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Which tools should be used for your project

rlxdprogrammer profile image Marcell Lipp Originally published at howtosurviveasaprogrammer.blogspot.com on ・5 min read

Introduction

To work on a project in a professional way you will need thousands of tools. Your tools can determine the success of your project. I collected the most important tools you should use for your project.

Tools

Ticketing system

The most important tool is to have a proper ticketing system. Regardless of the process you are following it’s making it possible to track the tasks to be done and the state of the tasks. It is also nice that everyone can add comments to the tasks, so that all hints and discussions can be documented in a traceable format. This system can be connected with the version control system, so that you can have a proper connection between your code and tasks. Most popular ticketing systems are JIRA and Redmine.

Bug tracker system

A bug tracker system stands for tracking the state of all detected bugs in the software. It makes you sure that you won’t miss any of the bugs. It is also nice that you can search the already resolved bugs and see what was their root cause and solution. It helps you to fix new bugs. Very often bug tracking is also done by the ticketing system. One example is Mantis.

Requirement handler system

In big projects, especially if you are following a classical development process (Waterfall, V-model) then you need a tool which is used for documenting all the requirements. Of course it can be done in word or any other text document, but a proper requirement handler has a lot of additional features: it is version controlled, it can do linking between requirements, requirements can be filtered and ordered based on different attributes, the requirements can be categorized.

Project planning/tracking system

There should be a project management tool used for planning of the tasks and resources and tracking the progress of the project. Sometimes it is integrated into the ticketing system, in other cases excel is used for this purpose. But the clearest solution is still to use a professional tool.

Version control system

This is a really must-to-have tool. You need a version control system which can track the changes of a code and it makes possible the parallel work of multiple developers on the same base of code. Most widely used version control systems are GIT and SVN.

UML editor tool

UML is a proper tool to document and visualize the architectural and dynamic design of your software. You have a high variety of diagrams to visualize your software from different perspectives (class diagram, object diagram, sequence diagram, state diagram etc.). UML is basically a semi-formal documentation of your software. It is possible to draw UML diagrams on paper or in a drawing software, but is proposed to use a professional tool for this purpose. My absolute favorite one is Enterprise Architect. Unfortunately it is only for Windows and it costs a lot. But it can properly format the diagrams, link the related diagrams between each other, control the different versions, handle different permissions and it can also generate some code from the diagrams.

Continuous integration system

It is also suggested to have a server with a continuous integration system. It can regularly build your code, run the tests and do additional code quality checks. So that you always have a clear picture about the current state of your code base and you can also set up some quality gates. Jenkins is a really good CI framework for starting.

IDE

IDE means integrated development environment. This is a tool which helps you to edit your code. But it also has support for navigation inside your code and you can usually integrate plugins for compiling, debugging or for version control. There is a high variety of IDEs like: Visual Studio, VSCode, QT Creator, Netbeans, Eclipse, etc. Fortunately, most of them are free.

Compiler

If you are not working with some interpreted language you will need a compiler to build your code. It is always up to the used language which ones can you use.

Interpreter

If you are working with interpreted code, like Python you will need it (instead of compiler) to be able to run your code.

Debugger

A debugger makes it possible to have a more detailed view on your code when you are running it. It makes it possible to see the call stack, the value of the variables and it also makes it possible to put so called breakpoint into the code. The run of your program should be paused at the breakpoints, so that you can analyze its state. With a debugger you can also run your code line-by-line. Most debuggers are integrated into IDEs. To use a debugger you have to compile your code with specific debug option, so that the compiler is generating additional debug information.

Code formatter

Most of the big projects have guidelines for the formatting of your code: usage of spaces and tabs, maximum length of lines, where to put the braces and brackets etc. Your code can be automatically formatted based on custom rules with some code formatter tools. For example for C++ you can use clang format. These tools can be integrated into your IDE, so that you can make sure that you are not violating any of such guidelines.

Static code analyzer

A static code analyzer checks your code without running it. It can be detected: unused variables and parameters, usage of uninitialized memory fields, violation of naming guidelines etc. It is really suggested to setup such a tool for your project to ensure better quality.

Dynamic code analyzer

A dynamic code analyzer similar to the static one, is also checking your code, but it is checking it while running. It can detect issues like memory leaks, and possible runtime errors.

Profiler

A profiler can measure the runtime and the memory consumption of your software in critical scenarios. You are supposed to use it in case of embedded development or if your software is using a lot of memory or CPU.

Test framework

If you want to run automated tests on your software you will need a test framework. In fact you can use different framework to your code on different levels: unit tests, component tests, acceptance tests, smoke tests etc.

Communication tool

You also need a communication tool which can be used within the team for communication. It is nice if it supports screen sharing and remote control of computers and if it is documenting all discussion properly. You have thousands of choices, like Slack, Skype for Business etc.

Time and holiday tracker tool

Last but not least you need a tool to track the holidays and the working time of the team members. However in some organizations working time is not tracked anymore, most of the companies are still using it for different purposes. It’s nice if the developers can book their time on different projects and tasks. It helps the project managers to get a clearer picture of the progress of the project.

Discussion

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