My top 8 dev tools for 2021

Franz Rodenacker
3 min readJan 7, 2021

As developers we are always worried that we might be missing a trick to do things faster and better. It’s developer FOMO and probably made you click on the link to this article. Here is the list of development tools I will be using in 2021. Perhaps there is a trick here that you want to try in 2021.


1. VSCode
In the last couple of years I have come to love VSCode. It is basically a lightweight text editor on steroids. There are a ton of extensions available that can help to enormously speed up your development. VS Code supports a long list of languages and technologies. I develop frontends in VS Code using HTML, CSS, SVG and Javascript.

2. Chrome Dev Tools
When creating a web frontend, there is nothing better than tweaking and debugging your HTML, CSS and Javascript directly in a browser. Browsers can show you the impact of a change immediately, thereby saving massive amounts of time otherwise spent waiting for builds to complete. I use Chrome, but Firefox, Edge and a host of other browsers also deliver excellent debugging tools.

3. Apache
For many years, my web server of choice has not changed. Apache is very stable, fast and lightweight. There are free versions for every platform and a massive amount of articles, blogs and community posts on anything you want to find out.

Business Logic

4. Linx
Low- and no-code tools are all the rage at the moment, but I actually enjoy spending time on carefully handcrafting feature-rich frontends. Linx is a backend low-code IDE and server that allows me to create secure REST APIs and all the backend logic for my applications quickly and easily. Linx frees me up to do what I love, namely creating enjoyable experiences for my users.

5. Postman
Postman provides a very good set of tools for API development, debugging and testing. The interface of the desktop client can be somewhat confusing at times, but when used correctly, there are few API tools out there that can compete. I use Postman to debug and test the REST APIs I create in Linx.

Data Layer

6. MySQL
I don’t expect that MySQL really requires an introduction, but, if you are really not familiar with MySQL, you should take the time to try it out. MySQL has been around for many years. It is very stable, extremely fast and powerful as well as totally free. I use other databases too, but MySQL is my database of choice.

7. Heidi SQL
Before I found HeidiSQL, I spent many agonizing hours using clunky, bulky, slow and unstable database management systems. For me HeidiSQL checks all the boxes. It supports a long list of databases, is responsive, lightweight, has a large set of helpful features and great usability. It is also free and open source.

Source Control

8. Git
Git is an open-source distributed version control system. It can have quite a steep learning curve for newcomers and is sometimes challenging to use in large teams. However, once set up, it handles small to very large projects with great speed and efficiency. I use Github for remote code repository. Git and Github can both be used for free.



Franz Rodenacker

Product Designer, Frontend Developer and Usability Engineer at Digiata