I get this question a lot. The short answer, of course, is “it
depends”. That is, I’m a right-tool-for-the-right-job kinda guy. However, since
I make my living in the Microsoft ecosystem, I’m naturally biased. Generally
speaking, I use mostly open source tools, unless there is a compelling reason
to use a commercial one. Here’s my list (subject to frequent change, of
Microsoft Visual Studio
is the best IDE hands down. Yeah, I’ve
tried notepad and cmd.exe, but it’s just not the same. If you’re poor (or
cheap), the FREE Express Editions
are pretty good too. My language preference is C#. I was a Java guy for a long time, so this was just a
natural progression for me. No VB, please.
is a phenomenal productivity add-in
for Visual Studio. “Version 3.0 brings unrivalled code analysis, a superior
unit testing solution, Go to Symbol navigation, a handy To-do Explorer with
multiple unit test sessions, and many other features – to boost individual and
team productivity in the world of .NET development”. No, it’s not free, but it’s well worth the
small price tag.
For years I suffered with Visual SourceSafe.
It’s junk, and just plain dangerous. Don’t use it. Ever! Subversion is my tool of choice for my
personal projects, and my recommendation to clients who can’t afford Visual Studio Team
Foundation Server’s price tag.
If you use Windows and Subversion, then you need TortoiseSVN.
Aqua Data Studio
Aqua Data Studio is a
commercial tool that I use on occasion to script data out of large tables,
since I’m a dummy and can’t figure out how to get SQL Server Management Studio
to spit out INSERT statements for all my data. It also works with just about
every DBMS there is, just in case you’re thrown onto a MySQL or Oracle project…gasp!
Web Service Software Factory
Tail for Win32
I'm sure there are more that I can't think of off the top of my head, so I'll keep this list up to date as I discover some new and cool tools.