The first time I laid eyes on code, it was HTML. With an account to Geocities, I wrote my first webpage by piecing together bits of code on Notepad. I wasn’t planning to write software for a living, although I was working in engineering at the time and had a degree in Mass Communications. I began to like the fact that I could write code and turn into something like a webpage. So I explored a bit more and found myself in the realm of MS QBASIC 4.5 then Visual Basic 5.0. I didn’t have many choices then for development tools, and for a while I limited myself to the tools Microsoft could provide from VB 5.0 to Visual Studio 6.0, Access, VBA and so on. When I explored the likes of Linux and Open Source, I knew there should be tools to use to develop at no cost.
Enter, present day. It is very possible to develop solutions at no cost, and even with a license to Visual Studio and SQL Server, I use these tools I'm sharing with you today and will continue through this new year.
Visual Studio Express I use Visual Studio and SQL Server on a daily basis, and my list is called “Free” Dev tools of 2010, You should be aware, Microsoft has a development studio with the basic IDE and lightweight development sets.
SQl Server Express Is the answer to data backend for Express applications. It provides basic data storage and lack the larger scale capabilities such as mirroring, server Agent, profiling and is limited to one physical processor.
ExamDiff Is a great tool to compare code files. It is very easy to use and comes very useful when working with various versions of code files. It compares almost any kind of code file and I have done this in for C#, Vb, XML, SQL, COBOL, HTML, PHP and more.
Notepad++ Is a daily must have. Like I mentioned, I have a soft spot for MS Notepad to jot down Quick and Dirty code, but Notepad++, does it with style. By style, I mean this source code editor has keyword recognition depending on the language you choose and has a component to execute your code in Win32 API and STL.
PowerShell When I first heard of PowerShell I though of MS-DOS on steroids. It's now clear to me that PoSh is the answer to the many Linux Shells around. At version 2.0, it is growing as a popular scripting language used in conjunction with the .Net framework.
Drupal To me has been my Content Management System of choice for PHP sites. I can build an entire solution on Drupal, with mySQL of course. Drupal has a large variety of modules and themes, more so that other PHP CMS I've used.
Python 2.7 Finally, a guilty pleasure I've had for the last year. Python hasn't really gotten me out of a bind or has performed something in my job that I couldn't accomplish in C#, but it has been proven to work well to teach programming or develop on Linux systems.
I wish I had read a list much like this 15 years back and had made my job a lot easier. To some, this might be a great list, to others, I'm open minded and would like to hear what free development tools you will be using in 2011. Happy New Year!