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Tools we use - 2013 edition

As another year enters its final stages, I decided I would log the primary tools I use for my developer role, should be an interesting experiment to compare with each year, if I don't get distracted by something shiny.

I actually wrote this post in October last year (2012 that is) but in the end forgot to post it. That sounds marginally better than "I lost the post until search was added to's admin system"! Surprisingly little is different in the 15 months since it was first written. Either nothing has changed or I'm stuck in my ways with my head in the sand. I'm sure it's the latter!

Operating Systems

  • Windows Home Server 2011 - file server, SVN repository, backup host. It's a shame it has been discontinued
  • Windows 8.1 Professional - development machine. Interesting, I was still using Windows 7 when I first wrote this post... thought I'd been using WIndows 8 for longer than that.
  • Windows XP (virtualized) - testing
  • Windows Vista (virtualized) - testing
  • Windows 3.1 (virtualized) - no reason other than because I can?

Development Tools

  • Visual Studio 2013 Premium - an improvement upon 2010 in so many ways, and the second change in this update post as I was using 2012 last year
  • BugAidOzCocde (the old name was better!) - this is one of the tools you wonder why isn't in Visual Studio by default
  • .NET Demon - yet another wonderful tool that helps speed up your development, this time by not slowing you down waiting for compiles. I was just recently reminded of this when I was working on a machine without the Demon and I was shocked at how long I was waiting around for solution builds to complete
  • NCrunch for Visual Studio - (version 2!) automated parallel continuous testing tool. Works with NUnit, MSTest and a variety of other test systems. Great for TDD and picking up how a simple change you made to one part of your project completely destroys another part. We've all been there!
  • .NET Reflector - controversy over free vs paid aside, this is still worth the modest cost for digging behind the scenes when you want to know how the BCL works.
  • Cyotek Add Projects - a simple extension I recently created that I use pretty much any time I create a new solution to add references to my standard source code libraries. Saves me time and key presses, which is good enough for me!
  • Resharper - originally as a replacement for Regionerate, this swiftly became a firm favourite every time it told me I was doing something stupid.
  • Other extensions are VSCommands 2013, Web Essentials 2013 and Indent Guides


  • Innovasys Luminitix (Link Removed) - we've been using this for over 18 months now in an effort to gain some understanding in how our products are used by end users. I keep meaning to write a blog post on this, maybe I'll get around to that in 2014!


  • ANTS Performance Profiler - the best profiler I've ever used. The bottlenecks and performance issues this has helped resolve with utter ease is insane. It. Just. Works.

Documentation Tools

  • Innovasys Document! X - Currently we use this to produce the user manuals for our applications.
  • SubMain GhostDoc Pro - Does a slightly better job of auto generating XML comment documentation thatn doing it fully from scratch. Actually, I use this less and less now, the way it litters my code folders with XML files when I don't use any functionality bar auto-document is starting to more than annoy me.
  • MarkdownPad Pro - fairly decent Markdown editor that is currently better than our own so I use it instead!
  • Notepad++ - because Notepad hasn't changed in 20 years (moving menu items around doesn't count!)

Graphics Tools

  • Paint.NET - brilliant bitmap editor with extensive plugins
  • Axialis IconWorkshop - very nice icon editor, been using this for untold years now since Microangelo decided to become the Windows Paint of icon editing (but without the awesome)
  • Cyotek Spriter - sprite / image map generation software
  • Cyotek Gif Animator - gif animation creator that is shaping up nicely, although I'm obviously biased.


  • Oracle VM VirtualBox - for creating guest OS's for testing purposes. Cyotek software is informally smoke tested mainly on Windows XP, but occasionally Windows Vista. Visual Studio 2013 installed Hyper-V, but given as the VirtualBox VM's have been running for years with no problems, this is disabled.

Version Control

File/directory comparison

  • WinMerge - not much to say, it works and works well


  • Cyotek CopyTools - we use this for offline backups of source code, assets and resources, documents, actually pretty much anything we generate; including backing up the backups!
  • CarboniteCrashPlan - another change for this year was to put aside the apathy and do away with Carbonites dreadful software onto something better. CrashPlan creates an online backup of the different offline backups that CopyTools does. If you've ever lost a harddisk before with critical data on it that's nowhere else, you'll have backups squirrelled away everywhere too!


[Not a tool but sticking it here anyway so I can see if this changes between years]

  • For web work, mostly MVC, although I still have legacy WebForms applications to support. For desktop development, still Windows Forms. I never took to WPF and I'm not really interested in cutting 90% of our users off by switching to Metro apps. Hmmpf. Not much to say really, I don't get to use as much cutting edge stuff as I'd like to. Been working with Azure's PaaS recently, that's pretty cool.

Slightly larger list than I was expected, but even when I wrote this I was surprised at how little was in it... a lot of tools have faded by the wayside it seems. And I haven't mentioned tools I use but rarely, that seems a bit daft.

I wonder what I'll be using next year?

About The Author


The founder of Cyotek, Richard enjoys creating new blog content for the site. Much more though, he likes to develop programs, and can often found writing reams of code. A long term gamer, he has aspirations in one day creating an epic video game. Until that time, he is mostly content with adding new bugs to WebCopy and the other Cyotek products.

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