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Punit, is Microsoft MVP and, has over 8+ years of professional experience working on designing Enterprise Applications on Microsoft Technology Stack especially for Financial Sector. He is founder of open-source platform KonfDB and tools like CodeInject, Workflow Extractor and dI.Hook, has 8 applications in MarketPlace, and a freeware application 'myTracker' on Softpedia. He writes on various topics on his website and has spoken in various forums in US, UK, Brazil, India and Singapore and is blogs on his website www.ganshani.com and social blog site www.codetails.com Punit is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 22 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Must-have Tools for Developers on Windows: Part 2

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Every technologist has his favourite list of developer tools, applications and OS which they believe are indispensible and without them they would not be able to develop anything.  With time and changing focus, this list keeps changing.  Here’s my list of tools that I think you as a developer should have on your laptop.

Most of them are Open-Source or Freeware as I promote using Open-Source (and donating them) than buying products at premium price.  So it is possible that many excellent products have not made it to my list!

Must have Tools on Windows – Part 1 of 2 – Visit here


Source Control and Versioning (contd)

I would like to continue with the last section on Source Control of Part 1 of this article. 

Until the announcement of TFS “Express”, I was preferred using SubVersion and Mercurial but with I think TFS Express will be a game changer.  It would be an ideal source control system for teams smaller in size.  But until Microsoft launches it officially, I would continue with Subversion and Mercurial

Windows Shell TortoiseSVN for Subversion and TortoiseHG for Mercurial

Visual Studio PluginAnkhSVN for Subversion and VisualHG for Mercurial

Defect Management CollabNet allows collaboration of SVN repository with defect management tools such as JIRA, HP Quality Centre, and many more.  You can use it with Visual Studio or Eclipse as a plugin

Microsoft .NET development tools (contd) 

SharpDevelop – If you don’t want to use Visual Studio Express editions then you can give a try to SharpDevelop.

CoffeeScript Compiler – If you are building Web Applications and are not familiar/used to writing JavaScript (or jQuery), you should give a try to CoffeeScript.  You can create complex JavaScript files easily using CoffeeScript and its compiler.

Storm – Other than SoapUI, Storm is a perfect tool to test cross-platform Web Services.

CruiseControl – There are several continuous integration software available in the market, but truly CruiseControl is the leader due to some obvious reasons (read: free, no-cost, no-royalty).  You can download the CCTray to get real-time build status of your projects.

SilverlightSpy – I have tried the Free-Edition and I must admit – If you are a Silverlight or Windows Phone developer (or designer), you must download and use this tool.

Tombstoning for Windows Phone – Tombstoning is a an undocumented yet a required feature of every Windows Phone application.  This library is the easiest way to manage tombstoning.

Nuget – If you are a .NET developer, having Nuget and Nuget Package Explorer are an absolute necessary tools.  You can explore various open-source frameworks/tools/packages available in the market

CInject – CInject is my contribution to Open-Source fraternity.  CInject allows code injection into any managed assembly without disassembling and recompiling it. It eases the inevitable task of injecting any code in single or multiple methods in one or many assemblies to intercept code for almost any purpose.  Read more here

StyleCop – StyleCop analyses C# source code to enforce a set of style and consistency rules. It can be run from inside of Visual Studio or integrated into an MSBuild project. StyleCop has also been integrated into many third-party development tools.


Database and Tools

MySQL – Almost all my blogging websites use MySQL as a backend.  It is light, fast, free and is most commonly available with all Website hosting packages.

Microsoft SQL 2008 Express and Compact – The express edition of SQL 2008 is really good unless you need over 4GB of data storage

Sterling – NoSQL database for Silverlight and Windows Phone platforms

Neo4j Community Edition – A graph-based, high performing, NoSQL database that is now widely accepted in several organizations

MongoDB – A document-storage based, scalable, high-performance NoSQL database

HeidiSQL – HeidiSQL is a lightweight, Windows based interface for managing MySQL and Microsoft SQL databases. It enables you to browse and edit data, create and edit tables, views, procedures, triggers and scheduled events. Also, you can export structure and data either to SQL file, clipboard or to other servers.


Other Windows Tools

Audacity – A perfect sound/video editor for your webcasts and recordings.  It can convert your audio files into various formats.

HyperCam – Screen activity and voice recorder that is an ideal for recording your webcasts.

FlashGet – An ad-free and fast download manager, FlashGet supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP downloads

BullzipPDF – A PDF printer is something every person (not just a developer) would dream of.  Bullzip is one of the best PDF printers that allows you to print, merge, apply watermarks, encrypt with password and many more features.

HandBrake – HandBrake is multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder

PortableApps – Carry your favourite applications on a portable or a cloud drive and make it work on any PC, any make.

FreeMind – FreeMind is a premier free mind-mapping software written in Java. The recent development has hopefully turned it into high productivity tool.

myTracker – myTracker is a time-tracking application.  The inevitable, effort-driven process of tracking time and analyzing is eased by this small-memory-footprint application.  The application generates reports in Microsoft Excel (.xls) format and provides pie charts and bar graphs depicting time usage, utilization.

Eraser – Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

PureText – Have you ever copied some text from a web page or a document and then wanted to paste it as simple text into another application without getting all the formatting from the original source? PureText makes this simple by adding a new Windows hot-key (default is WINDOWS+V) that allows you to paste text to any application without formatting.

EaseUS Partition Manager Home Edition – Free Partition Magic alternative, free hard drive partition manager and disk management utility for Windows 7 SP1 and dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 users.

CrucibleWDS is a free Windows imaging / deployment / cloning program. It supports cloning Windows XP, Vista, and 7. A free Ghost alternative. Free Ghost software. Supports unicast and multicast. Can be used with 1 computer or 1000′s. Uses a simple web interface to deploy clients, clients can also be imaged directly from a boot menu by selecting an image from a pxe menu.


So in case you believe there is any Free / Open-Source tool that has been missed in my list, post it in the comments.  I will be happy to include it in my list!

Published at DZone with permission of Punit Ganshani, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Diego Lunadei replied on Thu, 2012/03/08 - 10:26am


 i suggest Luna, an open source Data Layer Code Generator ;)


Carl Cubillas replied on Sun, 2012/03/11 - 11:21pm

Very nice list! I also use most of the tools listed.

Rob Murphy replied on Mon, 2012/03/12 - 5:48am

Navicat is a wonderful RDBMS admin and ad-hoc query tool, and covers any almost RDBMS I can think of, from MySQL to PostgreSQL to SQLServer. I've worked with RDBMS systems for a long time, and this is the cooilest tool I've ever seen.  http://www.navicat.com/
 SQLite is wonderful in a different way, a cross platfprm single executable DBMS, with library access for .NET. http://www.sqlite.org/

Mihai Popescu replied on Mon, 2012/03/12 - 11:14am

The .NET developper tools section is absolutely wonderful, congratulations!

However, I feel the database & tools sections is rather garbage.

MySQL and SQL Server Express ? Seriously ? You are kind of stretching the definition of "must-have" with those examples. Neither of them scale well, and neither of them offers proper perfomance monitoring or a proper query editor. The paid SQL Server does come with a very nice query analyzer, but that's not accessible to the average user. And the downloadable toolbox for MySQL is poor and its usability is rather questionable. (I have been impressed by the paid version of microOLAP database designer for MySQL and is was wonderful, and not that expensive)

Why not mention PostgreSQL or maybe the uprising CUBRID ?

CUBRID has pretty impressive perfomance, and for the time being, it has the same useless (or missing) utilities that MySQL has in its application stack :D It also properly implements basic SGBD by the book.

For a good understanding of how a RDBMS should be implemented, I strongly suggest reading Database Management Systems 2nd edition, by Raghu Ramakrishnan, Johannes Gehrke. After reading that, you will probably undestand there is no perfect RDBMS, and choosing one comes down to your actuall needs, rather than the number of features some RDBMS might implement.

In the Database&tools section I would strongly appreciate listing some obscure but usefull tools, like maybe a DB backup tool, a DB server monitoring utility or some other open-source tool which a developer may not realize he would need.

Imdadyano Yano replied on Thu, 2012/03/15 - 11:59pm



Thanks for the information for VS tools. I have installed some of them after reading the article. I must say they are really powerfull and help ful. Also suggest some tools for sql server if possible. Thanks once again for your efforts. I think mYGen can also be used for building the DAL. Thanks once again.

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