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The Best Developer Tools for Designing and Building Apps

The right tools can make a development project go smoothly.

Apps in this Guide

Developer tools can help you design and develop apps, communicate with your team, and manage your projects. The right tools can make a development project go smoothly.

Developer tools can help you design and develop apps, communicate with your team, and manage your projects. The right tools can make a development project go smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I collaborate with my team?
If you are part of a team, project-management software can help you plan your project, keep track of issues and bugs, and guide you to releasing your software. Microsoft Project, for example, lets team members plan, organize, and manage projects and track budgets. Or Jira, which provides planning, tracking, and reports tools and is designed for Agile project-management teams. You will also want to consider a version-control system that helps manage files and track changes. The Bitbucket version control system, for example, is a companion tool to Jira.
How do I pick a programming language or stack?
At times, the type of app you build will determine the language you choose -- Swift, for example, is Apple's preferred language for MacOS and iOS development. Some projects, such as a Web app or a dynamic website, may require a collection of components such as a Web server and a database to build a complete package.
What can I use to build my app?
After deciding on the look of your app, build it in a code editor or integrated development environment (IDE). Some development environments let you visually build your app by dragging around and connecting visual elements. Microsoft and Apple each offer home-grown development environments, and you can find third-party IDEs, including Eclipse for Java development. You can also extend development environments with plug-ins to add support for additional languages, for example. You can also use a text editor such as Sublime (Windows and MacOS) or BBEdit (MacOS) to work with HTML or a scripting language.
What can I use to design my app?
Before you start coding, you need an idea of what you're making. A tool like Sketch (MacOS) lets you drag user-interface elements around and choose colors and fonts to create the look of your app.

Best developer tools

Sketch for Mac

Sketch for Mac

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Sketch is a powerful, easy-to-use tool for designing the look of your app.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text

The popular Sublime source-code editor can handle multiple languages.

BBEdit for Mac

BBEdit for Mac

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The BBEdit text editor is often the MacOS tool of choice for building apps and webpages.

Set up team channels, chat individually, hold voice and video calls. Slack can handle team communication.