Tiny Code

Tiny Code

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Windows development tools

It's no secret that given my own choice, I'd abandon the use of Windows PCs altogether.  However it's a sad fact of life that many of development tools I need to use at work are commercial Windows based tools.  In order to make using a Windows PC on a daily basis more bearable, I add the following tools.  An unmodified Windows PC is almost unusable to me these days.  I've no idea how anyone can get anything done on an unmodified Windows PC.

All of the following tools are free except VMware.

  • 7zip - The best archive utility I've found for Windows.  It handles all the archive formats I need to use like ZIP, RAR, and TGZ.
  • Ack - A handy little Perl script similar but superior to Grep which searches only source files.
  • ctags - Creates tags files which many editors, including Vim, can use to make source code navigation dramatically easier.
  • cygwin - Well worth it for the Unix style shell alone but you can add Windows ports of most Unix tools using this.
  • DropBox - Makes sharing files between multiple systems possible.  I take it one step further and have added it to my phone as well so my files are now easily portable.
  • FeedReader - I'm faced with periodic downtime at work where I have to wait for software builds, downloads, and tests to complete.  This RSS reader allows me to stay up-to-date on development tools and techniques during these intervals.
  • Sumatra PDF reader - Using a less popular PDF reader lowers the chances that you'll fall prey to malware using PDF files as a delivery mechanism.
  • Irfanview - Handy for cropping screenshots and other light image file manipulation.
  • Pidgin - Our office uses IM to stay in touch.  This is a nice little IM program with support for multiple IM protocols.
  • putty - I periodically need to connect to remote systems using telnet or ssh protocols.  This program makes that easy.
  • source navigator - Useful for familiarizing yourself with large bodies of source code.
  • sysinternals - These utilities proved so handy that Microsoft purchased the company which developed them.
  • TeraTerm - A decent terminal emulator.  Handles both telnet and serial port connections but I only use it for its serial capabilities.
  • Thunderbird - I use this to monitor my home email account.
  • TortoiseSvn - Integrates the Subversion source code control system with Windows Explorer.
  • TrueCrypt - A useful program for encrypting files, directories, and disk images.  I use it for some of the files I store on DropBox.
  • VMware - I need to run Linux software occasionally.  VMware is the fastest and easiest method I've found of doing this without using a separate PC. 
  • Winmerge - This is the best visual tool I know of for displaying differences between files and for merging changes from one file to another.
  • winscp - Handy for transferring files between systems using ftp, sftp, or scp protocols.
  • Wireshark - The best Ethernet packet sniffer.  It understands lots of protocols and can be extended to understand new ones if necessary.
  • Vim - My favorite editor.  It's a Vi clone with modern features like color syntax highlighting and column editing.
  • Xvi32 - My favorite hex editor.

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