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Get a quick rundown of 12 cloud developer tools from AWS

With so many available options, it can be difficult to keep track of all the developer tools AWS has to offer. Check out 12 tools that are a part of AWS' toolkit.

AWS dominates much of the cloud market and continues to release new tools and services to expand its reach, including a push in recent years to expand its array of developer tools.

In comparison to its competitors in this space, such as GitLab or Microsoft Azure, the developer experience in AWS isn't as rich or cohesive as it could be. But in the right hands, the tools themselves are top rate and top notch, said Chris Condo, principal analyst at Forrester.

"[Teams] that have the right expertise can really leverage the power of AWS," Condo said.

Companies that don't have experienced developers already on staff may struggle with the AWS tool set, but it's hard to argue against the raw computing power of Amazon's cloud. If an IT team is ready to explore the world of AWS cloud developer tools, it will want to get to know the following services.

Amazon CodeGuru is a cloud developer tool that recommends ways to enhance code quality and reduce costs. This service relies on machine learning and has two primary components -- Amazon CodeGuru Reviewer and Amazon CodeGuru Profiler. Reviewer finds the major issues and elusive bugs, while Profiler helps optimize performance and cut costs by exposing the priciest lines of code within the app. Priced separately, both features offer a 90-day free trial in supported AWS Regions. After the trial period, pricing is broken down based on number of lines in the code analyzed or the duration of the analysis.

AWS Cloud9, AWS' cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE), enables developers to write, run and debug code in any supported internet browser. This IDE supports more than 40 programming languages, including popular options like JavaScript, Python and C++. Cloud9 features include syntax highlighting, outline views of specific files, and code auto-completion as you edit. While there is no direct cost for using Cloud9, standard charges for the compute and storage resources consumed still apply.

AWS CodeCommit is a managed source control service for code collaboration. This secure cloud developer tool hosts private Git repositories and handles scaling for the underlying infrastructure. CodeCommit works with any Git command or tools developers have implemented. Every CodeCommit account gets five users a month for free, but every additional user cost $1 per month.

AWS CodeStar provides a user interface and templates to help engineers develop, build and deploy applications. With CodeStar, IT teams can manage any software development tasks -- such as setting up a continuous delivery tool chain or permissions -- from one place. Every project within AWS CodeStar has its own dashboard with integrated issue tracking capabilities. Similar to Cloud9, there is no additional charge for this service beyond the AWS resources provisioned.

AWS CodeArtifact, AWS' managed artifact repository, enables developers to store, publish and share software packages in a secure manner. This service integrates with Maven, Gradle, npm, yarn and other package managers and build tools. CodeArtifact has no upfront costs but there are fees for storage, requests and data transfers.  

AWS CodeDeploy automates code deployments to any instance or server, including ones running on premises as well as on Amazon EC2 instances. Developers can use CodeDeploy to release updated features, avoid downtime throughout deployment and manage applications during the update process. When used to automate deployments, this service eliminates the need for manual tasks that often result in errors. AWS charges $0.02 per on-premises instance update but there are no additional charges for deployments to EC2. 

AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) is an open source tool specifically designed to interact with and control other AWS services from the command line. AWS CLI requires minimal configuration, and developers can run commands with the same functionality as the AWS Management Console. It works with Windows, MacOS and Linux, and it comes preinstalled with the Amazon Linux AMI.

AWS X-Ray analyzes and debugs distributed applications in production. With the help of this cloud developer tool, users can gain a better understanding of how their applications and underlying services are performing. This way, IT teams can identify and address any performance hiccups through the production process. X-Ray can analyze a range of different application types, including three-tier and complex microservices applications. In terms of pricing, the free tier covers the first 100,000 traces recorded and the first 1 million traces received or scanned each month. After those thresholds are reached, prices for recorded, retrieved and scanned traces vary based on AWS Region.

AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) is an open source software development framework. It defines cloud infrastructure as code through programming languages and AWS CloudFormation deployment. With CDK, developers can interact with their cloud applications. For example, they can list the defined stacks in their apps, move the stacks into CloudFormation templates and deploy them to any public AWS Region. Like other developer services from AWS, there is no additional charge for this tool beyond the associated resources provisioned. 

AWS CodeBuild is a continuous integration service. It collects source code, completes tests and creates packages that are ready to be deployed. With CodeBuild, developers and administrators don't have to worry about provisioning, managing and scaling build servers. Pricing is broken down by minutes in a pay-as-you-go pricing model.

AWS CodePipeline, a continuous delivery service, enables users to model, visualize and automate the software deployment process. A developer can model an entire release process and then build, test and deploy the application to a workflow once there is a change in the code. It is also possible to integrate custom or partner tools into CodePipeline at any stage of the release process. Pricing for this tool is broken down by active pipelines per month. However, all pipelines are free for the first 30 days to promote experimentation within developer teams.

AWS Device Farm is a cloud developer tool focused on increasing the quality of applications, time to market and overall customer satisfaction through testing with real mobile devices. With Device Farm, developers upload an application or test scripts to run tests across a large number of real Android and iOS services. Within this tool, developers can also debug or reproduce any customer issues. Developer teams have the option of three pricing models: Pay as you go, which starts at $0.17 per device minute; unlimited testing, which starts at $250.00 per month; and private devices, which starts at $200 per month.

Next Steps

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