Do you really need developer experience tools? Yes, you do, and we'll show you why: Your devs are mentioning their code is constantly stuck. They’ve been pushing code, but reviews are taking forever. So by the time the code gets back to them, they’ve already mentally moved on.
On top of that, your CTO has seen that your cycle time has increased, and wants you to formulate a plan to reduce it without eating into the budget. Clearly, you’ve got a lot to do.
You’ll need to roll up your sleeves and start working on your developer experience (DX) — a surefire way to help devs work better, leading to massive improvements in your PR processes and cycle times. A better DX will also help you figure out what’s putting a wrench in your system, so you can get to improving your engineering benchmarks across the board.
But you don’t need to do all the heavy lifting yourself! One part of DX is using the best developer experience tools to make the process as smooth as possible so you can keep up with demand, even if you can’t hire more devs.
In this article, we’ll show you some of the best developer experience tools around so you can save weightlifting for the gym!
Developer experience isn’t a set list of requirements. It’s a methodology that helps developers complete tasks as easily as possible, whether they’re pushing code to reviews or implementing common features without doing it all from scratch.
For you, it means empowering your team with the tools that help their overall development process — from ensuring code doesn’t stay stuck in PR limbo, to streamlining processes and improving important metrics like cycle time.
A good developer tool isn’t there to de-stress software developers — it’s there to improve their workflow and environment. So here are eleven DX tools we think can help you and your other devs!
Netlify provides an innovative and quick route to using your APIs and tools of choice, enabling devs to collaborate and develop the best sites and apps. It’s a CI/CD infrastructure tool backed with automation and a powerful CLI to sync all your devs’ production environments.
Netlify also adopts a hands-off approach, which improves devs’ experience. This DX tool’s smooth setup system also allows devs to jump between environments when needed, cutting down on tedious upkeep. And this translates to an overall better developer experience.
This great DX tool empowers you and your team to use all the tools you know and love, integrating nearly anything with an API. The Netlify CLI also ensures all the devs on your team have identical environments, eliminating the hassle and time spent on setup.
Retool offers the fastest way to build internal web apps for your team’s needs. It allows you to read data from almost any database, including relational databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL or NoSQL databases like MongoDB and Firebase. This DX tool also offers a robust drag-and-drop system to create no-code web apps in minutes.
You can definitely use this platform to build a great developer experience. And when devs can whip up internal tools, they’ll have everything they need for success. Teams will also have the data or tools they need for a specific part of their workflow. And this is a huge +1 to their experience. 🆙
Building custom authentication in your source code can pose huge security risks, so it’s a pretty bad practice. But with Auth0, devs can create feature-rich authentication without risking your customers’ data.
This developer experience tool also gives your teams more options, like built-in bot detection, SSO logins, and role-based access control. All these features come in a simple package that works with nearly any programming language. Auth0 has made considerable strides in making its DX platform as easy to use as possible.
The tool also gives all your teams the same functionality, whether they use no code, low code, or pro code methods. This means your devs will have the same result no matter what, and they won’t struggle to create a custom solution that works for them. Talk about major time savings and productivity boosts!
AWS is a definite powerhouse for dev teams, but it isn’t known for its warm embrace. It’s more like a mean personal trainer, electro-shocking you to hit your personal best in burpees. But Flightcontrol aims to free you from that grip, giving you complete control and ownership over your AWS, so you can create a platform that works with you, not by you.
Flightcontrol also provides flexibility with a GUI- or code-based configuration approach to your deployment services and environments. This tool even gives devs all the power between GitHub and AWS, automating the tedious tasks you all know and hate. And with those annoyances out of the way, your devs have more time to push code.
Port understands the goal of platform engineering is to provide the best DX possible. So they designed their tool to go as far as possible to ensure it with their internal developer portal. Port provides an organized catalog containing details about all your software, services that use your software, and environments hosting these services. This developer experience tool lets you see what you’ve deployed and where. This way, you gain insight into your overall architecture, development lifecycle, and your team’s collective knowledge.
These insights can also give you actionable information to spot bottlenecks in your processes and eliminate them, so devs can be as productive as possible. This combination of visibility and control substantially improves DX.
Databases are complex and terrifying for some devs, but they don’t have to be. Enter PlanetScale, an advanced serverless MySQL platform. This DX tool leverages the power of Vitess — the tech that helps YouTube scale to hundreds of millions of videos — to change the database landscape for the better.
PlanetScale allows teams to host and manage MySQL databases with incredible scaling and flexibility, so you don’t need to worry about the tiny details of database management. PlanetScale also helps you concentrate on application development instead of putting in administrative or operational effort to maintain your app-dependent MySQL database.
In a nutshell, this developer experience tool reduces the tedious work devs have to do, substantially improving DX and productivity. PlanetScale helps your devs simplify tedious everyday tasks, which in turn boosts productivity.
Check out this discussion with PlanetScale CEO Sam Lambert, where he talks about the annoyances of enterprise SaaS and how it affects DX:
Render offers a unified platform for building and running all of your apps and websites. With Render, you can select services like web apps, static sites, messaging queues, databases, containerized apps, and jobs scheduled for deployment.
You can also deploy these services in seconds and even update your apps or websites when you have a patch or new versions to deploy. Render is basically the zero DevOps cloud platform because it eliminates DevOps work. In doing so, Render enhances DX by reducing the friction that comes with building and deploying services.
HostedHooks is a webhooks service platform whose JSON API and integrations make triggering webhook events from your applications simpler than ever. All webhooks with HostedHooks are encrypted with SSL and guard against replay, forgery, and man-in-the-middle attacks.
With HostedHooks, devs can also set up mock webhooks to give users more options overall, and it can pass data to send notifications to the team when needed. This developer experience tool helps expand communication with minimal effort, so nobody gets left out of the loop.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed juggling multiple app or environment secrets, passwords, and .env files, Doppler can come to the rescue. Doppler is a SecretOps platform known for handling secrets effectively and securely across environments, devices, and teams. This tool also lets you put your apps, sites, or environments’ secrets management into production within minutes.
Doppler is simple to use no matter what tech stack you have, which enriches your DX. It also reduces the time developers spend configuring their environments, so they can focus their efforts on getting things done. And we all know that devs are happiest when they’re coding .
An entirely new method of automating dataflows, Prefect is an open-source orchestration platform. Prefect allows you to use your current infrastructure to run programs and protect data. It also gives you comprehensive control and monitoring capability over your workflows.
Your developers can rely on Prefect to handle scheduling, infrastructure management, failures, logging, monitoring, concurrency, and more. Prefect’s cloud platform can also get data pipelines or workflows up and running with little effort. And that’s a prefectly — err, perfectly — good way to smoothen your team’s tasks and improve developer experience.
As I’ve already noted, devs are happiest when they’re coding, but a close second might be when their PR finally gets merged. Merging devs = happy devs. And happy devs = more productive devs.
gitStream is a continuous merge tool that uses workflow automation to optimize the PR review process and improve your merge frequency. Repo-owners can configure rules that classify each pull request and automatically route that PR down a unique merge path. These rules can automatically find the right reviewer, check for service deprecation, add context tags, and more.
With gitStream, you can codify your merge policies and use policy-as-code to standardize and audit certain best practices. And when you automate PR routing, you can achieve the level of code quality necessary for the ongoing success of your org. It’s truly a win-win for you and your devs.
Check out this video on our YouTube channel where LinearB co-founders, Dan Lines and Ori Keren, explain gitStream!
Achieving a positive developer experience will improve how developers work. And ultimately, this will boost their morale and improve your developer retention rate. Developer experience tools contribute to a perfect balance of coding and non-coding tasks among your devs, lifting devs up so they can complete their jobs as easily as possible. DX tools also automate some non-coding tasks in your software development lifecycle.
Regardless of the tech stack you choose, offering a great DX should be at the forefront of your developer platform. All of the tools we’ve covered work in some way to make the day-to-day easier for your team members. For example, if you choose Netlify to build and deploy your apps and sites, and Prefect for data pipeline development, you can also use gitStream for managing your PR process. The best part is that gitStream works well with all the tools we mentioned above. It’s also free, so you can go ahead and start using it without passing by the finance department.