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We have many great tools which helps a lot when programming, such as good programmers text editors, IDEs, debuggers, version control systems etc. Some of the tools are more or less "must have" tools for getting the job done (e.g. compilers).

There are still always tools which do help a lot, but still don't get so much attention, for various reasons, for instance, when they were released, they were ahead of their time and now are more or less forgotten.

What type of programming tool do you think is the most underestimated one? Motivate your answer.


locked by Thomas Owens Aug 30 '13 at 9:22

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closed as not constructive by ChrisF Nov 11 '11 at 9:51

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Our brains? - - – Trufa Mar 12 '11 at 1:55
Okay, who wants to add the Lisp entry? *grin* – Mark C Mar 12 '11 at 4:10

32 Answers 32

I often work on large teams with projects with hundreds or even thousands of source and headers from all sorts of random libraries that someone thought to throw into the mix.

To locate files quickly, I build custom locate databases against the source tree. This can be very helpful when the source is in ClearCase or the source is in networked file systems usually skipped by the locate command in /etc/cron... Building custom locate databases also helps eliminate all the other files that locate will typically find and place in its database.

On Windows, you can use Cygwin's locate port and at to do the same thing.


Valgrind. It saved my life more than once. For some bugs and leaks, I have no idea how could I ever had fixed them without Valgrind.

helps to have the URL – Dave Mar 12 '11 at 19:20

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