Collaboration tools can help software development teams share ideas, review code, provide feedback, and stay on the same page to increase efficiency and productivity. This guide will break down the following collaboration tools for Java developers in terms of features, pros, cons, and pricing:
- Jira: ideal for growing Agile teams seeking a scalable collaboration tool.
- GitHub: a great pick for developers needing an open-source collaborative coding tool with review capabilities and discussions.
- Slack: a solid solution for Java developers needing user-friendly collaboration via chat, audio, video, and file sharing.
- CodePen: a sensible choice for beginners or Java developers looking to share code, get feedback or inspiration, and collaborate via an online editor and remote pair programming tool.
Features of Jira
Some of the features that make Jira a top collaboration tool include:
- Scrum boards
- Kanban boards
- Project roadmaps
- 3,000 third-party integrations
- Built-in issue and bug tracking
Java developers can use Jira’s Scrum boards to break complex projects into small, manageable tasks. Its Kanban boards let developers visualize workflow, while its roadmaps keep teams in sync by letting your plan, track, release, and report on tasks. And, since Jira integrates with over 3,000 third-party apps, you can extend its collaboration even more via popular tools like Gmail, Zoom, and Slack.
Another great feature of Jira is its built-in bug, issue, and task tracking tools. Jira’s Agile-friendliness comes in the form of a built-in framework for planning, tracking, and analyzing work.
Pros of Jira
Jira’s pros include:
- Developer-centric templates
- Highly scalable
- Support for Agile frameworks
Jira saves Java developers time with several templates designed specifically for programmers, including options for bug tracking, issue tracking, and DevOps. Another pro is its drag-and-drop automations, which increase efficiency by allowing you to automate tasks like syncing progress and assigning work. The programmer tool offers scalability and can handle teams of up to 20,000 members, and it is also ideal for Agile developers working with Agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, and DevOps.
Cons of Jira
Jira’s cons include:
- User interface can seem complicated
- Limited Free plan
- Migration can be difficult
Non-technical users may have a tough time with Jira’s interface, as some user complain that it is non-intuitive and clunky. The Free plan is nice, but its offerings are bare. And, if you want to move on from Jira in the future, Jira presents migration issues to other platforms within the collaboration space.
Jira has four cloud-based pricing plans to choose from:
- Free: No cost with limited features.
- Standard: $7.75 per user, per month.
- Premium: $15.25 per user, per month.
- Enterprise: Custom pricing.
Up to 10 users can enjoy the Free plan and its unlimited project boards, timeline, backlog, reporting, insights, 2GB of storage, and community support. Standard adds audit logs, 250GB of storage, data residency, user roles/permissions, and business-hour support for up to 35,000 users. Premium offers 24/7 support, unlimited storage, guaranteed uptime, project archiving, and advanced roadmaps, and Enterprise offers top-tier support, centralized user subscriptions and security controls, and unlimited sites.
You can learn more by reading our Jira Project Management Software Review.
GitHub is a popular open-source and cloud-based collaboration tool for Java developers that want to improve their code by having conversations alongside it.
Features of GitHub
GitHub’s top collaborative features include:
- Code review
- Versioning tools
- Customized notifications
- Support for multiple assignees and reviewers
- Multi-line commenting system
- Discussions and threaded conversations
Java developers can review new code and changes in GitHub, plus merge changes with automated status checks. It easily handles branching and merging, allowing multiple Java developers to work on the same code, whether online or offline.
Developers can subscribe to specific activities to receive updates via notifications, plus use the pull requests feature to get notified when changes are pushed to a repository.
GitHub allows multiple assignees and reviewers, has code review assignments, and public repositories. It also offers multi-line comments and a Discussions feature with threaded conversations for sharing ideas and asking questions.
Pros of GitHub
GitHub’s pros include:
- Seamless collaboration
- Solid Free plan
- Code hosting
- Large community and support
GitHub’s code review, Discussions, and multi-line commenting all work as intended and promote development team collaboration, and, as an aside, makes it ideal for remote work. The Free plan offers all the essentials for small team collaboration, and GitHub is also a reliable place to store and manage code. The large and active GitHub community is another plus, as it helps offer additional learning resources and support, plus collaborators who are familiar with the popular platform if you need them.
Cons of GitHub
GitHub’s cons include:
- The amount of features and options may be overwhelming
- Past security issues
GitHub may seem overwhelming for some beginners, with its many features and configuration options – especially for those new to repository tools. The coding tool has a history of security breaches as well, including a breach in January of 2023 that required users to downgrade to an earlier version, which may be of concern for those looking to keep their intellectual property private. That being said, GitHub is known to respond quickly to such occurrences. Finally, larger development teams may find GitHub’s cost to be a negative factor, so you will need to weigh the price and benefits.
GitHub has three pricing plans for Java developers to choose from, including:
- Free: The most essential features at no cost.
- Team: $3.67 per user, per month.
- Enterprise: $19.25 per user, per month.
The Free plan offers unlimited public and private repositories, 2,000 CI/CD minutes per month, 500MB of storage, and community support. Team offers advanced collaboration and includes pages, wikis, CodeSpaces access, 3,000 CI/CD minutes per month, 2GB of storage, multiple reviewers in pull requests, required reviewers, code owners, and web-based support. Enterprise offers single sign-on, GitHub Connect, advanced auditing, user provisioning, 50,000 monthly CI/CD minutes, 50GB of storage, and enhanced security/support.
Slack is a popular developer tool synonymous with collaboration and lets teams communicate via chat, file sharing, audio and video conferencing, while offering thousands of integrations.
Features of Slack
Some of Slack’s top collaborative features for Java developers include:
- Video/audio clips
- Video/audio conferencing
- File sharing
- Third-party integrations
Perhaps Slack’s most widely used collaborative feature is its real-time chat that offers text-based direct messaging with mentions, video/audio clips, emojis, and other elements you would expect from a messenger app. Slack’s Huddles allow for video and audio conferencing, while the overall use of channels keeps relevant information in one place, unlike email inboxes, where information gets lost easily.
Java developers can use Slack to share essential files, and it also offers extended collaborative functionality via thousands of integrations with popular third-party developer tools.
Pros of Slack
Reasons to select Slack for collaboration include:
- Simplicity and easy learning curve
- Multiple collaboration methods
- Free plan
Java developers seeking a fuss-free collaboration solution get just that with Slack. Slack is intuitive and easy to use with a small learning curve. It also offers several ways to communicate and share ideas.
The Free plan should suffice for individual Java developers and small teams, and should you need to extend functionality, the plethora of third-party integrations allow for it.
Cons of Slack
Reasons to choose a Slack alternative include:
- Limited built-in functionality outside of collaboration
- Excessive notifications
- Price for higher-tiered versions
If you seek a tool solely for collaboration to replace email, messenger, video calls, etc., Slack is a good option. That being said, if you want more advanced project management features and perks for developers, something like Jira may be a better fit. And, if the Free plan does not offer enough, you may find the premium plans pricey as the size of your team increases.
Java developers have four Slack pricing plans to choose from, which include:
- Free: The most basic features at no cost.
- Pro: Small team collaboration at $7.25 per user, per month.
- Business+: $12.50 per user, per month.
- Enterprise Grid: Custom pricing.
The Free plan offers one-on-one huddles, 90-day history access, 10 integrations, and one workspace. Pro offers unlimited message history, apps, workflows, canvases, and huddles. Business+ comes with data exports, user provisioning and de-provisioning, guaranteed uptime, and single sign-on. And Enterprise Grid comes with unlimited workspaces and support for data loss prevention.
CodePen is an online code editor used by Java developers to write code, share it with friends, developers around the world, or potential employers, and collaborate. It is ideal for developers seeking a fuss-free way to share code from any device.
Features of CodePen
Here are some of CodePen’s top collaborative features:
- Collab mode
- Asset management and hosting
- Added privacy in PRO version
- Pens search feature
CodePen is highlighted by a collab mode that allows for remote pair programming with developers worldwide. Multiple Java developers can simultaneously create and edit code in a Pen and view real-time changes with a live preview. Collab mode also offers chat to enhance the experience and increase communication and collaboration.
Pros of CodePen
CodePen’s strengths include:
- Fast and highly responsive
- Simple code sharing
- Large community and support
CodePen offers a seamless collaborative coding experience thanks to its speedy and responsive performance and lightweight nature. The online editor makes code sharing as easy as can be – all it takes is a click of a button to share code snippets with other programmers. The large community is excellent for sharing ideas, finding new collaborators, and troubleshooting problems.
Cons of CodePen
Some CodePen weaknesses include:
- Lack of code completion
- Interface can seem complicated
- Hidden features
Some users have expressed the desire for code completion or code suggestion capabilities like those offered in VS Code. The interface may seem non-intuitive for beginners, with some features taking a while to uncover or that appear to be “hidden”. And, if you want to unlock all of CodePen’s bells and whistles via PRO, it can get costly depending upon your budget.
CodePen PRO has four individual pricing plans and one team plan. Unlike the basic, no-cost CodePen that shares your work with the world, PRO keeps everything private.
CodePen’s individual PRO plans are as follows:
- Free: No cost forever.
- Annual Starter: $8 per month.
- Annual Developer: $12 per month.
- Annual Super: $26 per month.
The individual Free plan offers unlimited public Pens and Collections and unlimited templates. Starter offers unlimited private Pens, Collections, and Projects, live view, debug view, no ads, 2-person collab mode, and 2GB of storage. Developer lets you use your own domain for projects while increasing storage, collaborators, etc. Finally, Super offers a 10-person collab mode, 20GB storage, and more.
The CodePen PRO Team version starts at $12 per month, per member for a 2-person team. It has a 10-person collab mode, no ads, unlimited templates, live view, debug view, 20GB of storage, and it is the best bet for sharing and editing work as a team.
What to Look For in Collaboration Software
With so many collaboration tools for Java developers on the market, you may find it challenging to pick the right solution for your software development team’s needs. You can filter the results to make the proper pick by considering several factors.
Start by considering the size of your software development team and their unique needs. If you are part of a growing team, scalability may be critical. Factor in your team’s budget too. Some collaboration tools have free plans for smaller teams, while others can get costly as you grow.
Consider features. Do you strictly need collaboration capabilities, such as real-time chat, comments, mentions, direct messages, email, etc.? Or do you want added perks like version control, code review, screen sharing, a mobile app, and the like? Do not forget about integrations, as the collaboration tool you pick should integrate with the top programming tools for enhanced functionality. Lastly, make sure your collaboration software is noted for being user-friendly.
Final Thoughts on Collaboration Tools for Java Developers
The selections listed above are some of the top Java developer tools for collaboration. While any of them can help your software development team enhance communication and stay on the same page, be sure to review the features, pros, cons, and pricing of each programmer tool to ensure it is the right fit.