7 AI Tools Every Software Developer Needs to Know [2023]

Cate Lawrence
Cate Lawrence
5 min read
Stay ahead of the curve with awesome AI tools for software engineers. 1. Sourcegraph Cody. 2. CollabGPT. 3. Mintlify. 4. Adrenaline. 5. Grit. 6. What The Diff. 7. Otter.

Until very recently, the shift to AI in our lives as devs has been gradual. Now, the creep is ready to become more of a rush.

Software developers who aren’t adopting now risk being left behind. 70% of organisations are looking to adopt, or have already done so – so we have to keep up.

Here are 7 of the very best AI tools for software engineers.

1. Sourcegraph Cody – Supercharge Your Code Writing

Cody AI, brought to you by Sourcegraph, is an AI assistant designed to dramatically speed up your coding process. 

Sourcegraph Cody coding AI screenshot

It uses machine learning to read, understand, and answer questions about your entire codebase, documentation, and code graph. They claim it’s a tool that can make you, and your team, ten times faster at creating software.

Some of the best features:

  • Code navigation – just ask where something is, and it’ll find it for you.
  • Translate language – got some Ruby, but need it in Go? No problem.
  • Code smells – it can act as a pair programmer and spot everything from edge cases to bad variable names.
  • Debugging – pass it a snippet and request a fix. It’ll do the rest. 

Great for: Teams working with large and complex codebases. It significantly reduces the time spent understanding and navigating the code, allowing developers to focus on crafting code rather than decoding it.

Alternatives: You could also check out Mutable or Codium (for test-writing) – and of course, GitHub Copilot, though that’s far more limited than Cody and we’re not sure when Copilot’s successor is coming out.

Try Cody here – free for personal use

2. Stepsize AI – Your AI Project Mastermind 

Stepsize AI

is a collaboration tool that enables you to keep up with the updates and outcomes happening across your team (and beyond), effortlessly. I’m building this one with my team at Stepsize, so I’m biased, but we think it has game-changing potential for many software teams.

This AI assistant acts as the ultimate project historian and taskmaster, integrating smoothly with platforms like Slack, Jira, GitHub and more. The tool eliminates information overload and miscommunication that typically eat into your productive hours. 

Some of the best features:

  • One summary from all your tools – It observes every activity, update and decision, analyses what’s important and shares what matters.
  • Instant answers to any question – Save time and meetings by asking Stepsize AI anything.
  • Long-term memory – It observes and reflects on activities from all your tools and uses it to provide precise, insightful answers.
  • Privacy Command Center – Enjoy a high degree of control of your data. It’s never used to train AI.

Good for: Stepsize AI is a boon for agile software project teams, from product managers and Scrum Masters to software engineers and DevOps professionals. It's particularly effective for remote teams where communication and project tracking can be challenging.

Alternatives: As far as I know, there’s no other AI companion for deep collaboration. You could check out these daily standup tools which help keep people on the same page.

Try Stepsize AI free here.

3. Mintlify – Automated Documentation for Developers

Mintlify automatically generates code documentation, saving you valuable time.

Mintlify AI code documentation screenshot

It integrates with your favourite code editor and generates documentation for your code in an instant. Install the Mintlify Writer on your editor, and watch as it generate comprehensive, well-structured documentation for your functions. It is designed to understand your code context and generate relevant descriptions, even interpreting "human-readable" method names. Developers across various programming languages have lauded its efficiency and accuracy.

Some of the best features:

  • One-click documentation – it’s that simple

Good for: Developers and teams looking to save time on documentation and improve their code's readability. It shines in situations where clear, precise documentation is needed, especially for complex functions.

Alternatives: Readable automatically comments code, if that sounds useful to your team.

Try Mintlify free

4. Adrenaline AI – Understand any codebase

Adrenaline AI is a more lightweight tool that serves as an expert guide to your codebase.

Adrenaline AI for software engineers

It’s a coding AI for developers. This devtool is designed to understand your codebase, acting as an expert consultant available at your beck and call. With Adrenaline AI, you can quickly get insights into how features work or find out where something is implemented. It reduces time wasted in seeking answers externally.

Some of the best features:

  • Understand any codebase in seconds
  • You don’t even have to make an account to try it out!

Good for: Where quick orientation and code understanding is a common requirement. It can be a game-changer in environments with high developer churn or for onboarding new team members.

Try Adrenaline free

5. Grit.io – Your Automated Technical Debt Manager

Grit.io is an automated tool that simplifies code migrations and dependency upgrades.

How to fix tech debt with AI with Grit

This powerful developer tool uses AI to automatically manage your technical debt, including automating tedious tasks like code migrations and dependency upgrades. It can generate pull requests following best practices, with a built-in radar for detecting regressions. It can turn a once formidable drain on resources into a manageable, even mundane task.

Some of the best features:

  • Automate maintenance – auto-generate pull requests for cleaning up tech debt
  • Code migrations – declare how you want your code structured, Grit can rewrite it (e.g. JavaScript to TypeScript, Chai to Jest…)

Good for: Grit.io is ideal for teams dealing with legacy systems and frequent code migrations. It's a lifesaver for organisations trying to keep pace with evolving technologies without losing sight of their existing projects.

Alternatives: Non-AI tools such as our Stepsize Tech Debt management tool can help large teams and modern enterprises and scale-ups track and manage tech debt effectively.

Try Grit here

6. What The Diff – Your AI-Powered Code Review Assistant

What The Diff is another AI tool for software developers: an AI-powered assistant that streamlines code reviews and improves team communication.

What The Diff code review AI

Ever found yourself stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of code reviews, haggling over minute changes that could have been handled automatically? Enter What The Diff. This AI-powered tool enables teams to write better pull request descriptions, review them faster, and keep all members - technical or otherwise - in the loop. Just comment on the lines of source code that need refactoring, describe the changes you want, and What The Diff will suggest those changes within the pull request. The tool can even generate summaries of your pull requests, devoid of technical jargon, to keep everyone updated.

Some of the best features:

  • Instant code refactoring – Use /wtd in your pull request comments, and it’ll make them. Accept in one click.
  • Pull request summaries – Translate the diff into a summary you can use in the changelog or share elsewhere

Good for: Teams that are frequently reviewing and merging code. The automatic refactoring and summarizing features can be real time-savers, especially for larger teams working on complex projects.

Alternatives: If What The Diff isn't quite what you're looking for, consider Planar or Whipsr.

Try WhatTheDiff for free

7. Otter – Your AI Meeting Assistant

OtterPilot records meeting audio, writes notes, captures slides, and generates summaries.

AI meeting assistant screenshot Otter

At the core of OtterPilot is a highly sophisticated AI engine that understands and documents meetings with remarkable accuracy. OtterPilot records audio, transcribes speech in real-time, captures slides, and allows users to comment and highlight key points live. Post-meeting, it generates and emails a comprehensive summary of the meeting, making it easier to recall, share, and action key information.

Some of the best features:

  • Automated meeting notes – It can automatically join and record your Zoom, Teams and Google Meets.
  • Automated slide capture – captures and inserts slides into the notes
  • Automated summary – generates and emails a summary to everyone involved

Good for: Any team with too many meetings, and anyone that wastes time catching up on them.

Alternatives: Comparable tools offering similar functionality include Fireflies.ai, Clara, and Voicea.

Try Otter AI here – free for individuals

That’s it!

Artificial intelligence is beginning to transform software development as we know it. AI tools are becoming necessary to stay competitive in the industry. These are a great place to start.

I’m building Stepsize AI, an AI assistant for software projects, with my team. 

Stepsize AI integrates with Jira, GitHub, and Slack, keeping track of project activities, decisions, and key updates. It turns overwhelming data into actionable insights.

Learn about the power of Stepsize AI and get started for free here.

Never trawl through Slack, Jira or GitHub for updates again.

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Stay ahead of the curve with awesome AI tools for software engineers. 1. Sourcegraph Cody. 2. CollabGPT. 3. Mintlify. 4. Adrenaline. 5. Grit. 6. What The Diff. 7. Otter.
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