Questions about development tools and other tools that are useful especially to programmers.

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240
votes
20answers
69k views

What does SVN do better than Git? [closed]

No question that the majority of debates over programmer tools distill to either personal choice (by the user) or design emphasis, that is, optimizing design according to particular uses cases (by the ...
124
votes
31answers
14k views

How do you dive into large code bases?

What tools and techniques do you use for exploring and learning an unknown code base? I am thinking of tools like grep, ctags, unit-tests, functional test, class-diagram generators, call graphs, ...
74
votes
20answers
14k views

Is a company order to switch to a certain IDE a red flag?

I recently joined a rapidly growing startup. In the past 3 months the development team has grown from 4 to 12. Until now they were very laissez-faire about what developers used to do their work. In ...
66
votes
12answers
8k views

git for personal (one-man) projects. Overkill?

I know, and use, two version control systems: Subversion and git. Subversion, as of now, gets used for personal projects where I am the only developer and git gets used for open source projects and ...
51
votes
13answers
4k views

Should a software developer get a yearly equipment budget?

I am looking at a new position with a new company. I have talked to some people in the past (in general, not at this company) that they had been given a yearly budget to buy new computer stuff to ...
35
votes
32answers
4k views

Most underestimated programming tool [closed]

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 ...
30
votes
7answers
3k views

Is the development of CLI apps considered “backward”?

I am a DBA fledgling with a lot of experience in programming. I have developed several CLI, non interactive apps that solve some daily repetitive tasks or eliminate the human error from more complex ...
30
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does F# have an interactive mode but not C#?

F# comes out of the box with an interactive REPL. C# has nothing of the sort and is in fact kinda difficult to play around without setting up a full project (though LINQpad works and its also possible ...
24
votes
7answers
1k views

When should we stop work and make tool?

As a software engineer, we are always eager to get effective tools to boost our productivity. And in our daily work, we are often unsatisfactory with the existing tools and would like to have better ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

Good resources and tools for modern, heavy JavaScript development? [closed]

I am interested in doing some projects that involve heavy use of JavaScript. Namely HTML5 based canvas games, potentially using node.js as well. I am interested in learning modern best practices, ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

In a legacy codebase, how do I quickly find out what is being used and what isn't?

I've been asked to evaluate what appears to be a substantial legacy codebase, as a precursor to taking a contract maintaining that codebase. This isn't the first time I've been in this situation. In ...
18
votes
21answers
826 views

How do you remember where in your code you want to continue next time?

When you interrupt the work on some code (be it because you have to work on something else or go on vacation or simply because it is the end of the day), once you close that Visual Studio project, ...
16
votes
8answers
3k views

Are there tools to determine code similarity? [closed]

I'm not talking about a diff tool. I'm really looking to see if a project contains code that may have been "refactored" from another project. It would be likely that function names, variable names ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

What would you consider best practice workflow tools for web application (PHP) development? [closed]

I'm really hoping somebody with more experience can edit the question as per my examples of answers: using version control test driven development debugging code (xdebug for php) use of UML diagrams ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Is a MSDN subsciption worthwhile for personal use?

I code primarily in .net at work, but was wondering if home MSDN subscriptions were available/worthwhile as a tool to stay in touch with the latest technology for Microsoft development?
12
votes
7answers
904 views

What tools do you use to stay focused? [closed]

This is related, but I'm thinking about something more like a chastity belt for keeping me from checking programmers.SE or my email every time I compile. Rather advice like "go take a walk and you'll ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Git-friendly spreadsheet format? [closed]

We're trying to move our project documentation process from Google Documents to a set of self-hosted Git repositories. Text documents are Git-friendly enough, since we usually do not need any fancy ...
12
votes
3answers
447 views

Using bug-tracking / issue-tracking software to discuss design questions, new tools etc

Does anybody have experience with using a bug-tracking / issue-tracking software like bugzilla, mantis or JIRA not only for bugs or tasks, but to initiate and maintain discussions that in the end lead ...
11
votes
6answers
346 views

Is there a version control system that can show changes to a specific method or function?

Sometimes it would be nice to be able to say something like: (git|svn|hg|etc) diff Foo.c:main (git|svn|hg|etc) log log Foo.c:main to see the changes made to a specific function within a source file ...
11
votes
7answers
465 views

Methodologies/tools for when developing on your own

Suppose you have to develop a medium+ sized software, fully on your own. Like if it was a personal project you want to accomplish. What methodologies/tools would you use to define what needs to be ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Can you make a build in one step?

From the joel test: Can you make a build in one step? I've got to say I can't. I'm currently working on a web app that has a spreadsheet list of items that must be carried out in order to ...
11
votes
7answers
455 views

Do designer tools degrade the programming experience?

I've been looking around lately, specifically at some of the MS tools that are available, and I'm noticing a big focus on designer tools and wizards. Not just for UI development but for everything. ...
11
votes
3answers
513 views

Does FitNesse improve product quality and collaboration?

I heard about a tool named FitNesse, which is supposed to promote better collaboration between development, testing, and product groups. What are your experiences with it? Does it really improve ...
10
votes
4answers
954 views

Is physical Agile board “always” better than electronic tool?

Whenever the question comes up on which Agile tool to use use there always some people that answer "don't use an electronic tool because you will lose the big-visible-board advantage which better ...
10
votes
6answers
973 views

What software do you use to help plan your team work, and why?

Planning is very difficult. We are not naturally good at estimating our own future, and many cognitive biases exacerbate the problem. Group planning is even harder. Incomplete information, ...
10
votes
8answers
423 views

How can current IDEs improve the development experience? What secondary tools should be primary?

A modern IDE wouldn't be taken seriously if it didn't have a good editor with syntax highlighting, comprehensive warnings, and a source-level debugger. And there are many more tools/IDE features that ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What tools can be used to facilitate code reviews after commits?

I've been evaluating a number of code review tools (mostly free ones), but they all seem to be aimed at reviewing patches before they are committed. This wouldn't really fit within our workflow with ...
10
votes
2answers
244 views

What tools or techniques are useful for describing an unfamiliar codebase?

When manually inspecting unfamiliar code (to review or modify), I seem to have three options. A top-down read of the code, choosing each next source file by how fundamental the filename seems. I ...
10
votes
2answers
214 views

Are there any good tools for visualizing refactoring work?

Many of my co-workers take pride in writing complex algorithms and programs, ones which take significant time to completely grok. I (strongly) tend towards the opposite end. I'm proud when I write a ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Tool to manage requirements throughout a software development lifecycle [closed]

I am looking for a tool to manage requirements or features for a software development project. It will be used by a small geographically diverse team of 5-10 people to raise, discuss and track ...
9
votes
3answers
12k views

Free and decent GUI mockup tools? [closed]

Are there any decent tools aside from MS PowerPoint to create GUI mockups? I've tried Balsamiq Mockups. It's great but it's not free. Are there any tools just like it, but free?
9
votes
10answers
768 views

Any tools/suggestions on how to refute code coverage quality argument

Now I know people could consider this question duplicate or asked many times, in which case I would appreciate a link to relevant questions with answer to my question. I have been recently in ...
9
votes
3answers
466 views

What GUI tools are available for which DVCS? [closed]

When I worked at Sun, we used a DVC system called Forte SCCS/Teamware, which used the old SCCS file format, but was a true distributed source code revision control system. One nice feature is that it ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

What Tool Do You Use For Reading Technical Ebooks? [closed]

I consider an e-reader a software development tool and would like to hear some opinions on reading technical e-books. Questions that I have are things like: What are the usability issues you have ...
9
votes
4answers
299 views

When is it appropriate to start using the next revision of a tool when dogfooding?

Specifically, I am working on a tool that integrates a DVCS and build system, but I image the challenge I am facing would arise for anyone developing a "meta" tool (compiler, VCS, build system, test ...
9
votes
8answers
659 views

how do you document your development process?

My current state is a mixture of spreadsheets, wikis, documents, and dated folders for my input/configuration and output files and bzr version control for code. I am relatively new to programming ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

What tool do you use for creating software development roadmaps? [closed]

It can be a specific software or a technique to express roadmaps on another medium (sheet of paper, word document, ...).
8
votes
10answers
3k views

Does anyone use virtual machines for web development, and why? [closed]

I see a few developers that like to use virtual machines for web development. Are there others that do this? If there are, why do you do it? Are there any pros / cons to developing on a VM rather ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Are There Any Programming Focused Notebooks? [closed]

I know that engineering paper exists, but are there any companies that make programmer-specific notebooks for notes/pseudo-code/designs? Paper is my preferred way of outlining things, so the addition ...
8
votes
5answers
320 views

Is there a better strategy than relying on the compiler to catch errors?

I've been programming in C and C++ for some time, although I would say I'm far from being an expert. For some time, I've been using various strategies to develop my code such as unit tests, test ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I organize fast and comfortable solution compilation in VS 2010?

Most of programmers who are involved into development of more or less large project(s) know how annoying the process of compilation can be. There are some other things which are dependent on ...
8
votes
2answers
406 views

Good practices every startup should follow [closed]

A couple of friends at work an me are going to set up a little startup / create our own software, probably moonlighting at first, since we cant yet afford to quit our day jobs. Neither of us has have ...
8
votes
10answers
292 views

Can you choose your tools or do you take what you get?

I often see questions about what tools to use for a particular problem, or suggesting that one tool is preferable over another, and that it says something about the quality of the programmer who uses ...
8
votes
5answers
374 views

Should a large company standardize engineering tools across all teams internationally?

I've been thinking a lot about the problem of standardization across large companies. For me, the answer is pretty clear: do not arbitrarily standardize on tools just because that's what everyone ...
8
votes
1answer
842 views

What implementation of Scheme is good for studying SICP? [closed]

I heard about Dr. Scheme but haven't really used it. What is your experience with SICP, what set of scheme tools did you use when learning SICP?
8
votes
3answers
787 views

Are there any tools for testing drag & drop Windows desktop applications?

I need to develop a Windows desktop application (win32 API) which will use drag & drop extensively in many formats, including my own. I need to test it, for example, with CF_TEXT dragging, CF_RTF, ...
7
votes
4answers
389 views

How can I learn libraries and stuff faster? [duplicate]

As a programmer, it seems like I spend half my time figuring out how to use various libraries/frameworks/tools. First Javascript, then Jquery, then canvas, then Backbone, etc, etc. Every tool has ...
7
votes
8answers
591 views

Are there any concrete examples of where a paralellizing compiler would provide a value-adding benefit?

Paul Graham argues that: It would be great if a startup could give us something of the old Moore's Law back, by writing software that could make a large number of CPUs look to the developer ...
7
votes
5answers
364 views

Separate servers vs local machine for builds, issue tracking etc on solo project

For solo projects, do you keep your build / management tools on your local machine, or on a separate server? If the server is not guaranteed to be safer or more reliable than my own machine I struggle ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Which version control system a .net / vb6 developer in a small team should use? [closed]

Obviously related to What's the best version control system? but i did not find anything for my particular case. I'm currently doing solo project all time. but other peoples may access it. Working ...