Five must-have tools that will ease your life as a developer

1. An (excellent) code editor

This goes without saying, and you must already be having one, but I personally prefer Visual Studio Code (https://code.visualstudio.com). It is the only editor that managed to convince me after Adobe Brackets and Atom (both of which have considerably slow startup). Visual Studio Code is customization with syntax themes, syntax highlighting for almost every language, and extensions. Oh, and like both Atom and Brackets, it supports editing an entire project at a time and has the “Search in Project” feature to search all files easily.

vscode

2. A file difference analyzer

I, personally find myself comparing similar (or almost similar) files in order to analyze code from open source projects. I used to do two subsequent commits on GitHub and see the difference until I realized I could do that right on my computer, but no, not using those shell commands. KDiff3 (http://kdiff3.sourceforge.net) will certainly be a handy addition to your desktop.

3. Folder size viewer

I frequently download open source projects like Firefox, etc. The first step is almost always understanding the code. Understanding the code is way easier when you have an idea about what resides in the sub folders, and how much they weigh. Unfortunately, Windows removed the folder sizes in Windows 7 since they take too much time to compute (and with growing hard drives, came bigger folders which took even longer). Folder Size (https://sourceforge.net/projects/foldersize) is an excellent utility that let’s you toggle Folder Size pop ups right from your task-bar. You can only enable it when you want and disable it with a single click. The perfect combination of ease and performance.

foldersize

4. A (good) unzipper

This also goes without saying as you surely would be having one right there, but 7-zip file manager stands out. To my surprise, it is still not the most common unzipper yet and I have no clue why. I agree WinRAR is an excellent piece of software but I prefer 7-zip for various reasons. Firstly, it is free and open source and integrates cleanly into your environment without issuing any trial or purchase dialogs. 7-zip almost seems to me like an integrated Windows component once installed. That’s not all! It comes with an in built file manager which has certain advantages over the Windows Explorer. Over the past few months, I found out that Windows wouldn’t allow me to delete certain files extracted from archives which had illegal file names (Windows shouldn’t have allowed them to be created in the first place). Sometimes, files are created on rare file systems which allow longer filenames and are zipped into archives. When you extract them, Windows will not issue a warning, however, deleting them would be a menace. 7-zip file manager comes to the rescue.

7zip

5. Git Bash

If you are a Linux user, you must find the Linux BASH more comfortable than the Windows Command Prompt. Git Bash comes packaged with Git (https://git-scm.com) and is the perfect shell for your Windows desktop. You can right click any folder and open  Git Bash there. It supports both Windows commands as well as Linux commands (both ‘ls’ and ‘dir’ are supported). It even includes basic utilities like vim, etc! Needless to say, you can control your Git repositories with ease.

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