First off, let me say I’m a huge Scott Hanselman fan. This guy has way too much time on his hands and probably has the energy of 5 people combined. He knows his stuff and I’ve learned a lot from him. Anyway, he comes out with an annual list of the tools he uses and recommends. The most recent list is from 2009 but it is still relevant and seems to have been updated since the original posting date. How in the world does this guy have the time to use all of this stuff?

Anyway, over the years I’ve found tools on this list (and not on this list) that I consider invaluable for development today. Here’s my own list. These are the tools I use on a daily basis. Enjoy.

  • Windows 7 – I’ve been using Windows 7 (64bit) for about a year and can honestly say it rocks. It’s got the stability of Windows XP with so many additional cool and useful features. Can we just forget that Vista ever happened?
  • Visual Studio 2010 – Visual Studio is by far the best IDE I’ve ever used. Honestly, it’s one of the best products Microsoft has ever produced and blows others like Eclipse and XCode out of the water. It is one of the primary reasons I am most comfortable with C# / .NET as my “go to” platform.
  • Subversion – Source control that doesn’t suck.
  • TortoiseSVN – Subversion GUI client for Windows. A must have.
  • Beyond Compare – Best diff/compare tool I’ve ever used.
  • TeamCity - Continuous Integration and build management server. Holy cow, TeamCity is amazing. It has revolutionized the way I develop software. If you use CruiseControl/.NET, make the switch because it’s totally worth it.
  • Fiddler – Web debugging proxy. I fire this bad boy up when I need to have x-ray vision into my HTTP traffic. Firebug and some other built-in tools in other browsers like Chrome and Safari offer similar traffic inspection but Fiddler is much more powerful.
  • Firebug – A freaking awesome FireFox Add-on that enables you to “edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page”. How did I ever live without this tool?
  • NUnit – Unit testing framework.
  • TestDriven.Net – Add-In for Visual Studio to make running NUnit tests a breeze.
  • Notepad++ – Text editor on steroids. I never touched old-school Notepad after coming upon this tool.
  • FileZilla – My FTP client of choice.
  • Paint.NET – It’s like a free Photoshop with not quite all the bells and whistles. Impressively powerful for free. Does exactly what I need it to and what old-school Paint can’t.
  • PDFCreator – Create PDFs for free.
  • .NET Reflector – Decompiles .NET code. Useful for peeking into the .NET framework classes when you need to figure out the internal workings.
  • SQL Compare – Compares SQL Server database schemas and synchronizes the differences. Very, very useful when working with multiple SQL Server environments.
  • Remote Desktop Connection Manager – When you have lots of different Windows servers you manage through Remote Desktop, this tool helps keep things organized and easy.