Let’s start out with the obligatory “tools” post (mostly for .NET/C# development).
- Visual Studio 2005. The best IDE I have used to date.
- Reflector. A must for understanding poorly-documented third-party assemblies. I use the CodeMetrics add-in as well.
- GhostDoc. Very good for writing “JavaDoc” XML documentation as you code.
- Regionerate. Some rough edges, but a must for standardizing on regions.
- NUnit. I believe in test-driven development, and this is a great tool.
- Rhino Mocks. I’m still learning about mock object frameworks, but this is another great testing tool.
- Snippet Compiler. Very handy for writing a quick code spike to see if something will work.
- Snippy. This code snippet editor/PowerToy is no longer on gotdotnet - hopefully you can find it somewhere. Use it with Visual Studio to create reusable clips of code.
- Beyond Compare.The best visual file/folder “diff” utility I have seen. Worth the money. Replace your source control diff utility with this.
- FxCop. Many of the recommendations in the astounding book Framework Design Guidelines are built into this excellent code analysis tool.
I also use CodeSmith at work; it’s very useful to generate code based on database schema. It’s a bit pricey, though.
Many of these came from this article: Ten Must-Have Tools.
For more tools, check out Sysinternals - Process Explorer is amazing.