What’s in your toolbox?

As a developer constantly striving to improve my skills and my efficiency, I am always interested to see what tools other people are using and why. Just spend 10 minutes watching another developer work on something and you are bound to pick up some new ideas. Watch that same developer for 30 minutes and you are tempted to lean over and show them some shortcuts.

So here I will share some of my preferred tools…

Since I develop for 3 platforms it can be a little frustrating if you find a really cool application for Windows but nothing for Mac.


: Development
– Visual Studio
– DevExpress CodeRush
– JetBrains ReSharper
– Red Gate Ants Profiler
– Red Gate Smart Assembly
– Advanced Installer
– Innovasys Document! X
– SQL Server Management Studio
– .Net Reflector
– SSW CodeAuditor
– CodeIt Right
– WCF Storm

 : Design
– Axialis IconWorkshop
– Snagit
– Camtasia

 : Admin
– CC Cleaner
– PE Explorer
– TeamViewer
– UltraEdit
– Chrome
– Microsoft Office


 : Development
– xCode (Objective-C IDE for Mac/iOS)
– MonoDevelop IDE (MonoTouch / Mono Android)
– Droid Draw (UI for Andriod dev)
– Cornerstone (SVN Management)
– BBEdit (text editing)
– Code Collector Pro (code snippet management)

 : Management
– PlanIt : Gant Chart Tool
– TaskPaper – the best task tracking tool I have found (see this post).
– OfficeTime – Time Tracking

 : Design
– Snagit – Screen Capture
– Adobe Photoshop
– Camtasia – screen recording

 : Admin
– SuperDuper! – hard drive cloning
– TeamViewer – support client
– Microsoft Office
– Skype
– Chrome

A lot of people seem surprised when they see the set up I run;

2011 MacBook Air, 1.8ghz Intel i7, 4gb Ram, 250gb SSD
– running;
– Mac OS X (10.7.2 currently) – all Mac based development is done on this box,
– Parallels Desktop 7
– Microsoft Windows 7 Professional – all Windows based development is done on this box.
At home or the office, this is connected to a 27″ panel as the primary display along with an Apple external keyboard and Magic Mouse.

The MacBook Air has proven to be an outstanding machine for development and whilst it does not feature the quad core processors boasted from some of its rivals, it does not leave me waiting around very often.

Parallels Desktop is an excellent virtual machine environment, allowing snapshots, rollback, multi screen support, dynamic disk sizing just to name a few key points. My combination boots Windows in under 10 seconds and allows quick shutdown for the times I want to duck out of the office in a hurry. The interaction between the host OS (OS X Lion) and the Windows desktop is seamless.

As posted here, I run Dropbox as part of my backup obsession, with all key files synchronised between my office server and the Air.

Lion offers a great background backup service (TimeMachine) to an external drive and nightly backups are also carried out. Twice weekly a complete clone of the machine is done via SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy, this is performed to a number of rotating external drives (one can never be too careful or have enough backup’s)