Jon Douglas The rantings of a developer

Development Tools

Everyone uses tools in their everyday job, however we typically find certain tools that make us more productive as individuals. Each of these tools may have a distinct purpose during the day, but I would have to say that I use each of these tools on at least a weekly basis. The only tools I would consider using are tools that integrate with my lifestyle and cause little to no interruption. Some of these tools are free, while others aren’t. Those that aren’t free are probably worth your gander of a 30-day trial.

Windows Productivity

  • 7-Zip - I've used this for a few months when it was recommended to me, and I can say that the time to extract or package something has been cut in almost half compared to others such as WinRar/WinZip
  • MSBuildConfig - This extension adds a "Build Solution" option when right clicking .sln files. It uses the command line MSBUILD command and doesn't require you to open a project or use the command line.
  • DisplayFusion - For any users not on windows 8+, I definitely recommend displayfusion for multiple task bars, easy docking, and much more.
  • Slack - Have the ability to ask a question about anything to anyone depending on the channels you belong to.

.NET Helpers

  • LINQPad - Not only gives the ability to compile C# statements, gives you access to your databases in which you can write any type of .NET code to retrieve records. I usually use this to test out C# code and write my complicated LINQ statements.
  • WCFStorm - Great resource to debug any type of web service. I've used this personally for WCF and ASP.NET Web API web services.
  • dotPeek - Awesome free .NET decompiler
  • Fiddler - Great fast way to debug any type of HTTP requests, I mainly use it for ASP.NET Web API services
  • SQL Complete - Fast and quick intellisense into SQL Management Studio and Visual Studio.

Visual Studio Extensions

  • Productivity Power Tools - Great extension that helps with searching, code maps, refactoring and much more.
  • Web Essentials - Awesome extension to add intellisense for web developers and quick refactoring of web items. Javascript minifying, color replacement in .css files, and much more.
  • ReSharper - Though this product is somewhat pricey, it definitely has it's major benefits. Comparing between co-workers, I've found methods through Resharper to be much faster than typically visual studio methods. Refactoring and intellisense in this product make it worth it alone.
  • GhostDoc - Great extension to add quick documentation to files you may not have added xml comments to. It will automatically generate all xml comments to ensure other developers can somewhat read your methods.
  • Git for Visual Studio - I love being able to have an integrated Git provider in visual studio. Within VS 2013, you no longer have to download this, but if you have an earlier version I definitely recommend it!

User Interface

  • Balsamiq Mockups - This product has not only shocked clients with my interface designs, but it also makes it quite easy to share controls across multiple computers. It does have a small learning curve in sense of syntax, but it's worth learning.
  • Adobe Photoshop - I use photoshop for anything I might need with regards to development UI. Anything from placeholder images to defined graphics. (Paint.NET and Gimp are great free alternatives)
  • Sketch - One of the best high fidelity mockup tools on the market. Learning Sketch has impressed many people with my UI skills!


  • Pluralsight - I've had a subscription to pluralsight since it's beginning. Not only have I used it more than the subscription is worth, but it's provided some very much needed user-directed courses in my favorite frameworks.
  • Jabbr.Net - Whenever I need some "Live" help when it comes to a programming question, I'll join a jabbr room in hopes that someone more knowledgeable can help.
  • Stack Overflow - This is a given for any programmer now-a-days, mainly a Q/A website for anything programming.
  • Color Scheme Designer - I have been using this website since I first got into programming. It's helped me with most of my designs thus far.

Remote Programming

  • / TeamViewer - These tools have provided much help in terms of virtual meetings and remote debugging sessions. I really enjoy them both for what they offer in each respective "Free" service.

Things that help me personally

  • Beyond Compare - I love this program because it helps me compare between two files very fast. Not only do the visuals help, but it is overall a great product.
  • Notepad++ - Being able to quickly open up any type of file quickly and easily is great. Notepad++ also gives syntax highlighting on detected languages.
  • Dropbox - Having the ability for personal source control, and sharing files easily. I've tried google drive, skydrive, and keep coming back to dropbox.
  • Foxit Reader - I love being able to have a standalone PDF reader on Windows 8, and even when using it on previous versions of Windows, I find it much better than Adobe Acrobat.
  • Visual Studio Themes - I love being able to modify the colors on my development environment.
  • VLC Media Player - For when you find a file you cannot play with the default media players, VLC is always there to save the day.
  • Skype - Definitely need to have some sort of instant messenger! Skype is great for quick calls and messages.
  • Synergy - Ability to move mouse between multiple OS and computers. I absolutely love the functionality.
  • Windows Grep - The ability to search any string across a folder is extremely powerful and useful.