7 Must-Have Developer Tools in 2020

2 min. read

As a developer, the tools we use on a day-to-day basis can improve many aspects of the daily coding grind. I wanted to compile a list of some of the popular development tools I just couldn't see myself coding without. Some are super simple tools that are used occasionally and others are things that I use on a daily basis.


Visual Studio Code

First up, we have what has become indistinguishable in many developers life and that is VS Code. When Microsoft release the first version I wasn't sure what to think. Most of my early development was doing C# and using Visual Studio Community or Professional. But man has Microsoft proved all the haters wrong, with each monthly release of VS Code it just keeps getting better and better.



Next up, is what I would consider one of the best Git GUI's around. It is with electron just like VS Code so it is cross-platform out of the box. Sure VS Code can do most of the basics right inside the IDE and this is where I usually do my commits from. But when it comes to merges, rebases, cherry picking, etc I find nothing beats using GitKraken.


Beyond Compare

Sometimes things don't always go as planned, maybe you decided to do a refactor and you end up with a merge that goes sideways. Or maybe you need to compare two source folders to see what has changed and create a single output using a 3-way merge. Keeping things in sync can sometimes be a pain or you need to do some routine backups. No matter your use case, Beyond Compare has your back. Again being a cross-platform application makes it useful for Windows or Mac users.



When I'm using my Mac I typically use the built in ability to take screenshots, which for the most part does what I need. However, when I'm doing things that require a Windows machine I usually install Greenshot from the get-go. I like to set the print screen button as my hotkey and find this super useful. Sure, it might not be as feature-rich as Snagit but it is free and has most of the same capabilities.



Do enough front-end development and you will at some point need to reach for a color picker. This is where Sip comes in handy, with it you can figure out and collect colors from any application, not just from web apps. It allows you to easily collect colors and put them into palettes that you use on a regular basis.


Finding things has improved dramatically with the release of Windows 10. Just hit the windows key and start typing. However, when using my Mac I felt like I need something a little extra. You can use Spotlight and have a lot of success. But for me, I love the extra goodies you get when you install Alfred.



If there is one tool you should probably install before everything else, it is a password manager. There are so many options out there these days, LastPass, DashLane, 1Password and many more. I have been a long time user of LastPass and although it is probably more expensive than the others I couldn't live without it.

Big shout out to Dave Geddski for inspiring this post. If you haven't checked out his website, you should, he makes fantastic games that help you learn all aspects of front-end coding.

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Justin Waldrip

Angular • React • Ionic • NestJS • C# • Azure • Next.js