As a software developer, I use a variety of plugins that make my life easier when it comes to avoiding mistakes and coding more efficiently.
Whilst these time and effort saving techniques may seem negligible as a one off, when accumulated together they can really make a difference.
It becomes very hard to track the scope of certain functions, especially when you want to delete some.
With rainbow brackets, you can see what is going on in your code visually, when it comes to scoping functions.
Rainbow brackets in fact doesn’t only work with brackets, but also with parenthesis, which makes things like mapping in React projects easy to pick out.
Read more about Rainbow Brackets here.
Tabine has been my favourite plugin for a while now. I enjoy using it for its accurate text completion that has quite literally predicted whole lines of code for me that I can choose to accept with a simple key press.
It does this through its AI-driven predictive coding algorithms. When enabled, Tabnine actually learns from your coding habits and the projects you work on, so it can accurately predict what you are going to type next.
Read more about it here.
This is a cool one if you work with CSV files.
The CSV Plugin treated CSV, or ‘comma separated values’, as its own language in JetBrains IDEs. This means it has its own syntax definition, structured language elements and associated file types, such as .csv, .tsv and .psv.
Having this plugin allows us to treat it like we do with any other code in the editor, with mistakes being highlighted for us. Here is a full list of the support you will get:
- CSV/TSV/PSV file detection
- flexible Table Editor
- customisable text editor
- customisable column colouring
- customisable line comment
- syntax validation
- syntax highlighting (customisable)
- content formatting (customisable)
- quick fix inspections
- intentions (Alt+Enter), for example Quote/Unquote (all), Shift Column Left/Right
- structure view (header-entry layout)
- support for ',', ';', ':', '|' and '↹' as pre-defined value separator
- support for freely defined value separators
- support for line comments (# per default, customisable)
- highlight of active column values
- tab (↹) separator highlighting
Read more about CSV here.
There is also Rainbow CSV, if you want to add some of that extra color in your life!
The String Manipulation plugin allows you to instantly format strings with a variety of inbuilt options.
So for example, if you want to change a bunch of highlighted strings to camelCase, you can do it instantly. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can sort strings, filter them, or even sort them via case sensitivity!
This tool is a huge time saver when it comes to tidying up code.
The list of capabilities is just too long, so instead of pasting them here, you can check them out over on the website here.
I have been using Prettier for the longest out of all the plugins mentioned, and sometimes forget about it as its so built into my everyday activities as a developer.
Prettier takes your code as you have written it, and provides a standardisation and consistency. Basically if everyone used Prettier then all our code would follow the exact same guidelines – yay for consistency!
It does this by not offering loads and loads of options to the user like ESLint. If you really want to, then you can change it, but that would really be defeating its purpose.
Here you can see Prettier at work. It has taken some code, and made all of the lines of code under 60 characters in length. If a line goes over that, it gets put on a new separate line. It also adds semi-colons if you want, and makes sure that all quotation marks are consistent.
There, much ‘Prettier’! (geddit?)
Prettier is actually already bundled with WebStorm, so you don't even need to install it to use it.
Code with Me
This is not so much a plugin as a regular feature of WebStorm now that it has been packaged up with version 2021.1, but worth a mention none the less.
Now with remote working being a regular thing in a lot of our lives, our need to be able to share code efficiently is now more important than ever.
I know this as I have spent a lot of time "screen-shot"-ting my screen and sending it over Slack when discussing with colleague developers. If only there was a tool where someone could literally see my screen AND edit my code...
Well, that is what Code With Me does, with the added bonus of video calls.
You can choose who can edit your code that you are sharing. And if you are presenting to a big group call, and don't want anyone touching it, you can switch to a ‘read-only’ mode too.
This feature is definitely a life saver when it comes to remote working. If you want to have more of a read on this feature, make sure to check out the link here.
Thanks for reading! I hope these plugins help you become more productive in your coding day-to-day.