Insight & Insanity

web development with a dash of life

Essential Apps for a Developer Using Windows

There are millions of articles just like this one telling you which apps you need for any Windows install. It is all relative and based on personal preferences. But maybe, just maybe, I can point you to a couple of apps you haven’t used before and may want to give a try. There are a couple of downloads interspersed throughout as well.

So here is a list of a few apps I get installed as soon as possible.

  • KatMouse

    One of the most useful simple features of OSX is the ability to scroll any window that your mouse is over. Unfortunately this insanely simple feature has not made it to Windows yet. Thankfully a little utility called KatMouse adds this feature for you.

    KatMouse Website

  • Greenshot

    Greenshot is the ultimate screenshot utility for Windows IMO. It has customizable hotkeys for capturing the current window, selectable region, full screen, or internet explorer. You can customize the output location, title format, file format, and quality.

    The coolest part is you can customize the destination of the file. This allows you to save it as a file directly, copy it to the clipboard, upload to imgur, print, send to outlook, open in the Greenshot editor, and a ton more. You can pick and choose what options you want it to by default.

    Greenshot Website

  • AutoHotkey

    AutoHotKey allows you to create your own hotkeys to interact with Windows and applications, as well as providing more advanced capabilities like desktop forms and data processing.

    I personally don’t get too advanced with AutoHotKey but there is one script that I cannot live without. That would be volume control. I don’t have, nor do I want a multimedia keyboard, so the ability to control system volume via pressing Shift and scrolling up/down on my mouse is a must have. There are a ton of scripts available through the AutoHotKey Script Showcase, or on threads like this at LifeHacker.

    Download Volume Script | AutoHotKey Website

  • Hosts File Editor

    The worst part of running any local server installation for development is editing your hosts file. Hosts File Editor makes it 100% easier with a simple GUI. You can add, edit, delete, comment out entries, and save the file without ever having to open notepad or any other text editor. It is an absolute must-have.

    Hosts File Editor Website

  • Pure Text

    Pure Text does one thing, and does it well. Any contents in your clipboard can be converted to pure text. Any formatting copied by the by Windows from any application (such as Word) will be removed and you will be left with text that you can paste without worry of weird artifacts or characters being brought in. Although AutoHotKey, with a script, can do this as well, I find that Pure Text is by far the most reliable way.

    Pure Text Website

  • SkyFonts

    Working with fonts, until recently, was always a kind of pain in the rear. With Adobe Creative Cloud, you can now sync TypeKit fonts to your desktop, which is great. But with some other services, whether paid or free, the only option was to get the font(s) and install them on your system before you could work with them. Call me lazy, but I hate having to gather little resources like this before working on the front-end of a project. SkyFonts bridges this gap allowing you to sync fonts from Fonts.com, Google Fonts and MyFonts. It is simple, fast, and reliable from my experience.

    SkyFonts Website

  • RDCMan

    If you interact with a lot of servers whether remote or local, RDCMan is one application you cannot live without. Although it is relatively unknown, it is one of the most valuable applications I have ever found. And the best part is, it’s FREE! RDCMan allows you to store the locations and credentials for multiple remote connections, and connect multiple at a time in a simple interface. Enough said.

    RDCMan Website

  • Beyond Compare/WinMerge

    Although many text editors like Sublime Text and Notepad++ either natively or via a plugin, offer file difference capability. I find it much easier to use a specialized application that does exceedingly well at its job. Both of these are essentially the same application, one being paid, and the other free. You decide which you prefer.

    Beyond Compare Website | WinMerge Website

If you have any applications you really enjoy using for development on Windows, please let me know in the comments and get added to the list.

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