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Thought I’d come up with my own list of useful apps which might help for the new year. Most have been out a while and you will probably either have used or heard of them at some point. But coupling them all together has helped aide my development processes.

If you would like further examples of how to implement these tools best or how I use each in my own development processes then either comment or ping me a direct message, I will be more than happy to help.

#1 GitKraken

This provides a nice cross-platform GUI app for interacting with your repositories, even the none dev would be able to use this tool I feel. It provides you with the ability to merge, rebase, reset, push and everything else. The main reason I use it and why I’m listing it on here is the easy transition that it allows between GitHub and BitBucket. You can easily integrate with the two and have everything up and running within a couple minutes. Plus, there’s a whole heap of other useful features it provides.

Free(non-commercial)

#2 Postman

“A powerful GUI platform to make your API development faster & easier, from building API requests through testing, documentation and sharing.”. I have a bunch of different environments that I use and this tool is sweet for allowing me to switch between those and use different configs for each. It then allows me to test my API’s and expected responses. This is handy to identify points of failure as sometimes it’s not necessarily your code that’s letting you down.

Free(Premium options available)

#3 Charles

“Charles is an HTTP proxy / HTTP monitor / Reverse Proxy that enables a developer to view all of the HTTP and SSL / HTTPS traffic between their machine and the Internet. This includes requests, responses and the HTTP headers (which contain the cookies and caching information).”. I couple this with a mock data service which is written in Node, and then forward calls through Charles to this mock service. So it allows me to identify what calls are being made and where from/to, it also allows me to hijack responses and return the data I want. This is particularly useful when trying to test specific scenarios. There is a lot more power to this tool including black/white listing, throttling, DNS Spoofing, etc.

Free

#4 Atom (With Nuclide)

Nuclide is a single package built to sit on top of Atom editor by the guys at Facebook and the supporting community as part of and open source project. It was designed to provide better support for web and mobile development combined as a unified development environment. Once you install this package, it gives you access to a bunch of useful tools within your editor such as; console, debugger, task runners, diagnostics, etc. The best thing is that it’s easy to integrate over the top of your current editor. My favourite part is how it integrates Git, allowing you to see active and un-staged files.

Free

#5 Slack

Communication is key to teams succeeding, so right up there in the comms genre is Slack. I have tried a few different platforms such as Google Hangouts, HipChat and Flowdock. Each has it’s positives but then at the same time is limited to a particular set of features and functionality. Slack is great because it allows you to integrate a bunch of apps to increase your teams workflow, taking what the others do and improving on it.

Free(Premium options available)

#6 Panda (Chrome extension)

I stumbled on this extension back in it’s infancy and now at the time of writing this article it is somewhere in it’s 5th version. What it gives you is a personalised dashboard to keep you up to date with the news you’re interested in and also inspire you with projects others have created. You pick the layout that suits you, hook in the stuff you’re most interested in and then every time you open a new tab you get current up to date information at your fingertips. My go to’s are Medium, Awwwards and Github.

Free(Premium options available)

#7 RegExr

An excellent tool on the web for working out all your regex problems. It has cheatsheets and very good comparison tools which is perfect for rapidly building out your regular expressions. This is always my go to for finalising my regex, even if I have a solution I will always tend to run a quick test through this tool.

Free

#8 JSONlint Pro

A really simple implementation of a JSON parsing and linting tool. You can quickly throw your JSON on the page or even add a URL link to validate. You’re then able to clearly see any errors as you are provided with a tooltip type error reporting. You can also expand the page to do a difference check between two payloads which is great for identifying discrepancies, maybe between two different version of an API.

Free

#9 Gravit.io

“Create and share beautiful designs with the power, flexibility and speed of a free, lightweight and easy-to-use tool, right in your browser.”. This is a really useful tool, especially if you miss Illustrator and Photoshop and don’t want to fork out for them. With a bit of playing around you can quickly get to grips with what this tool is capable of, and of course it has it’s limitations but hey…it’s free.

Free(Premium options available)

#10 Evernote

One of best note apps out there, I even used it to write this very article. One of the best things about this app is that you can download it for all your devices and have it in your browser too. You can then take notes and update them wherever you go with everything staying in sync. Recently I took a trip abroad and wrote up some articles on the go with my phone. When I got home I was able to vet my documents in the browser and then publish them straight away on my CMS. Which is really handy because it allowed me to utilise my travel time into work time.

Free(Premium options available)

#Other useful mentions

These won’t necessarily help speed up your development, but thought they deserved a mention as friends, colleagues and myself find them quite useful.

Kulor
This is a simple project I wrote because I was tired of using everyone else’s implementations of colour converters. It gave me an insight into the available colour modes available and also was a great little project to get to grips with React and Material design. Currently a work in progress. Contributions are welcome (https://github.com/lmcjt37/kulor-reactify) and suggestions even more so.

CodeWars
This is a neat way to up skill yourself or test your current knowledge within programming. Earn ranks by completing different challenges referred to as ‘kata’, which introduces a level of competitiveness between you and your peers. With plenty of languages to choose from, and the challenges being regularly updated. This is one of the better learning sites I have found recently.