Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Windows Tools Useful for Developers

Despite the IDE and the browser I use a lot of simple and cheap (often free) software that helps me a lof with everyday developer tasks. I don't like spending time on repeatable (and therefore boring) tasks - the tools below help me to limit this time to minimum.

BareTail - This is a log file viewer. It just opens a file and has the ability to follow the end of the file. It always displays the last lines of the file even when new content is appened all the time. It works like 'tail -f' in Unix. Theare are a few features that make this program very handful:
- customizable font makes easy to see a lot of log lines on the screen
- BareTail doesn't lock files on the file system; that's why restarts of monitored servers aren't problems for BareTail - it follows the file even if it's deleted and recreated
- remote files from the Windows shares are open as if they were local files
- BareTails dosn't load files into memory so handling of very large files isn't a problem
- coloring of the files makes easy to track errors in you application - just assign the red color to errors to see them easily
I use the free version (without the find option) and it works fine for me.

Beyond Compare - The file and directory comparator. It adds the compare option to the standard Windows menu for every file and directory so it's easily accessible. Its power is ease of use and performance. There are buttons and keyboard shortcats for common actions: expanding all directories, selecting all files, comparing selected files, etc. It has a nice option to refresh the compare view and ability to compare the archives as normal directories (ZIPs, EARs, JARs, etc.). It costs about $30.

Process Explorer - This tool works great as replacement of the MS Windows Task Manager. The feature I like the best is the tree view of the processes. It helps to track to command line arguments passed to sub-processes, for example when Ant invokes Java. It's free to download from Microsoft.

Active Ports - I have one and simple use case for this tool - find a process that takes a needed port. Often port 1099 is reserved by some process and my JBoss can't start. I use Active Ports to find the process and sometimes kill it. It's for free.

Total Commander - I've never managed to start using MS Windows Explorer. I prefer the two-window interface of Total Commander. Total Commanders makes easy to handle archives (e.g. ZIP or JAR) - when Ctrl-PgDown is pressed an archive is opened like a directory. I ofen use a simple FTP client built into it. It costs about $30.

WinSCP, PuTTY - I use them to connect to remote systems. They are free.

Let me know if you have tools you can't live without!


michuk said...

Agreed. Use or used all of them except Active Ports. Developing on Windows would be EVEN MORE annoying without those tools.

Ron Starc said...

FTP Manager Lite is one of the best free FTP and SFTP client software. The clean interface is super easy to use. It will perform your files transfers quickly and efficiently. It also supports FXP for superfast server to server transfers. It is perfect for backups or synchronizing servers.