Tools, tools, tools. I love them because they make my professional life more manageable and allow me to escape the mundane tasks that would otherwise require custom or manual solutions to accomplish. My general approach to tools is simple, use the best tool for the job, no more, no less. So I figured, why not share that enthusiasm with you by listing a few of my favorites and must-haves?
MSDN Pro/Premium Subscription More of a comprehensive suite than a tool, but I never leave home without it. Today, a pro or premium sub for developers encompasses everything you need to build, test, and deploy professional code to the cloud. This ensures I always have access to the latest visual studio/windows/sql/etc, access to visual studio online (TFS, agile, build services), and 50||100/month in Azure, which pays down some sub expenses right there. Must have for any .Net, Windows, or Azure dev. Even if I built every web app moving forward in Node and every client app in Java, I would still have an MSDN sub. Strongly consider if you don't have one already.
Resharper 8.x This has been on my must-haves since v1, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Visual Studio has come a long way with IntelliSense, refactoring, and code generation, but ReSharper has always gone the extra mile (or 10) to ensure it's worth every penny of the upgrade fee. ReSharper hotkeys are second nature to me, and I don't code in VS without them.
IntelliJ IDEA 13 Beta I loved v12 for native Android development, and I love the v13 beta even more. This is my goto IDE for all non-.Net projects, including Node.js development. There is a plugin for everything, and it's well worth springing for Ultimate if you can. It's so good for Android dev that Google's new Android Studio is forked from it. I like to think of it as ReSharper, the IDE :).
LINQPad It started as a great way to quickly write Linq queries against a SQL database but has now grown into much more. This is, or should be every .Net dev's scratchpad. I've written a thousand little programs that I've either used for production or were a start to an idea that's moved on to bigger things. It's also great for building a repository of DB queries that you regularly use. Slap on a git repo, and your good to go.
SQL Prompt I don't always write SQL, but when I do, I use SQL Prompt. Most of my App's business logic is now written using Linq and Entity Framework on Azure. But when I need to manage a SQL database, especially an Azure one, Prompt's code generation is a key time saver. It has excellent IntelliSense as well, on par with that of ReSharper. So with Prompt, every MGT Studio tab and VS Database project file is productive and well cared for.
Other must-haves for me
- Atlassian SourceTree Hands down, my favorite git client. It parses the comprehensive world that is Git and puts a real-world interface behind it.
- Sublime Text 3 Beta My code editor/viewer for everything I don't need or want a monster IDE for. Excellent extensibility and customization as well.
- Azure Management Studio I live in Azure, and this is my go-to tool for managing storage, tables, security, and much more. It keeps getting better and is something every Azure dev should consider.
- Fiddler If you have an app that uses HTTP, then you need fiddler. I won't build our web API without it—an outstanding tool for HTTP debugging.
- MarkdownPad 2 MarkDown has quickly become the preferred publishing markup for devs and others. Beautiful interface and supports multiple parsers. Wrote this post using it, love it!
- Nuget Package Explorer I build and manage many internal and public NuGet packages, so it's beneficial to build them visually. NPE is a great way to verify your packages or browse public ones even if you're publishing via your build process. Must have for NuGet devs.