Tools

I am a HUGE advocate of the fact that the tools do not make the developer. That being the case, it’s quite hard to do any job well without the proper tools. Here is where you will find a list of tools that I am currently using either at my day job or on the side for fun.

Some of links you find on this page may be affiliate links. All that means is that if you click on that link and signup or purchase a product or service, I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information please see the Affiliate Disclaimer page.


 

Editors

These tools are typically used to create documents and write code. Depending on the tool is may even be able to compile, debug, and deploy applications as well.
 

Visual Studio

Source: Microsoft

Tool Type: Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Cost: Free for Community Edition

Supported Operating Systems: Windows, macOS (Visual Studio for Mac)

What This Tool is For: Visual Studio is a full featured Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Simply put, that means this tool is used for writing, compiling, and debugging any .NET Framework supported language. This typically means C#, F#, and VB.NET. It also has builtin support for other languages such as C, C++, JavaScript, and TypeScript. Over the years it has expanded to support other languages with the use of plugins. So Visual Studio can also help you to write code for Python, Ruby, and Node. While this is a great, full-featured tool, it is often accused of being the frying pan used to swat the fly. This tool is create for .NET development using C#. So if that is your goal, definitely check this one out.
 

Visual Studio Code

Source: Microsoft

Tool Type: Code Editor

Cost: Free

Supported Operating System: Windows, macOS, several distributions of Linux

What This Tool is For: Visual Studio Code is what is known as a code editor. Code editors have become much more prevalent over the last few years. The goal of a code editor is to be light-weight enough to be your everyday text editor if you choose. But it is also built to be powerful enough to support writing and compiling code. This is typically handled through extensions for most languages. Visual Studio Code is great for writing .NET Core supported programming languages to create cross platform applications that can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It definitely isn’t Microsoft specific though. I have used this tool to write several applications in other language such as PHP, JavaScript, TypeScript, and Python to name a few. If you are looking for a excellent, multipurpose editor, you should definitely give this one a try.

I also have a post on the getting your computer setup for C# Development that includes how to get up and running with Visual Studio Code.


 

Terminals

These tools either complement or take the place of the built in command prompts or terminals in your operating system.
 

iTerm2

Source: George Nachman

Tool Type: Terminal Replacement

Cost: Free

Supported Operating System: macOS

What This Tool is For: iTerm2 is a terminal replacement for the built in Terminal application found on macOS. To be completely honest, when I first got my Macbook Pro years ago, I had no idea about macOS tools and really wasn’t very good with a terminal (command prompt). I started to doing some research to look for recommended tools on Macs and iTerm2 was listed towards the top of most. I downloaded and installed it and never looked back. I simply like the way it looks and feels…and sometimes that is just enough.
 

Powershell

Source: Microsoft

Tool Type: Command Shell & Programming Language

Cost: Free

Supported Operating System: Windows

What This Tool is For: Powershell has a bit of a dual identity. It’s at the same time the command line shell and the name of a .NET programming language used for scripting. This is a very handy tool in the Windows environment for creating scripts to automate tasks on computers. It’s great for Dev Ops related scripts as well as simple command line applications for doing things at the command prompt. If you hang around Windows long enough, you no no double run into this, try it out a few times, and probably wind up loving it.


 

Web Hosts

If you do any sort of web development, you are eventually going to need to have a place to deployment your website or application so that the world can see it. There are literally hundreds of choices out there for hosts and I have used many, but I also see to come back these two.
 

Digital Ocean [Full Disclosure: These are affiliate links]

Source: Digital Ocean

Tool Type: Web host

Cost: Starting as low as $5.00/month

Services: Web hosting, cloud storage, load balance, firewalls, dns, one-click app install, etc

What This Tool is For: I have been a huge fan of Digital Ocean now for several years. It is great for hosting lightweight proof of concept (POC) web sites and applications that run on Linux based operating systems. You can start with a small instance (Droplet) to test out an application. If it works well and gets popular to the point you need more power, you can increase it’s size and computing power when you need it. The nice thing about this service is you only pay for what you use. If you don’t use your service for the full month, you don’t pay the full monthly cost. So this service is great to tryout some projects before you are fully committed.

Finally, one of my favorite features is that it supports one-click app installs. This means that there are several applications that can be installed in your Linux instance by default. This includes apps like WordPress, Docker, MySQL, etc.
 

Bluehost [Full Disclosure: There are affiliate links]

Source: Bluehost

Tool Type: Web host

Cost: Starting as low as $2.95/month

Services: Web hosting, WordPress, Domain Name Management, etc

What This Tool is For: I have only started using Bluehost in the last 6 months or so, and I am really enjoying it. Bluehost really shines when you really want to create a website and use WordPress. It is definitely optimized for that type of work and it is quite easy to setup. It’s really nice because you can get very cheap plans (often as low at $2.95/month), which really makes 2 and 3 year plans quite affordable opposed to other options. I’ve started using it for some niche sites that I want to put together. You get a one stop shop to get web hosting and purchase a domain. Makes things really easy to manage in one place.


 

Domain Name Management

These tools have to do with everything from helping you find domain names to purchasing and managing them.
 

DNSimple [Full Disclosure: These are affiliate links]

Source: DNSimple

Tool Type: Domain Name Management

Cost: Starting as low as $5.00/month

Services: Domain Name Management

What This Tool is For: I have been using DNSimple for many years now. I love this for all of my domain name needs from purchasing, management, dns record management, etc. Yes, there are once again literally hundreds of places you can go do get domain names, but this is streamlined to be simple enough for a novice user, but powerful enough for business users. One of my favorite features of DNSimple is the fact that when you want to buy a domain name, they don’t try to upsell you on a million other products or services. If all you want is a domain name, that’s all you get. Simple, easy, and quick.