Web Development Tools & Resources
Visual Studio 2012
It goes with out saying that Visual Studio is the ultimate development environment for .Net. You can buy the latest (2012) version at Microsoft.com, it does however come with a pretty hefty price tag if you are just starting out or are a hobbyist. (It’s worth it IMHO). You can get a 90 free trial version from Microsoft as well or get the Express Editions for free. The Express editions do have a reduced feature set, but you probably won’t miss those features if you are just getting started, or playing around as a hobby. To get the latest version of the Express edition for web development I would recommend using the Web Platform Installer. It will get you everything you need including the latest updates and the SQL Express Database engine.
TortoiseHg is a Windows shell extension and a series of applications for the Mercurial distributed revision control system. You can get a free Mercurial hosting at bitbucket.org to host your personal or open source projects.
GitHub for Windows
Touted as “The easiest way to use Git on Windows. Period.”, GitHub for Windows is at a minimum a convenient way to get started using Git/GitHub on a Windows device. From the Windows GUI you can also launch a Bash Shell command line, a PowerShell command line, or even the good old Windows cmd command line interface.
This is a great replacement for the standard Windows Notepad for developer’s. It gives you handy syntax highlighting, and loads of other bells and whistles that are handy for quick code editing. Get the latest version from flo’s freeware.
Sublime Text 2
Sublime Text is rapidly becoming my favorite text editor. Syntax highlighting for a ridiculous number of languages out of the box, a robust python based plug-in system, UI Themes, multiple column layouts, and the open folder command are just a few of the features that make this editor worth taking a look at. It’s not free, but there is a free trial.
Paint.Net is a great, light weight, image editor for Windows written in .Net. It handles most day to day web site development image editing tasks. Best of all it’s free! Download the latest version from getpaint.net.
LINQPad let’s you interactively query databases using LINQ to SQL. You can also use it to write small scripts to transform data etc. It’s a free download, but you can purchase an add on to add Intellisense to the code window ($39). Download it from the LINQPad Website.
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 http://www.fiddler2.com/fiddler2/.
WireShark is the defacto standard in packet sniffers and the perfect tool to for those times when you just need to get down to the wire and see what is being sent and where. It has powerful filtering options, the ability to save and load traces, and best of all it’s a free download.
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 @ http://www.techsmith.com/jing/.
Today there are a vast number of web sites out there that aim to help software developer’s of all skill levels. Here’s a short list of sites I find myself frequenting in my quest to learn new skills and just generally keep up with new technologies.
- Microsoft’s MSDN Web Site – Videos, documentation, how-to articles, blogs and more…
- ASP.Net web site – Videos, documentation, how-to articles, blogs and more…
- StackOverflow – “a collaboratively edited question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers”
- Scott Hanselman’s Blog – Scott is a Principal Program Manager with Microsoft and his blog contains a wide range great content on software development and just fun geek stuff.
- Scott Guthrie’s Blog – Scott (the Gu) is a vice president in the Microsoft Developer Division. His blog is full of great tips and the latest news about what is going on with the platform.
- Haacked – Phil Haack’s Blog. – Phil used to work for Microsoft on the ASP.Net MVC Team, and now works at GitHub. He also started the Subtext open source project (a blog engine).
- Coming Up Blank – Damian Edwards Blog – Damian is a Program Manager at Microsoft in the Web Platform and Tools team.
- Ode To Code – Written by K. Scott Allen, One of my favorite authors and presenters. Scott has a number of good videos available on pluralsight.com. (Requires a subscription)
- .Net Slave by Mads Kristensen – Mads is a Program Manager at the Microsoft Web Platform team and founder of BlogEngine.NET.
- Building Web Apps with ASP.NET Jump Start – 8 Hours of FREE Training Videos – This is actually a link to a post on Scott Hanselman’s blog, but I thought it was worth calling out explicitly.