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Best tools for productive programmers

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Best tools for productive programmers

On April 3, 2017, Posted by , In Blog, With No Comments

When you go onto a construction site you notice that practitioners of the skilled trades bring their own tools. In an auto-repair shop, the company provides the heavy equipment, but every mechanic has a personal chest filled with Snap-On tools. So it goes with software developers in most organizations. But most programmers have a few tools that work the way they want a tool to work.


Github is the largest and most widely known Git repository service. Its wide variety of public repositories have made Github a popular cloud service for open source teams, writers, and creative teams that span a range from app developers to environmentalists. If your projects can live in the open, then Github is free for you to use to your heart’s content. If you need some privacy, though, you’ll have to pay at least a little bit for the privilege. With pricing that starts at the equivalent of a couple of macho-mocha-frappa-whatzit beverages each month, the cost is not a huge burden. You can always drop back to the free version when your need for privacy ends.


SourceTree is that free client for Git and Mercurial repositories. This is a nice GUI client that allows you to work with repositories at a variety of services. It lowers the macho quotient, since it removes the CLI requirement, but it more than makes up for that by allowing you to collaborate with people who have not been programming since early Emacs days. There is not a Linux version but if you are using either Windows or Mac OS X for your development platform, SourceTree is a tool that could make version control easier and much more visual.


When you are working with other developers, you will probably need to communicate. Since email is orders of magnitude too slow for today’s business needs, an enterprise-class communication system designed with developers in mind is needed. Slack is your solution. It is a messaging system that can be thought of as a buttoned-down business ICQ. The concepts of channels and groups are similar to ICQ. Private messages are also available. It’s easy to send files and other digital assets back and forth using Slack, but Slack’s best quality for development teams may be that it saves discussions and creates a database of topics that have been discussed.


Trello is all about lists. Most of them will be to-do lists, but there’s no reason to limit the lists to one type. If you want to have lists of feature ideas, it’s easy to create them in Trello, and then move the items to a to-do list when it’s time to implement. In many ways, Trello is the embodiment of a perfect cloud app. Your lists live in the cloud, where they can be accessed from any of your devices. You can invite other Trello users to share a Trello board and it becomes a group list manager in a matter of moments. Trello is free, though you can pay a few dollars a month for Trello Gold if you need to attach files of up to 250 MB to your list items. Trello Gold also brings you different colors for your boards, and a whole fleet of emojis. If your programming team communicates through emojis, then Gold is definitely the way to go.

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