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Development Tools for Windows

Productivity.

For many web developers, Windows is perceived to be a hostile environment in which to develop. But you don’t always get to choose your OS, so over the years the Web Team have adopted a number of tools and services to speed up workflow in a predominately Windows world.

In the interests of posterity I’m sharing them here. Not all of them are exclusive to Windows and it’s not an exhaustive list (please add your favourites in the comments). If you care about what your are building, you should care about your tools.

Development

  • Editor – Sublime Text 2, the editor of choice for us Windows users in the Web Team. Steve (running Debian) favours Emacs and Amanda (running Ubuntu) is a NetBeans gal.
  • HTTP Debugging – Fiddler. An absolutely invaluable tool for debugging live code – and also not something you’ll find on OS X – I’m yet to discover a Mac based alternative with all the features of Fiddler. Probably my favourite development tool after Sublime Text.
  • Filezilla, FTP done.
  • Putty. For me, the biggest problem when it comes to developing on a Windows machine is the lack of a *NIX terminal. Hence the need for Putty for SSHing to Unix servers.
  • AutoHotKey – incredibly useful for seemingly simple stuff like pasting into the Command Line.
  • Console 2 – a better command line.
  • Browsers – Chrome is pretty much the development browser of choice here, but it goes without saying that IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera are all required installs.
    • And of course, the dev tools that go with them: Chrome Dev Tools, Firebug, Opera DragonFly, IE Developer Tools (ughh)
  • IE Tester – slightly buggy when it comes to JavaScript implementation, but still a useful tool for checking out your creations in old IEs
  • BrowserStack – the “holy grail” of cross browser testing
  • Wamp – Apache, PHP, MySql on Windows
  • WinMerge – compare/synchronisation tool
  • Tortoise SVN – SVN GUI
  • Totiose Git – and here’s a GUI for Git
  • Compass – we have been using the CSS Processor Sass for a couple of years now and it has really improved our code maintenance and reduced the time we spend writing CSS. Sass wouldn’t be the same without Compass. You’ll also be needing Ruby.
  • CLCL – Clipboard management is pretty lame in Windows. Improve it!

Design/Prototyping

Project/Product Management

Productivity

  • Launchy.- I love launchy, saves me at least 3 minutes a day.
  • Dropbox. Can you remember what life was like before Dropbox? No, neither can I.
  • Time tracking – we don’t have a consensus on the best time tracking app. I use Klok, but Grindstone is also worth a look.
  • Password Safe. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.
  • Skype – being a geographically disperse team we do a fair bit of video conferencing and instant messaging. I’m not a huge fan of Skype but it does the job for us.
  • LastPass – free the space in your brain reserved for hundreds of web passwords and use it for more interesting thoughts.
  • Grooveshark – for those plugged in times.

So those are some of our favourite development tools, what about yours?

About Lawrence Naman

Web Team Leader at City University London, specialising in HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, interface design and lots of other awesome front-endy things View all posts by Lawrence Naman →

2 Responses to Development Tools for Windows

  1. *NIX terminal – sweet Jesus!

    I’d also like to add Balsamiq Mockups (also for Air, Mac, Chrome) for quick and dirty mid-fidelity mock-ups. Comes with a tiny learning curve (good for collaboration with stakeholders) and stellar customer support.
    Respect to anyone running Windows on a MacBook Pro (via BootCamp). OS/ecosystem homogeneity is seriously unhealthy UXers!

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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