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My Development Tools

The last two Octobers, I took a moment to reflect on the development tools I was using.  It's interesting to see what sticks, and what doesn't.  Unfortunately, my 2005 list is lost in the aether, but here is the link to 2006, and more importantly the list from last year...

Tools I Really Used in 2007:

  • ReSharper, a productivity enhancer for Visual Studio and often referred to as R#.  I've preached the virtues of the product many times before.  Unfortunately, it's not ready for VS2008 as many have lamented iStock_000003150423XSmalland many have criticized.  But, when it is you better watch out!

  • SQL Prompt from Red Gate. Amazing IntelliSense type behavior for SQL as well as your custom schemas.  Makes me wish I was doing more SQL work sometimes. I also use their SQL Compare and SQL Data Compare products frequently to sync up databases.

  • Subversion, often referred to as SVN. This has been my source control of choice for the last four years.

  • TortoiseSVN, SVN client for Windows. I still use this, but I am enamored with...

  • VisualSVN, a Visual Studio plugin for integrating SVN. Well worth the money.  It has made using SVN in Visual Studio effortless.

  • TopStyle, an excellent CSS editor that has been in my toolbox for years now.

  • Firebug, an essential for Web developers! Did I mention that it is essential?

  • Unfuddle, a lot like BaseCamp (which we continue to use).  It's a project communication app with integrated SVN.  It fills a gap that BaseCamp misses, providing "tickets" for tracking bugs, change requests, etc.  However, there are still some things BaseCamp is better at.

  • MbUnit, my xUnit testing framework of choice.  I really like MbUnit, though R# support has been weak.  (I think it's was R# 3.0's fault though).

  • NHibernate, the darling object-relation mapper (O\R M) for .NET. This really simplifies data access a lot.  However, getting started can be a barrier. Our own Billy can help you out though.

  • Rhino.Mocks, a mocking framework for doing TDD/BDD.  I have really enjoyed using this (after I was able to grok it).  I will confess though that all of the controversy about TypeMock has peaked my interest.

  • Castle\MonoRail, we had our first big MonoRail project.  So we spent about 3 months really working with MonoRail.  I don't care to ever see an ASPX page again. We have also been using Windsor in a complicated WPF application.

  • Prototype and Scriptaculous, two related JavaScript frameworks.  MonoRail has some built-in support for these, and they are prevalent in the RoR community.  I have been very impressed and pleased with both, though some recent reading is leading me to consider jQuery.

  • EditPlus, I'm wandering if maybe I am stuck in my old ways here.  I know that there are lots of text editors out there.  I've been using this one for about 8+ years.  It's fast, and easy though.  Any suggestions?

  • Adobe Flash CS3, try as I might, I always seem to end up with a Flash project. So while I'm making this confession, I should also list...

  • FlashDevelop, a free, open-source IDE for ActionScript written in .NET.  This along with some related tools has made Flash\ActionScript much less painful.

  • .NET 3.0, we made heavy use of WPF and WCF on a major project. We were really excited about the results, and fortunately the client was pleased and they are bring us back for more in 2008.

  • Expression Blend 2.0, for editing XAML for WPF.  Even though 2.0 isn't released I found it superior to 1.0.  I can't say that I am ecstatic with this tool, it has its flaws, but think it is headed in the right direction.

  • Draco.NET for continuous integration.  I found it much easier to setup that CC.NET.  See my post about it here.  I am recently interested in TeamCity

  • Lutz Roeder's Reflector, I've solved a lot of problems though decompiling (even my own assembly once!)

I could go on, and on, but this list is getting pretty lengthy.  So now, contribute! What are your tools?

Posted 01-25-2008 9:52 AM by Christopher Bennage
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