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Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows (hanselman.com)
392 points by kissgyorgy on Dec 21, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 187 comments

I don't know why people have such a blind spot in this regard, but Visual Studio's non-support for word-wrapping comments is obviously shameful. It's utterly ridiculous that you have to press Return while writing comments, and then more ridiculous yet that you have to go back and re-wrap them by hand when they change! - and the end result of course is that people usually don't bother, with the wrapping becoming steadily more ragged over time. Which looks shit.

So, I'll recommend this addin, that fixes it pretty nicely:


Though, you know... I've recommended this to numerous people over the years. And all of them have gone and ignored me. So perhaps I'm just unusual, and people like the raggedy look. Still, Comment Reflower gets my vote.

To be honest it's not a problem I have, I like to keep my comments short and punchy. If I'm writing war and peace, it will only ever be for the class comment at the top, for some reason I manually do my own line breaks then as I feel it can be used to break up thought and provide emphasis.

However, I'm also a GhostDoc fan: http://submain.com/products/ghostdoc.aspx So I appreciate some people consider me to be inherently evil/lazy.

Even if it's a problem you'd have, you really have a luxury problem if having to press enter when writing comments is the thngs you worry about when delivering code.

Not if you kill yourself after the 9000th time you've had to do it. Death is a real hardship for people of all income levels.

That's very dismissive of a very real problem. When you add friction to comments, people either

a) Don't write them in the first place. b) Don't keep them up to date (as to3m mentioned, it is utterly ridiculous when you need to update a comment and then need to reflow every following sentence. Many developers will simply not do it).

Additionally another counterpoint seems to be "my comments are short anyways", which would make me question why comment in the first place? In most cases where I've seen short comments, they were completely unnecessary redundant restating of exactly what the code already tells you.

The comments that really add real value don't try to pseudo-code the code, but instead tell you the why of the code. It is extremely hard to describe why in 80 characters or less.

Yes, I've found this too. Comments that are useful to more than just the original author tend to be at least 2-3 sentences long. It's hard to fit that many sentences into 80 characters, a total which is already being eaten away by indentation and comment prefix. (For example, your average C# function will be indented 2 stops. C++ member function declarations will be indented 1 or 2 stops. In both these cases you also lose 2 or 3 chars from the leading "//" or "// ".)

Before I used Comment Reflower, I used one of the example VBA macros that comes with Visual Studio. It was rather slow, and somewhat buggy (you're much, much better of with Comment Reflower) but it would - usually - word wrap your comments without making too much of a mess. But I noticed my comments improving in quality pretty much the moment I started using it, because finally I could say as much as needed to be said without it being a bother to keep things nicely formatted, or having to even think about the effort of keeping it up to date later.

Not evil/lazy - after all, what could be less lazy than spending all that time pressing return and reformatting your comments? Just, to my mind, a bit unusual.

Manual word wrapping reminds me of the days before copy and paste and undo, which (due to my age) thankfully didn't last all that long for me. I personally do not want ever to go back to that time, though I suppose for some the idea might seem attractively quaint ;)

I know I use vim and shell out to fmt a lot when writing in TeX. Is there a version of fmt that is comment aware, or some flags to it?

Do the JetBrains IDEs have any fix like this? When I've used them, I have to go back and re-wrap my comments when they change...

I use PHPStorm and encountered a wrap problem where if I had a space somewhere it dropped to a new line.

file > settings > general > (uncheck "wrap when typing reaches margin")

I agree having Paint.NET on this list, it is pretty good. I used paint shop pro 6 (yes, the one made in 1999) and switched to Paint.NET last year. It has really expanded my capabilities with regard to art for game development.

To get the most out of Paint.NET check out their plugins (http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/forum/7-plugins-publis...). It seems like there is a plugin for anything you can think of.

Another vote of confidence for Paint.NET from me. It's gotten to a point where I know the shortcuts by heart and can cut, resize, apply tweaks to images very very quickly and it integrates perfectly with windows.

It doesn't look horrible like GIMP. Please donate if you can, even $5 helps!

IMO it has a different place than GIMP, and they actually co-exist on my system. GIMP is more of a PhotoShop clone, whereas Paint.NET is more of a PSP clone and/or MSPaint on steroids. I've found that PS/GIMP are usually best for creating a production-quality image from scratch or for touching up full-color photos, but Paint.NET is best for doing informal graphical work (mock-ups, screenshot annotations, etc.)

Yeah, good bit of software, usually end up installing it. However....

As I currently dont have it installed I thought I would do so having been reminded by this. Highlighted paint.net and right clicked. Of course chrome wanted to go to paint.net, rather than search for it. Far enough, but absent mindedly I clicked in "go to", and my AV software went mental. The site paint.net seems to be highly dodgy.

So, yes, great bit of software, people should use and support it. Just be careful about where you go to get it. As should be obvious by this thread people need http://www.getpaint.net/

Still using PSP 6 from 1999, too! :) Will definitely look into Paint.NET, thx.

PSP was the best. Lawd.

A great list overall. One alternative I'd offer: he recommends Github for Windows and Tortoise as Git clients. I've been using SourceTree for Windows (http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/) and it's excellent. They've done a great job maintaining and keeping it up to date.

SourceTree is such a great program. It's also very intuitive and nooby friendly, as opposed to Github for Windows which never seized to confuse me and I've been using Git for years.

With SourceTree, people completely new to Git and version control can get things done.

"seized to confuse" love it. that is better than the original.

SmartGit is also nice: http://www.syntevo.com/smartgithg/

Woo hoo! Another SmartGit user. I love it! And SmartSVN and SmartSynchronize.

Git Extensions is by far the best windows git client that I ever used.

Agree, the way it does hg-flow and git-flow is pretty cool.

Just a couple of things.

uTorrent got iffy once it was bought out. IIRC, you want version 0.6 This was very small, fast and unmolested.

VLC. For years used to be absolutely fantastic. When it came out, a god send. I'd tell anyone listening to use it. Sadly, recently its caused me loads of sync problems, and various other minor niggles. As a result, I have had to reverted to CCCP. When VLC works for me, it is the best, but when it doesn't, CCCP fills the gap. In fairness, maybe a recent VLC update will cure my problems. Dunno.

Foobar2000 needs a mention, especially with Winamp going. My PC is connected to my amp directly via USB, and FLAC files sound incredibly good. (These days, hifi wise, MP3 is, to me, awful. They kinda sound dead. You lose so much detail and depth. But that's a whole new discussion) You can also get a great little app for Android that you can remote control foobar2000 with over your lan.

Foobar2000 is a great project, it's tremendously efficient (I think it uses 10-20mb when running), and the plugin feature allows you to extend it however you wish.

Cmder[http://bliker.github.io/cmder/] from that list changed how i view a windows commandline. My best windows tool discovery in 2013.

That's just a repackaged ConEmu. Nothing earth-shattering under the sun.

"Looking sexy from the start" is what it matters for me

Still, it is nothing new, just a repackaging of old software.

I dont understand why repackaging is bad for Cmder. I was desperately looking for cmd alternative and found Console 2 a few years back. Then heard about ConEmu but it didn't made me even to try but Cmder did.

How would you compare Cmder and Console2?

My theory: cmder is more palpable to the HN crowd because it fits several hipster criteria:

* The name, while not as cool as these examples -- cmdr, cmd.io, cmd.ly, cmdhub -- is much more hip than ConEmu.

* Design snob approved website, complete with almost Apple marketing levels of condescension: you won't see those other projects talking about "amazing software" or how you can "carry it with you ... anywhere you go".

In all seriousness though, if I hadn't seen cmder mentioned on HN I probably wouldn't have heard of the interesting stuff it is based on, so I give them some credit. (Though I looked at some source code, and cringed a little bit on how these things work: injecting foreign code into the existing cmd.exe process... Yikes.)

Oh that looks nice! I've been looking for something like this and I have been using MobaXterm, but it's a bit clunky from time to time. Will definitely check it out! Thanks.

Haven't used that one but Console2 hooked up with Cygwin is a good combo.

How would you compare git-shell for someone developing actively on windows.

Even though I barely touch windows these days, when I do, I invariably use "everything" (http://www.voidtools.com/) to find where everything is. So fast, so minimalistic. It's like locate on crack (because it shows you stuff as you type and it automatically updatedb's).

Windows 8.1 built-in search kind of makes this redundant.

no way windows search will ever replace Everything. Windows search is slow and it will not find whatever document you want 90% of the time.

"will not find whatever document you want 90% of the time"

Absolute rubbish.

Apparently different people have different experiences. For me, it doesn't work about two thirds of the time.

Well, it's very-very fast in 8.1. I don't know why it does not find the document you want - it works quite well for me, YMMV obviously.

Have you used Everything?

It is instant file name search. I guess recent Windows could have improved file name searching, but it has classically been pretty bad.

Actually not really if you set up an index on C:\ it is quite fast, which is basically the main difference. But there is not one by default so you need to add it.

Another upvote for Everything. The first thing I install.

I could never understand why MS didnt just purchase Everything and embed it within Windows. I've not tried win 8.1 search, but Everything is far faster/lighter/better than WinXP+7+8 search.

My only feature request for Everything is the ability to search inside Outlook msgs and Office docs.

I agree, this is the one little app I find indispensable.

Everything rocks, and it is being developed again, with some new features, Yay!

Do you know how it compares to the old Google Desktop search? I miss that...

A few more I use:

SSH Tunnel Manager (open source). I don't really like managing tunnels via cmd so here's a GUI to do just that. https://code.google.com/p/ssh-tunnel-manager/

CryptSync (open source). This keeps a folder in sync with another one but encrypts the content of the destination folder. It's extremely useful to use with Dropbox where I keep everything encrypted. http://stefanstools.sourceforge.net/CryptSync.html

Greenshot (open source). I use this to get screenshots of a particular area of the screen like I would do on OSX with CTRL+SHIFT+4. http://getgreenshot.org/

Prepos App. A generic preprocessor for everything web (js, css, etc). http://alphapixels.com/prepros/

SPlayer (open source). I have no idea with I enjoy this video player more than VLC but I do. http://www.splayer.org/index.en.html

VistaSwitcher. It's an ALT+TAB replacement. http://www.ntwind.com/software/vistaswitcher.html

Did you know about the snipping tool included with Win7? I think it replaces Greenshot.

I prefer Greenshot because I can do some magic like autosaving each shot in a particular format and folder. It also allows me to save and copy to clipboard so I can with just one click have it available to paste into a new Gmail message while keeping it saved on the disk. I use this a lot every day.

Great list! I would also include http://www.expandrive.com/expandrive which lets you mount any server with SSH as a local hard drive.

No idea why he would use Notepad2, ST3 loads up just as fast and provides way more features for text editing. Plus it is good with markdown syntax highlighting thus eliminating the need for MarkdownPad

Also Github for windows or just Git bash covers the need for Gow

Jabbr is ok, but I havent been able to give up mIRC

Also he left off a good tabbed ssh/putty

Great list, learned lots of new things thanks!

What?? I don't have access to a Windows install right now, but the last time I used ST3 on Windows, it took a heck of a lot longer (~2-3 seconds) to start up than Notepad2.

For micro-edit sessions, Notepad2 is unbeatable.

Just tested: less than half a second (it basically came up instantly). I have a SSD though.

It takes a few seconds to start up for me too. And if it's already running, unrelated tabs appearing are annoying. I use Sublime usually, but Notepad2 when I just want to edit something quickly or have a scratch pad. (I actually replaced Windows' notepad with it.)

ST2 takes 8 seconds for me to start on my laptop. Notepad++ starts in 0.5.

Yes that's why this discussion is about ST3.

Upgraded. Same issue.

Using ST3b3059 on Windows 8.1 pro x64, 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 7200RPM Platter and the ST console logs "startup time: 0.0931221", it loaded as fast as vanilla Notepad.

There was a massive performance boost for startup for ST3. ST2 startup is slow.

That might explain the difference in opinion perhaps.

I love Notepad2. It is one of the programs I always install when I have Windows installed.

Agreed Notepad2 is pretty much perfect. I have been meaning to try out Notepad2-mod for a while as I would quite like the code folding.

One thing I would like (and might change myself if I ever get around to setting up my own build of it) is for it to remember its last position. At the moment you can save the location but it is annoying and should be automatic (IMHO).

Woow. What a great tool for some editing. I didn't knew about before, now I got installed and I'm removing notepad++ in favor of it. Thanks!

Same here. It has become such a standard tool for me that I install it on servers as well.

Instead of Git bash try ConEmu with msys. It has resize support and several other features ;)

AutoHotkey is a great way to get your kids coding. Not sure if there's anything like it for what kids use most nowadays, iOS and Android tablets, but having them make macros and letting them manipulate their favorite piece of software in ways they didn't think possible is usually an eye opener.

Edit: I'd add SpaceSniffer to this list.

Tasked is like an Android version of AutoHotKey. You can even use it to create APKs, which you can distribute in the Play store. I've used it to do loads of things, like unlock my phone based on WiFi, send automatic responses, and log the GPS coordinates when I leave the car.


There's on{X} [1], but I haven't used it myself.

[1]: https://www.onx.ms/#!landingPage

Thanks, looks great.

Two additional utilities y like:

* 7+ Taskbar Tweaker ( http://rammichael.com/7-taskbar-tweaker ): allows you to configure various aspects of the Windows taskbar, for example reorder and regroup the programs in the taskbar.

* Network Activity Indicator (http://www.itsamples.com/network-activity-indicator.html ): displays the old 'two monitors' icon in Windows 7 that flashed blue to show network activity. (Well, this don’t belong to the OP list because the only purpouse is to clutter the systray, but I like it.)

Great list of suggestions. While many of us on HN prefer Linux or OS X for any development work, it doesn't mean we don't at least occasionally work on Windows machines. Knowing how to make that experience more smooth definitely helps.

Going through the list of suggestions there was one particular item that stopped me to think. Living close to the arctic circle where sun never rises with the winter solstice approaching, trying F.lux (http://justgetflux.com/) felt at first a bit depressing with the app interpreting it's night even though it was noon. But then again, I guess most things have a tendency to feel depressing at this time of year.

I used F.lux for a long time, but now prefer Redshift[1][2] on OS X and Linux. (I think it has Windows support too, although I haven't tried it.) F.lux seemed to use a lot of CPU considering what it was doing.

[1] Linux: try your package manager or <https://github.com/jonls/redshift/>

[2] OS X fork <https://github.com/geofft/redshift>

Nice list. Can't say I agree with everything, but preferences vary.

I'd add though: ninite, notepad++, foobar, windows snipping tool and maybe cdxpburner.

NB both CDXPBurner and Imgburner come with Opencandy adware in some versions and are sneaky about it.

I haven't touched it in a few years, but back then, when Notepad++ was already getting a lot of praise, I found that it started to fail pretty badly for me as soon as I waded into its more "advanced" functionality. Regex pattern matching, I seem to recall for one, but also other behaviour I've since forgotten the details of. Indentation, even, I seem to recall, such as in more involved cases of combinations of indenting commands and outdenting commands.

For a couple of years, I spent a fair amount of my time doing some fairly heavy text manipulation in TextPad. At this later time, Notepad++ had some other features I was interested in that the somewhat languishing TextPad was not adding, but its inconsistencies in the points I'm recalling were eventually a gamestopper for me.

TextPad is paid, and they borked their initial version 5 releases in some significant fashions, but it was very good and consistent at swallowing and processing large swaths of text on moderate resources. Good for e.g. beating mammoth print-to-file-d TPS reports into something useable in downstream steps.

P.S. TextPad also implemented "persist indent upon wordwrap" in an effective fashion I've not found elsewhere.

I don't mean to sound particularly like I'm pushing TextPad. And I was particularly unhappy with some of what happened with their v 5 release. But the features/behaviour I've described I found very useful and somewhat unique to it.

I haven't been an environment where I've need of heavy use of it in some time, so I can't really speak to its current state, anyway. But I wish that combination of features and performance was more prevalent in the marketplace (free or paid).

I was really surprised that Notepad++ wasnt on the list.

If you like windows snipping tool, http://getgreenshot.org/ is an open source software that does all the things that snipper does, and more (like a snagit replacement). Window, region, freeform windows. Uploads to various services. Configuration to allow automatic save locations and types.

I use it every day!

big fan of greenshot here. They've added good features over time. Now it captures transparent rounded corners and you can add shadows, ripping effects. I still with their text feature was stronger but it's certainly does the job. You can also share to a dozen different sources.

I second this one. I have used it for years as my default snipper.

I've been a huge fan of ShareX (previously ZScreen) for quite awhile. I believe it incorporates Greenshot.


Oooh, I am going to take a look. I love greenshot, so interesting stuff built on top of it is worth some time. This is why OSS is the best.

I believe if you install ImgBurn using Ninite that it comes without bloat. Win win.

my 2 cents:

- TreeSize ( and/or SequoiaView ) -- see where the big files/directories are on your harddrives

- Piriform CrapCleaner -- deletes unwanted/unneeded files after booting; configure all of it, then add folders and log files manually (find good candidates with Treesize ;) I like all Piriform tools, they're small, quick and slick. I wish they made more things.

- any SysInternals stuff you have a use for (Autoruns is a must have)

- DirectoryOpus -- the best file manager I know

- FreeFileSync -- backup/synchronize directories (locally, that is). Can also monitor directories for changed stuff (also for Mac and Linux)

I'd swap out Treesize for Windirstat (Free-er) and FreeFileSync for PathSync (which I really need to fork one day)

I never heard of WinDirStat before, it's like Treesize and SequoiaView rolled into one! Thanks a lot :)

And this is why I still read every utilities/tools thread.

Another cool one that needs a new maintainer is SelfImage: it can make a disc image of a running Windows system and even connect to a Linux network block device.

Directory Opus is insane. Best software I've ever purchased.

I suggested the author to review my company product SpyStudio that has a free version and is being used by Microsoft MVPs and VMware to troubleshoot Windows issues.

If you need a trustworthy source, here is a video from Peter Björk ( http://blogs.vmware.com/thinapp/author/peter_bjork ) showing how to troubleshoot a ThinApp package: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sLxeoB7Bho

Hmmm "the author" works at Microsoft, I'm not sure if you are aware of this

Yes, what's the issue with that?

Somehow the way you stated "used by Microsoft..." seemed disconnected from this fact, and just in case you didn't know I wanted to point it out. Since you know, no problem anywhere :)

He said 'used by Microsoft MVP's.' There is a difference, MVP's aren't Microsoft employees.

Probably not included because 'SpyStudio Unregistered is free for non-commercial use' [emphasis mine]

The author says: Many/most are free some aren't. Those that aren't free are very likely worth your 30-day trial, and very likely worth your money.

Here's my list of tools:


Must Have Windows Programs

This was written in 2010. Any plans for updating this list? (e.g., the link for "tclock2" is dead).

A word of warning about TerraCopy- it can cause annoying errors when copying. I transferred many gigs of data from one computer to another over a LAN, some files transferred fine, others looked like they copied ok, but were actually 0kb in size on closer look.

I'm not sure if it was a bug in that particular version or with the setup being used, but once I uninstalled TerraCopy the errors ceased.

TC occasionally bombs out if you queue too much stuff - i.e. it just closes ... and thus looks like its done when really its not. Maybe thats why you got 0kb files.

Win7 + copying is decent enough for most non-lan purposes though.

Speaking on copying failing - I stopped using TotalCommander for that reason. It just says disk full (not true) out of the blue. Messaged the author & got some bullshit response.

> Win7 + copying is decent enough for most non-lan purposes though.

It's not. If a single file fails on Win7 it cancels the whole operation (how is that possible on an OS released in 2009?! Fixed in Win8 though, that will never be used in corporations though), it fails if the path becomes longer than 255 characters etc.

Robocopy works but I'd much rather use rsync which is not available on Windows unless you use hacked up versions with cygwin.

A good reliable copying tool is sorely missing. Sure, there's all sorts of alternatives but I'm not willing to use it unless it's open source. The other comment on this thread talking about FastCopy got me curious, I'll have to try that (it's open source!).

>If a single file fails on Win7 it cancels the whole operation

No it doesn't? It pauses it & gives you an option to retry / cancel. So if another app is using the file you can close it & continue.

>> unless you use hacked up versions with cygwin

I use standard Cygwin and rsync and ssh when I have to use Windows and use them to backup Windows to a Linux box and it works great.

I'm trying swiss file knife for multi purpose file handling (including a somewhat delta copying) and it's proving to be a good tool.

You would think that queuing lots of files would be where TerraCopy really shines- faster copying combined with a nice view of the copy queue, with percentages and so on.

I was disappointed to uninstall it because it worked well for normal copying on the same pc and the UI is very informative, but the bog-standard windows copying functionality can handle as much stuff as you can throw at it which is the whole point of a copy tool in the first place.

The only time I had Total Commander stop a copy like that was with bad usb hubs/drives that can't sustain fast writes and need to be down throttled. This is the reason why tcmd has option to change how it handles drives, the size of the chunks it reads and writes, and the speed at which it does it.

FastCopy does everything TeraCopy does, but faster and better: http://ipmsg.org/tools/fastcopy.html.en

(this is the only tool I miss when working on Linux)

My items that I miss in Linux - anyone know any good replacements ? Aabby & Visio

Few items for ubuntu/crunchbang: virtualbox - docker -krusader/rsync/filezilla - file mgmt - autokey - python automation -gimp 2.8.10 - 2.10 will bring gpu/multicore support - bittorent sync (been meaning to try owncloud) kate text editor - terminator/finalterm - advanced terminal clementine - firefox - lucifox/ghostery/abe/sqlite manager etc - pdfmod

On XP - perhaps, but on Windows 7 and up FastCopy and TeraCopy are both slower than or marginally comparable to robocopy, which is a built-in bulk copying tool. Microsoft did an amazing job with it in W7, robocopy is really damn fast.

Are you sure about that?

It's hard to find benchmarks, but things seem to point in the direction of fastcopy still being faster.

See e.g. http://www.sepago.de/e/helge/2011/05/17/fastcopy-free-file-c... (robocopy comparison at the end)

Would be great to see benchmarks of course! :)

Yeah, positive. Just ran a quick test copying 3GB .iso from local HDD to USB3 drive.

  fastcopy - 152 sec (average of 3 fastest runs out of 4)
  robocopy - 65 sec
Incidentaly, tried the same with my backup program and it's 62 seconds, faster than both.

I have used Robocopy to move over 300TB of data round recently and not a single error. Robocopy is at UNIX level stability. Really a kick ass tool.

Thanks for mentioning this, I've been looking for such a tool for a while now. It's open source too (a requirement for me)!

Scott Hanselman's list is amazing! A must-have for everyone in the tech industry. A decade worth of work at your fingertips. These are all well loved and often used utilities. I have curated my own list of utilities out of this humongous list. I truly appreciate the amount of hard work and many hours of research put together in making this list by Scott Hanselman.


I often copy code from my IDE to my blog or other Markdown formatters. I always have to add four spaces or convert tabs to spaces so that it gets formatted as code block. This extremely fast and simply site just brings a simple and easy solution to my problem.

For multiple files: TABS2Spaces (http://bluefive.pair.com/tabs2spaces.htm), which is a GUI application, and tabspace (http://stefanstools.sourceforge.net/tabspace.html), which is a CLI one. The latter also removes trailing whitespace (though it can be told not to via the /leaveeol parameter).

Does anyone know of a list similar in scale and scope for Mac users?

Justin Williams has an 'Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for OS X':


1 item: macports

Seriously, that's all you need.

I have stopped using macports since I tried homebrew. Is there any reason for me to switch back?

What was your reason to switch away in the first place?

Although he mentions Hyper-V Virtual Machines, the real winner for me is VMware Player (http://www.vmware.com/in/products/player/). Its just like a audio/video player but for Virtual Machines.

Great list. I'd add one more program: Agent Ransack at http://www.mythicsoft.com/agentransack/ . It's a file search utility that is orders of magnitude better than the utility built into Windows.

Yes, the problem i have with the built-in windows search is that I never really know what it's searching and therefore i don't know how exhaustive its results are. Agent ransack has a very precise ui, you know exactly what you're searching for and which folders you're searching in. It's great for when you have to trawl through millions of lines of code across dozens of projects to find the references to a database column to be migrated. I use it depressingly often for that, but it does it really well.

IMDisk, a virtual disk driver and disk image mount utility that is lightweight, ad-free, and actually supports Windows 2000 to 8.1 [1]. It's also open-source.

[1] http://www.ltr-data.se/opencode.html/

There's a lot about asking people not to copy the list to their own blogs which kind of spoils the first impression to me - especially that the note is before the fold.

Does the HN crowd have an opinion on this? Did you find the note a bit weird ?

A day or two before he posted the list, he had to go through a run-around with some dude who apparently had copied a whole bunch of his (10 years+) blog content to their own, no attribution, nothing. I believe he deals with this type of thing frequently. I also think this tools list is a popular item for such "re-blogging,"

In this particular case, it appeared the offender simply didn't understand proper "nettiquette" and once pointed out, promptly removed the content (although he appears to still have a whole bunch of OTHER people's stuff copied up there, so who knows?).

I don't see any issues with it. He's trying to preserve credit for a work he created. Yes, even a blog post like this one is work. In the past, some of Scott Hanselman's has been ripped off. I think it was a talk or post about working from home, or something related to how to be productive.

No - copy and pasting is endemic, and if he wants to keep a list that's his (rather than have it shared on 50+ 'latest might-get-ad-clicks content' websites), then good for him.

But his appeal will not stop those copiers, and it does annoy his intended audience.

Is anyone using TouchCursor (http://touchcursor.sourceforge.net/ )? I really like the idea, but I'm not sure if I should try to stick with it.

Thank you for mention of this wonderful software. I tried to do the same with Autohotkey, but it is much simpler with TouchCursor. So I have been working with it for 2 days, it is unusual for the first time, but not so hard. Now I have fast text navigation tool, much better than Home, End etc. keys.

Great post. However there is 1 great utility missing:

Clover: Chrome-like tabs for your file explorer. No more having dozens of file windows up. Just one. http://ejie.me

Awesome! I love being able to middle-click to open something in a new tab, especially the folder that I'm currently viewing.

My favorite tool on the list is Everything search, which instantly finds all files. It has completely changed the way I use the file system, to the point where I will rarely even open the Windows Explorer.

For python development, I'd also add Python(x,y) and/or Anaconda distributions for windows. They're binary installers that give you cpython interpreters + the kitchen sink when it comes to third party libraries and development tools.

Also, I have to disagree with the author about recommending µTorrent. It's become more and more adware ridden with each new update. Deluge is pretty good though.

You can't forget Python tools for Visual Studio http://pytools.codeplex.com/ !

It is indeed rather nice. However I just started using PyCharm and it's on a whole other level: http://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/

I tried both, why do you prefer PyCharm? Personally I like the Visual Studio IDE. The main concern I found with the VS extension is that is using 1/4 of the CPU all the time but with PyCharm I saw a similar behavior.

[ptvs proj lead here] - thanks wslh! is the cpu really going at 25% the entire time? this should definitely /not/ happen. what will happen is that when you 1st install PTVS the analyzer will run in the background for a while until the completion database is ready for pkgs you've installed. after that it should be incremental as you add new pkgs. the initial analysis may take a while if you have a very large distro (15-45m) & run up the cpu. but after that it should be pretty flat. if you could file an issue w the list of your pkgs (if possible) we can look into it. bugs: http://pytools.codeplex.com/workitem/list/basic


I saw similar issues from other users: https://pytools.codeplex.com/workitem/1042

I have "big" packages such as NLTK. Do you recommend to leave the Visual Studio open for a while?

NLTK itself shouldnt take thaaat long, but if you have a large distro that includes the kitchen sink, it could take ~ an hour +/- depending on your machine. the reward is you get really deep intellisense, not just basic completion. the bug you linked is fixed btw.

I'll have to checkout Deluge. Got real sick of µTorrent's shit after Chrome and IE were hijacked in multiple places to use Yahoo Search as the default search/homepage, with a Spigot affiliate code. Nowhere was I asked if this was OK, or allowed to opt out, and I spent 2 hours having to make sure there wasn't anything else going on with my system.

I heard from a friend at the time that Tixati was another decent BT client.

And for Python development, a Vagrant installation works wonders, as does PyCharm, which I was telling to shut up and take my money after 3 minutes.

For Python development, I'd strongly suggest Cygwin. Unless you plan to run your Python code on Windows, it'll give you an environment much closer to the server the code will run on.

I'd suggest vagrant instead.

uTorrent is fine if you stick to version 2.x. That's what I do. I've tried Deluge and Transmission, but they really suck compared to uTorrent 2.

Does anyone know of (or have) a similar list for OSX?

Here ya' go:


My Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for OS X (2013 Edition)

> The idea for this list was shamelessly ripped off from Windows developer Scott Hanselman whose list has long been an enjoyable read when he updates it.

> "NimbleText - Regular Expressions are hard and I'm not very smart. NimbleText lets me do crazy stuff with large amounts of text with it hurting so much [sic]."

In case it's unclear from the description, NimbleText is a simple code generator. It's saved me a ton of time and keystrokes. Well worth the $20.

> "NimbleText - Regular Expressions are hard and I'm not very smart. NimbleText lets me do crazy stuff with large amounts of text with it hurting so much [sic]."

I couldn't even read this part without laughing, all I hear is: "I'm too lazy to spend a few hours learning the free, extremely powerful tools available to me, so I'll use this weaker substitute instead. And it's only 20 bucks!"

I overcame my eye rolling, and checked out the tool. It looks fine, but it seems like just a GUI over regex, right? Am I missing anything?

If buying a tool for $20 gets the job done just as well and saves the "few hours" of learning how to do it so-called "properly", it seems like the correct decision to me.

Based purely on this one single comment (which isn't much to go on to be fair) I wouldn't be giving someone like you too much broad authority on a project because you lack wise judgement skills in my opinion.

Since you mention laughing at people, you may not be aware of it, or care, but people ("idiot" managers and "idiot" users) might very well laugh at you behind their backs as well. If you lack perspective, the ability to consider issues from the point of view of different stakeholders, you're going to see a lot of idiots around you.

You sound quite offended, that was not my intention.

If you consider it wise judgment to pay money to spend a few hours to learn a less flexible, leakier abstraction rather than just spending the few hours, and gaining a lifetime skill, learning the high powered, free tool available, that is where we differ.

I don't laugh at people who don't know something, quite the contrary, there is little I love more than helping someone grow in knowledge. I laugh at a worldview that celebrates ignorance as if it were a virtue.

I have no doubt people laugh at me too, probably because I believe anyone can be better than they are, anyone can improve. I have high expectations for myself and those around me. And that, for a person who chooses a worldview that celebrates ignorance, can only be met with derisive laughter and ad hominem attacks.

Not offended, just tired of, in my perception, the air of absolute certainty among so many technical people.

A bit beyond the scope of this particular discussion, what does offend me is when people (not you perhaps) are constantly learning these life long skills on the client's dime. Some things it is fair/correct/righteous to learn and bill as part of a project, but when it isn't, I'll take the $20 approach every time.

It offends me when technical people are dishonest and insist that the "technically correct and proper" way is the path that must be taken, not the approach that should be taken. Or, they don't even inform the client of the option and just secretly make the decision to take the more expensive route. Again, not saying this is you, but it sure as hell happens.

By the way, who here is celebrating ignorance? Scott Hanselman?

OK, I see where you are coming from now.

I agree, stealing from a client, that's still stealing. When I learn new tools/skills, I learn them on my own time unless there is an explicit understanding, $20 or not. I consider such things a "sharpen your saws" sort of activity, and that is best done in isolation from the crunch of deadlines anyway.

As to Scott's writings, yes, that is what I was referring to. I get a distinct vibe from some of his writings that goes like: "we are mediocre, and that's okay, let's laugh it off!" Which is odd, considering some of his other writings which strongly imply that is not really what he thinks. Perhaps he just has sharp sense of self-deprecating humor. Perhaps he is just trying to be relatable to a community not known for exploration. Either way, I feel like it confuses his message. Mountains out of molehills, perhaps, but lately I have been trying to read text more carefully, looking for worldviews, which has added a new layer of depth to even development blogs.

> I consider such things a "sharpen your saws" sort of activity, and that is best done in isolation from the crunch of deadlines anyway.

Kudos to you for that attitude, and I wish it was more widespread. Too many developers lose that attitude develop a sense of entitlement not very far into their career.

> As to Scott's writings, yes, that is what I was referring to. I get a distinct vibe from some of his writings that goes like: "we are mediocre, and that's okay, let's laugh it off!"

I'd attribute that moreso to self-deprecating humor. You may also notice Jeff Atwood of StackOverflow fame is very modest abut his capabilities, despite affecting the technical world far more than 90% of the self-impressed people you may encounter online.

However, I'd also wager that "Windows guys" don't take themselves nearly as serious as "Unix guys", at least in part because Unix guys tend to in fact be smarter, because you have to be. I mean that as a genuine compliment. But I will follow up with an "insult" - I've met a lot of too smart people (in both camps I suppose) who let their brilliance and devotion to technical correctness and purity blind out any consideration of both economics and plain common sense, which is fine if you're running your own startup I suppose, but when you're playing with other people's money it's a different story.

>"we are mediocre, and that's okay, let's laugh it off!"

Given Scott has been involved in such things as Tekpub (excellent tutorials site, now bought by Pluralsight) and lots of developer outreach, I don't think this is the right thing to read into his writing.

>Perhaps he is just trying to be relatable to a community not known for exploration


>lately I have been trying to read text more carefully, looking for worldviews, which has added a new layer of depth to even development blogs.

I suspect you (and I) introduce our own biases when trying to gain extra context - remember text loses a lot of meaning we'd otherwise get through vocal tones and body language. Maybe try the Hanselminutes podcast?

Regex can be painful in cases which go beyond the low-lying, easy ones. Also, people have different innate skills. I am one who does not do so well remembering esoteric character combinations. I use regex frequently enough to understand how it works, and what I need, but without fail, I lack the "muscle memory" to just know what to type when doing much more complex than a simple match. This usually leads me to Google, or to a tool like this.

I have similar trouble with odd terminal commands and flags. I am not afraid of them, but it simply not part of my mental make-up to remember them all. The ones I use frequently - no problem. Those I use only occasionally - Google. :-)

Let's face it - regex IS HARD if you are not a regex "power user" or if you are the sort, like myself, whose mental map is not optimized for such things.

Yeah, I end up using more a tool called vim macros found in vsvim. They are very powerful. There are only really two commands to remember: record and play. I highly recommend them to anyone who doesn't use regex enough to remember them.

If you're missing something, perhaps it is the use of literary license. The article is written for an audience not as a therapeutic journal. Sure regular expressions can be learned as quickly as one can type

      del *.*
but a few hours of study isn't going to make much of their syntax stick two weeks later, and two weeks between uses is a lot more frequent than most computer users use them. Everyone ain't a programmer.

> Sure regular expressions can be learned as quickly as one can type

    del *.*
That is not a regex, it's a glob/wildcard pattern.

Well it's also a regexp: It's "del" followed by zero or more spaces followed by zero or more of any char. :)

Although I feel competent with moderately complex regexps, I'm not sure I'd want to use them instead of globs while slinging my valuable files at the command line.

Which I think goes back to the ancestor point -- is it crazy to use a GUI to make regexps for you? Although I too can get snooty about that, I think it's smart for someone who doesn't use regexps frequently in their work -- but on the rare occasions they need to, they need to get it right.

It's literary license. There's no reason that 'splat' cannot represent zero or more printable characters or 'dot' be a reference to the literal character within a syntax for expressing regular expressions. There is no single correct isomorphism.

Though the point about Regex's being distinct from wildcards just reinforces the idea that regex's are not an obvious concept.

> Everyone ain't a programmer.

Point taken. I've always associated his blog as a resource for programmers, but a tool like this is perfect for non-programmer power users.

After using ViEmu with VS, I can't imagine editing blocks or doing code-gen-like tasks without vim's macros.

Indeed, vim macros are mind bogglingly powerful for such a small investment of time.

> Am I missing anything?

You can embed javascript in the NimbleText substitution pattern, which lets you go beyond just matching and replacement.

Nice list! I see a few things I already have, and a bunch more that I'll check out.

A question for those who spend more time doing front-end web development: What do all of these much-touted Firefox development plugins like Firebug do that Chrome developer tools doesn't do?

I've used both and for some reason on another the Firefox ones just seem more user friendly. Maybe its because I started with Firebug in some ways but the Firefox tools seem better implemented from a usability perspective.

I recommend far manager - http://www.farmanager.com/ It looks and acts like Norton commander for windows - in text mode; it has many plugins, can't live without it.

Another one missing is vim / gvim.

Disappointed that clink [1] didn't make it onto this list. :( Clink brings Bash's powerful command line editing to Microsoft Windows' cmd.exe!

1: http://code.google.com/p/clink/

I think it's in Cmder but I will update to include it because I know I use it.

Another vote for clink. Makes Windows command prompt a lot more digestible.

It's built into CMDER. But I've added it to the list to make it clear. Thanks!

It is included in ConEmu. So it should be in Cmder too

So has anyone found a decent Windows text/XML editor for large files? Notepad++ is great but I've noticed it a bit unwieldy with 50MB+ XML files. I find myself using svndiff if I need to compare large XML files. The performance is much better.

Non-Windows users should still grep this list. There are some multi-platform tools listed.

One question: why would I bother installing all that when I can simply use a UNIX clone which on top of that is absolutely free? And as always with Windows: oh you got PowerShell, so adorable... Here, check bash/zsh

No one is suggesting installing all of that. If you're happy with a UNIX clone, no one's telling you to do otherwise.

Not everybody has the option of running a UNIX clone..

I'm surprised AltDrag[1] didn't make it in the list. It's incredibly useful !

[1] http://code.google.com/p/altdrag/

I don't use Windows all the time but I do have some favorite programs:

  Faststone Image Viewer

What's the best hex editor on Windows these days? I'm rarely on it but when I am I usually use the Notepad++ plugin for it but love to hear about something better

I use HxD (http://mh-nexus.de/en/hxd/); it's freeware and doesn't suck.

(Previously I used XVI32 (http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/delphi/freeware/xvi32/xvi32.h...) and frhed (http://frhed.sourceforge.net/en/), which are both usable. They both have somewhat non-standard UI though.

Try 010 Editor, it's very feature-rich.

Does anyone know of a similar list for OSX?

I would add scoop. http://scoop.sh/

Does anyone have a list similar to this for OS X?

I love checking out lists like this.

"Everyone collects utilities"

Speak for yourself. I don't collect utilities.

don't be junk!

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