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Must-have Tools for Developers on Windows: Part 2

Every technologist has his favourite list of developer tools, applications and OS which they believe are indispensible and without them they would not be able to develop anything.  With time and changing focus, this list keeps changing.  Here’s my list of tools that I think you as a developer should have on your laptop.

Most of them are Open-Source or Freeware as I promote using Open-Source (and donating them) than buying products at premium price.  So it is possible that many excellent products have not made it to my list!

Must have Tools on Windows – Part 1 of 2 – Visit here


Source Control and Versioning (contd)

I would like to continue with the last section on Source Control of Part 1 of this article. 

Until the announcement of TFS “Express”, I was preferred using SubVersion and Mercurial but with I think TFS Express will be a game changer.  It would be an ideal source control system for teams smaller in size.  But until Microsoft launches it officially, I would continue with Subversion and Mercurial

Windows Shell TortoiseSVN for Subversion and TortoiseHG for Mercurial

Visual Studio PluginAnkhSVN for Subversion and VisualHG for Mercurial

Defect Management CollabNet allows collaboration of SVN repository with defect management tools such as JIRA, HP Quality Centre, and many more.  You can use it with Visual Studio or Eclipse as a plugin

Microsoft .NET development tools (contd) 

SharpDevelop – If you don’t want to use Visual Studio Express editions then you can give a try to SharpDevelop.

CoffeeScript Compiler – If you are building Web Applications and are not familiar/used to writing JavaScript (or jQuery), you should give a try to CoffeeScript.  You can create complex JavaScript files easily using CoffeeScript and its compiler.

Storm – Other than SoapUI, Storm is a perfect tool to test cross-platform Web Services.

CruiseControl – There are several continuous integration software available in the market, but truly CruiseControl is the leader due to some obvious reasons (read: free, no-cost, no-royalty).  You can download the CCTray to get real-time build status of your projects.

SilverlightSpy – I have tried the Free-Edition and I must admit – If you are a Silverlight or Windows Phone developer (or designer), you must download and use this tool.

Tombstoning for Windows Phone – Tombstoning is a an undocumented yet a required feature of every Windows Phone application.  This library is the easiest way to manage tombstoning.

Nuget – If you are a .NET developer, having Nuget and Nuget Package Explorer are an absolute necessary tools.  You can explore various open-source frameworks/tools/packages available in the market

CInject – CInject is my contribution to Open-Source fraternity.  CInject allows code injection into any managed assembly without disassembling and recompiling it. It eases the inevitable task of injecting any code in single or multiple methods in one or many assemblies to intercept code for almost any purpose.  Read more here

StyleCop – StyleCop analyses C# source code to enforce a set of style and consistency rules. It can be run from inside of Visual Studio or integrated into an MSBuild project. StyleCop has also been integrated into many third-party development tools.


Database and Tools

MySQL – Almost all my blogging websites use MySQL as a backend.  It is light, fast, free and is most commonly available with all Website hosting packages.

Microsoft SQL 2008 Express and Compact – The express edition of SQL 2008 is really good unless you need over 4GB of data storage

Sterling – NoSQL database for Silverlight and Windows Phone platforms

Neo4j Community Edition – A graph-based, high performing, NoSQL database that is now widely accepted in several organizations

MongoDB – A document-storage based, scalable, high-performance NoSQL database

HeidiSQL – HeidiSQL is a lightweight, Windows based interface for managing MySQL and Microsoft SQL databases. It enables you to browse and edit data, create and edit tables, views, procedures, triggers and scheduled events. Also, you can export structure and data either to SQL file, clipboard or to other servers.


Other Windows Tools

Audacity – A perfect sound/video editor for your webcasts and recordings.  It can convert your audio files into various formats.

HyperCam – Screen activity and voice recorder that is an ideal for recording your webcasts.

FlashGet – An ad-free and fast download manager, FlashGet supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP downloads

BullzipPDF – A PDF printer is something every person (not just a developer) would dream of.  Bullzip is one of the best PDF printers that allows you to print, merge, apply watermarks, encrypt with password and many more features.

HandBrake – HandBrake is multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder

PortableApps – Carry your favourite applications on a portable or a cloud drive and make it work on any PC, any make.

FreeMind – FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool.

myTracker – myTracker is a time-tracking application.  The inevitable, effort-driven process of tracking time and analyzing is eased by this small-memory-footprint application.  The application generates reports in Microsoft Excel (.xls) format and provides pie charts and bar graphs depicting time usage, utilization.

Eraser – Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

PureText – Have you ever copied some text from a web page or a document and then wanted to paste it as simple text into another application without getting all the formatting from the original source? PureText makes this simple by adding a new Windows hot-key (default is WINDOWS+V) that allows you to paste text to any application without formatting.

EaseUS Partition Manager Home Edition – Free Partition Magic alternative, free hard drive partition manager and disk management utility for Windows 7 SP1 and dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

CrucibleWDS is a free Windows imaging / deployment / cloning program. It supports cloning Windows XP, Vista, and 7. A free Ghost alternative. Free Ghost software. Supports unicast and multicast. Can be used with 1 computer or 1000′s. Uses a simple web interface to deploy clients, clients can also be imaged directly from a boot menu by selecting an image from a pxe menu.


So in case you believe there is any Free / Open-Source tool that has been missed in my list, post it in the comments.  I will be happy to include it in my list!

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