Standard and Advanced Developer Experience Tools to Include in Your Tech Stack 

by Alastair Wilkes in

Do Developer Experience Tools Exist?

Developer experience drives innovation. Organizations must focus on including developer experience tools in their tech stack to foster developer happiness and productivity. Ineffective tooling hinders developers from faster release cycles and causes frustration.

Regardless of whether you hire the best and brightest people and set up great processes, it all means nothing if your developers have to wrangle bad tech and still have to perform monotonous tasks manually. It might just leave their sanity hanging on by a thread.

Lacking the tech you need, or using tech that doesn’t actually help you out, is a universally upsetting experience. So, putting good developer experience tools into your processes leads to happier, more efficient developers. 

hanging on by a thread

Standard Tools that Help Improve Developer Experience

No one likes monotonous tasks. Having spent years fostering skills and passion for coding, developers often spend multiple hours a week compiling code snippets. They burn time fixing syntax errors when the code doesn’t jive and reorganize other peoples’ work, rather than doing what you love (aka ACTUALLY writing code). You probably wouldn’t think of this as a good developer experience

Including automation and other tools to streamline processes significantly impact developer experience. These tools are not actually “developer experience tools” per se, but they can still directly influence the productivity and happiness of developers. 

CI/CD tools 

CI/CD tools focus on two main concepts: automating the pipeline and instituting a “test early and often” mentality. It often works in tandem with a DevOps methodology, which creates data-driven feedback loops so previously-siloed teams (i.e., development, security, QA, etc.) can work together well. CI/CD stands for “Continuous Integration” and either “Continuous Delivery” or “Continuous Deployment.” Together, these disciplines work to automate the pipeline and perform more tests early in the SDLC to create faster feedback loops. All of these practices substantially improve the developer experience. 

Continuous Integration ensures that developers stay in sync as they create code or make updates. It focuses on keeping code organized/up-to-date in a source code repository and automating early tests and build compilation. Then, either Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment removes human intervention from the second half of the development life cycle. Continuous Delivery focuses on delivering builds into the test environments, so no one has to remember to do it themselves. Continuous Deployment performs this same function, then takes it further by deploying the changes into production.

CI/CD pipelines are significant but can still create bottlenecks. Companies frequently suffer from bloated test suites and flaky tests. At various SDLC points, teams run large test suites. Even if they automate running these tests, it's a roadblock for developers. 

still waiting

In addition, organizations often face the problem of flaky tests. Even when the team runs automated tests at all the right times, these tests aren’t returning reliable results. Automated testing isn’t helpful if it just means that the developers have to go and pick through the results manually anyway.

Low-code / No-Code 

Some organizations also introduce low-code/no-code solutions to make developers' lives easier. It’s pretty easy to find great options with WYSIWYG drag-and-drop interfaces. Even though this can be a good idea, it still leaves gaps in developer experience.

Can low-code/no-code platforms help keep interfaces cleaner and more organized? Yes. But can they solve many of the problems that come up when creating complex, proprietary applications? Probably not. Because of this, low-code/no-code tools cannot be the real answer for improving the developer experience. There is still a need for developer expertise and tools that work well in high-code situations. 

Microservice architecture 

Microservice architecture enables teams to break an application down into individual services. It makes your processes and technologies easier to manage because developers can change an individual service. Monolithic architecture requires the developer to work with the entire codebase to perform the same task.

While microservice architecture allows for agility, making the switch is a work in progress and takes a lot of time. It’s often a switch worth making, but there are still some smaller, quicker steps that your team can make to improve the developer experience.

Advanced Developer Experience Tools with AI

We made Jenkins to solve problems developers face with CI in the enterprise. Now, we’re focused on elevating Developer Experience with the first Dev Intelligence Platform.

Dev Intelligence Platform

Launchable’s Dev Intelligence Platform is a developer experience tool that focuses on one of the biggest hangups for developers today: inefficient testing.

Our Dev Intelligence Platform is an ML-powered tool that improves developer experience by identifying and running tests with the highest probability of failing, based on code and test metadata, speeding up the dev feedback loop

Launchable also aims to make your test results better. Our Dev Intelligence Platform helps developers fix test suite entropy with Test Suite Insights. It drastically improves the developer experience with your own test data by tracking the health and efficiency of your tests. The platform includes a few different facets to make your tests more dependable and accurate:

  • Flaky test insights- Identifies which of your tests are the “flakiest” or the most likely to return inaccurate results.
  • Test session duration insights- Pinpoints if your tests start taking longer. If developer time has been trending up, you can know when to dig deeper into the issues and find out what’s wrong.
  • Test session frequency insights- Shows which tests run less often. If the number of testing sessions is trending down, this could indicate negative health metrics like increased cycle time, reduced quality, or fewer changes flowing through the pipeline.
  • Test session failure ration insights- Gives insights into which tests fail most often. If this number goes up, it indicates that a release is becoming unstable. 

Launch Fearlessly

By only running the tests that actually need to be run in each specific situation, your developers won’t have to wait on enormous test suites anymore. They’ll also be able to ship 5x faster without risk. Overall, our dev intelligence platform empowers developers to test faster and push more commits, which improves their velocity and happiness.

Turnkey

Our dev intelligence platform also takes less than 30 minutes to set up and get started. With just four lines of code in your build script, you can sit back, let Launchable learn, and recommend the right tests to help your tests fly by faster.

CI Server Agnostic

Our platform can also play well with your current systems. It’s language agnostic, so it works well with any existing pipeline. Plus, it integrates at the test runner layer.

Flexibility to Fit Delivery Goals

The Dev Intelligence Platform is flexible to fit any delivery goals. It can shift left or shift right across your testing pyramid, meaning that it snaps into any area of your SDLC that involves testing, such as during pull requests, integration tests, UI tests, or post-deployment. 

testing pyramid

Our platform also supports greenfield, brownfield, monoliths, and microservices. Regardless of your infrastructure (or even if you’re in the midst of digital transformation), you can effortlessly implement Launchable as a developer experience tool.

Secure by Design

If you’re concerned about the security aspect of testing, there’s no need to fear. Only testing meta-data is sent to Launchable, and all of your code and tests remain on-premise.

Achieve Developer Nirvana with Launchable’s Developer Experience tools.

Learn how our platforms can help improve the speed and quality of your software releases by requesting a Proof of Concept today.


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