I wanted to share some tools I use in my day to day work that make my life a lot easier. They’re all free, so give them a try! This post will probably grow over time, and if you have any tools that make a difference in your day, please feel free to share them in the comments.
Compare It! – http://www.grigsoft.com/wincmp3.htm
This tool is a must have. I use it to paste SQL code on each side and it immediately highlights the differences. It’s very useful to almost immediately find the differences between two queries (say, in Dev vs Prod or Before vs After) and not only shows you which lines are different on each side but even which characters are different within the line. You can open multiple files on each side or just paste the code.
Quick Screen Capture – http://www.etrusoft.com/#!quick screen capture
This is a wonderful, lightweight screen capture utility that gives you a quick crosshairs to capture a portion of the screen. I use this a lot for documentation and emailing screen shots of reports or when working with other developers remotely. The software looks kind of old, but it still works fine in Windows 7. I like it more than the Snip utility that’s built in with Windows. I really prefer minimalist software that does 1 task quick and easy, and this is definitely an app with no unneeded bloat.
Meazure – http://www.cthing.com/Meazure.asp
This tool lets you measure the number of pixels between any two points on the screen. I use this tool a lot when trying to build Visualizations or Dashboards and match pixel perfect specs. I looked around for a tool like this for a long time before finally finding this perfect one.
Color Pic – http://www.iconico.com/colorpic/
Another tool that I use very frequently when working with Visualizations and Dashboards is ColorPic, which is a fantastic tool for grabbing a color from anywhere on the screen. It lets you save palettes, so I store my company’s branding guide colors for quick access. This helps me exactly match specs.
Notepad++ – http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
As it sounds, this is a super version of Notepad. It does color coding for pretty much every programming language, and makes working with XML a dream. It includes collapsable sections for XML as well as supports plugins that include automatically indenting and collapsing XML (very, very useful for working with TaskProc results). It also highlights the opening/closing parenthesis when you select it’s pair which makes this a great tool for hunting down SQL syntax errors you may get from using a lot of ApplySimple’s.
Aginity Workbench – http://www.aginity.com/WorkbenchArea/Workbench30Release.aspx
Netezza is a popular Data Warehouse platform and major partner with MicroStrategy. Curiously, Netezza doesn’t provide their own GUI for query building, and all of the 3rd party query tools I’ve used leave a lot to be desired. Aginity is a consulting firm that also produces a very nice SQL GUI dedicated to Netezza. If you use Netezza in your environment, then it’s a must have for query building.
Dropbox – https://www.dropbox.com
Dropbox is a free service that will seamlessly integrate into your OS of choice and sync your files to cloud backup servers and other machines of yours. This service is a great way to safely keep versioned history of your source code, project documentation, training materials, you name it.