Top 10 Free Developer Tools: Part 2

DevToolsGuy / Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This post is the second part of a miniseries about the top 10 free developer tools. Here, we'll continue our look at some of the best developer’s tool currently out there and in demand. In part 1 we looked at Visual Studio Community 2015, SPCAF, WebMatrix, Visual Studio Code and Notepadd++.

So without further pause, let’s continue with number 6 on our list, the IE Development Toolbar:

6. IE Development toolbar

Client side code development is becoming ever more popular. It requires a way for a developer to debug the client side code with JavaScript, HTML, CSS or Ajax calls without actually touching the server. Remember earlier days when we would just examine the HTML code generated by the server to view the source of the page? Well, thankfully, those days are gone. You can now view the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript directly using the inbuilt IE development toolbar on the Internet Explorer. Just Press F12 on your internet explorer and you are ready to go.

You can not only view the JavaScript but can debug the JS files at runtime. You can also make changes to the styles of the HTML and test it before you make changes in the source code.

You can view more information and steps on how to use it over here.

7. Chrome Dev Tools

Similar to the IE development toolbar, Google Chrome has its own with similar functionality. However, one difference is support. One of the exclusive features is its inbuilt support to test the User Interface against any device or resolution. It’s extensively used these days by web designers who want to develop a responsive web design for the website.

Add to that the audit panel which allows you to analyze the page when it’s completely loaded and provides the suggestions to increase the performance of your page. You can get more information on all the features here.

Accessing chrome dev tools is easy. Just like the IE toolbar, press F12!

8. Napa Development tool for Office 365

With the Cloud App model introduced with Office 365 and SharePoint 2013, Microsoft introduced the Napa Development tool which allows users to develop SharePoint/Office apps on a fly without a need of Visual Studio. It will help you to develop apps directly from the browser and without installing and software.

You just have to add the app to your SharePoint online developer site and you’ll be ready to go. The only prerequisites for this app is IE 9 and SharePoint 2013.

It is freely available in the Office Store.

9. .NET Reflector

For developers a common scenario is working on apps or projects where we only have some partial source code. If we take an example of a migration from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013. It’s common you won’t have the entire source code available, this could be for a number of reasons, such as not correctly maintained during the development phase or simply ‘misplaced’ by an organization. Certainly a real pain point. This is where the free trial of .Net Reflector comes the rescue. With .Net Reflector you can decompile any .Net code to its source file.

It also allows us to understand and analyze any third party libraries which are used by your application. Third party libraries are not always particularly well documented, so it helps us to understand how the code runs and avoid any bugs.

With the latest .Net Reflector there is a Visual Studio plugin available to directly debug using the regular debugging techniques as if it was your own source code.

You can download the .net Reflector from here. Note: only the trial is free; once that's done, you'll have to pay $95 for a license.

10. ReSharper

While also not technically free (the extension has a subscription fee), if you do non-commercial Open Source work, ReSharper is one of the powerful extensions available for Microsoft Visual Studio. It not only helps the developer to find the compile error or runtime errors, but also highlights some possible improvements as you type your code, by suggesting intelligent correction support for them.

Some additional features of ReSharper are:

  • Code Analysis
  • Refactoring
  • Code formatting and clean up
  • A rich search
  • Code generation with intellisense support

You can add the ReSharper extension from the Visual Studio Gallery.

So, there we have it, our Top 10 list of developer tools that you can’t live without. Now we know there may be some we have missed, if so we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.