We gather around the Festivus pole this holiday season and before we get into the Airing of Grievances, we discuss our favorite tools. No, not people. Actual tools. Srsly. Now I know what you’re thinking “That’s going to be a long list”. Nope. Michael made rules. So the rules are simple:
- We could each only pick five favorites. (Allen really hated this rule.)
- A favorite could be anything that helped get the job done: a website, browser extension, IDE add-in, application, mobile app, hardware, etc.
- We had to remind Allen about rule #1.
- We ordered them from 1 to 5, where 1 is our most favorite and 5 is the least favorite of our absolute favorites making it only a normal favorite. Whew. That’s a lot of favorites.
- Each person’s list must be five unique items. No repeats.
- The top five favorites that we all agree on are in the collective list ordered by agreement according to rule #4.
So without further ado, let’s get into it.
5. Screenflow from Telestream – A very useful utility for screencasting and video editing when you need to record what’s on your monitor.
2. ConEmu – A Windows console emulator that can actually maximize to full screen. What a concept. Use your favorite consoles within different tabs.
2. Agent Ransack – Search your filesystem using regular expressions.
1. Beyond Compare – The battle for the favorite diff tool continues. Cross-platform FTW. Use it as your FTP GUI.
5. Chocolatey – It’s like apt-get for Windows. Install all of your favorite apps from the command line. Better yet, write a script to install them all.
4. Fiddler from Telerik – The best way to see all the data while debugging your site.
3. PostSharp – Create aspects for all the classes. Even the ones that aren’t yours.
2. iStats Menus – Now you can see all of your Mac’s details.
5. Pluralsight – We may have mentioned this site once or twice. A great site to learn a subject quickly.
3. Remote Desktop Connection Manager – RDP into all of your servers from one window.
2. LastPass – Because “monkey” isn’t a good password. Lastpass is a cross-platform password manager for all of your devices.
1. ReSharper – Increase your productivity. Increase your code’s quality. So many great features. It’s a black light for your code.
What Features Are Important, or What Not To Do
While compiling the list above, there were some features that were shared across several favorites that we think helped to make them a favorite.
- Support Chocolatey. Because it’s very nice to simply script the re-install of your Windows environment and immediately have all of your favorites tools again.
- Offer a free trail. See #1. Sometimes, you just simply want the install done.
- Joe wants to copy everything and doesn’t like obscure icons.
- Honor the themes. Whether it be the OS or the app. Applications on Windows shouldn’t look like they were ported from Solaris. And vice versa.
- Config files for portability. The registry might have sounded like a good idea, but it’s nice to simply copy a config file over.
- Provide keyboard shortcuts. We’re too lazy to use a mouse.
Our 2015 Resolutions
- Create a course to teach others. Something. Somewhere.
- Create at least one blog post or video every month.
- Learn and write more functional/reactive programs.
- Stop saving things to the desktop. Be more organized. At least digitally.
- Learn Ruby & Rails. Finally. I hear it’s a thing.
- Social better. Because he’s really bad about posting anything. Anywhere.
Tell us your resolutions for 2015!
Tip & Tricks
- Joe thinks people lie except in the mornings.
- Igal Tabachnik demonstrates the beauty of ReSharper’s “greedy brace” operation. Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up (or +Down)
I used to hate automatic brace completion, until I learned to use ReSharper’s “greedy brace” (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Up/Down) pic.twitter.com/t4hppkIr1x
— Igal Tabachnik (@hmemcpy) December 17, 2014
- Use a List<T>’s Sort() method to sort in place vs Linq’s OrderBy() that creates a sorted copy.
- NOTE: In this episode, Allen mistakenly referred to a Linq Sort() method but meant List. As he mentioned, while there may be a memory benefit between the two operations, Linq’s OrderBy method has been demonstrated to be faster overall. The Quicksort algorithm is one of the default algorithms used depending on the size of the list.
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Code. Compile. Commit.