As a tech-jackdaw (ooh shiny), I tend to install lots of new software and see if it can help me. Here's a list of the dev tools that do at the moment.

Full products

  • Visual Studio 2005 Pro - I could have installed a Team Suite variant, but where's the need if I don't use Team Foundation Server and open source test-driven tools are easily up to the challenge of what I'll push at them. They'll get fixed quicker too if I find a bug.
  • Office \ OneNote 2007 - Well Outlook,Word and OneNote anyway. The ribbon takes a little while to get used to and there really isn't an easy way to rediscover or learn new keyboard shortcuts that I've found, but it is a leap forward from 2003 if I can save as a PDF and read feeds in Outlook without a plugin. The integration between the three apps and IE7 is a real bonus if they can fix the bugs and fill out the feature set.
  • SQL Server - Need I say more
  • Redgate SQL Bundle 5 - First class database comparison and snapshot tool package. Worth every penny and made in Britain too.


  • Cropper - Best screen capture tool by a mile. Move over Snag-it. Wish it could be plugged into Paint.NET
  • Notepad++ - Others prefer Notepad2, but N++ is my MDI notepad replacement of choice
  • Scream - A free little tool from Redgate for comapring database snapshots
  • nUnit - Test-Driven development is here to stay and while comparisons between MbUnit and Visual Studio's own test frameworks have been made, I'll stick with nUnit for a while.
  • Virtual PC - It's free now too.
  • SlickRun - I used to use WinKey to hotlink my apps but it stopped production a while ago. SlickRun is a good replacement. Apparently v4 will allow me to replicate the hotkey shortcuts too (and be written in .NET)
  • Paint .NET - Such a nice utility to replace the horror that MS still bundle with Windows to this day.
  • iColorFolder - It seems odd to change the colour of a folder from the default yellow but using this little app to do just that makes finding the folders you need that much simpler.
  • WinMerge - Text comparison tools are a bit much of a muchness, but Winmerge lets you add plug-ins for those files that aren't quite so obvious to compare.
  • Internet Explorer 7 - I'm not proud. IE7 does all the things I used to use Firefox for and it has that nice feed integration with Outlook and OneNote. I'm not developing web apps at the moment, so this is all I need.
  • VirtualCD Control Panel - For using ISO images without the drag of burning them to a disc first. Very useful for working with Virtual PC.
  • Process Explorer - Task Manager on steriods.


  • Test Driven .NET \ nCover - The Test Driven Development add-in of choice for Visual Studio. Jamie Cansdale's add-in integrates neatly with nUnit, mbUnit, and test suite frameworks. There is no reason not to use it. nCover ties in neatly with it to provide Code Coverage stats.
  • TortoiseSVN - Subversion users probably know it already as an easy way to integrate source control into Windows Explorer.
  • GhostDoc - Documentation, documentation, documentation. it's necessary but often a chore to do. Use this VS plug-in to help write it.
  • CopySourceAsHtml - Neat little WYCIWYP VS plug-in that makes blogging code that much simpler. (WYCIWYP = What you copy is what you paste)
  • StumbleUpon \ Delicious - Ok StumbleUpon isn't strictly a dev tool, but it's a neat way of finding new information which ties in neatly with using delicious as your online bookmarks manager. (NB The Delicious add-in doesn't work well in IE7 at the moment - use the bookmarklets instead until they fix it) 
  • Web Application Projects - The WAP project type for VS makes things that much simpler to upgrade old web projects in .NET 1.1 to VS 2005.