If you had $150 to spend on one or more developer tools or utilities, what would they be? Please list in shopping list form:

  • $25 SuperMerge (link)
  • $49 MegaGridPro (link)

Note: I'm looking for products which are for sale here, so please don't list free software. And, no, donating to an open source project doesn't make it non-free, at least for this question.

If your tools are specific for a certain type of development (e.g. web development on LAMP, .NET WPF, embedded databases for Amiga, etc.) then include it in your answer. Some tools, like merge, apply to pretty much everyone, though.

+17  A: 

Either a second (or third) display, or a nice keyboard.

+21  A: 

$50 Beyond Compare

BC is the stuff.
David Grant
meld owns this.
Matt Joiner

Its a bit vague - developer tools for what language? are you a DBA? A Web developer? .Net? Java?


I'm a PHP developer on a Mac, so I use these:

  • Transmit - $30. FTP client.
  • TextMate - $59. All-around good text editor with hundreds of plug-in bundles available for things like PHP development, blogging, and editing markdown, among plenty of other things.
  • OmniFocus - $80. Pricey for a to-do list app, to be sure, but it's great for keeping track of the lists of bugs and changes that inevitably wind up cluttering note pads and white boards.

A little over $150, I know, but still worth it.

Brock Boland
Isn't TextMate 60 english pounds? ;-)
I actually really liked TextMate when I was using my MacBook... as for price, I can't remember, but I seriously don't think I would have liked it enough to pay that much for it... But never know, I've been known to do crazy things before.
Matthew Scharley
+3  A: 

$99 Refactor Pro (Visual Studio add-in)

$32 MS Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000

Ian Nelson
-1 for that keyboard *can't stand curves due to the way i type), +2 for coderush. Coding environment improvement without the annoyances of resharper...
+14  A: 

undeniably, absolutely, and categorically

  • €114 a personal license for Resharper, the c# edition

I really couldn't live without it

+6  A: 

$149 - Resharper 5 C# Personal Edition

Eugene Katz
why not ReSharper 4.5? :)
Ilya Ryzhenkov

Conflunce is a great addition to a team/company. I use it to * track projects * report status of dev * report on R&D effort and what we learn * build FAQ * document Database

if you have 8 developers, it is about the price you you have per developer.

+4  A: 

Assuming you are a C# or VB.NET developer, my choice would be ReSharper. Makes refactoring a breeze, keeps your codebase nice and clean, enforces good coding standards, and makes unit testing fun. Definitely the most bang for your buck in the developer tool world.

Kevin Pang
+3  A: 

(obligatory) 40 12-packs of mountain dew

Eugene Katz
+1  A: 

I second Omnifocus on the Mac, or any of the "Getting Things Done" packages on Windows (what's a good one?)

It really does work nicely to assist in getting your project done smoothly.

Mark Harrison
+1  A: 

My two most indispensable tools:

+5  A: 
  • $35 - E-Texteditor
    • this may not be neccessary if all you're coding is C# or Java and then you can use VS or Eclipse, but for rails or PHP it kicks ass
  • $50 - Beyond Compare
    • Beyond compare is the business. Even the old version 2 beats the pants off every other diff/merge app, and v3 is even better

Spend the rest on coffee

Orion Edwards
meld owns beyond compare.
Matt Joiner
With all due respect, last time I tried meld it made the GIMP seem simple and usable... I hope it's improved since then
Orion Edwards
+1 For E-TextEditor.

I have been using aggiorno and JQuery a lot lately, specially now that I am doing some freelance work on a ASP.NET MVC-based website, and had been doing a lot of XHTML code manually.

Aggiorno is a little add-in for Visual Studio that kind of refactors XHTML into compliance markup and automates some really time-consuming tasks like extracting the inline CSS and adding alt text to images in bulk, among other stuff.

And JQuery, well everyone knows JQuery.

The web app that I am working on right now has over 50 unique pages and some templates, combining the public and admin site, and between this two tools I have saved lots of hours from making things manually.


*Disclaimer: I work for the company that makes aggiorno, but please don't treat this as an ad... It really has boost my productivity in my freelance world, even as it hasn't been finally released yet.

Looked at it, but pricey!

+1 for Beyond Compare...

but Orion-Edwards, they did just update it (actually, it's in beta, now).

Since I've already spent my money on Resharper, Beyond Compare, and VisualSVN (which would be the first three on my list), I guess I'd spend my next $150 on NDepends.

Kenneth LeFebvre
Yeah I updated my post to take into account BC being updated :-)
Orion Edwards
+2  A: 

Hardware counts as a developer tool, right? :-D

...or for $10 more:

I have 2 of the WD Raptor 10K rpm drives in a RAID 0 here at work and my machine compiles very fast.


Another nice tool that I like: Total Commander ($38)

Xavier Nodet
+6  A: 
Daniel Crenna
+8  A: 

As a user of Free Software... paying for Software seems so 80s... or 90s.... Even on windows I can get perfect (well for my needs) software at zero-usd, and sometime they even are Free (GPL etc) software.

When I run linux - I still have not find any good product that is worth paying for. All open source/FOSS software on linux kick ass (maybe Opera is "good", but still it cannot compete with Firefox+Firebux).

On windows... I would say Total Commander. Yes, never seen such a fine product, I often use it under wine. Now a days, I use Dolphin which works quite fine for me.

So, unless it's HW, and for 150USD you cannot buy much HW, I would spend it on beer. Does it count as a developer tool? :)

  1. Visual Assist

  2. 2nd Monitor

+2  A: 

I can't imagine nobody's mentioned CodeRush and Refactor! yet. I really coudn't live without them!

It's a bit more than $150, but definately worth the extra buck!


Gallons of redbull

+1  A: 

BareTail pro - link

BareGrep pro - link

Only $35 each and really useful when searching through log files, text files etc.


I would probably spend a few bucks on a tool to monitor development while storing and protecting my code in a safe way:

  • $25 or $50 (depending on the project size) GitHub
I spend $4.95 a month with my hosting provider and get this for free (indefero).
Chris Kaminski
The tools for monitoring development on GitHub are quite good. What's your hosting provider? =)