While most developers have particular attachments to specific devtools, as Co-founder and CPO of Swimm, I see a fair amount of interest and inquiries from companies and teams choosing and/or re-evaluating the devtools they’re using. For most developers at this point, these conversations are commonplace: which devtools are you using, and what’s prompting you to make a change.
While switching or opting out of devtools you’re currently using is always an option for a company, it’s not usually an easy one. In particular, as companies grow and scale, integrating new devtools with others you are using can be both costly and a time sucker.
Selecting a company’s devtools involves a lot of research and conversation, and today I’m sharing the suite of top devtools we’re currently using.
Slack - Swimm’s communication devtool
Slack is the management chat tool that all Swimm employees use to communicate with one another. Slack enables us to customize and automate processes – which is one of the main reasons we’re using it. Slack Connect also allows you to open a shared Slack channel with another company so you can talk to another company’s entire team in a shared Slack channel.
We also have a Swimm Community Slack Channel that allows our developers and product managers to communicate directly with other Swimm users and report bugs while we’re still in beta.
A quick note about Zoom: though not a devtool, it is one of the tools we’ve been using daily since Covid and working remotely. When we moved into our new offices, we purchased a bunch of iPads and created Zoom rooms - each room with a unique Zoom account.
ClickUp + Slack: Swimm’s task management and bug tracking devtools
As developers, dealing with bugs is part of our routine. After trying Github and Jira, our CTO heard about ClickUp from colleagues and was impressed that it allows all our departments to work together since there is a lot of cross-departmental collaboration. ClickUp’s spaces are hierarchical, straightforward, and downright simple.
Swimm uses a combination of Slack and ClickUp to internally report a bug in Slack, and then it creates a ClickUp ticket under support. Easy is the operative word here with this combination.
VSCode and IntelliJ IDEA- Swimm’s IDE devtools
With IDE, every independent developer shows up with a personal favorite. At Swimm, our developer teams use both VSCode and IntelliJ IDEA.
In my experience, IntelliJ fans typically usually used it in previous jobs. But at Swimm, the majority of us use VSCode because it’s extremely customizable, lightweight, and open-source.
Datadog - Swimm’s logging devtool
Since we log everything in the system, we selected Datadog because it offers the most flexibility for working with different logging sources, including the Web app, cloud functions, IDE plugins, and web workers.
Datadog also offers a wide range of visibility tools in production, including the logs infrastructure. This means that we can search through the logs and create dashboards on top of it - classifying them based on severity and we monitor our production environment and see how our users are interacting with Swimm’s app.
Sentry - Swimm’s monitoring devtool
As is the case with all monitoring devtools, I highly recommend cleaning up all warning and error messages as soon as you get them. Otherwise, developers will begin to ignore when a Sentry alert pops up. In other words, it’s a don’t-cry-wolf scenario.
Swimm - our favorite documentation devtool
Swimm’s platform is connected to Github, your IDE, and CI, and functionally has become an integral part of the development lifecycle, including onboarding new engineers and developers. We are currently experimenting with code reviews using Swimm. This is important for both pull requests when we generate a doc and import incident reports with Swimm.
Heap - Swimm’s product analytics devtool
At Swimm, we use Heap as an event-based analytics tool. Heap helps us auto-track events and understand who our customers are and how and why our customers are using Swimm. Developers also use Heap as a complementary tool (along with Datadog and Sentry) to investigate bugs that occur in Swimm’s app - so we can get a more complete picture of what’s going on.
We also use Heap to assess the performance of Swimm’s app and track user interactions. We’re also usually running numerous experiments too, and Heap is useful for this.
Figma - Swimm’s design devtool
We’re using Figma as our design devtool; it allows developers to have access to CSS directly from the mockup. So if a designer is drawing something, our dev team can inspect the design in the app - seeing the code that it is generating and you can just copy-paste the code. Mockups can also be added to an open ticket as ClickUp natively supports embedding Figma files.
Figma’s design system is also robust. If you want to change something, it’s a one-button click making it very easy to change the UI and automatically update all of our Swimm mockups.
Cypress - Swimm’s end-to-end testing devtool
Swimm uses Cypress as part of the process of creating new features and fixing bugs; it’s our chosen devtool for end-to-end testing that easily mimics user behavior and tests the outcome. As we develop new features and push new changes, we test a complete user journey with Cypress from start to finish.
We are flooded with choices and options on the devtools front, and Swimm continues to evaluate the best strategic fit for us.
If you’re at the research stage of evaluating devtools, I recommend connecting with colleagues and teams at other companies so you can weigh all your options and make a plan that you think will carry you for a number of years forward.
If you are interested in learning about Swimm's documentation devtool - to create and edit docs that are coupled with your code, auto-synced, and fully integrated into your workflow - sign up for Swimm's free beta and/or request to see a demo.