Top 25 Collaboration Tools for Developers

Development projects typically depend on input from a slew of team members–management, designers, marketing, and even external stakeholders. Consolidating feedback from a multitude of sources is no simple task, let alone coordinating tasks among half a dozen team members and ensuring projects are on-schedule for delivery. That’s why collaboration tools are critical, especially for more complex projects. Whether you’re a freelance developer or you work in-house, these collaboration tools will help keep you on-task and on-track–not to mention impress your higher-ups with your exceptional organizational skills. Listed in no particular order of importance, the following 25 collaboration tools (listed in no particular order) are worth a try if you’re struggling to keep your teams on-task.

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Image via Flickr via Norman Lear Center

1. TeamBox
TeamBox is a shared space for discussions, tasks, and files–making it easy for your team to stay in sync. With an intuitive interface and iOS and Android apps, you can stay on top of project management anytime, anyplace.

Key Features:

  • Create and manage tasks
  • Task reporting for viewing project milestones
  • Integrates with Dropbox, Box and Google Drive for file sharing
  • Real-time discussions
  • Easily convert discussions to tasks
  • Create and respond to tasks, discussions and more straight from your email inbox

Cost:

  • Free: Up to 5 users, up to 5 GB. Google Drive integration
  • Pro: $5 per user, per month. Unlimited storage, projects, group chat support. Dropbox, Box and Google Drive integration.
  • On-Premise: $15 per user, per month. All Free and Pro features in an on-premise product.

2. Basecamp
basecamp

Track files, discussions and events from start to finish with Basecamp, a project management tool that keeps your team, contractors and vendors all on the same page. With built-in file management, Basecamp makes it easy to find any project file–from three hours ago or three weeks ago.

Key Features:

  • Centralized discussions and feedback
  • Streamlined file management
  • Group calendar for schedule coordination
  • Task lists
  • Archive old projects for later reference
  • Full control over who sees projects and other team members
  • Recover accidentally deleted files

Cost:

  • Unlimited projects: $10 per day, 500 GB file storage
  • Up to 80 projects: $3 per day, 30 GB file storage
  • Up to 45 projects: $2 per day, 15 GB file storage
  • Up to 15 projects: $1 per day, 4 GB file storage

3. ActiveCollab
collab
ActiveCollab is a project management, team collaboration and billing tool-in-one. “The days when your project data was scattered across different email messages and accounts; instant messenger chat transcripts; spreadsheets and other documents are gone.”

Key Features:

  • Invite unlimited users
  • Unlimited clients for any price level
  • Role-based permissions system
  • Personalize your home screen with tabs and widgets
  • Collaboration and notification tools built right into your workflow

Cost:

  • Small: 5 team members, 5 GB storage, $25 per month or $250 per year
  • Medium: 15 team members, 15 GB storage, $49 per month or $499 per year
  • Large: 30 team members, 30 GB storage, $99 per month or $999 per year
  • Extra-Large: 60 team members, 60 GB, $199 per month or $1,199 per year
  • Mega: Unlimited team members, 500 GB storage, $2,999 per year

4. Desk Away 
Founded by Sahil and Sitanshi Parikh in 2005, Desk Away is a central place to organize, manage and track your workflow. Scale usage based on your needs–never pay for more than what you need.

Key Features:

  • Nothing to download, install or configure
  • Real-time updates, subscribe to project history RSS
  • Manage and track goals and deadlines
  • Daily, weekly, monthly and annual recurring tasks
  • Delegate and track tasks
  • Monthly calendar task view
  • Manage and track issues and breakdowns
  • Project wiki for full-team collaboration
  • Time sheet tracker
  • Project templates to cut down on time
  • Share comments, upload files to messages
  • File management
  • Add tasks and reply to comments via email

Cost:

  • Professional: $25 per month, 25 projects, 20 users, 2 GB storage, 5 templates
  • Plus: $49 per month, 55 projects, unlimited users, 15 GB storage, 25 templates
  • Power: $99 per month, 135 projects, unlimited users, 35 GB storage, 50 templates
  • Super-Power: $179 per month, unlimited projects, unlimited users, 100 GB storage, unlimited templates

4. Stixy
Stixy is a free, web-based app for organizing notes, files, projects, images and more in a single location. Drag-and-drop widgets create customized interfaces and functionality. Add guests to projects and control access for collaboration.

Key Features:

  • Photos, documents, images and to-do lists
  • Drag-and-drop widgets to customize functionality
  • Each widget offers additional customization options
  • Add titles, tags and descriptions
  • Each Stixyboard has a unique set of collaborators for access control

Cost:

  • Free

5. Beanstalk
beanstalk
“The easiest way to manage code, collaborate and deploy,” Beanstalk is a collaboration tool designed specifically to meet the challenges of a multi-person development team. With a simple interface and third-party tools and API integration, Beanstalk is a full-featured platform.

Key Features: 

  • Integrates with Basecamp, Lighthouse, FogBugz and more
  • Three version-control systems: Writer, Developer and Designer
  • Deploy your repositories to (S)FTP, SSH and Amazon S3 in one click
  • Frequent multi-site backups
  • SSL
  • Scalable servers
  • Build your own tools with the Beanstalk API
  • Review, compare and share previous revisions of your HTML mockups and images

Cost: 

  • Bronze: $15 per month, 3 GB storage, 10 repositories, 5 users
  • Silver: $25 per month, 6 GB storage, 25 repositories, 20 users
  • Gold: $50 per month, 12 GB storage, 50 repositories, 40 users
  • Platinum: $100 per month, 24 GB storage, 120 repositories, 100 users
  • Diamond: $200 per month, 60 GB storage, 300 repositories, 200 users

6. Protonotes
Protonotes is like a discussion board/wiki for prototype collaboration via notes to discuss functionality, design and requirements–from directly within the prototype. It’s easy to implement, simply by adding a few lines of JavaScript code into any prototype.

Key Features:

  • No browser plug-in required
  • Enable functionality once for the full team from the website itself
  • Any visitor can seamlessly add notes
  • Annotate prototypes for requirements collaboration, design crits, usability findings, heuristic reviews, QA reviews and more

Cost:

  • Free

7. ProjectPier
A free, open-source, PHP application, ProjectPier is a “flexible system for managing projects involving multiple organizations by providing a central place for all project activity and information while integrating with users’ existing tools and workflow.” Manage tasks, teams and projects within a simple, intuitive web interface.

Key Features: 

  • Organize your projects into Milestones, Messages, Tasklists, Tasks and Files
  • E-mail notifications for new milestones, tasks, messages and comments
  • Unlimited number of Projects, Clients, Users, and every other object
  • Three-level rights management:
    • Administrator
    • User of owner company
    • User of client company
  • Limit rights of client users per project
  • Multi-client capability lets you manage projects of different clients simultanously
  • Link messages and task lists to milestones
  • Categorize by tags; full-text search function

Cost:

  • Free

8. Twiddla
twiddla
“A no-setup, web-based meeting playground,” Twiddla lets you do everything from brainstorming on a blank canvas to marking up websites, graphics and images. No plug-ins, downloads, or firewall issues to get in the way of collaboration.

Key Features:

  •  Share images, documents and email
  • Create and attend meetings
  • Screen captures
  • Voice chat
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Brainstorm on a blank canvas
  • Markup websites, images, graphics and more

Cost: 

  • Guest: Free
  • Pro: $14 per month, 1 named user account, 1 simultaneous meeting
  • Team: $49 per month, 20 named user accounts, 10 simultaneous meetings
  • Business: $189 per month, 50 named user accounts, 100 simultaneous meetings
  • Enterprise: Custom quote, unlimited named user accounts, unlimited simultaneous meetings

9. Asana
Asana functions as a shared team task list for organizing, planning and staying in sync from start to finish through any development project–no matter how complex.

Key Features: 

  • Easily create, assign, follow, and comment on tasks
  • Combine conversations and tasks for seamless organization
  • Asana Inbox and notifications keeps you on top of the workflow
  • Simple to-do lists to complex workflows
  • Custom views of team tasks
  • Assign tasks to owners
  • Set priorities and due dates
  • People Views lets you stay on top of schedules and cut down on meetings and status reports

Cost: 

  • $50 per month: 10 members
  • $100 per month: 30 members
  • $300 per month: 50 members
  • $550 per month: 75 members
  • $800 per month: 100 members

10. Trello
trello

“Trello is the fastest, easiest way to organize anything, from your day-to-day work, to a favorite side project, to your greatest life plans.” An easy-to-learn interface with instantaneous actions lets you dive right into–and stay on top of–your workflow. Trello functions as a to-do list, community bulletin, lesson planner, information repository or anything you need it to be. 

Key Features: 

  • Mobile apps compatible with Android and iOS devices for on-the-go collaboration
  • Browser-based application
  • Card-based organization system
  • Attach files, images and documents to cards
  • Task lists and project meters for goal tracking
  • Customized labels for easy navigation

Cost: 

  • Free

11. Skype
Skype earned its reputation by providing a platform for face-to-face calling–without massive long-distance charges or conference call application fees. But it’s also a valuable collaboration tool for developers, with voice and video calling, file sharing and messaging all-in-one.

Key Features: 

  • Call mobile devices or landlines
  • Group calls for up to 25 people
  • Click-to-call: switch between browsing and calls with a single click
  • Screen sharing for both one-on-one and group calls
  • Share files, photos and videos of any size

Cost: 

  • Free
  • Some charges may apply for advanced features or calls

12. Banckle Meeting
From face-to-face collaboration to real-time chat for visitor feedback, Banckle is a comprehensive collaboration tool serving a variety of needs. Banckle Meeting provides a rich web-conferencing experience with customizable layouts.

Key Features:

  • Gather user feedback and collaborate instantly with website visitors
  • Collaborate with key team members with a customizable, full-screen web conference experience
  • Tabbed-screen layout
  • Customizable layout
  • Platform, OS and browser-independent

Cost:

  • Lite: $13.50 per month, 25 attendees
  • Pro: $31.50 per month, 50 attendees
  • Business: $62.10 per month, 100 attendees
  • Premium: $85.50 per month, 500 attendees

13. Webplanner
webplanner
Professional project planners coordinating team efforts and even developers collaborating with non-professionals will find Webplanner easy and intuitive to use, encouraging adoption for seamless collaboration with unlimited team members.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive screens for both professional and non-professional team collaborators
  • Project Wizard guides you through brainstorming sessions
  • Easy Gantt charts
  • Project overview pages for comprehensive timeline and task views
  • Built-in commenting and dialogue features
  • Approaching Tasks column with email notifications

Cost: 

  • Free trial with limited features
  • Pro: $15 per user, per month, 10 GB data storage

14. collabedit
An online code editor that allows team members to collaborate in real-time, Collabedit works in any web browser with no need to download, install or manage applications.

Key Features: 

  • Built-in chat
  • Text editor
  • Document history
  • syntax highlighting for programming languages

Cost: 

  • Free

15. Jira
A project planner for teams planning, building and launching great products, Jira is a comprehensive project management tool for developers and other professionals. Organize issues, assign tasks, manage workflows, monitor project progress and much more. Jira is a product of Atlassian.

Key Features: 

  • Track ideas and requests
  • Capture and assign all types of work, from bugs and features to stories and requirements
  • Built-in issues database or define your own
  • Create and manage Git repositories
  • Set permission levels
  • View code changes, track progress, and navigate between issues and source with a single click

Cost: 

  • Starter Rate: $10 per month for 10 users
  • $50 per month: 11-15 users
  • $100 per month: 16-25 users
  • $200 per month: 26-50 users
  • $300 per month: 51-100 users
  • $500 per month: 101-500 users
  • $1,000 per month: 501-1,000 users

16. Vyew
vyew

Vyew provides continuous meeting rooms for real-time visual collaboration, a critical tool for developers who need a seamless way to visually communicate mockups, wireframes and other elements. Vyew is the work of work of Simulāt, Inc., a Berkeley, California start-up founded by a team of UC Berkeley grads.

Key Features: 

  • Unlimited use for up to 10 people
  • Whiteboarding
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen-sharing
  • Voice over IP
  • Continuous rooms are always saved and always on

Cost: 

  • Free

17. Mindjet
Mindjet Project Director is a visual whiteboard, collaboration and project management suite for your entire team. Brainstorm, organize, plan and execute from within a single application.

Key Features: 

  • Virtual whiteboard for visual brainstorming
  • Mind maps
  • Drag-and-drop functionality to prioritize and organize tasks
  • Data filtering
  • Identify resources, add assignments and priorities
  • Track progress and run status reports

Cost: 

  • Custom quote

18. Cage
Cage simplifies the process of sharing prototypes and getting work approved by key stakeholders with simple, straightforward notes, feedback and discussions built in-line with your work.

Key Features: 

  • Centralized, contextual feedback
  • Web-based presentations
  • Save and present revisions for progress reporting
  • Assign and manage tasks
  • Manage teams, tasks, revisions and files in a central location

Cost: 

  • Personal: $24 per month, 1 GB storage, 2 team members
  • Basic: $49 per month, 5 GB storage, 8 team members
  • Plus: $89 per month, 15 GB storage, 20 team members
  • Premium: $179 per month, 30 GB storage, unlimited team members

18. Kollaborate.io
kollaborate
Kollaborate.io is “Skype on Steroids” with no installations, no hassles and the ability to share and work on more than 40 different file types in real time with team members.

Key Features: 

  • 40-plus file types
  • One-click visual meetings
  • No programs to install or download
  • Instantly drag files from Google Drive, Dropbox and more
  • Set up organizations and teams for faster meeting set-up

Cost:

  • Professional: $9.99 per month, 1:1 HD video and voice
  • Business: $29.99 per month, multi-guest HD video and voice
  • Enterprise: Custom quote. Same features as Business plan plus Enterprise Dashboard

19. marQueed
marQueed is a seamless way to share and markup images. Complete with activity feeds to track progress, marQueed is a valuable collaboration tool for mockups and other designs.

Key Features: 

  • Activity feed keeps track of all progress
  • Drag-and-drop images from your files–or the web
  • Real-time notifications
  • Integration with Google Drive
  • Grab screenshots with a URL
  • Labels and descriptions for organization
  • Custom branding
  • Team management and access permissions

Cost: 

  • Free

20. MindMeister
MindMeister is a brainstorming and mind-mapping platform that helps you connect ideas, incorporate feedback and more in real-time through Thinking Sessions.

Key Features: 

  • Invite others to collaborate in real-time via Thinking Sessions
  • Integrated live chat
  • Change history is stored for later reference
  • iOS and Android-compatible app

Cost: 

  • Personal: $4.99 per month
  • Pro: $9.99 per month (includes Personal features plus Group license, Word and PowerPoint export and more)
  • Business: $14.99 per month (includes Pro features plus bulk export, multiple license admins and more)

21. GroupZap
zap

The easiest way to have a visual discussion with clients without the use of sophisticated and expensive software applications, GroupZap functions as a simple, shared whiteboard with advanced features for notes, discussions, file-sharing, and more.

Key Features: 

  • Sticky-note metaphor
  • Easily invite collaborators
  • Simple sketch functions
  • Drag-and-drop files
  • Playback and rewind
  • Distribute conclusions via PDF

Cost: 

  • Free: Unlimited 7-day boards
  • Pay-as-You-Go: $5 per board, one year board use
  • Silver Subscription: $10 per month, 10 boards per month
  • Enterprise: Custom quote

22. Scribblar
Scribblar is a multi-user whiteboard tool with real-time audio, text chat, file sharing and more for real-time collaboration and feedback.

Key Features: 

  • Real-time multi-user whiteboard
  • Image and document upload
  • Text chat with userlist
  • Crystal-clear live audio
  • Run unlimited sessions

 Cost: 

  • Free: 1 room, 2 users per room
  • Basic: $9 per month, 3 rooms, 3 users per room
  • Starter: $14 per month, 5 rooms, 5 users per room
  • Standard: $24 per month, 10 rooms, 10 users per room
  • Premium: $39 per month, 25 rooms, 50 users per room

23. Binfire
binfire

Binfire.com was founded in 2008 to bring innovative and affordable online collaboration and project management tools to professionals and small businesses. Binifire.com was founded by David R. Robins & Mr. M. Ariel and is backed by private investment.

Key Features:

  • Interactive shared whiteboard
  • Collaborative PDF markup
  • Group chat
  • Event notification
  • Document sharing

Cost: 

  • Basic: $9.95 per month, 10 projects, 6 users per project
  • Pro: $29.95 per month, 30 projects, 12 users per project
  • Biz: $99.95 per month, 100 projects, 30 users per project

24. Huddle
Huddle is described as “the number one SharePoint alternative for enterprise collaboration.” With file-sharing, versioning, task assigning and monitoring and more in a single interface, collaboration is simpler than ever.

Key Features: 

  • Comment, assign tasks and approvals in a central location
  • User profiles to assign permissions and teams
  • Versioning to keep track of changes
  • iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Android compatible
  • Workflow and full audit trail
  • Highest security of any platform
  • Adoption guarantee
  • Huddle Edit
  • Huddle Drive
  • Customer Success Manager

Cost: 

  • Workgroup: $20 per user per month, 20 workspaces
  • Enterprise: Custom quote, 250 workspaces
  • Unlimited: Custom quote, unlimited workspaces

25. Teamwork Project Manager
pm

Teamwork Project Manager was launched in 2007 by Peter Coppinger & Daniel Mackey, also founders of Digital Crew. After being overwhelmed with client projects, Coppinger and Mackey realized the need for an effective project management tool–and Teamwork PM was born. Teamwork Project Manager is an easy-to-use online teamwork & project management software application that helps managers, staff and clients work together more productively online.

Key Features: 

  • Assign tasks to staff, co-workers and contractors in seconds
  • Link tasks to milestones or assign due dates
  • Add project milestones to keep everyone informed
  • Visual project view for overall timeline analysis
  • Track project time spent
  • Gantt charts
  • Unlimited users

Cost: 

  • Personal: $12 per month, 5 projects, 1 GB storage
  • Business 1: $24 per month, 15 projects, 5 GB storage
  • Business 2: $49 per month, 35 projects, 20 GB storage
  • Corporate: $99 per month, 100 projects, 35 GB storage
  • Enterprise: $149 per month, unlimited projects, 80 GB storage

What collaboration tools do you use to keep your projects, clients and team members on track? Tell us about them!