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  • Jonas Eriksson 930 posts 1825 karma points
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 11:40
    Jonas Eriksson

    Great offline tools to have in your Umbraco toolbox

    Umbraco UI is great and it's indeed possible to achieve much without a singe offline tool. However there are ofcourse some that makes Umbraco development more productive. This forum post is intended as a a step towards a wiki page with recommendations / suggestions in this matter, and I hope to get help with suggestions and information here. Please add info on wheter they are free or not + OS and what they help with.

    Code editors

    Visual Studio (win, free Express available)

    NotePad++, (win, free) lightweight only text but with syntax highlightning

    Textmate (iOS)

    Source code versioning and repository hosting



    Codeplex (free for open source projects)

    Code editor extensions

    ReSharper for Visual Studio (win). Refactoring help, code cleaner, intellisense improver.

    Test driven development

    Testdriven for Visual Studio (win) TDD

    NUnit Quickstart (win open source)


    Sql Management Studio (free Express available) create, edit, administer MS Sql databases

    XSql Compare (win, free version available) compare databases

    Xml Xlst

    Visual Studio built in Xml/Xslt debugger

    XSpec example using with Umbraco Xslts  Unit testing Umbraco Xslts



    Adobe Fireworks

    Paint.Net (win, free)


    Balsamiq (online, both free and paid)


    IronPython Tools for Visual Studio (win, free)


  • Sebastiaan Janssen 5017 posts 15332 karma points MVP admin hq
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 12:58
    Sebastiaan Janssen

    You're hitting my soft spot Jonas! I love tools that make my life easier! My list includes a variety of actual online tools, but I interpreted your question as: anything that's not IN Umbraco and makes the developer's life easier. So here goes:

    I hate having to switch between screens 4 times to just copy & paste a complicated username and password. I hate knowing that I had a url or a line of code on my clipboard 5 minute ago, but I have to switch to another window to get is back on the clipboard because I copied something else in the mean time. In comes ClipX (free), it is awesome! I've configured it to work with CTRL+SHIFT+V and it saves the last 50 entries on my clipboard (even when I reboot) for me to cycle through at will. I use the beta version because I want the 64bit support, and it is fine, had no problems. It may look old and ugly and it may not have been updated for years, but it is my single most favorite tool.

    Since I use git, Git Extensions (free) is an absolute must-have and it is so much better than any of the Mercurial tools I've seen.

    For my multiple monitor setup, I can't live without Ultramon ($39.95) to give me taskbars on each screen.

    The Windows 7 snipping tool is great for making a quick screenshot. Just hit your the WIN key on your keyboard, type snip and hit enter, voila.

    Only just recently I learned about and it is great if you don't want to clutter your machine with programs that you don't use all that much. What is even better, though, is that you can very easily run any version of IE on your dev machine for browser testing. I used to use a VM for that, not any more!

    Speaking of VM: Virtualbox (free), great stuff.

    I hate Adobe's PDF reader (slow, stupid updates that require reboot every other week or so), so I use Foxit's free reader. for free remote working circumventing our firewall. Also handy for remote support (but you have to pay for those accounts).

    7zip. Great and fast compression using all of my 8 cores. Opens all kinds of archives. Free, small, just awesome.

    Agent Ransack. A terrific to search files and within files with regex support. It's fast and tiny and again: awesome.

    Royal TS (about $30). I manage a few different servers through remote desktop and they are all easily accessible from Royal TS, without them taking over my whole screen, worth the money.

    Well that's about it, other than that I use Carbonite for dirt-cheap remote backup, Dropbox for syncing essential folders, Skype for free calls and easy screensharing, the whole Google Apps suite (mail, docs, calendar, reader, talk, etc).

    Oh, one more thing. Windows Explorer is nice and all, but I use Directory Opus (about $80) with a dual-paned view to be able to easily copy and paste between two folders (or a folder and an FTP location). It is the ultimate tweaker's dream with many many options and ways to customize it to do whatever you want it to do, it is well worth the price!

    I realize that half of this list is full of tools that look like shit, but they are helping my productivity so much that I'm willing to overlook all that. At least Visual Studio looks beautiful these days and that's where most of my time is spent anyway! ;-)

  • Sebastiaan Janssen 5017 posts 15332 karma points MVP admin hq
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 13:00
    Sebastiaan Janssen

    Of course, I'm a windows guy, so everything listed in that post works with Windows, haven't looked if there are Mac equivalents.. But hey, what .Net developer uses a non-windows machine anyway...? Oh.. oops, sorry Jonas, no offense ;-)

  • Jonas Eriksson 930 posts 1825 karma points
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 13:26
    Jonas Eriksson

    LOL :-) none taken, as a matter of fact, no "i's in my office (yet), only on my phone - but as far as I noticed from my remote view of the Umbraco-community, Macs seem to be quite popular?

    Great long list of tools + descriptions, many of'em I never heard of before. Trying Directory Opus ATM. (Makes me think of old friend Norton Commander.)

  • Sebastiaan Janssen 5017 posts 15332 karma points MVP admin hq
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 14:26
    Sebastiaan Janssen

    Well, ever since Niels axed his iPhone, Apple products are slowly falling out of grace.. I understand why they are popular though, they make great WIndows 7 machines! ;-)

    Yes, although I never got into the NC thing, dopus is totally my tool! I love creating multiple folders at once, pasting my current clipboard text in dopus (which them creates a text file with the clipboard text in it), dual panes, FTP.. etc. It's a productivity nightmare the first few days, because there is so much to explore, but after that it just increase the work you can get done.

  • Matt Brailsford 3872 posts 20650 karma points MVP 9x c-trib
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 16:00
    Matt Brailsford

    Here are a couple I can't live without (a few already been mentioned, so won't mention those again)

    Keepass Password Safe - A free and easy to use password safe, and by saving to my dropbox, I'm never without my passwords.

    Reflector - Lets you explore compiled DLL's. Great for debugging Umbraco binaries without downloading the source.

    VisualHG - Great visual studio plugin when working with Mercurial Repos for your (D)VCS

    CrashPlan - Great backup tool for backing up locally and online. Saved my life a few times.

    GhostDoc - Handy VS plugin for simplifying code commenting.

    IcoFX - Handy free icon editor. Great for creating favicons.

    Charles - HTTP traffic debugger. Really handy when working with AJAX or Flash to see what calls are being made, and any errors that occur.

    Expresso - Great tool for testing your RegEx statements (Thanks @leekelleher)

    Smtp4Dev - Handy SMTP server for devs. Intercepts all SMTP requests, allowing devs to test emails, and easily see what is being sent, without it actually being sent.

    XmlConfigMerge - Handy commandline tool to combine config files. Great for managing multiple environments, which can be autoconfigured at compile time.

    I probably have a few more that I tend to install, but I think that's enough for now =)


  • Jonas Eriksson 930 posts 1825 karma points
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 20:48
    Jonas Eriksson

    Great list with links.

    +1 for using Reflector for a quick way to explore umbraco dll's!

    (I wrote "offline tools" in the header, but I meant both good off- and online tools).

    For comparing sources, and config files, I like Notepad++ with addon Compare, another popular one is Diffmerge. (Most versioning software ofcourse has diff-tools built in.)

  • Matthew Berner 47 posts 327 karma points
    Oct 30, 2020 @ 20:35
    Matthew Berner


    I am big fan of JustDecompile. The tool lets you explore .dlls and unpack them into its parts.

    Thanks Matthew Berner

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