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7 Must-Have Tools for Your Software Engineering Organization

Arnaud Lachaume
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July 21, 2022
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Important Tools In Software Engineering

The software engineering organization is a fast-paced, collaborative environment with the power to make or break your company. The tools and processes you choose have the potential to impact everything from hiring and onboarding practices to communication and collaboration methods within your team. These factors play an important role in determining how successful your software engineering organization will be. In order to support your team’s day-to-day activities, it’s essential that you select the right tools, methodologies, and processes from the very beginning. In this blog post, we’ll share 7 must-have tools for your software engineering organization. 

Code Review

Code review is an essential practice in software engineering organizations that want to maintain high standards of code quality. If you’ve ever worked at a company that didn’t perform code reviews, you know how important they are. Even the best engineers make mistakes sometimes, and code review is a way to catch those mistakes before they’re deployed to production and cause damage to your users. A code review is a process in which two engineers or more (the reviewer(s) and the reviewee) review each other’s changes. The reviewer has the responsibility of checking the code for bugs, bad design, and security issues. The reviewee’s responsibility is to explain the code’s purpose and design, as well as respond to any issues identified by the reviewer(s). In this article from Kinsta, you can find twelve code review tools to help you streamline code review processes: https://kinsta.com/blog/code-review-tools/ 

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

A continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipeline is a software engineering best practice that’s essential for modern software development. CI and CD are automated processes that run on a schedule (e.g. once per hour, or once per day) and run unit tests, static code analysis, and other checks to ensure that your code is healthy and meets a certain quality standard. If your code fails the checks, your CI/CD system will halt the process (i.e., halt the build) and notify you. It will allow you to investigate and resolve the issue before moving forward with the rest of the process. A CI/CD pipeline is a key tool for enabling continuous delivery, which is the process of deploying software to production as frequently as possible. The idea behind continuous delivery is to increase your team’s velocity by making deployments easier and reducing the amount of time engineers spend on manual, error-prone tasks, like manually deploying code to production. 

 In this article from Katalon, you can check fourteen CI/CD tools to help you get started: https://katalon.com/resources-center/blog/ci-cd-tools 

Communication and collaboration

Communication and collaboration are key to the success of any software engineering organization. Allowing team members to communicate freely and collaborate on projects is important for reducing bottlenecks, accelerating team velocity, and increasing productivity. In addition to face-to-face communication, modern software engineers are likely to use communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google Meet or Teams. These tools make it easy to stay in touch with teammates, discuss project progress, and collaborate across time zones.

This article published in Business news daily reviews 14 communication and collaboration tools: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6176-communication-tools.html 

Issues Tracking and Tasks Management

Issue tracking is a software engineering tool that allows engineers to keep track of project tasks, tickets and bugs. It’s important to use an issue tracking tool to manage these pieces of information. If you don’t use a tool for this, you could lose track of the important issues that need to be fixed. A tool helps you to keep everything organized and find the information you need when you need it. Most issue tracking tools let you assign issues to team members, set due dates, and add comments. You can also customize issue boards to reflect your team’s workflow. For example, you might want to organize issues by project, priority, or engineer. This can be helpful if you want to track how long an issue has been open. It also helps you to keep track of what has been done so far and who is responsible for completing the task. 

You can find reviews and comments on most used Issue tracking tools in Capterra using this link: https://www.capterra.com/issue-tracking-software/ 

Collaborative Git Repository with Wiki and Changelog

Organizations that use a centralized code repository, such as GitHub or GitLab, should place it at the center of their engineering workflow. A centralized repository facilitates a collaborative engineering environment by allowing team members to work on the same codebase simultaneously. It also makes it possible to track code history, roll back changes, and review who made particular changes. The repository should be accompanied by other essential documentation, such as a wiki and a changelog. The wiki is a collaborative space where your engineers can document their code, share tips and tricks, and learn from one another. The changelog is a place where you can detail every change that has been made to the codebase. This can help your team members keep track of notable changes and identify which changes influenced the overall product(s) or feature(s) behavior.

This article from DevOps school lists the top 5 Git repositories: https://www.devopsschool.com/blog/top-5-git-hosting-solutions/ 

In this article from ProProf Knowledge base, you will find 20 Wiki tools reviewed: https://www.proprofskb.com/best-wiki-software/ 

In this article from KeepAChangelog, you will find the best practices to build and maintain a Changelog so it has value: https://keepachangelog.com/en/0.3.0/ 

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Containers

Containers are a way to package up all of the components that go into an application and ship it in one package. As the name suggests, containers are like little boxes, which makes them very portable. This is useful for applications that need to be moved around a lot, such as Web and mobile apps.

Each container can run its own instance of an application. So for example, if one container runs an application server and another runs an application client, there are essentially two running instances of the same app. Using containers is an effective way to increase developer productivity, as code can be written once and reused across many applications. Containers also enable fast development because they are lightweight, making deployment quick and easy. These factors make containerized applications suitable for rapid prototyping and early stage testing. Containerized applications can also be scaled out very efficiently in the cloud, saving organizations money on infrastructure costs.

On the operations side, using containers makes it easier to monitor and manage applications in production. This is because container images are small and lightweight, making them easy to store and detect when they go missing. Furthermore, because containers share the same operating system as their hosts, any changes made to one container will automatically be seen by all of its siblings as well. This makes it much easier to keep an eye on things in production than with traditional application architectures that use virtual machines (VMs).

 This Techbeacon article lists 30 essential containers tools and resources that could be useful: https://techbeacon.com/enterprise-it/30-essential-container-technology-tools-resources-0 

Development Stack Analytics

Analytics holds a place in every software engineering organization. However, it’s important to choose the right stack for your organization and scale as your team grows. For example, a microservices architecture scales much better than a monolithic architecture - the same applies to Analytics, the more it will be integrated to your environment, the better the solution will help you scale processes, so it’s worth investing in a stack that supports this design. When choosing a stack, you should ask yourself three questions. First, why do we need analytics? Second, which tools can provide the data we need without disruption to our processes? Third, Is the tool user friendly and adaptable? When you have the answers to these questions, it’ll be easier to identify the right stack for your organization.

In this article from Keypup, you will find the best ways to automate Development Cycle Reporting in 2022: https://www.keypup.io/blog/best-way-to-automate-development-cycle-reporting-in-2022 

Summing up

Modern software engineering is increasingly focusing on speed and agility. If you want to stay competitive, you need to become a fast-moving team of agile engineers who can deliver high-quality software quickly and with minimal disruption, while optimizing cost and code reuse. In order to achieve these goals, you need to organize your team into small, autonomous teams and promote collaborative work wherever possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is to rely on the right people and to support them with the right tools. And you, what tools and processes do you use to keep your engineering organization agile and efficient? Tell us via Twitter!