Tools we use - 2018 edition

Happy New Year! While once again it's that time for the list of software products and services I personally used throughout the previous year, it's also a birthday of sorts - this year will be the 10th year since Cyotek was reactivated after being shut down and also since I started blogging for the first time.

Very little change from previous years, this may change as I force myself to move to .NET Core.

Operating Systems

  • Windows Home Server 2011 - file server, SVN repository, backup host, CI server - If it ain't broke, don't fix it
  • Windows 10 Professional - development machines
  • Windows 10 (virtualized) - I tried using a pair of 32bit and 64bit Windows 10 VM's for software testing but the performance is so dire I gave up
  • Windows 7 (virtualized) - testing

Development Tools

  • Postman is a absolutely brilliant client for testing REST services
  • Visual Studio 2015 Premium / Visual Studio 2019 Preview - 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
  • NDepend - static code analysis. I have quite a love / hate relationship with this application; so much so that I barely use the user interface at all and rely on reports published to Jenkins as part of a common build pipeline

Visual Studio Extensions

  • OzCode - despite the change to a subscription model this is just barely hanging onto being my number one tool and remains an exceptional debugging aid (although Resharper is catching up)
  • Cyotek Add Projects - a simple extension for easily adding multiple projects to your solutions. I don't use this at all now since converting all common projects into NuGet packages
  • EditorConfig - useful for OSS projects to avoid space-vs-tab wars
  • 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 - this is also starting to offer OzCode features which should be interesting in future as I have a real issue with renting software
  • NCrunch for Visual Studio - frequently updated automated parallel continuous testing tool (there's a mouthful). 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. Although Resharper has offered continuous testing options for a while now, NCrunch is the superior tool - can't wait for VS2019 support

Analytics

  • Unnamed Analytics. After dropping Luminitix, I replaced the data collection with a home grown solution using RavenDB, although I've yet to write a front end to look at the data effectively
  • Matomo - currently trialling this web based analytics software to gain anonymous insights into cyotek.com usage

Profiling

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

Documentation Tools

  • HelpWrite - the first application offered by Ariad in the mists of time, now reincarnated and producing no-frills documentation from simple markdown and YAML
  • Atomineer Pro Documentation - automatically generate XML comment documentation in your source code
  • MarkdownEdit - a no frills minimalist markdown editor
  • Notepad++ - because Notepad hasn't changed in 20 years (moving menu items around doesn't count!)

Continuous Integration

  • Jenkins + Jenkins Material Theme 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 deploy all our products and libraries

Testing

  • NUnit is our test framework of choice, for no particular reason other than it was the first one we tried after getting fed up of MSTest's limitations

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 was abandoned
  • Cyotek Spriter - sprite / image map generation software that is sore need of optimisation and TLC
  • Cyotek Gif Animator - gif animation creator that was shaping up nicely, although it is another application I really want to spend more time improving
  • AngelCode BMFont - although I haven't had a change to continue with game development for some years now (something else I'd like to change in 2019), for bitmap font creation I use BMFont along with our own parser

Virtualization

  • Oracle VM VirtualBox - for creating guest OS's for testing purposes. Version 6 has just been released and apparently with play nice with Hyper-V so I might (finally) be able to re-enable that

Version Control

  • TortoiseSVN - Windows Explorer integration for SVN
  • VisualSVN - Subversion support for Visual Studio. Unlike AnhkSVN, VisualSVN uses TortoiseSVN under the hood, meaning that Explorer and Visual Studio are always in the same state no matter where I commit from, something which used to frustrate me no end with AnhkSVN
  • VisualSVN Server - Subversion Server for Windows
  • GitHub / GitHub Desktop - for providing and working with the open source code we publish

File/directory tools

  • WinMerge - excellent file or directory comparison utility
  • WinGrep - another excellent tool for swiftly searching directories for files containing specific strings or expressions
  • FileZilla - simple FTP client that has served my needs for years now

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

  • Comodo Although I've had extremely poor service from Comodo in the past, I haven't had any issues over the past two years
  • Let's Encrypt provide short term SSL certificates for free. If you (or your host) are able to automate the process, this is an exceptional way to get basic SSL for your sites
  • Dan Pollocks hosts file blocks your computer from connecting to many thousands of dubious internet hosts and is continuously updated

Issue Tracking

  • Mantis Bug Tracker - over the past year I made a serious effort to more effectively plan software releases and keep track of issues, rather than just winging it. This is mostly working thanks to using Mantis Bug Tracker, although as usual WebCopy has had the lions share of development time to the extreme detriment of our other products
  • MantisSharp - I use our MantisSharp library to add integration between various applications and our MantisBT instance, notable for raising new issues from our automated error monitor, and for creating roadmaps on cyotek.com product pages although as usual I haven't had much time to maintain it

CMS

  • Kirby - although cyotek.com uses a custom home built CMS, I had been looking a Kirby as an alternative for some aspects such as the Knowledge Base Most likely going to focus on another home grown solution using .NET Core

Help Desk

  • New! Maian Support - instead of trying to keep track of emails, I've been using the commercial version of Maian support to manage user support requests and feedback submissions

Other

  • RavenDB - still not using this for much as I can't seem to effectively query the data from Raven Studio
  • Kodi - I've used this for years now to watch video on various generations of Raspberry Pi. I found the Films and TV (or Movies and TV) application that ships with Windows 10 to be absolute rubbish and was very glad when Kodi became available on the Microsoft Store
  • Rufus - I use this utility for writing ISO images to USB, useful for setting up new physical machines in an age where CD drives are fairly obsolete
  • Win32 Disk Imager - useful for burning ISO images to SD cards which I do for Raspberry Pi distributions. I used to use this for USB as well but now I prefer Rufus for that
  • f.lux - 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
  • Firefox - I switched to this as my primary browser a few months as my own protest against Chrome's dominance (and don't get me started on Microsoft's recent ill advised capitulation)
  • DuckDuckGo the search engine that doesn't track you - I can't remember when I made the switch to DuckDuckGo, probably two or three years ago and it has served me perfectly well since

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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Epsilekt

# Reply

Typo in the VSExtensions section, first line. OzCode <> OzCocde.

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Richard Moss

# Reply

Fixed, thanks for pointing it out!