Monthly Archives: August 2012

freeware loadout for a Windows dev box

Just brought my home Windows desktop up to a state of usefulness comparable with my work Mac. Here’s what I installed today:

Gow (GNU on Windows): Common Unix utilities packaged for Windows. Equivalent to GnuWin32 but with a much better installer.

Console2: Better console. Supports tabs, drag to copy and right-click to paste, custom text colors, and bookmarks for starting up command-line apps (Python, GHCi) or shells with different environments (useful for Visual Studio’s command line stuff).

Programmer’s Notepad:  The best lightweight code editor. Syntax highlighting, tabs, Ctags support, etc. Better UI than Notepad++.

Sysinternals: Contains Process Explorer (an improved version of Task Manager) and Process Monitor (realtime display of what files and registry entries are in use).

ack: Programmer-friendly grep replacement that supports match context, recursive search of a directory tree, filtering by source type/language, and ignoring VCS files. Codification of the common sense behavior that normally requires hours of smacking find, xargs, and grep around. Requires a Perl interpreter; I use the community edition of ActivePerl.

TortoiseSVN: SVN client for Windows Explorer.

7-Zip: compression utility.

KeePass: Password manager. I use KeePass 1.x (still actively developed) because it’s compatible with KeePass implementations on other platforms such as KeePassX (Mac, Linux) and KyPass (iOS).

PuTTY: SSH terminal.

WinSCP: SFTP client.

Chrome: with FeverPHP, JSONView, and Edit This Cookie. I used to prefer Firefox with Firebug for development, but it’s gotten unusably slow.

Fiddler: HTTP/HTTPS debugging proxy. Similar to Charles.

Aptana Studio 3: Eclipse distro for webapp development. Like all Eclipse-based products, it’s clunky at times, but once a project grows beyond a few folders, managing it without an IDE is painful, and Aptana’s the best one I’ve found yet. Includes PyDev for Python, and has its own editors for Javascript, HTML, and PHP (Aptana’s PHP support is much, much better than Eclipse PDT’s). Also includes a handy SFTP folder syncer: you map a local project folder to a remote folder and can then upload individual files or sync whole folders with one click. I’ve added Subclipse with the CollabNet merge client for SVN support and DTP for SQL syntax highlighting.