My top 10 .NET web development productivity tools, which are yours?

Productivity

So I write software for a living. I have been doing this for more than 10 years. I have written all sorts of web applications while working for different organisations. I also write Windows native apps on my own spare time.

I believe there are many ways to deliver a software project, hence the phrase there’s more than one way to skin a cat! However from time to time we choose to do things in a certain way based on several factors. For me, productivity has to be on top of the list.

Below I share my top 10 .NET web development tools that make me more productive in the software projects I do.

Text editors and IDE

  • Textpad – This is a free simple and yet a very powerful text editor for quickly editing your code files including web pages. It features a powerful expression engine compatible with Perl and Javascript with syntax highlighting. It can handle very large file sizes and can be handy for quick find and replace tasks in large text based files
  • Notepad++ – This a free source code editor which is optimised to ensure higher execution speed and smaller program size. It is very hand if you want to develop in other languages other than English
  • Visual Studio – Probably the best IDE available and very popular with MSDN community. Powerful, Versatile and Extensible tool enabling building apps for any platform
  • Brackets – This is a very modern open source text editor that understands web design. A lightweight, yet powerful tool if you need an easy way to get a quick, clean, minimal CSS HTML document flow going.

Typography for the web

  • Adobe Typekit – Visually design and package beautiful fonts you want, anywhere, anytime
  • Google Fonts – Probably doesn’t require much introduction. Just Google it J
  • Font squirrel – If you need 100% free fonts for commercial use then you’ve got it. Visually design and package your fonts
  • Modular Scale – So have you ever wondered why they use Pixels, Ems and not Inches? And do you know what is Ems@16 ?This utility will help you convert between these units, and scale up or down your font sizes while keeping meaningful ratio between them
  • Adobe Color CC – Talk of colour schemes or themes, this tool from Adobe allows you to visually play with various to achieve the best contrast for your brands
  • CSS with vertical rhythm – If you have designed for the web then probably this is one of your favourite tools. If you have not used it, try it you won’t regret it.

CSS and styling

  • Bootstrap – Probably the most popular HTML, CSS and Javascript framework for developing responsive, mobile first brands. Its open source and available on GitHub.
  • CSS Reset – Get yourself scripts to quickly reset your styling of all HTML elements to a consistent baseline. You never need to scratch your head again asking Which CSS Reset should I use?
  • Browser reset – Another free browser reset script to get you started if you want to reduce browser inconsistencies in things like default line heights, margins and font sizes of headings, and so on

Entity Framework

  • MvcScaffolding NuGet package – This is a fast and customizable way to add controllers, views, and other items to your ASP.NET MVC application. You will love this at first sight.
  • EF Power Tools Visual Studio extension – There we go again. I love code first and not database first. Well, if you got an existing database or go for database first, this extension will reverse engineer an existing database and get you all those POCOs
  • EF Profilerby hibernating rhinos – Unfortunately you will need to pay for this tool but you won’t regret it. Using Entity Framework means much of the database work happen under the covers. Now you got a tool to profile all that.

Regex

Learn, build, & test Regular Expressions – This is a very handy tool to quickly build and text RegEx before you include them in your source code. You can also choose for an existing list of commonly used RegEx such as the one for validating an email address. It comes with excellent text editor with highlight syntax for all the RegEx matches.

Source code re-factoring and experience

  • ReSharper – This probably does not require much introduction. A popular productivity tool for Visual Studio, improving navigation within your project code files, code inspection and refactorings.

Source code repository

  • GitHub – Everyone is using it. If you can’t beat them you can as well join them.
  • Visual Studio Online – Not to be confused with Visual Studio IDE, this cloud based solution allows you to host your source code on the cloud for free for 5 basic user licences

Rich media

  • Windows snipping tool – Allows you to quickly capture screen shots on your desktop
  • Pixlr – Free and yet powerful online tool to quickly edit your rich media without installing anything
  • Paint net – A free image and photo editing software for your desktop

Console and Scripting Tools

  • Cmder. A nice looking and portable console emulator for Windows. It looks very sexy from the start
  • Windows PowerShell – We all love the power of scripting in Windows. Quickly create and test PowerShell scripts for automating your tasks

Online resources and Collaboration

  • Programming books repository on GitHub has a comprehensive list of books for almost anything you will ever need to know about programming.
  • Stackoverflow – It does what it says on the tin. We have all gotten or seen a “Stack overflow “error at some point. If you got any questions on anything programming related, Stackoverflow has got the answer for it already. You don’t believe me? Just try them.

So this is me. Which are yours?

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