My Development Environment

I'm a programmer/developer who sits behind a computer all day. So what programs do I use most of? What do I do all day, anyway?

Here's my list of tools that I use all day, every day, in the order of time spent:

  • MS Outlook XP - this stays open all day. I generally read and respond to e-mails as I get 'em (at my internal address), use it for my calendar and often post myself little notes. The only thing is, using it adds an overhead to my job because I have to organise and file all my e-mails. I also use Outlook to mass-mail reports out internally.

  • MyIE Web Browser - my web browser stays open all day too. MyIE is a free web browser that groups Internet Explorer windows into a tabbed interface (kind of like Excel) so I can have 10 web pages loading at once. It does a couple of other cool things too, like opens up the pages I last visited the next day, has a pop-up blocker (no annoying ads) and has some shortcuts for opening pages in new windows, closing them, going back and forward. I got it at MyIE Home.

  • Windows Explorer - der.

  • SQL Server Enterprise Manager - an admin tool for SQL Server.

  • Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 - this is the main tool I use for programming, in a language called VB.NET. I had trialled the 2002 version, but just as my boss was ready to buy it the 2003 version came out.

  • MS Excel XP - for the quick-and-dirty analysis stuff. It's a program most managers here understand, so sending them stuff in Excel format makes sense.

  • MS Access XP/2000 - I got my current job on the basis of my strong Access 2000 skills. Access is a database program for small-to-medium databases; when a new database comes along, 99% of the time I'm going to create it using SQL Server instead. Access still gets a bit of a workout as the stuff I've written over the last two-and-a-half years was developed in Access. One gripe I've got is that I still have to keep the 2000 version on hand as I find the occasional incompatibility between XP and 2000 (mainly in my scripts). As with all the Office programs I use, I can't notice a difference between the 2000 version and the 2002 (XP) version, except in Outlook where I reckon the XP version is faster and more stable than the 2000 version.

  • Chami HTML-Kit - I'm starting to use this less and less for writing web pages, but only because I'm doing less and less web-type work recently. I still also use Notepad for quick edits sometimes. HTML-Kit is free at HTML-Kit.

  • Webshots - this changes my desktop wallpaper daily and is my screensaver. I use a stack of photos that I've scanned. Webshots is at the Webshots Desktop.

After this list comes MS Word XP, Paint, Microsoft Photo Editor, and Windows Media Player to round out my daily tools.

I'll write more about what I actually do with the above programs another time!

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