In Commentary, Full Stack Web Development

5 Tools Every Programmer Should Use

Every trade has tools that are needed to do work, and this is especially true in computer programming. One could probably use notepad and save their code to a floppy disk, but tools have evolved to be much more functional and a pleasure to use. The cool thing about programming is that there is always room to grow and improve; the same comes into play with learning new tools. Here are five tools every programmer should use when coding.

Great editor

Several of the editors that I stick close to are the Sublime Text, Textmate, and Vim. I tend to lean more towards Vim only because I have become used to its commands and the lack of mouse usage. Plus, you get bragging rights just about everywhere you go. Sometimes, I need to sift through list of data or do some front end work, so I tend to use Sublime Text. Textmate was my previous editor and is now open source, so I included it for your consideration.

REPL program

Another great tool when you are learning a new language or testing stuff out is a great REPL tool for that language. REPL stands for Read-Eval-Print Loop. You can run the languages’ syntax through its provided REPL, giving you a better understanding of how the code works. Below is a list of REPLs I have used in the past:

  • PHP $ php -a
  • PHP psysh
  • Ruby $ irb
  • Rails $ rails
  • Javascript in the Chrome console

Great browser

I listed the Chrome inspector for Javascript as a possible REPL program. Having a good browser helps when developing. Using Chrome’s inspector for console.log has saved my life many times. It is a great way to debug and helps when you are trying to find your way through the flow. Using breakpoints help when following data flow throughout your code, as well.

Chrome also has numerous extensions that allow users to customize their experience, and there are some great extensions made for developers. If you are interested in building your own extensions, Google offers some great documentation to make that work. Overall, Google Chrome has a lot to offer for developers working on the web.

Database tools

“I love to run SQL statements and combine SQL statements on top of other SQL statements”, said no one ever. Below is a list of nice to use GUI tools for database management:

Rubber duck

Last, but not least, I believe every programmer needs a rubber duck.

 

Talking code out loud or explaining usually leads to the solutions you need for you code. Too often I would call or message a mentor of mine and talk to them about my code, and a solution would come to me in mid sentence. This gives my mentor the ability to ask “Did you just rubber duck me?” which is an awkward question in itself. Talking code out with a rubber duck before bothering a mentor will save you more than it will make you feel strange.

Find the tools that make you code productively and build you into a better programmer. What are you favorite tools? Share it with us in the comments.

 

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