supported programming languages
    Some IDEs are dedicated to one programming language and are used to build specific applications. For example, IntelliJ is primarily known as a Java IDE to develop Java applications. On the other hand, there are IDEs that support a wide array of supported languages, for example, Eclipse IDE that supports XML, Python, Java and others. 
  • Automation features
    Though many IDEs involve 3 key features such as build automation, debugger and text editor, many include support for additional features like code search, continuous integration and continuous deployment tools and refactoring.
  • Plugins and Extensions
    Some IDEs have the ability to customize workflows to match the needs and preferences of developers.
  • Impact on System Performance
    It is essential to consider an IDE’s memory footprint if a developer wants to execute other memory-intensive apps concurrently.
  • Supported Operating Systems
    The operating system of a developer is also one of the factors that can help you decide which IDEs are viable. Also, if the application being developed is intended for an end-user with a specific operating system. 

2. Build Automation Tools

Software build tools are designed and developed to automate the creation of executable applications from the source code. They can automate several tasks including compiling and packaging code, running tests, downloading dependencies and deployment.

Build tools can be triggered through the command line inside an IDE or via continuous integration tools after checking the code from a repository.

There are different build tools for different languages. Build systems either use a domain-specific language or XML for specifying a build.

Following are the three types of build processes that allow developers to create a software build:

  • Continuous Integration Builds
    Using this process, developers merge the code to centralized mainline many times a day. It can prevent integration problems with buggy code when developers try to check-in at the last moment before a release. While deployments only involve preparing the code to run, CI builds are only used to run the code against a test suite.
  • Nightly Builds
    As the name indicates, nightly builds are referred to as scheduled builds. Builds are created at a scheduled time on a daily basis. The process usually takes place at night so that the build computer can compile the code during off-hours and developers test the build in the morning.
  • Gated check-in builds
    It is a software integration pattern where developers request a gated commit from the CI server before committing changes to the shared mainline. With gated check-in builds, developers can check whether changes break the build before committing them.

Here are some of the popular build tools used by software developers

  • Jenkins
    It is an open-source tool that can be used to perform the task of developing, testing and deploying software. It can be easily installed and works as a CI server and a continuous delivery hub. With features of easy configuration and extensibility, it allows automation of testing of builds and software deployment.
  • Apache Ant
    Apache Ant is to compile, assemble, test and execute Java applications. It comes with a feature to combine builds and dependency management. It allows developers to build antlibs that include ant tasks and types.It has in-built tasks for compiling, assembling, testing or running java applications.
  • Maven
    It is an application that offers functionalities for project management, project building, documentation and reporting. You can access the new features quickly through plugins. There is no restriction on developing the number of projects into JAR and WAR. You can work on various projects simultaneously. It offers a large repository of metadata and libraries.
  • BuildMaster
    It is a continuous integration and continuous deployment tool. It is used to perform continuous integration with automated unit testing and can be easily integrated with static analysis tools.It allows you to launch the software on containers, mobile, cloud, Kubernetes clusters, VMS or Linux Servers. It can be used to develop applications in .NET, Node.js, PHP and Java.

3. Code and Text Editors

Code editors are software designed to assist developers in coding. These are text editors with some additional functionalities to modify and manage code. Code editors are programming language-specific that support one or more than one programming language. It provides suggestions when developers write code and warn for any syntax errors. 

Following are some of the best code and text editors:

  • Atom
    It is an open-source text editor that allows the sharing and editing of projects in real-time and includes a GitHub package. It is a cross-platform system that works on various operating systems such as OS X, Windows and Linux. Though the tool is ideal for only code, its significant functionality comes into the picture when you collaborate with other people. 
  • Notepad++
    It is one of the most popular advanced text editors that charges no fee and comes in a compact package. It runs on Microsoft Windows and uses less computing power than the average text editor.

    What makes it different from other tools is that it is already translated into more than 80 languages, allowing people to access the tool all over the world. It provides a list of plugins to enhance the functionality of the text editor or integrate it with other programs. 

  • Sublime Text
    Sublime Text Editor is extremely lightweight but offers some of the significant features that you might not get out in any text editor. It provides shortcuts and search tools for finding specific tools immediately and making changes to multiple lines at once. It creates an index of all functions and methods automatically so that you can work with shortcuts and change them for locating bits of code. 

4. Source Control Tools

Software Development team needs a way to handle changes and version code in their codebases. They use source control tools that can track and manage changes to the code. It ensures that developers always work on the right version of source code. 

Source Control is essential to maintain a single source of truth for software development teams. Also, it can help enable collaboration and accelerate release velocity. Source control tools allow multiple developers to work on the common codebase. They can commit and combine code without any conflicts. They can also modify shared code without unknowingly overwriting each other’s work.

Following are some of the best Source Control Tools:

  • Git Source Control
    Git is one of the most popular source control tools that is often used by software development teams. Git source control options include GitLab, Bitbucket and GitHub. Providing strong support for non-linear development, it is compatible with existing protocols and systems like FTP, ssh and HTTP. 

    It is capable of managing small to large-sized projects efficiently. Using Git Source Control, code changes can be clearly and easily tracked. It provides GIT GUI where you can quickly re-scan, sign off, commit and push the code with only a few clicks. 

  • IBM Rational ClearCase
    Clear Case by IBM Rational is a client-server repository model and an enterprise-grade configuration management system that offers highly secure version control with work and build management support. It supports many operating systems, including Windows, Linux, AIX, Solaris and HP-UX.

    It supports two models, i.e., base ClearCase and UCM that stands for Unified  Change Management. It can maintain huge binary files, big repository sizes and a large number of files. It allows labeling, branching and versioning of directories. 

  • Revision Control System
    Developed by Thien-Thi Nguyen, Revision Control System supports the Unix-like platform and works on the local repository model. It is an early version of the version control system.

    It can be considered as a set of Unix commands that allows different users to develop and maintain program documents or code. It allows the revision of documents, then committing changes and merging documents together. 

5. Automated Software Testing Tools

Automation Testing means running the software programs that perform the execution of test cases automatically and generate test results without human intervention. It reduces human efforts and saves time up to a great extent. Leaving no or little scope for errors in testing, automated tests can be executed a number of times to test the same app while minimizing redundant manual work. 

Below are some of the top automated software testing tools:

  1. LambdaTest
    It is the best automation testing tool for web and desktop applications. You can perform both automated and manual cross-browser testing. You can reduce the testing time by half by conducting tests in parallel.  
  2. TestComplete
    It is the top automation testing tool for web, mobile and desktop applications. Using TestComplete, you can develop and run functional UI tests via replay and record capabilities. You can also run UI tests by scripting in your preferred languages, including JavaScript, VBScript, Python and many more.
  3. QMetry Automation Studio
    QMetry Automation Studio is one of the leading software automation tools built on open-source frameworks, Appium and Selenium and Eclipse IDE.

    It brings efficiency, reusability and structure to automation efforts. The studio aids advanced automation strategy with coded automation and facilitate manual teams to transition into automation easily with scriptless automation methods. 

  4. TestProject
    TestProject is end-to-end test automation for mobile, web and API testing. Supported by the top test automation community with thousands of users. It is a scriptless test recorder for non-technical users and comes with 200+ community-powered addons.

    TestProject allows developers to distribute test execution locally and in the cloud. You can also create and execute tests on Windows, macOS, Linux and Docker. 

Factors you should consider when selecting the right Software Development Tool

You can consider various factors when deciding which tools can help you develop software. Each team needs to consider different factors when making decisions on tools to use in the software development of any project. 

Following are some of the factors a software development team should consider when choosing the software development tools:

  • Usefulness
    It is a significant factor when you have to decide what is the use of a specific tool and what usefulness its implementation will provide to the completion of the project.
  • Company Standards
    In smaller and larger organizations, the use of specific tools will be essential to comply with established policy or achieve goals. Standardization of tools can help an organization switch developers between projects when required. It gives management an assurance that the same processes are implemented among the different projects.  
  • Overhead
    Every software has a learning curve to one degree or another. Complicated tools also need time and effort to integrate into existing software and deploy with the team. In addition to the learning curve and initial deployment, there are tools that take some amount of effort and time to use. This overhead should be considered when estimating the overall value of the tool.
  • Integration
    How efficiently a tool integrates with other tools significantly impacts the value it adds to the project and the team. Therefore, ensure to confirm what type of integration is provided by a specific tool when selecting the software development tool for your project.  

Conclusion

The selection of software development tools is a crucial step in the development of a software application. You can find a wide array of tools available in the market – some of the popular tools have been discussed above. You can choose from many specific products based on their type or category.

As a software development company, we work on the best software development tools to ensure the quick and efficient delivery of software projects. We select tools that assure the quality of the software while keeping them up to date. 

Author’s Bio

Akash Takyar
Akash Takyar
CEO LeewayHertz
Akash Takyar is the founder and CEO at LeewayHertz. With the experience of building over 100+ platforms for startups and enterprise allows Akash to rapidly architect and design solutions that are scalable and beautiful.
Akash's ability to build enterprise-grade technology solutions has attracted over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Siemens, 3M, P&G and Hershey’s. Akash is an early adopter of new technology, a passionate technology enthusiast, and an investor in AI and IoT startups.

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