This is a list of software tools and development libraries and utilities that I frequently (or not) use, or have listed because I found them to look intriguing as being potentially useful for something I may or may not do at some point.
This list is inspired by a couple of things. First and foremost, on a number of occasions over the course of my career, I have created and lost lists very similar to this of tools and libraries that I use in the course of my craft (software development). I got tired of them being spread out all over the place, and losing them when projects end and stuff like that. So I figured I’d just consolidate all of them right here on my blog where I can (hopefully) maintain it in a single, consolidated place, and can share it with anyone that might be interested.
Secondly, I would be remiss not to mention that it was inspired by Scott Hanselman’s Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows. Not only is this list similar in form, but also in content. Many of the tools I list here I first discovered by reading Scott’s list.
Leave me a comment below if you think this list is missing something, or if you know of a tool/utility/library not listed here that I might be interested in.
NOTE: This site is still young, as is this list. I’ll remove this note eventually, but for right now, there is a LOT of stuff missing from this list. I’m trying to add to it as things come to mind and as I have time.
IDEs / Editors
- Visual Studio: I spend the majority of my time each day in this tool. For serious software development, its the best tool I’ve ever used (and yes, I’ve used Eclipse).
- Notepad++: This text editor has improved dramatically over the years. There are now a lot of plugins available for it, and the theming support is solid with the latest release. This is now my preferred editor for just about everything but C#/.NET development.
- Coda: When I’m doing development on my MacBook Pro, its nearly always web development of some kind, and when I’m doing that, I nearly always turn to Coda, though I need to start looking a bit closer at…
- TextMate: I keep hearing nothing but rave reviews about this one. I’ve played around with the trial version a few times and have liked what I’ve seen, but so far have been too cheap to fork over the cash for it. Tell me why I should.
- Sublime Text: This is a (cross-platform) editor that has really been growing on me lately. It has many of the features that TextMate has on OS X, and is available on all of the major platforms. Warning though: this editor is not for the faint of heart. It’s powerful, but many of the powerful features are not exceptionally intuitive. This is a great article for getting started with using some of its more powerful features.
- BareTail: By far the best log file monitoring tool I’ve ever used. Effectively, its a Windows/windowed version of the UNIX tail command) with some useful enhancements.
- Mouse without Borders: This is a REALLY nice little utility for sharing a keyboard and mouse across multiple, separate, physical computers. Cut/Copy/Paste and drag-and-drop files across the shared computers are a couple of nice features. Very useful if you commonly work with multiple local computers. (Windows only, unfortunately (if you’re looking for a cross-platform option, check out Synergy)
- NuGet: If you’re not using NuGet, you need to be. NuGet is not itself an actual code library, but will hopefully be the source of access for all .NET libraries soon. It’s a Visual Studio plugin that allows you to easily find and add .NET libraries to your projects from directly within the IDE. Most of the libraries listed here are available through NuGet (and if they’re not, they should be).
- ActionMailer.Net: An MVC 3-based port of the Rails ActionMailer library to ASP.NET MVC. The goal is to make it easy and relatively painless to send email from your application.
- Dapper: A simple object mapper for .NET…adds a bunch of extension methods to an IDbConnection that makes data access dead simple. Love it.
- Massive: SQL-friendly, single-file/class data access layer for .NET that makes heavy use of dynamics. “Massive is a Single File Database Lover. Move over Bacon - Taste is got a new friend in .NET Land.”
- Topshelf (GitHub project): Next time I have to build any kind of windows service, I’m using this framework.
- Glimpse: Described as “What Firebug is for the client, Glimpse does for the server… in other words, a client side Glimpse into whats going on in your server.” This has become a must have tool for my ASP.NET development. HIGHLY recommended. Truly awesome.
- RequestReduce: RequestReduce appears to work very similarly to Cassette, but also seems to have some additional features that are very appealing, like auto-generating sprites from your background images, including assets from CDNs, etc. I can’t decide which one I like better. Anyone have any information on which one I should go with?
- Nancy: A Sinatra inspired, lightweight web framework for building HTTP services on .NET.
- BitBucket: Hosted Mercurial version control and project hosting. Unlimited disk space and private repositories. AWESOME. Hosts all of my personal projects.
- AppHarbor: .NET deployment (and hosting) as it should be.
- AppHarbor web.config transformation tester: This tool is extremely useful for testing web.config transformations. MUCH simpler than actually building the project from the command line with arguments to just transform the config file. If you’ve ever had to do this, you know what I mean.
- SendGrid: An (outbound) e-mail delivery service. Simple, gets the job done. Just the way I like it.
- DynDns.com: I’ve used DynDns.com for years to handle custom DNS and mail exchange forwarding for my domain. Their service is beyond reasonable, and I’ve never once had a single problem with them. Highly recommended.
- DNSimple: Another custom DNS service that looks very promising. I’ve not actually used them myself, but so far I like what I see of their offerings, and know of people using them that seem to like them. I’d be interested in any specific feedback anyone might have on their services.
- hurl.it: Hurl makes HTTP requests. Enter a URL, set some headers, view the response, then share it with others. Perfect for demoing and debugging APIs.
- BBQ: Back Button & Query library: Enables “simple, yet powerful bookmarkable #hash history.”
- jQuery Tools: “The missing UI library for the web” - a collection of UI components for modern web sites.
- Editable combobox control (see also, and demos): This is an editable DropDown List control implemented in jQuery (and dependent on the jQuery UI library). Very nice for scenarios where you want to give a user a list of options to select from, but also allow them to type in their own value if they want to as well.
- Chosen: Another combo-box control. This one support search and autocomplete functionality, as well as multi-select. Very cool.
- jScrollPane (github page): allows you to replace a browser’s default scrollbars (on an element which has overflow: auto) with a HTML structure that can be easily skinned using CSS.
- Apprise: The attractive alert alternative for jQuery (and SO much more…love it).
- Basic jQuery Slider: Really nice, simple, customizable plugin for content rotation.
- Slides: Another jQuery content slider. I actually think I like this one even better than the previously linked basic slider.
- jQuery UI / themes