Dave’s Top Programming Resources

This isn’t going to be a top ten list.  I don’t think I have ten programming resources that I use on a regular basis.  Instead let’s just call this Dave’s Top Programming Resources that Dave can’t live without now that they are on his hard drive.

1)  Visual Studio
Well, of course.  As a developer doing .NET I need Visual Studio.  I’m currrently using 2008 and (sadly) 2003. 

2)  Virtual PC 2007
I mentioned this one a couple months ago.  I use it so that I can test various versions of internet explorer.  I also run VS 2003 in one partition just to avoid any potential conflicts with VS 2008.  And of course, you can install all that demo software in a Virtual PC so that you don’t gunk up your real computer with stray files and registry entries, not to mention potential viruses and Trojans.

3)  Reflector For .NET
Great utility for disassembly of .NET DLLs and EXEs you don’t have any code for.  You can use this in combination with …

4) Reflector File Disassembler Plugin
Let’s you disassembly an entire EXE or DLL to a .NET project.

5) Regex Workbench
I’m not great with Regular Expressions.  But this tool lets me try things until I finally get them right.  I should warn you that this will not install into a Vista computer.  But, I have been able to install to XP and then copy the files over to Vista.  I think I may have had to tweak the config file too.  But, if you have an XP computer.. or use Virtual PC, you can just leave it in XP.

6) Test Complete
We all know we should be testing our software.  We’ll I finally am… mostly.  This is my second year using Test Complete.  It is the ONLY tool I could find that could semi reliably record a web session and play it back.  And while I bought it primarily to test web applications, it can do a whole lot more than that.  If you aren’t testing yet, you need to grab this tool.

7)  MS Build Task Extensions
I first started using these for my dotnetnuke modules when I moved to ASP.NET 2.0.  I needed a tool that would allow me to automatically merge DLLs and then put everything into a ZIP file.  Now, all I have to do is press “‘Build” and I have a PA for DNN.

8) ILMerge
This is the tool that actually does the merge of the DLLs I mentioned above.  Don’t bother with the GUIs.  I never could get them to work right for me, even to get me the command line.  Just learn the command line syntax (it ain’t that hard really) put it in your build script, and forget about it until next time (when you can copy and paste from the previous time.)

Also mentionable:

Last Year I had DevPartner Studio.  But, the price for this product relative to what I’m currently using it for just isn’t worth it to me any more.  But, for a larger organization, I would recommend that you get it for one developer and run your code through it once in a while.  You’ll be amazed what you find.  For the rest of you, get the demo and run it against your code, it will make you a better programmer.

Also, when I need to create installations, I use Install Aware.  For those of you who were around when WISE was the easiest installation program on the planet to use, you’ll love Install Aware.  WISE has become as difficult to use as all the rest, Install Aware, on the other hand, builds MSI installs like WISE use to.


I guess with those last two, I actually do have ten products. :)

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