10 Modern Node.js Development Tools Real Developers Swear By

You can write code directly on Node.js but you’re better off using text editors, command-line software, or one of these top 10 recommended Node.js development tools for max efficiency.

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by Julian Alessandro


You probably already know that Node.js is a reliable and high-performing JavaScript runtime environment (RTE) for server-side applications—and that it can speed up your apps’ loading time.

But to unleash the full potential of this RTE, you need Node.js development tools. The question is: how to pick the tools that fit your project and team’s skills?

To help you out, we’ve listed the 10 Node.js frameworks, libraries, compilers, and text editors that we can’t live code without. So, by the end of this blog, you’ll have a much clearer perspective of how to approach your next development project. 

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you

Table of contents

10 Best Node.js development tools for 2023

We asked our engineering team to rate the tools they love the most for Node.js development. Here’s what they said:

  1. Virtual Studio Code (VS Code)

  2. ESLint

  3. GitHub Copilot

  4. Jest

  5. Fast Node Manager (fnm)

  6. Postman

  7. Node Package Manager (npm)

  8. TurboRepo

  9. Socket.io

  10. Babel

#1 Virtual Studio Code (VS Code)

VS Code lets you edit your code and get alerted on syntax issues. It also simplifies debugging. Source: code.visualstudio.com

VSCode is an integrated development environment (IDE) that comes with a text editor, syntax highlighter, code completion, and debugging tools. VS Code is open-source and was created by Microsoft.

Why use VS Code for Node.js?

“This is the IDE that almost our entire team uses,” says Matias Alvarez Duran, co-founder and Engineering Manager at NaNLABS “It's lightweight and the extensions ecosystem is very comprehensive.” That’s why we use VS Code as our primary text editor and IDE for multiple programming languages. It comes with a large array of features and extensions to write code efficiently such as:

  • Syntax highlighting—to spot errors and come up with simplified lines of code

  • Code completion—to get automatically generated code suggestions

  • Debugging tools—to simplify bug fixing

  • Integrated terminal—to run commands without leaving the editor

Get started with VS Code

If your team is new to Node.js development and VS Code, you can share these resources to help them out:

#2 ESLint

Digital "code lint" can harm software performance just like actual dust once harmed computer performance. Luckily, you can use ESLinter to clean your code up. Source: eslint.org

ESLint is an open-source linter that was created for analyzing static JavaScript code and fixing errors before pushing it to production. It can be plugged into other development tools like VS Code, Sublime Text, and Atom to provide real-time feedback and suggestions as you write code.

Why use ESLint for Node.js?

You can adapt your ESLint settings so it follows your team’s coding style. “I use ESLint as a linter to catch and fix errors,” says Matias. “I also use it to enforce code style and best practices into my JavaScript code.”  When a team has a clear code style, it allows them to produce cohesive code that follows those standards and practices. So, we’re able to simplify our projects and ramp up new developments faster with ESLint.

Get started with ESLint

If you’re thinking about using ESLint on your next app development project and want to help your team get to know this tool, share these links with them: 

#3 GitHub Copilot

GitHub Copilot writes AI-generated code for developers to copy and paste or spark their creativity. Source: GitHub.com

Github Copilot is yet another bot that will take over our jobs an AI-powered code completion tool that suggests code snippets and function implementations based on a given context. You should avoid abusing it, of course, as you might end up with Frankenstein software—with bits that aren’t necessarily linked to each other. You’ll also need to double-check if the code meets your intended functionality. That said, it’s super useful for generating boilerplate code quickly or simply sparking ideas.

Why use GitHub Copilot for Node.js?

As the name suggests, this tool is designed to be your copilot. You’re in charge of the plane, but it’s welcome to make suggestions! “GitHub Copilot makes our daily work more productive and enables our team members to focus on value-added work,” explains Matias. That’s because we use it for simple but time-consuming tasks.

For example, you could use it to come up with Node.js templates. Instead of writing something habitual like the homepage signup code, you can get GitHub Copilot to do it for you and focus your energy on coding a more complex function like determining the search algorithm. 

Get started with GitHub Copilot 

Send these resources to your team to get started: 

#4 Jest

Use Jest to run tests to your code on an RTE like Node.js and catch issues before pushing code to production. Source: Jestjs.io

Jest is a testing framework for JavaScript code that’s easy to set up and use. While it’s open-source, it comes with built-in support for test coverage reporting and mocking. It’s compatible with both Node.js and React.

Why use Jest for Node.js?

Jest is a great development tool for Node.js as it comes with a test runner, assertion library, and mocking capabilities. So, it simplifies testing JavaScript code in an RTE. 

At NaNLABS, we test everything. Checking if our JavaScript code works is a must every time. And the great thing about Jest is that it supports different types of testing, so you can prove the efficiency of your code in an environment that simulates real life like Node.js. 

Get started with Jest

If you think Jest is the Node.js development tool that you need to improve your application development game, share these links with your software team: 

#5 Fast Node Manager (fnm)

fnm is a cross-platform tool that lets you access multiple versions of Node.js and debug them in parallel Source: Laravel-news.com

fnm is built on Rust and is a fast and light-weight Node.js version manager. It allows developers to swap between different Node.js versions or access the different ones they could install. It offers support for cross-platform installation.

Why use fnm for Node.js?

You should consider using fnm because it simplifies version accessing and debugging apps that were developed on different Node versions. “I use fnm (short for Fast Node Manager) to manage multiple versions of Node.js on my machine,” comments Matias. “It's a more lightweight alternative to other Node.js version managers like nvm.” 

Get started with fnm

Here are some resources to help your team get started with fnm:

  • fnm’s official data. Check out the fnm documentation page on GitHub to learn what you can do with this development tool and how to install it. 

  • Blog posts. Share this fnm tutorial for beginners with your team so they can have a clear path to follow. Encourage them to learn how to use fnm and retrieve multiple Node.js versions.

#6 Postman

If you’re building software, you’ll certainly need to connect it to other tools through APIs. Postman simplifies the coding, testing, and editing of those API connections. Source: Learning.postman.com

Postman is a tool that helps code, test, edit, and document application programming interfaces (APIs). It touches all the steps in the API lifecycle so you can build them easier and faster. Postman also comes with a repository of already developed and public APIs that developers can access and use. 

Why use Postman for Node.js?

Using Postman for Node.js is the easiest way to write, test, and debug APIs. “It's a powerful tool that allows me to make HTTP requests, view and analyze responses, and automate testing workflows,” explains Matias. “I use it for API development, document software, and even automate workflows. Defining clear APIs is key to any large and modern application”

Get started with Postman 

If you think Postman is the tool your team needs to simplify API creation, here are some resources that you can share with them:

#7 Node Package Manager (npm)

With npm developers can access a huge library of open-source code that they can use on their custom applications. Source: freecodecamp.org

npm’s registry is the biggest open-source software repository in the world. Developers can publish or reuse public JavaScript packages to simplify coding and collaboration. npm has three main components:

  1. The website

  2. The Command Line Interface (CLI)

  3. The registry

Why use npm for Node.js?

You should use npm for Node.js to simplify your Chrome web applications development by borrowing code from other online developers and boosting your team’s productivity. This tool also comes with extensions and plugins that you can use to simplify development. 

“I use npm to manage dependencies and package my JavaScript code for distribution,” says Matias. “It’s the default package manager for Node.js, and it's widely used in the JavaScript community.” So, you’ll always find it periodically updated by its users.

Get started with npm

If you’re thinking about using npm as a library and want your team to be fully onboard with this tool, share these links with them: 

#8 Turborepo

This build system is great for continuously integrating code into your repository in an automated way. Source: Vercel on Youtube.com

Turborepo is an open-source build system that compiles code base into executable software automatically. It was built in Rust and simplifies development as it offers incremental builds—and won’t affect runtime. 

Why use Turborepo for Node.js?

You should use Turborepo for Node.js to manage your large-scale code repositories. That way, you can automate a big part of your development process. Turborepo improves the speed and reliability of code searches, pulls, and merges. 

Get started with Turborepo

To get your team ready to use Tuberepo as your build system,  invite them to review these links:

#9 Socket.IO

Socket.IO allows your application to connect to multiple nodes in bilateral communication between clients and servers. Source: Socket.IO

Socket.IO is a library designed to build client-server communication that’s event-driven, bidirectional, and low-latency in real-time. This Node.js web framework is suited to creating JavaScript or TypeScript web applications. Socket.IO uses HTTP long-polling as an alternative option when WebSockets are not available.

Why use Socket.IO for Node.js?

We’re suckers for Socket.IO, and you should be too! This tool helps you build interactive features like chat rooms, real-time gaming, and collaborative editing. Using Socket.IO and Node.js enables you to build the mentioned two-sided communications using Node.js as the server. 

Get started with Socket.IO

If you’re ready to start using Socket.IO and want to make sure your team knows how to use it, share these links to help them get started: 

#10 Babel

Developers use Babel to write code in the most updated JavaScript version and then compile it so it’s readable by tools like Node.js. Source: TutorialsPoint.com

Babel is an open-source code compiler for JavaScript. It allows programmers to write modern JavaScript code as it uses the latest language features and syntax. Then, Babel transforms the current code into older JS versions for compatibility with older browsers and RTE.

Why use Babel for Node.js?

You should consider using Babel for Node.js development so you can compile any ECMAScript 6 code and make it suitable for Node.js on versions like ES5. You can also use it to improve the performance of your ES5 applications as you can include ES6 features but read them on ES5. 

Get started with Babel

If you need to implement Babel’s functionality on your next Node.js enterprise application and need your team to learn how to use it quickly, share these links: 


  • Express.js for middleware routing

  • MongoDB for handling multiple databases

  • Meteor for full-stack development in JavaScript

  • Webpack for bundling JavaScript files 

  • Electrode for React and Node.js application development

  • Broccoli for hosting a stable pipeline of assets

Do you need expert help to use Node.js development tools?

If you have an in-house development team ready to learn how to use these Node.js tools, you can kickstart your next software development project right away. However, many of these technologies have a learning curve that can’t be sped up. 

So, if your in-house team doesn’t have the time or expertise to learn from scratch, you should consider choosing from one of the best Node.js development companies to get support. 

A software development company, like NaNLABS, can either augment your team with experienced developers or serve as software consultants. Either way, NaNLABS developers always take your goals seriously! Our expert team will properly evaluate your project and partner with you to provide high-performing, clean software using high-quality tools.

Ready to build your own custom software with a team that cares about you and your processes? We’re not code monkeys, we care about you

Frequently asked questions about Node.js development tools

  • What is the default code editor for Node.js?

    There’s no default code editor for Node.js. However, this development tool integrates with all integrated development environments (IDE) that are built on JavaScript. At NaNLABS, our favorite JS code editor is VS Code as you can customize your preferences and set up your coding style to simplify writing and documentation.

  • Which development tool is installed with Node.js?

    One of the development tools that’s installed with Node.js is npm (Node Package Manager). It helps handle packages and dependencies on Node.js projects. Apart from the registry, npm also comes with a command line interface.

  • Is Node.js as fast as C++?

    Node.js isn’t as fast as C++ due to the nature of the language. Node.js is an interpreted language, so every time you run a Node.js app, it uses an interpreter to translate the code into machine code at runtime. C++ is a compiled language, so apps built on it are automatically run. Since Node.js was written in C++, it can process interpreted code faster than other interpreted languages like Python.

  • What is the difference between Node.js and Angular.js?

    The difference between Node.js and Angular.js is that Node.js is a runtime environment while Angular is a JavaScript framework. Node.js is more suited for building server-side web applications. Angular.js is better for building single-page and client-side web apps. 

  • How can I test a Node.js application?

    You can test Node.js applications using different development tools like Jest, Cypress, or Mocha. The detailed process for using each testing framework varies from one to another, but when you integrate them with Node.js, you can test your code with different forms of testing—e.g. Unit tests, behavior-driven development (BDD), test-driven development (TDD), or automated tests.

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