Is it not confusing that you need a program to write a program that runs a program? Each profession has its own tools. Just like a calculator is useful to an accountant, or a spanner to a mechanic, software developers need programming software to write and debug code.
Some applications are a must-have regardless of the field you are in, some are optional but necessary. This article will give you a brief idea of what they are, and how they are used. We’ll also suggest popular applications that we recommend.
1. Code Editor
The same way we have Microsoft Office for writing and editing docx files, a code editor is a piece of programming software for writing and editing code. They have special features such as code completion, syntax highlighting, documentation, themes, and much more. All these features are important in programming.
Code editors are more than just editing tools. You can use code editors to run and debug your applications. This is made possible by having an integrated terminal. Moreover, you can ‘extend’ their functionality by including third-party programs that work with code editors in tandem. Such extensions include custom icons, containers, and ChatGPT as a coding assistant.
All operating systems come with default code editors. Notepad is the code editor on Windows. You can optionally download Notepad++, which is more robust than the default. On Ubuntu, there’s Gedit. Unfortunately, these default editors are not fully packed, compared to Visual Studio Code, or VSCode. This editor has so many useful features, such as being lightweight and having great support for third-party programs. Other popular code editors worth a try include Sublime and Pycharm.
You can find installation instructions on their respective sites.
Git is a version control system (VCS) that lets you track code changes. It keeps track of your code by storing copies of your current project in a repository. What this means is that every time you make a change to your code, Git updates the repository to reflect the latest version. But there’s more.
You can also branch from the main or master copy into a temporary branch. This way, you can work on a new feature or fix a bug without altering the stable copy. When any file in the tracked project is changed, added, or deleted, it is considered modified and ready to be staged to the local copy.
Git also makes it possible for software developers to collaborate on a project. In such a case, both developers must have access to and write permission to the shared repository. In most cases, you’ll need to host this repository on a server such as GitHub.
Depending on your field in software engineering, you may also need programs that compile or interpret your source code into machine code. Source code is the textual code you write, while machine code is the 1s and 0s that the computer can understand.
Installing a compiler may be a little bit technical, but if you carefully follow the steps, you are good to go. In case it’s not clear, please ask for help from our team.
4. Android Studio
Android Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) for building Android Applications. Android OS runs on smartphones, tablets, TVs, and even cars. This programming software brings every resource you’ll need for building Android applications together in a single place. It also comes integrated with Git and the Terminal.
This is a must-have tool for Android developers. Android Studio is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux platforms.
This desktop software is optional but comes in handy when you are working with APIs. Computers communicate with each other using API. Postman is a programming software that invokes API calls during development and testing.
When you are building an application, be it a website, a mobile app, or a desktop app, you’ll need to make and receive API calls at some point. This could be fetching users’ data from a server, or requesting resources from another server. To make this possible, you’ll need to interact with APIs and REST or SOUP methods. This is where Postman comes in. It lets you inspect API gateways to ensure your application responds correctly or handles incorrect responses without crashing.
Lastly, you will also be working on the Terminal. The terminal is a program that translates commands directly into the operating system. You’ve probably seen it in movies or with your friend in a window that has a dark background and white or green fonts. That’s the terminal. It’s enough to say that you need to get comfortable with terminal commands.