Tools we use - 2016 edition

Happy New Year! Once again it's that time for the list of software products I use throughout the year. Not much change again overall, but given what I see happening in the web developer world when even your package manager needs a package manager I find the stability refreshing.

Operating Systems

  • Windows Home Server 2011 - file server, SVN repository, backup host, CI server
  • Windows 10 Professional - development machines
  • Windows XP (virtualized) - testing - We don't support XP anymore
  • Windows Vista (virtualized) - testing. Windows updates are broken on every single Vista snapshot we have which is annoying

Development Tools

  • Postman is a absolutely brilliant client for testing REST services.
  • Visual Studio 2015 Premium - best IDE bar none
  • DotPeek - a decent replacement to .NET Reflector that can view things that Reflector can't, making it a worthwhile replacement despite some bugs and being chronically slow to start

Visual Studio Extensions

  • OzCocde - still my number one tool and one I'd be lost without, I can no longer abide debugging on machines without this beauty
  • Cyotek Add Projects - a simple extension I created that I use pretty much any time I create a new solution to add references to my standard source code libraries (at least until I finish converting them into Nuget packages)
  • EditorConfig - useful for OSS projects to avoid space-vs-tab wars and now built into Visual Studio 2017
  • File Nesting - allows you to easily nest (or unnest!) files, great for TypeScript or T4 templates
  • Open Command Line - easily open command prompts, PowerShell prompts, or other tools to your project / solution directories
  • VSColorOutput - add colour coding to Visual Studio's Output window
  • Indent Guides - easily see where you are in nested code
  • Resharper - originally as a replacement for Regionerate, this swiftly became a firm favourite every time it told me I was doing something stupid.
  • NCrunch for Visual Studio - (version 3!) 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!

Analytics

Profiling

  • New! dotTrace - although I prefer the ANTS profiler, dotTrace is a very usable profiler and given it is included in my Resharper subscription, it's a no-brainer to use
  • New! dotMemory - memory profiling is hard, need all the help we can get

Documentation Tools

  • Innovasys Document! X - Currently we use this to produce the user manuals for our applications
  • Atomineer Pro Documentation - automatically generate XML comment documentation in your source code
  • MarkdownEdit - a no frills minimalist markdown editor that is actively maintained and Just Works
  • Notepad++ - because Notepad hasn't changed in 20 years (moving menu items around doesn't count!)

Continuous Integration

  • New! Jenkins - although the UI is fairly horrible (Jenkins Material Theme helps!), Jenkins is easy to install, doesn't need a database server and has a rich plugin ecosystem, even for .NET developers. I use this to build, test and even deploy. TeamCity may be more powerful, but Jenkins is easier to maintain

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
  • Cyotek Spriter - sprite / image map generation software
  • Cyotek Gif Animator - gif animation creator that is shaping up nicely, when I have time to work on it

Virtualization

Version Control

File/directory tools

  • WinMerge - excellant file or directory comparison utility
  • WinGrep - another excellent tool for swiftly searching directories for filters containing specified strings or expressions

Backups

  • 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!
  • CrashPlan - 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!

Security

  • StartSSL / Comodo / ??? - my code signing certificate just expired and rather unfortunately our previous vendor of choice, StartSSL, is having a few trust issues (to put it mildly) in addition to having been bought out by a Chinese CA. I've used Comodo in the past, but they have have the distinction of having the absolute worst customer service I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. And the rest cost far to much for such a small studio as Cyotek. A conundrum... Update 05Jan2015 I went with Comodo after discovering the StartSSL was crippled and this time the process was mostly smoth and stress free
  • New! Dan Pollocks hosts file blocks your computer from connecting to many thousands of dubious internet hosts and is continuously updated

Other

  • f.lux - not really sure why I haven't mentioned this before, I've been using this utterly fantastic software for years. It adapts your monitor to the time of day, removing blue light as evening approaches and helps reduce eye strain when coding at night

About The Author

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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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