I'm about to configure a new development machine this week. It's going to be my 3rd install from scratch in the last 12 months, which I know is not all that much, but certainly more than I wish I had to.
Besides the common software development tools, like Visual Studio, SQL Server, Ruby, Office, Firefox, SVN, etc, over the years I've collected a number of small tools that I make sure are installed before I start doing anything else.
The list is volatile but some utilities have been there for years. Here's my current list in no particular order:
Taskbar Shuffle - I'm sort of a neat
freak and this little wonder does only one thing. It lets you rearrange the application buttons in
the taskbar. I don't understand how this is still not enabled in Windows out of the box.
UPDATE: We have been heard. Windows 7 finally allows you to rearrange the taskbar buttons.
Slickrun - I need a command/app launcher and
I've settled on Slickrun for some time now. I don't need much from it but I definitely need it.
On my mac, as you can imagine, I use Quicksilver.
EditPlus - Every serious developer has his favorite
text editor. Mine is EditPlus, at least on Windows. It's simple, extensible, has most of the
features you'd expect from a text artisan's toolbox. Again, on the mac I'm more obvious and
use TextMate, which is quickly becoming my new favorite if I can
work on the mac.
Truecrypt - In case you aren't familiar
with it, Truecrypt is a data encryption software that creates encrypted file systems that
that you can mount in Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Truecrypt makes encryption a piece of cake and
I have been using it since when it's non-Windows support was laughable.
Timesnapper - This tool has a very simple premise, it
takes screenshots of your desktop on a regular interval. You can later relive your day just like
a movie. This application is like my backup memory when I'm preparing my timesheets. It works
great with Truecrypt in case you are concerned with having your whereabouts "caught on camera."
Lutz Red Gate's .NET Reflector - There's no .NET development without
Reflector, I should not even need to mention that I use it. Let's start a campaign to have Reflector
bundled with Visual Studio.
Update: Reflector was acquired by Red Gate shortly after I wrote this post.
I guess they moved quicker than Microsoft and our campaing to have that tool be part of the SDK or
Visual Studio is severely at risk.
Daemon Tools - Mount ISO images as CD/DVD ROM drives.
Update: Apparently I was using a much older version of
Daemon Tools and that tool
now install spyware even if opt out of installing the stupid toolbar. I'm starting to use
Virtual Clone Drive now and it
has been alright.
Hamachi - VPN made easy as pie.
Foxit Reader - I can't stand Adobe
Acrobloat. Foxit isn't the greatest thing on earth but is good enough and very lightweight.
Filezilla - Sooner or later I'll need a FTP
client. Filezilla has been good to me.
Firebug for Firefox - If there's no .NET development
without Reflector, then Firebug is like Reflector for Web development. But I'm sure
you already know that.
YSlow for Firebug - This nice add-on helps
me by suggesting possible ways to improve page loading performance. While you're at it
take a look at these other Firebug extensions.
7-zip - Because we all need a shell-integrated
Tabbed Console - I'm not exactly a
command line ninja, but I find myself at the black screen very often. Often enough
that it's not rare that I have more than one of those open. The tabbed Console utility
allows me to have all my command prompt sessions in the same window. And more than that,
I can have flavored command windows tabs, like one for the regular cmd.exe, one for IRb
(the Ruby console), one for PowerShell, one for Cygwin, VS Command Prompt, and on, and on.
- Sometimes you need to bring the big guns.
What about you? Do you have tools that you feel naked without?
07-31-2008 5:07 AM