Development Tools

I am a developer by trade. I am a power user on a PC, and I try to ensure that I use the best tool or utility for the job at all times. This is my attempt at documenting the tools that I use on a semi-regular basis, and ones that I would consider as “must have” on any machine that I am working on.

Desktop Applications

  • LINQPad - My C# scratchpad and scripting tool. I use this tool to do anything from writing snippets of code that accomplish a singular goal to testing what a legacy application is actually doing in a method. I no longer write anything in PowerShell; I instead opt to write the script in LINQPad with the full power of C# behind it.
    • It can also connect to and query any database using LINQ (hence the name), but I admittedly use that much less than the scratchpad.
  • cmder - The console emulator that I choose. It’s an extension of the already wonderful Conemu with enhancements from Clink. It combines bash-style commands within a Windows environment without installing the full Cygwin.
  • ReSharper Ultimate - The ReSharper Ultimate license gives you access to the full suite of developer tools from JetBrains: ReSharper, dotTrace, dotMemory, dotCover, and dotPeek.
    • I personally use ReSharper and dotPeek the most, as they are the most effective in day-to-day development.
  • Sublime Text - Text editor of choice. Combined with the amazing Package Manager, Sublime is basically a full IDE, without all the bloat.
  • Beyond Compare - Use this if you ever need to compare files or directories. Easily the best product on the market.
  • ShareX - Screenshot tool of choice lately. I used to use Greenshot, but ShareX’s feature set trumps its. I’ve used the enterprise tool Snagit previously, as well, but I don’t feel like shelling out $50 for this tool.
  • Fiddler - Need to debug the network call your application is making? Use Fiddler.
  • SQL Server Management Studio
    • If you’re connecting to a SQL Server database (or many of them), then just use the free Microsoft tool. It gives you everything you could ever want in a SQL IDE.
  • DBeaver - If you’re connecting to many non-SQL Server database instances (like I was at a previous job) you want to have a tool that will allow you to connect to all of them in the same window. DBeaver solves this problem, and it’s free!
  • Dropbox - Obvious addition. It’s the best on the market for a reason.
  • Visual Studio - If you don’t have a VS Subscription (which is pretty well priced, to be honest), then use Visual Studio Community Edition. It’s so much better than it used to be.
  • 1Password - My password manager of choice. I’ve used KeePass and LastPass previously, but 1Password won me over with its simplicity across all platforms. Also, the Windows application finally caught up to the Mac one in UX.
  • Semantic Merge - When working on code diffs within git, it sometimes is difficult to visualize a diff due to reorganization of code. Along comes Semantic Merge, allowing for a 3-way merge tool that looks at the structure of the code, rather than the file as a string. Indispensable if you are doing lots of code merges.
  • Royal TS - Pick your remote desktop manager of choice. I’ll go with Royal TS, as it accomplishes everything I could want, including folders of connections, secure credential management, and easy ad-hoc connections.

Chrome Extensions

I use Chrome as my daily driver browser, so naturally there are a number of extensions that I use with it.

  • Postman - Build and test your APIs, or any network call really. Lets you build out collections, has a robust export/import tool, and is just generally awesome.
  • uBlock Origin - Block all those unwanted ads. Required install in today’s internet.
  • 1Password - A perfect companion to the desktop application of 1Password. Allows for easy random password generation and form filling.
  • Grammarly - This handy free extension does spell-check and grammar-check against what you write as you write into textboxes. It’s imperative for a blogger.

Cloud Subscriptions

  • 1Password for Families - I pay an extra couple bucks a month for my entire family to use the same wonderful 1Password that I use personally. This lets us share vaults, set permissions, and do a host of other enterprise-grade security actions across all the passwords in our family.
  • Amazon Web Services - The catch-all for the services I typically use. I’m typically on S3 and CloudFront for personal projects, but there are services for everyone out there.
  • DNSimple - There are hundreds of domain name registrars you can work with. I choose to work with DNSimple because of its simplicity and being not-GoDaddy.
  • Pluralsight - The best online learning platform for developers (and many other technologies and skills).