Tools For Remote Software Development: Must-Have For Online Teams
Although there are many benefits in remote software development, a huge part of workers often needs to chat with their colleagues to ask for advice or simply discuss an issue. Luckily, a lot of useful software has already been created for this. We will discuss some of the best tools for remote teams.
Programs for video calls
A simple video call can completely substitute a live conversation when it comes to remote work. Verbal communication often appears to be more efficient than writing, especially when you have to solve an issue or discuss a new feature.
Our team regularly uses short video calls for different reasons. Why so? Imagine that there are two engineers who work on the same task. If they work together, solving it will take them up to 10 minutes. However, working separately makes everything more difficult and time-consuming.
Some apps that are recommended to use for video conferences are:
- Slack (built-in the original app);
- Google Meet;
- Discord and others.
Choose the one that suits your team the most and make the work process better.
Screen sharing and remote control software
There are situations when even a video call cannot solve an issue, and it is easier for someone to do it on their own instead of explaining the solution. In this case, screen sharing and remote control programs are definitely the winners. Although the apps may appear to lag, they are still better than trying to describe the issue with words without showing anything.
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Some of the best applications in this category include:
- Zoom (screen sharing);
- TeamViewer (both)
- VNC Viewer (both) and others.
Be aware that different software supports different operating systems.
Sharing code snippets
It often appears that you need to save a piece of code that helped you solve a problem or automate something. Adding it to the app you are working on is not always a good idea, but you need to save the code somewhere.
The solution is using GitHub Gist or JSFiddle. The main advantage for a remote team is that these services may also be used as a way to share the information in a more comfortable way. It is also easy to link these snippets in the documentation, so it is worth a shot.
Virtual IDEs and Hosted Dev Environments
Every developer knows about the value of code editors and virtual dev environments. Everything is moving to the cloud, so ignoring this is useless. This only makes things easier and more comfortable.
If you need something like a virtual machine and an online editor, you could use Cloud9 or Codenvy. Using this will let you code from any device and place as long as you are connected to the internet. When several coders need to work together, this is also a great solution. It all works on the same server and the files are the same for everyone.
It might appear that an online development environment is too “heavy” and something “lighter” is required. In this case, making your data available in the local network could be an alternative. There are many applications for this, both free and paid. However, it is likely that by using free solutions, you will spend a lot of time setting them properly.
If your network permits forwarding ports, you can use SSH as a free alternative. It is not more difficult than adding the -L option in the SSH command. First, the host must start the session. After that, the “guest” can join, and you can continue your work. The only issue that you might encounter is the speed of your internet connection.
Tools for reporting
Making reports is just another part of the development team’s routine. This may be a bit difficult to do when each member is separated by hundreds of miles, so there must be a way to do everything online.
Google provides free services like:
- Google Docs (works better than Word)
- Google Sheets (something like Excel)
- Google Slides (something like PowerPoint)
They are much better than the original software because they are available online, several persons can work with one document at the same time, and backups are uploaded every few seconds.
Tools for project management
When working in a team, be it online or offline, it is crucial that everyone knows about all the plans and upcoming events or deadlines. In offices, this can be managed through a meeting in a couple of minutes. But what if this is a remote team?
The following tools save the situation:
These services are available on PC and mobile. Here, it is possible to place lists, tasks, events, media, and everything that may be connected to any schedule. It is something like a better version of the calendar.
Tools for timezone management
It is not rare when remote teams have specialists from different countries. Another pitfall emerges – time zones. This makes it difficult for each member to coordinate their actions when they have several hours separating them.
To avoid any confusion, it is recommended that the following services are used:
- World Clock Meeting Planner
- Every Time Zone
- Teleport Sundial
Depending on the app you use, it will give you a list of all the time zones in different countries and cities, a possibility to create a list to see where each of your members is and what time works for them, and a planner.
To sum up
The number of tools available is huge, and this list is only the tip of the iceberg. Each day, more and more software to help remote workers is created. The apps are generally made for better coordination, comfortable information exchange, virtual meetings, and other related features. Using any of these, you can make the work of your team more efficient than ever before.
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