Working on different environment I, like many other developers, ended up making my own toolbox for each to help me get the job done well and fast. As I recently started a new job, it was an opportunity for me to make a list of the tools I’ve been collecting over time so here is the tools I consider my basic toolbox when working on Windows.
Console is an enhanced terminal for windows. Nice features are multiple tabs, and the possibility to define kinds of tabs, with a name, a style and a startup folder. The other nice thing is the ability to select text from the console. If you don’t have admin rights on your computer there is a portable version available here.
ls for windows (msls)
Working on different platform, at some point some commands become automatics and you type them without releasing it. For me, ls is one of those. Multiple solutions exist to have ls on windows. The one I’m using is small and simple, it’s called msls No need for admin rights, you just put it somewhere accessible from the path, and set an environment variable to have the nice colors you want and you’re set.
Grepwin is a great tool. it’s only purpose is search and replace, but it does it very well. The search is fast, and you can work complex regexp and ave them. Once you’re used to it, you’ll have trouble living without it. If you don’t have admin rights on your computer, I’ve found a portable version here
Comparing file is something you sometimes have to do, and there are quite a few tools to do that, but there is one particular situation where a good tool make the difference is wen have to merge source code. And this is where KDiff 3 shines. Really a great tool. It does require admin rights to be installed, but if you install it on a computer and then zip the installed version you can use it as-is. I’ve also found a portable version at this location
It’s a task manager, but that show you much more than the task manager. Helpful to find the process that’s eating up your resources. It also have the great functionality to find which process has an handle on that file you try to delete but can’t. Normal install, portable version
When you try to delete a file but can’t because a process has an handle on that file, Unlocker will pop up and propose you some options to deal with the situation. I haven’t managed yet to find a version that is working wihout admin rights.
MWSnap 3 is a tool to create screen captures. Plenty of tools exists for that but I’ve stick to this one for quite a long time now and has always been happy with it. You can unzip it and put it anywhere. It support quite a few formats and continuous shoot where each capture will be saved with an incremented file name.
Because yoou’ll always have at some point to tranfer from or to a unix machine, WinSCP make that easy.
When you run out of space on your fast SSD drive and you have to figure out where did it go and what can you remove. WinDirStat show you a noce representation of the occupation of your hard drive, with squares of different size corresponding to the relative size of a directory and different colors for different kind of files. Portable version
Not sure this one needs presentation. A very good editor with a lot of features and plugins. Porable version here
When you do web development, at one point or another, you’re gonna need a proxy. Charle’s Proxy helps debugging issues with JSON, XML and even AMF by showing content in a nice view, allow you to have performance info, do performance testing in different situations by simulation, for example, a 3G connection, intercept requests or responses and edit them on the fly,…
It’s not free or open source, but it’s not expensive worth every penny.
Sublime Text 3
Another text editor. This one is really good at opening those big log files and help you navigate in them. Sublime is also a pretty good development enviroment for quite a few languages. It has a ton of features and can be extended with a lot of available packages.
Not free either, you can test it for a while before deciding if it’s worth it’s price. Look up for videos on it’s nice features and I’m pretty sure you’ll be convinced that it does.
It’s also available for mac and linux, which make it a nice tool to have on your belt when you’re working on multiple platforms.
I’m not going to start a debate on which IDE is the best. I’ve worked with Eclipse, Netbeans and Intellij, each of them have pro and cons. Eventually I ended up prefering Intellij and it’s the one I’m using whenever I can.
Intellij now has two editions, the free opensource communition and the ultimate edition. The ultimate edition is definitively a great tool, especially if you’re working with spring. The interest of the community edition is less obvious if you’ve used one of the others for years, but it does have many of the features I like: the “changes” window allowing you too see all the files that changed on the server since yur last update, all the changes you’ve make, and organize them in changelists, the inspetions, basically having a small sonar in your IDE that tells you when there is a problem in your code and the “Alt+Enter” that propose the most suitable quick fix for the current situation.
So, if you have any chance, give it a try.