Dev Utilities and The New Dev Environment

Here is a quick look at the current utilities I make sure I get on all my development servers:

Reflector – Unless you live under a rock you have heard of Reflector. Number one go to utility to view the object model ( and then some!) to better understand the underlying product.

PowerShell – Microsoft’s newest “command-line” application is always on my dev machines. PowerShell is probably best known as a “scripting” tool and an administrator tool From the development side I frequently use PowerShell to create test harnesses, manipulate and dump .Net objects as well as a scriptable interface to manage SharePoint. If you have not gotten into PowerShell you really are overlooking a powerful development tool.

ClassMaster – This is the newest utility to make it on all my development machines. ClassMaster is a testing, learning and profiling tool from Certified Development. ClassMaster allows me to qucikly load one or more assemblies and easily create and test’s its object. ClassMaster displays a user interface that lists an assembly’s classes, methods and properties. From there I can create and store objects, set (and test) method parameters, view results and drill down into the resulting object’s methods and properties. For SharePoint development I load the Microsoft.SharePoint assembly, create a SPSite via one of the many constructors. From there I can easily view the SPSite object’s properties, run methods such as OpenWeb and view the resultant SPWeb object’s properties. Did I mention you can save these objects off to a clipboard for use as parameters in other method calls? Want/need to understand how to use one or more SharePoint objects – grab ClassMaster, select a constructor, pick a method and try various parameters.

DbgView – This tool picks up trace and debug statements from running applications. This is a little gem of a tool that I run whenever I am start debugging an application. To use debug view all you need is to write in trace and debug statements which DbgView will pick up. This tool fills in the debugging gaps for those SharePoint assemblies that require GAC deployment. Yes I know you can debug from the GAC but a splash of Trace or Debug statements and DbgView for me is much quicker.

VCdControlTool – This is my “Go To” tool for mounting ISO images – particularly those large images > 2Gig which are not accessible via Virtual PC’s Mount ISO. There appears to be no default location to downnload this tool. A search for VCdControlTool will return many download locations.

Fiddler – Fiddler is the tool I use to track down authentication issues with SharePoint. This utility will act as a HTTP proxy and dump all sorts of HTTP information to the screen for review.

Thats the basic list of utilities that make it on my machine. I would be curious what other utils should make it to my dev machines by default.

One Response

  1. Oskar Austegard 07/26/2007