Windows

What are your must-have development tools?

UltraEdit, Paint.NET, and Kdevelop are just a few of the tools that three IT pros identify as developer must-haves. Find out what other tools they consider favorites, and then post your list of essential development tools in the discussion.

In August 2006, blogger Tony Patton offered a list of his must-have applications and asked other developers to discuss what was in their toolbox. We thought it would be interesting to get a current snapshot of what TechRepublic members deem as essential items in their development toolboxes. (Well, we have some idea about where you stand on RIAs, thanks to the recent poll by Justin James.)

But first, we highlight developer tools that IT pros have praised recently on TechRepublic.

Check out these developer tools

TechRepublic blogger Jack Wallen discusses the features of 10 Linux and open source developer tools you should not overlook. Three of the tools Jack references are Bluefish, Glade, and Kdevelop.

Also, two developers shared their list of essential items in the Susan Harkins post, 10+ IT pros share the utilities and tools they can't live without. Here are their lists (comments in quotes belong to the IT professional):

Steve Erbach, software development

Steve Erbach supplies custom software for the printing industry. With a lot of responsibilities, Erbach uses a lot of tools:

  • NoteTab: Award-winning text and HTML editor.
  • HardCopy: Screen capture utility. "...relaxed shareware license..."
  • Paint.NET: Image and photo editing software.
  • ColorPic: "Superb" pop-up color picker control for Web pages.
  • Irfanview: Fast graphic viewer for Windows.
  • Windows Grep: Graphical text search and replace tool.
  • CPU-Z: Quickly review information about system's devices.
  • FireBug: Web debugging tool. "... absolutely outstanding...nothing beats the DOM information and JavaScript debugging..."
  • SpinRite: Data recovery.
  • AutoHotKey: Automate keystrokes and mouse clicks. "...full-featured for recording mouse movements and keystrokes."
  • Process Explorer: Lets you see which handles and DLL processes are open. "Excellent and detailed information..."
  • FileMon and Process Monitor: Monitor Windows.
  • RootkitRevealer: Rootkit detection utility.
  • Belarc Advisor: Profile system - iInstalled software, hardware, missing hotfixes, antivirus status, security benchmarks, and more.
  • WinPatrol: Improve system performance.
  • Win2PDF: Install PDF functionality as a printer.
  • XML Notepad 2007: Browse and edit XML documents.
  • MZ-Tools: Enhanced more than a million driver update files.
  • Disktective: Disk-space reporting.
  • KeePass: Password manager.
  • ToDoList: NET-based to-do list.
  • TreePad: Personal Information Manager (PIM).
Karen Rosenstiel, Web developer

Karen Rosenstiel designs and develops Web sites for small businesses and nonprofit organizations, with an expertise in accessibility features. Her list is short, but specific to her detailed work:

  • UltraEdit: "...an excellent all-around programming editor."
  • UltraCompare: Compare and merge files, directors, documents, zip archives, and so on.

Share your list

Now that you've read about other IT pros' favorites, discuss the essential items in your development toolbox.

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About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

17 comments
chris
chris

Linux: Quanta + (it just doesn't get better) Gimp Winders: Eclipse for PHP (but am no longer using it) Komodo Lite (pretty good code completion and ties into PHP server for immediate feedback) Gimp HTML Kit (for those quicky fixes and great for doing images and linking things (just drag and drop)) ScreenHunter+ (get just the area you need to get from your screen/windows)

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

If I had it my way I would just I rub two sticks of RAM together to generate raw machine code or Assembly. But since the powers that be want me to be "productive" I had to start using Notepad and Paint for the weaklings that need a GUI.

jim1paulson
jim1paulson

One tool no one has mentioned that I couldn't live without: Araxis Merge

kenf490713
kenf490713

I have used Emacs for 20 years on Windows and Unix platforms. Nothing comes near it for flexibility and usefulness. I also recommend Directory Opus (Explorer replacement), Vice Versa, More Space Sanitizer, MWSnap, WhatsRunning.

microface
microface

GIMP FireBird, FireRobin SCiLab, FreeMAt Freshmeat.net

simon.child
simon.child

I do lots of web work so here is my web dev app kit Visiual Studio 2008 Dreamweaver Photoshop Flash Notepad IE Tester Google Chrome FireFox Safari Acrobat WinRar

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

Gimp if in Linux, else Photoshop; Gedit or Notepad; NetBeans 6.5 with various plugins for C/C++; GCC; WxWidgets; Maple for math.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I seem to use it for everything, SQL, to VBS, to notepad like use, to hacking up other files, to changing frm files (which is easier sometimes then using the GUI lol). It's my most used tool.

jslarochelle
jslarochelle

So I use: - Eclipse (Main IDE for Java - I use lots of plugin) - Netbeans (C++, Ruby, Groovy IDE) - JEdit (my general purpose editor) - Groovy shell (for quick test of Java - or Groovy code) - Dia (for general diagram drawing) - Maxima when I need to work with mathematical expression (symbolic algebra, ...) Now when I work with C# I don't use the same envronment under Linux and under Windows. I use SharpDevelop under Windows and MONO Develop under Linux. For C++ I use Visual Studio under Windows (I use C++/CLI...) and Netbeans (with GNU suite of compilers) under Linux. JS

cyclo
cyclo

1. MSDN Subscription - Visual Studio, SQL Server (DB, SSAS, SSRS, SSIS). 2. Firefox with Firebug and Web Developer add-ons. 3. VMWare Workstation. 4. Adbobe Photoshop.

Justin James
Justin James

Most of my coding activities take place inside Visual Studio, tied to TFS. I'm just starting to scratch the surface of TFS, above and beyond basic source control, and I like it. My search engine of choice is indespensible. I like Wikipedia for getting background information on topics. NoteTab is a great text editor, and I love the price. Paint.Net has been getting my graphics love, but it looks like I am finally going to spring out the $99 for Photoshop Elements. For HTML work, I have really started to like using Microsoft Expression Web. Finally, for troubleshooting, I use Microsoft Office Communications Server to host a screen sharing session to let me get a closer look at what's going on. Now that I am getting to know Ruby a bit, I really like 3rdRail from Embarcadero/CodeGear. Likewise, on the occassions where I need to get some PHP written, I use their Delphi for PHP tool. I use PuTTy a LOT. I also like TopStyle. Once in a blue moon, I'll fire up PerlBuilder to has out some Perl, when needed (although I expect Ruby to replace Perl as my "go to language of choice"). If my toolbox seems rather Microsoft-centric, it's a combination of having an MSDN license and my employer being a Certified Partner; we get just about the entire stack from top to bottom for free. J.Ja

chris
chris

i guess if you are making money it's worth it, eh?

mdhealy
mdhealy

I agree, cross-platform tools are crucial since I use both. Here are some of the tools I use frequently, all of which are available (and I use them on both) for both Windows and Unix/Linux: gimp for image editing Perl for lots of things (my work is mostly data mining and Perl is great for pulling information from umpteen gigabytes of text) Perl Power Tools (various Unix/Linux style utilities written in pure Perl so they work anywhere Perl does) gnumeric spreadsheet Open Office Suite gnu bc (an underrated gem; much more than a simple calculator, it's actually a decent programming language with high-precision math) vim is my preferred code editor (yes, I know Emacs can do *anything* well so can vim in my hands because on either Windows or Linux I can feed the contents of the current buffer through a Perl one-liner) Ghostscript and friends Mozilla firefox and friends The Sequence Manipulation suite (I'm in Genomics and use these JavaScript-based tools which run in a web browser a LOT http://www.bioinformatics.org/sms2/) There are of course a bunch of OS-specific utilities I use, as well as various commercial and custom apps, but the above are some of the ones I use the most.

Justin James
Justin James

It looks like an MSDN subscription (or just a purchase of Visual Studio), plus an Adobe Creative Sutie license. A CS suite is around $700 if I recall. If he is using the tools in there enough (especially Flash or Photoshop) that it saves him a few days over the course of the year, it's totally worth it. From my experiences, one can spend 3 days trying to find open source, freeware, or shareware alternatives to either of those apps, and still never find a really suitable replacement, and the wasted time cost more than the "real deal" does. Unfortunately, too many bosses don't see it that way. :( J.Ja