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We develop a wide range of business solutions for our clients. Which means we expect our developers to be able to work in different environments as needed. We asked our team about their preferred productivity tools for developing custom web and desktop applications. Below are several of their favorites:
PixelRuler is a free tool from Mioplant. When the application is running it displays a ruler on your screen that floats above your desktop. With a click of a button, you can switch between a horizontal or vertical ruler. It allows you to accurately measure items on your screen from 2,500 pixels in width or 1,500 pixels in height. This tool can be quite helpful when trying to measure items or align pictures to be pixel perfect.
WhatFont is a Chrome and Safari Extension. Once installed, finding out what font is being used within any website is only a click away. Simply click the f? icon in the browser, hover your mouse over the text and the font being used by your browser will pop up.
AutoHotKey is an automation tool used to bind keys and key combinations to various Windows functions and input sequences. You can, for instance, write a short script that allows you to switch internal program windows by pressing Ctrl-Alt-1 through Ctrl-Alt-9. You could also write a script that opens a dialog, clicks a bunch of checkboxes, clicks OK, and then repeats it for a number of rows. Maybe you need to make cascading changes through multiple files in parallel and can't simply do a replace all; you can record your keystrokes in one file and then run the resulting script for the remaining ones at a single keypress.
Visual Studio 2015
This goes almost without saying, but Visual Studio is essential for .NET development. Although it is actually much more than just an IDE, it provides a text-editor with evolved auto-complete capabilities, a debugger and build engine. Microsoft has made Visual Studio into something of a tooling canvas that can hold web development tools, database development tools, ETL, and reporting tools, to name a few. Each one of these platforms can be customized with community-provided plugins to create the perfect developer workflow. And with the advent of Visual Studio Community Edition, all of this power can be utilized on development projects by individuals, students, and even some organizations for free.
Linqpad is a freemium utility for creating, modifying, and testing both code and database features for the .NET framework. It works with C#, F#, and VB for code, and for databases can work with Oracle, SQL Server, SQLite, and MySQL. As the title suggests, it was created to help with learning LINQ to SQL, but over the years has become a fantastic all around tool to help with programming almost anything in .NET. The newest version integrates with C# 6.0 (and all of the new features that come with it), and even provides a tree view for the Roslyn compiler. You can use it to run tiny standalone scripts, or import assemblies to test and develop ideas before committing them into a working project. It’s even used by many of the members of the Microsoft .NET team, which says a lot about the usefulness of any product.
Resharper is an extension for Visual Studio, and once you use it for a while, you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever coded without it. Resharper provides so many functions including a decompiler, memory profiling, and unit testing to name a few. The core product helps your code be more consistent, readable and efficient with customizable rules to apply to your code as you write it. It will offer to create methods, properties, classes, constructors, and more, if you attempt to use one which has not been created yet. It can also run on existing code, refactoring and reorganizing legacy code to conform to your rules for new code. And, the code rules can even be shared among team members, and limited in scope to a solution, an assembly, a class, or even a single method.
This is a small sample of the quality tools available to the developer community and a few that we find most helpful, allowing us to write better code faster, and collaborate more effectively with our clients and each other. For additional programming tools or tips and tricks provided by our App Dev team, check out the ITS News page. If you are interested in learning about the web applications and software solutions we build at IT Solutions or how we can assist with your custom development needs, please contact us today.