A Dozen Utilities I Use Every Day

Here are 12 utilities I use every day. They are in no particular order. I spend most of my day programming in Visual Studio 2019.

#0 – Resharper. I’m so ambivalent about this add on for Visual Studio. On the one hand it has some fantastic features for a serious programmer. On the other hand, it is a beast and can significantly slow both loading VS and building your app. I’ve loaded it and removed it a number of times. On balance, it is a killer utility.

#1 – CodeMaid – another extension for Visual Studio. This does all the ugly work of organizing your files and making them rational and good looking. Unfortunate name, but wonderful extension. Beware, however, that VS occasionally complains that CodeMaid is slowing down the build.

#2 – OzCode. I’m fascinated by this utility. It claims it will help you walk through a complex LINQ statement, and do a host of other things (check out their website). I have the sense that their strong suit is on the Mac. Still, worth checking out.

#3 – Powershell. It’s simple, if you are using Git you need this. It’s good for a million things, but I use it dozens of time a day to interact with git, and I make it pretty with Hanselman’s guide.

#4 – CopyClip2 – Okay this is a cheat since CopyClip2 only runs on the Mac. For Windows I use Alt-V. They do the same thing: they let you review your clipboard. CopyClip2 costs a few bucks, and don’t get me started on how weird it is that we won’t spend a few dollars on software. “$.99? Oh no, that’s too expensive for this $3,000 computer.”

#5 Notepad++ – This gem of a program is, essentially Notepad on steroids. “Notepad++ is a text editor and source code editor for use under Microsoft Windows. It supports around 80 programming languages with syntax highlighting and code folding.” – oh and so much more.

#6 Feedly – Suffice to say that I like all my RSS feeds in one place, rather than distracting me when I’m trying to get work done. This is, in my opinion, the best RSS manager out there.

#7 – LinqPad – This incredibly powerful program should be on every programmer’s list. Need to experiment with code snippets? with Linq, with Regular expressions, it does all of that and a hell of a lot more.

#8 – Clean My Mac/ Clean My PC – A wonderful way to keep your computer clean, empty of cruft, and generally optimized. The Mac version is more powerful, but the PC version is still quite great.

#9 – Teams. Microsoft wins this one for intra-team communication and collaboration, though I still have a soft spot in my heart for Slack.

#10 – OneNote. I’ve tried a number of similar products. They all turn out to be “write once , read never.” OneNote has a great search, and that is really what I need.

#11 – Microsoft ToDo – I’ve tried a zillion to do lists, many set up to work well with “Getting Things Done.” Some are expensive, most are complex. I love Microsoft ToDo. It could not be simpler to use, it has alarms and due dates and notes but not much more, and it syncs seamlessly across my PC, Mac and phone. Oh, and it’s free.

NB: I’ve received free copies of some of these as a Microsoft MVP. But only because I asked, which I did only because I thought they were great.

About Jesse Liberty

Jesse Liberty has three decades of experience writing and delivering software projects and is the author of 2 dozen books and a couple dozen Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning courses. He was a Senior Technical Evangelist for Microsoft, a Distinguished Software Engineer for AT&T, a VP for Information Services for Citibank and a Software Architect for PBS. He is a Xamarin Certified Mobile Developer and a Xamarin MVP and a Microsoft MVP.
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