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Developer tools I can't live without

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I’ve been writing code for many years whether it’s for a backend service or front-end code, I have collected a few tools that I install whenever I setup a new computer.

Fiddler

Whenever I’m debugging a service and need to see what’s happening behind the scenes, I use Fiddler. I can see all HTTP traffic and see the request/response output all in one place side-by-side with my IDE. It’s very useful especially when debugging SDKs that interacts with the cloud like Azure, etc. I still have yet to find an alternative and it gets the job done for my specific needs.

Visual Studio / VS Code

The VS code is one of the most versatile IDE there is and a popular choice within the developer community. It’s fast and versatile because of its huge ecosystem of extensions. It’s also lightweight which is a favorable option so you can open a project and navigate to code quicker. I use Webstorm and Visual Studio (the paid version) if I’m working on an older project or with more advanced debugging features, but for most things, VS Code is more than capable.

Chrome developer extension

Before the Chrome developer extension, I was a Firebug fanatic. It was a simple but great tool for debugging the front-end and I stuck with it for a while even after the Chrome extension came along. I like sticking with the same tools and re-learning a new tool all over again just to do the same thing didn’t make sense. When Chrome started becoming more popular, I had to switch and the developer extension has been my go-to for quickly debugging front-end development. The tool already comes when you install Chrome so it’s just a matter of toggling it.

Source tree / GIT

Using GIT as a distributed version control for your code is a must-have. I started out with Subversion and TFS (Team Foundation Server) way back when I started developing but GIT is today’s standard when it comes to tracking code changes for good reasons. I can’t imagine developing code without GIT and I use source tree to speed up code commits and easily view code changes.

Microsoft TODO

I’ve used many to-do apps and switched a lot and as of today, this is my go-to for keeping track of my daily tasks as well as future and recurring tasks. I can view it on my desktop and on my phone so I can create my to-do list anywhere. I also use a notebook to plan out things before committing it in the app itself and it makes it easier to visualize what I need to do.

OneNote

This is the same as the to-do app, I’ve used a lot of tools but I’ve been trying to be consistent with the apps that I use for productivity. I can write my notes either on the iPad, my phone, or on the desktop so it’s a very versatile app on keeping track of things and having access to it virtually everywhere. I sometimes scan items and add it to a page so I have something that I can reference later.

Postman

A great tool that has evolved over the years from being a Chrome extension to a full desktop application. It’s such an indispensable tool for testing third-party services and APIs quickly (including GraphQL, etc). You can bookmark API resources and categorize based on the project and share them with your teammates. You can also use it for documentation purposes in conjunction with Swagger.

Notepad++

This software is only available in Windows which is where I code 70% of the time but I haven’t found any text editor better than Notepad++ in terms of versatility and ability to open any type of file (at least in Windows). Whether you’re opening a configuration file, JSON, XML or some other file formats, this is the style to use. It has plenty of plug-ins from formatting your code, or simply making a piece of code easier to view.

Do you have any tools that you use that is indispensable to development that I should check out? Do you have an alternative to what I have that I should also check out? Please leave a comment as I love to see what the community is using.

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