I’ve compiled a list of great, time saving, productivity increasing tools that have helped me over the years being a Sitecore developer.
This is a two part list so make sure to check out the second installment!
Some are Sitecore specific and some are more general, applying to most .NET developers, but all will come in handy as a Sitecore developer. Some you may already have, but hopefully this will shed some light on some new tech that you can add to your arsenal.
Part 1 focuses on more general tools that focus on .NET development, and these are…
This is the most obvious tool needed, which every .NET developer should already have. You can get by on the community version, but if you can get a hold of the professional or enterprise license, then it is beneficial. Let’s talk about some great extensions that you can install to improve Visual Studio as a Sitecore developer…
a. Sitecore Rocks: A Sitecore Developer’s Must Have
This allows you to improve productivity by completing many Sitecore CRUD tasks directly with Visual Studio. It has the added benefit of being able to complete bulk operations where otherwise might be tedious.
This extension is great for speeding up the manual tasks related to Helix compliant solutions. Some developers prefer to stick to the manual tasks, so try it out and see if it suits you!
This is a great tool to help improve code quality and detect code smells whilst you are developing. If you are working in a team then you can set a coding standards manifest that everyone must comply with, providing a consistent high quality codebase. There are many other excellent features included in Resharper so if you can get a hold of a license, I would highly recommend using it and exploring all of its capabilities! The only downside is that it can slow down your Visual Studio instance, but the benefits tend to make this a non-factor.
If you are in a situation where you need to inspect code from a compiled DLL and do not have access to the source code then Dotpeek is a brilliant tool for doing just that.
Another obvious one, and with it you will need to install SQL Server to view your databases through SSMS. Ideally you should always use the latest stable version of SQL Server, unless the project you are working on demands an older version.
Database DevOps is made simple with Redgate, and I have used it recently to great effect. Once setup, cross environment database operations are easy and automated. The only downside is price, it may be tricky to convince your organisation to purchase a license. But if you can, it’s worth it!
3. Visual Studio Code: Great for Front End Development
VS Code is an excellent lightweight editor that has many of the features of its big brother Visual Studio. These include Intellisense and Run and Debug. VS Code is great for front-end development, and has many extensions available to increase productivity no matter what tech stack you choose.
4. Notepad++: A Developer’s Blunt All Rounder
The jack of all trades editor. Boots up in a flash and can open almost any file type. I’ve used Notepad++ for many years and it has a surprising amount of plugins you can install to add to its great baseline, one-size-fits-all functionality. Don’t become over reliant on it though, as it is only a basic editor!
5. Beyond Compare: A Powerful Sleeper Tool in Debugging
This has saved me from many frustrating environment problems. Beyond Compare is the holy grail of comparison tools, allowing basic text compare, and a super helpful file system compare. I also use Beyond Compare as my git conflict resolving tool, as it’s visual layout and merging functionality make the experience quick and easy.
6. Sourcetree / GitKraken
I’m sure I am going to get some scoffs from Git purists for using a GUI client, but I’m all for productivity tools and for me Sourcetree is one of them. If you’re a staunch command line user then maybe give this one a miss, but if you’re looking for a great visual Git tool, then checkout either Sourcetree or Git Kraken. Sourcetree is free, GitKraken is licensed. I use Sourcetree because it works seamlessly with JIRA and Bitbucket. Visual Studio also comes with an inbuilt Git tool, which may work for you too.
This one is pretty basic, every developer will need an FTP client at some point, and mine is FileZilla.
That wraps it up for part 1. Part 2 provides more must have tools for a Sitecore developer with a focus on the Sitecore side and how they greatly improve productivity and efficiency, so make sure to check it out!
Happy Sitecoring! – BM 🙂