55 responses

  1. pregunton
    June 9, 2014

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    Any updates in june 2014 ?

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  4. Best zi xiu tang site Review
    November 1, 2013

    Two Dozen Insanely Essential Programmer Utilities* | Jesse Liberty

  5. Jackson
    October 30, 2013

    Nice list.

    I’d add:
    baretail (if you do any kind of intensive logging to files…and have to make sense of them later on, then baretail is your friend. Awesome highlighting, with export of those preferences)
    smtp4dev (if you do any kind of email programming this is essential)
    WcfTestClient (this comes with Visual Studio, but it’s worth it to zip it up and keep it in your tools folder for quick reference…as well as to handout to other devs)
    WinMerge (I know BeyondCompare was listed, but WinMerge is tried and true and is snappy and efficient…SemanticMerge looks promising though…)

  6. t.terlemez
    October 30, 2013

    Thanks for this very usefull share.

  7. Andrew
    October 30, 2013

    TextPad anyone?

  8. Daniel
    October 30, 2013

    Have you ever tried Gumby framework?

    It seems bootstrap does a good job, but I was wondering if you have compared them since it seems you like to look for options.

  9. Tore
    October 29, 2013

    BeyondCompare is OK, but it doesn’t come close to the ease of use and intuitiveness of Araxis Merge. It has consistently occupied one of the top 5 spots on my MRU over the last 6 years. It does everything I ever needed it to do, and very nicely. It is not free, but anything else will seem like working by candlelight.

    • CB
      October 29, 2013

      I’ve been using Araxis Merge for years, very powerful.
      Lately I’ve been experimenting with DevArt’s CodeCompare; seems very similar to Merge, and there is a free version.

  10. Matthew Bakersfield
    October 29, 2013

    Well I wouldn’t be without AJC Active Backup. It protects me when I am coding and lets me go back to any version of any file that I have changed. It archives off a copy every time I save a file but only stores the changes each time. There is also built in diff so I can see what I have changed.

  11. Mike C
    October 29, 2013

    I’m rather fond of SemanticMerge for my Diff/Merge tools, in that it parses the code semantically for merging (thus the name), and therefore has fewer conflicts than a line-by-line merge tool would have, especially if you’re moving large blocks of code around in your refactoring.

  12. Alex Dresko
    October 29, 2013

    How do any of you know that you’re actually being effective at work without ManicTime? I truly would not be the person I am without ManicTime over the past 4 years. Give it a try for a month if you want to experience eye opening truth.

  13. Tim Schwallie
    October 29, 2013

    missed LTFViewr5u if you can find it.
    Awesome for opening really, and I mean really big files that notepad++ can’t open.

  14. Matthew Adams
    October 29, 2013

    For Macophytes, VisualDiffer is the BeyondCompare of Mac.

  15. Tim Schwallie
    October 29, 2013

    notepad++, winmerg, 7zip
    Need some collaboration stuff, like VSAnywhere, jsfiddle and codebins.
    Too bad MS has missed this collaboration stuff like Google Docs style sharing, would have been nice to support extreme programming. They would probably say buy Lync, but only one person can drive with Lync….

  16. Peter Lewis
    October 29, 2013

    I would add Windows PowerShell.

    It is console scripting, but has full access to all .NET classes, as long as they are meaningful.

  17. Stewart
    October 29, 2013

    There are two text editors I can not live without
    1) Notepad++ : Very good with large files that the windows Notepad cannot handle. I have opened a log file as big as 5gb with it. Windows notepad just chokes out.

    2) Codewright: Very old but very good when it comes to searching for files using text contained in them.

    For Bug tracking I think JIRA is the app to beat.

  18. Steve Sadler
    October 29, 2013

    AutoHotKey is a great program. I started programming back in the 70′s on a CP/M based computer where the word processor of the day was WordStar. The control sequences for moving around files became so ingrained that what ever editor I use gets modified to use the WordStar control sequences. AutoHotKey has made it easy to let jEdit, Visual Studio, Code Composer Studio, Word, Notepad++ and other editors all use the same control sequences.

  19. David Yancey
    October 29, 2013

    I would add along with Evernote: Penultimate and Evernote Webclipper.

    I use Penultimate to draw out designs on my iPad and they get added to my Evernote, and Webclipper goes directly to my evernote as well.

  20. peter
    October 29, 2013

    thanks – useful list. +1 for OneNote, too.
    But piqué ?

  21. Peter Lewis
    October 29, 2013

    I can’t believe Fiddler2 is not on the list.

    • Jesse Liberty
      October 29, 2013

      Fair point, but let me ask you to help me with what Fiddler2 provides that the Chrome debugging tools (F12) don’t.


      • Peter Lewis
        October 29, 2013

        Chrome is handy, but it is only for the current page. The captures disappear the moment you move to another page. And it is only for items downloaded by Chrome.

        Fiddler is a more general purpose Http debugger. It keeps all captures in a list for you to inspect at your own time. It can break requests and allow you to modify them before continuing. It can present responses in various formats, including JSON, Xml, etc. It catches Http traffic from all sources on the PC, including malicious software, as long as they follow the PC’s Http proxy settings. It can even troubleshoot traffic from other devices if they point to Fiddler.

      • Anonymous
        October 29, 2013

        The ability to see traffic from other browsers?

      • TMcGill
        October 29, 2013

        Watching web traffic that doesn’t come from Chrome?

      • Peter Lewis
        October 29, 2013

        That is correct.

        Basically, Fiddler is listening on port 8888. When captures are turned on, it configures your IE proxy to localhost:8888. Hence all traffic, whether from browsers or any other application processes, as long as they follow the proxy settings, will go through Fiddler.

        I can’t live without it.

  22. Joe
    October 29, 2013

    Great list. I’ll just add that Clearly really improves the quality of my Evernote clips – use it daily (hourly!).


  23. Bassam Abdul-Baki
    October 29, 2013

    Not sure if this is meant to be a free list or not, but here are my essentials.

    Text Editor: UltraEdit. Every company I work for, I request that they purchase me a license.
    Searching: Agent Ransack was the free version. I have now switched to File Locator Pro.
    Diff Tool: WinMerge. The fact that is, this tool has grown and can compare Office documents.

  24. B. Clay Shannon
    October 28, 2013

    “A programmer’s wife says to him, “Go to the store and get a dozen eggs. If they have sausages, get two.” He comes back with two dozen eggs.”

    Wouldn’t he come back with two, not two dozen?

    • Jesse Liberty
      October 28, 2013

      Correction accepted, thanks!

      • Greg Russell
        October 29, 2013

        Surely you’re both correct. One could argue that in the context of ‘get a dozen eggs’, ‘get two’ means either two or two dozen eggs. Surely the programmer’s wife should have been more specific about the sausages and agreed to a set of requirements with her husband.

        Alternatively, she should have been like any normal wife; not to trust her husband to get anything right and go to the store herself.

  25. Fredi Machado
    October 28, 2013

    Hi Jesse! Thank you very much!
    I just can’t beleave you don’t use LINQPad.

    • Jesse Liberty
      October 28, 2013

      Ach! I left out LINQPad. What a dolt. *Great* program that belongs on any programmers virtual shelf. I’ll be sure to add it to the next list.

  26. CB
    October 27, 2013

    Two notes for Git:
    - For a GUI, SourceTree is very nice (http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/).
    - For working at the command line, I like Powershell with posh-git (http://dahlbyk.github.io/posh-git/).

  27. Van
    October 27, 2013

    Excellent list. I have some alternatives though:
    ExamDiff Pro/Beyond Compare: I’ve found Perforce Merge (free) which can be installed dependent from Perforce and excellent tool for merging.
    ClipX: I used to be hardcode ClipX fan, but found Ditto to be more stable.
    RegEx Buddy: I’m a hardcore Expresso (free, register-ware) fan, and find the move to RegEx Buddy unnecessary. RegEx Buddy is certainly more up-to-date as Expresso has not been updated for sometime, but it’s more than enough for everyday usage, especially when it’s free.
    HyperSnap: Greenshot (free) has lots of plugins that I’ve found to be very useful. The screenshot annotation is a bit basic, but cover all the essentials.

    • Jesse Liberty
      October 27, 2013

      Yes, I’m sorry, it was delayed a bit but should be up this week.

    • Carlos
      October 30, 2013

      I second Van’s recommendation of Perforce Merge, I was going to suggest it myself. Very nice tool, great visualization of complex merges, it’s wonderful they give it away without buying their suite. No folder diff/merge/sync though, still need another tool for that.

  28. Bart
    October 27, 2013

    Hi Jesse,

    Nice collection of tools. I see that you have published a Sublime course on pluralsight. I’m trying to locate it on the site but not finding it. Is it not yet plublished?


  29. Kyle
    October 26, 2013

    Nice list. Pretty awesome you put Service Stack on there. You should consider doing a podcast with Demis or some ServiceStack pro, maybe about the other awesome parts of it other than just the web services portion. I love hearing about it and feel it doesn’t really get the attention it deserves essentially because I feel like it does everything ‘right’.

  30. CB
    October 26, 2013

    SourceTree might help you make sense of Git — http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/.
    I generally use git commands in Powershell with posh-git (https://github.com/dahlbyk/posh-git.git).

    A set of PowerShell scripts which provide Git/PowerShell integration
    Prompt for Git repositories
    The prompt within Git repositories can show the current branch and the state of files (additions, modifications, deletions) within.

    Tab completion
    Provides tab completion for common commands when using git.
    E.g. git ch –> git checkout

  31. CB
    October 26, 2013

    It’s funny that you use AutoKey for things like “move right one character” — sounds like you’re a good candidate for Vim. I use vim or gvim for my quick ‘n dirty text editor, the free VsVim extension for VisStudio, and a similar plugin in WebStorm. Rarely do my fingers have to leave the keyboard.

    • Jonathan
      October 29, 2013

      Isn’t that what the arrow key is for? There is also a key for “move left one character”… the left arrow! What am I missing?

      • Jesse Liberty
        October 29, 2013

        What you are missing is only that i can’t reach the arrow key without looking and then get back to touch typing. This way I don’t take my hands off the keys and I can do it while looking at the screen.

      • Jonathan
        October 29, 2013

        Ah, I see. The arrow keys, as well as home/end, pg-up/pg-dn, and delete (I never use insert) are part of my touch typing. I do have to look to get the number pad correct, so I understand what you mean.

  32. Michael Cullina
    October 25, 2013

    This is outstanding Jesse. I already use many of these utilities but today I added Fences and TheBrain. I’m going to test BeyondCompare too. By the way, I prefer OneNote to Evernote. OneNote is certainly worth a mention. Search of huge data stores is lightning fast.

  33. Peter Gallagher
    October 25, 2013

    Nice article!
    I tend to use KDiff (http://kdiff3.sourceforge.net), but I’ll definitely check out ExamDiff, looks to have some nice features.
    One I find invaluable is TeamViewer (http://www.teamviewer.com/en/index.aspx), nice simple remote maintenance tool… Tends not to scare the noobs, especially as it doesn’t need installing ;-)
    Although not a “tool”, StackOverflow.com is brilliant.
    For PHP Developers, PHPEd (http://www.nusphere.com) is excellent.

  34. Sirwan
    October 25, 2013


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