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Essential Tools List

Every developer’s blog has to have a tools list, so here’s mine.

Microsoft Visual Studio

Visual Studio is the obvious choice for an IDE.  The Express Editions are free and available from  You can also get a free Express Edition of SQL Server from here as well.

There is also a free trial (The trial period lasts for 30 days with the option to register the software for an additional 60 days.) of the Professional Edition available from is a fast, lightweight image editor written in .net.  Best of all it’s free!  This is a great little program that I use almost everyday for all sorts of tasks like resizing, cropping, chopping and editing images for both web sites and Windows applications.  Check it out and download it from


LinqPad is a really great tool with lots of uses.  I use it as a scratch pad to test little snippets of code (They don’t have to be Linq related either!) and to work out complex Linq Queries.  I have also used it to write scripts to move/transform data, or do some one time maintenance task.

The latest version is fully compatible with C# 4.0 and .Net Framework 4.0.  The basic version is free and you can add on the auto-complete (Intellisense?) feature for just $39.00.  Learn more and/or download it at


Ever have a web page or service that was doing something completely unexpected?  Often it is helpful to be able to watch what is happening under the covers at the http request/response level.  That’s just what Fiddler does for you.  You can even modify (fiddle with?) the request before it actually goes out and much more.  This is a must have!  Get it at


Jing is a screen capture utility from TechSmith.  The free version allows you to grab screenshots by dragging a rectangle around the area you want to capture.  Very handy for grabbing shot of dialogs or error messages.  It will also capture video and save it as a .swf so you can post short videos to the web.  There is a pro version (pay) that enhances the application and removes the made with Jing from the end of your videos.  Check it out on the TechSmith site @


More coming soon…