7 Mar

Locating all the Tools that go in my Toolbox

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I have spent the last few weeks getting my development machine(s) up and and going like I really want them to be. I absolutely loathe setting up a new computer / dev environment because there is so much tweaking to be done. So in keeping with Butter’s March theme, I am going to talk about my tools.


I have two machines for doing dev work, one is my laptop the other my workstation at the office. Yes, this is going to turn into a little bit of a brag session for a moment, but hey, we are computer nerds.

Workstation Specs

  • Dell Precision Workstation T5400
  • 2 x Intel Quad Core 2.50 GHz
  • 8GB DDR2 Memory
  • 3 x 15k 300GB SAS Hard Drives (Raid 5)
  • NVidia Quadro FX1700 512MB video card
  • 2 x Dell 24” Ultrasharp Monitors
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard 64-bit as my Workstation OS

Laptop Specs

  • Lenovo T500 Notebook
  • Intel Core2 Duo – 2.53 GHz
  • 4 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 200GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 3650 256MB
  • 15.4” Wide screen display
  • Windows Vista Business x64 OS

The specs could be a little overkill on my workstation, but man is it fast! It literally only takes 2 seconds for Visual Studio to start up.

Development Tools

I am using the same tools on both machines so I will only list them once here:

IDE and Plug-ins

  • Visual Studio 2008 + SP1
  • Resharper – No explanation needed here really, this is the ultimate must have tool for VS.
  • AutoHotKey – Not really a plug-in per say but this thing is great. I have a little BDD naming script that turns spaces into underscore which came from Jean-Paul Boodhoo

Version Control

I am not experimenting with anything new on this front. I am a convert to subversion away from TFS so these are pretty standard.

  • Tortoise SVN – Must have Subversion tool for windows
  • SVN-Monitor – A very nice complement to Tortoise SVN. SVN-Monitor is easy to setup and configure, it then automatically watches any source/repository and working copy you tell it to and it alerts you when there are changes, updates, or un-versioned files that need to be updated or committed. One of the other great things, is it sits on top of Tortoise SVN so it uses all of your ignore patterns from Tortoise. You can also monitor a source for changes based on all types of criteria.

Unit Testing

  • NUnit – Of course
  • SpecUnit.Net – I have been dabbling with BDD style spec’s and tests lately and I am trying this out, verdict yet to be determined. It was easy to get up and going with though.

Continuous Integration

Like many others, I am also using TeamCity. You can’t beat the price and it is aesthetically very appealing. Oh, did I mention that it just works and works well and it’s FREE!

3 thoughts on “Locating all the Tools that go in my Toolbox

  1. Hi Ryan,

    This list is good, however you didn’t include whether you have a local version of database server as well specially on the laptop. There are times when you are not in office environment and yet you will like to work on a project that relies on let’s say SQL Server DB ?

    I have this and I have to almost do a manual step of backup from my test server to my machine in order to work on it. Is there any way around it ?

  2. Parag,

    Sorry about that. I run a local instance of SQL Standard on both machines for doing dev work. I don’t really have a reason for choosing that over SQL Express but I just do.

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