5 Best Dev Tools For Backend Developers
Modern software applications comprise different integrated components such as databases, microservices, and messaging systems. They work together to serve a particular purpose. However, developing and maintaining such sophisticated applications can be complex as it involves many tasks such as development, testing, monitoring, debugging, and troubleshooting. As a developer, you will need good developer tools that allow you to perform specific tasks faster and become more productive at your workplace. This article discusses five critically important dev tools any developer should have.
Postman is one of the best API development tools that allow you to develop APIs faster from scratch. This API platform lets you design complex HTTP, REST, SOAP, GraphQL, and WebSockets APIs, use existing APIs, explore responses, test, debug, and share them. It is an easy tool for developers who work on a complete API lifecycle from design to mocking the requests.
You can use the built-in support for API authentication like API Key, OAuth 1.2/2.0, AWS signature, and Hawk Authentication. Postman can automatically detect the response language. It also allows you to format the response and request body in different text formats to view them more easily.
Postman is not just about building APIs. There are many tasks developers can do with this powerful tool. One of the best features of Postman is its collections. They let you organize your APIs and reuse them to eliminate duplicate efforts. Using pre-request scripts to execute tasks before the API requests enables you to test your APIs with dynamic parameters, pass data, and many more. Moreover, the Postman visualizer lets you visualize your API responses to get more insights into your API behavior.
The Insomnia platform also allows you to organize your APIs by grouping and ordering them the way you want. You can configure the APIs for multiple environments like production, staging, and testing by setting environmental variables such as authentication tokens, base URLs, and protocols.
One of the best features of Insomnia is its support for collaboration. For example, you can create teams and projects and share the API collections with teams and across projects. Furthermore, you can sync the design documentation using Git Sync features and remote collections.
This tool enables you to automatically generate code snippets with many popular languages, including NodeJS, Python, and Java. It also helps to accelerate API development. Overall, Insomnia is a tool every developer should consider for faster API development.
Developers must have easy debugging tools for troubleshooting applications. Otherwise, it will take more time to find the root cause causing delays in resolving high-priority incidents. Helios is one of the best tools that helps you troubleshoot and test distributed applications. It has everything you need to perform cloud-native debugging.
Built on OpenTelemetry, Helios integrates with your existing debugging tools, providing you a complete picture of your system components. These components include microservices, serverless functions, databases, and 3rd party APIs. You can visualize complex flows such as HTTP and gRPC calls, serverless invocations, messaging queues, and event streams. Helios makes it easy for developers to find the dependencies of each component of their systems. Besides, you can easily see the changes in your system integrations by tracking the traces.
Helios makes debugging an easier task. It shows where your application flows have broken, pointing out the bottlenecks. You can reproduce the issues easily with only a couple of clicks. This includes reproducing HTTP requests, Kafka and RabbitMQ messages, Lambda invocations, etc. Helios also offers extensive searching and filtering where you can filter out the errors by service, API calls, etc., to narrow down the root cause of the issues.
Additionally, Helios makes testing and validating complex backend operations easier with test code generation. It also enables integration with existing test frameworks. Thus, Helios is a must-have tool if you want to become productive when debugging distributed applications.
Hoppscotch is an ideal dev tool if you want a simple API development tool without sophisticated functions. It is a lightweight, open-source API development tool with a minimalistic UI design. This tool allows you to perform the basic API development tasks such as REST, HTTP, GraphQL API creation, testing, and sharing easier and faster.
Hoppscotch supports basic authentication to modern authentication mechanisms like OAuth 2.0, Bearer Token, and OIDC Access Token/PKCE. It also allows organizing your API requests with collections and folders, provides export and import facilities, and adds pre-request scripts to execute before the request. Hoppscotch is ideal for developers who love simple dev tools with all the essential functionalities.
If you are using VSCode for your API development, you might want to download another tool for testing it. Instead, it is easier for you to use a VSCode extension for that purpose. Thunderclient is a lightweight react client for testing APIs. It provides many intuitive features similar to other robust API development platforms.
Its user-friendly interface lets you test simple to complex APIs without affecting your VS code performance. Thunderclient integrates well with your code by supporting your existing VSCode themes. Although it is a simple tool, API creation is an easier experience for developers as it provides all the necessary functionalities such as formatting with different text types, API types, authentication mechanisms, environmental variables, collections, etc. It also offers advanced features such as API request monitoring and using mock servers to simulate endpoints.
Developer tools can become the best friends of developers if you know the best tools on the market and how to use them. This article discussed the five best developer tools for API development and cloud-native application troubleshooting with their best features. Developer tools can make your lives easier while allowing faster development. Therefore, make sure to get the best out of their intuitive features.