The Toolbox – My Development Tools

The Toolbox – My Development Tools

This is a great topic and one that I have visited a number of times over the years (a while back I posted on the SCN about this). The reason it’s a good topic is purely because it keeps changing. Each time I think about my development workflow, it has changed and that is usually because somebody else has introduced me to another great tool.

Where possible I’ll try to credit who introduced me to the tool and for those who I forget – please shot at me and I’ll add in the credit.

Some of these tools have not changed and that is purely because I haven’t found anything to beat it yet. So here goes:

1 – GIT

Source code control is a very important topic whether developing personally as a proof of concept, learning a new skill or developing large scale products for the consumer or the enterprise. My source code management tool of choice is GIT. I think they themselves best describe what GIT is much better than I can:

Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency

 

There are numerous cloud-hosted GIT solutions out there as well which makes it so easy to backup and share your code whether it be privately or publicly. My favourite is GitHub but I also use BitBucket as well.

The credit for introducing me to GIT has to go to my friend and colleague Oliver Rogers who has been a champion of the system since I met him.

2 – SourceTree

What is a good source code management tool without a superb management UI to keep all your projects sorted, sync’d and easy to find. SourceTree, a free & cross-platform product from Atlassian, is miles ahead of the rest in my opinion. providing an easy-to-use tool that is clearly designed to aid rather than hinder your source code control needs. It is free, cross platform and well worth a try.

Source tree was one of my own finds when going through the internet so no credit on this one 🙂

3 – Sublime Text

This has been on my list for a while now and was placed there firmly by DJ Adams. If you are looking for a clean, feature-rich and extendable text editor then this is the tool for you. With features like Syntax highlighting, write your own plugins and command line access it can be adapted to fit into any development workflow and for that reason it’s on this list.

Oddly enough one of the most used features I have for this tool, and it falls outside the development side of things, is that if you open a new document, enter some text (let’s say somebody is dictating something you need to remember) and you don’t save it. That text will be present the next time you launch the app. In my opinion that is a really cool feature and as a result it is also one of my to-do list and note taking apps that I use.

4 – Brackets

This is a fairly new addition to my toolset and has changed the way I develop for the web. Yes I use Sublime Text (no. 3) for text editing including shell scripting, PHP, Node.js and others but where Brackets really excels is for web editing like HTML, CSS and Javascript. Brackets is a Open Source code editor specifically for the web and includes features like:

  • Live Preview
  • JSLint support (helping you to write better JavaScript code)
  • Live CSS tweaking and debugging

Founded by Adobe and released under an MIT license it really is up there amongst one of the best web editors and considering the excellent feature set, the light-weight runtime and the cross-platform support – it is an excellent web editor that I would recommend.

5 – Chrome developer tools

Sticking with the web for a minute, a frequently overlooked but brilliant set of tools live right with the Google Chrome browser. Providing JavaScript debugging, network analysis and console access it is one of the unsung hero’s of web development in my opinion and has got me out of a few jams in my time.

Recently I was on the line to my mobile phone provider (who shall remain nameless) complaining about the then 7 month issue with their website that was preventing me from accessing my bills. Using the developer tools while I was on the phone to them I told them exactly where their problem was and how to fix it. Surprised the support person on the other end didn’t know what to say except “OK We’ll look into that”. Miraculously the following week the bug was fixed and I and others can now access our bills again. That only took 7 months……

Anyway for that reason as well as for my day-to-day web development I have the Chrome developer tools on my list.

6 – Xcode

An old one on my list as I have been developing for iOS since 2008 but still there is Xcode which is Apple’s IDE of choice when developing for the Mac as well as for iPhone and iPad. It has evolved a lot over the years and gets better with every iteration. I still only use it for iOS and Mac OS X though, it has never dominated my web or scripting development which is probably more to do with me than the tool.

Either way, it makes my list and a thank you to David Murphy for introducing me to this one back in the day.

7 – Postman

My final tool for this post has to be Postman – an add-on for Chrome that is great for testing and proving web-based APIs. I use postman to test my data source calls before integrating them into my code. For example it is great at testing OData services from SAP NetWeaver Gateway or testing the registration API’s for the SAP Mobility Platform.

Basically any web-based API, you can test it and try it from PostMan. Check the results and decouple your API testing from your app testing.


 

So that is it for this post about the development tools I am currently using. I’ll probably revisit this topic again in the future because as I mentioned, my tool set keeps changing.

On that note, if you have a tool that I have not mentioned that you use and love, please share it below, not only am I always looking for new development tools to try, you may help others who stumble across this post in the future.

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