Home > Java > Calling all productive programmers – present your weapons of choice!

Calling all productive programmers – present your weapons of choice!

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

As a consequence of attending  Neal Fords presentation “The productive programmer” at JavaZone, Audun wrote an excellent summary (in Norwegian) at the Capgemini technology blog. Then, Audun, Jan-Erik and I decided to assemble a productive-tuned collection of free software, in order to help our project to be more efficient. (Of course, all team members could have done this exercise by themselves, but it would have been a rather cumbersome one, because we don’t have access to internet from our dev machines.)

Therefore, we are calling out for help with assembling a candy bag for productive programmers, using Eclipse on Windows XP. So far, we have this list:

Program Description Status Kudos to
CLCL Unlimited clipboard Suggested The productive programmer presentation
Jedi Concentrate Screen dimming Suggested The productive programmer presentation
Command window here Win XP Powertoys Suggested The productive programmer presentation
Tweak UI Yet another powertoy, allowing for disabling those annoying ballon tips and more Suggested The productive programmer presentation
Mousefeed for Eclipse Helps/forces you to prefer keyboard shortcuts over mouse point and click. Suggested The productive programmer presentation
Selenium IDE An integrated development environment for Selenium tests. Suggested Janne Antonsen
Launchy App launching Suggested Anders Sveen
Instant Boss Utilizing Merlin Mann’s (10+2)*5 system (thanks April!) Suggested Anders Sveen , April Russo (developer!)
Manic Time For monitoring what we are actually spending our time on. Suggested Anders Sveen
Sync Toy For all our synching needs Suggested Anders Sveen
Cygwin For all our grep, sed, find++ needs on Windows. In place N/A
Notepad++ A decent, capable, open source and free text editor In place N/A
WinSCP For all our SSH and FTP needs In place N/A
Neural network Usually the thing supported on top of your shoulders Usually underrepresented in software development The creator
WinMerge Visual and colored diff, useful for comparing stuff on the fly Suggested Christian Larsen
FreeMind Free mind mapping software Suggested Steinar Årdal
Hudson Continuous integration Suggested Bent Are Melsom
Hudson Status Monitor Plugin Shows the state of selected jobs visually Suggested Bent Are Melsom
Filebox Extender Custom menu Explorer windows (see comment#5) Suggested April Russo
TaskBarEx Drag buttons off the taskbar and drop them anywhere, right on your desktop (see comment#5) Suggested April Russo
Taskbar++ Rearrange the open application buttons on your taskbar (Japanese link, see comment#5 for instructions) Suggested April Russo
Find and run Robot A more capable app launcher than Launchy (see comment#5) Suggested April Russo
LacunaLauncher Application  launcher controller(see comment#5) Suggested April Russo (developer!)
ToDoList ToDo list – useful and productive!(see comment#5) Suggested April Russo(developer!)
SysInternalsSuite Swiss Army Knife that lets you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications Suggested Paul Nyheim
JDiff A very handy tool for comparing Java API’s between different versions! Suggested Jan-Erik Carlsen
JadClipse Eclipse plugin for JAD (Java Decompiler) – useful for investigating what that class file is all about. Suggested Truls
MoreUnit Eclipse plugin Eclipse plugin  to simplify creation of JUnit tests and switching between test and implementation Suggested Øyvind M.A
Subclipse Subversion plugin for Eclipse Suggested Øyvind Hauge

Productive programmers out there: Present your weapons of choice 🙂

  1. September 14, 2009 at 21:48


    Neural network


    Usually the thing supported on top of your shoulders


    Usually underrepresneted in software development

    Kudos to:

    The creator….

    • trulsjor
      September 14, 2009 at 21:55

      Good one 🙂 I append it to the list, even though it should have been at the very top!

  2. September 14, 2009 at 21:49

    Just my 2cents on the top of my head…
    SysinternalSuite (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb842062.aspx) in general and Procexp especially for monitoring everything on my computer.

    • trulsjor
      September 15, 2009 at 23:51

      Hi Paul! SysInternals is a good one, I’ve used that suite myself some time ago. Sorry for the delay – for some reason WordPress marked your comment as spam! Luckily, I found it 🙂

  3. September 15, 2009 at 09:32

    Hi, I am the developer of Instant Boss. Thanks for including it on your list. It’s much appreciated. It was actually created for use with Merlin Mann’s (10+2)*5 system: http://www.43folders.com/2005/10/11/procrastination-hack-1025

    You could also add these to your list. They all work in XP, but a few may not work in Vista or Win7:

    Filebox Extender: I love the custom menu it adds to Explorer windows and file open/save dialogs, with shortcuts to all my most used folders. I also like how it lets you jump to a folder when saving/opening files, by just clicking the background of an Explorer window. The pushpin is also a useful tool for setting windows to stay on top, or releasing them if they are on top by default and getting in your way. It also lets you roll up windows instead of minimizing them.


    TaskbarEx (XP only): This allows you to drag buttons off the taskbar and drop them anywhere, right on your desktop.


    Taskbar++ (XP only): This allows you to rearrange the open application buttons on your taskbar. The homepage is in Japanese, but here is how it works: Just download the file from the first link on the page and turn off taskbar button grouping in Windows. Then run Taskbar++. When you want to rearrange the buttons, just hold down your ALT key, wait for the cursor to change, and then drag them to the order you want.


    Find and Run Robot (FARR): Similar to Launchy, but it does a whole lot more than just launch programs. It also supports plugins, and there are a ton available, as well as a SDK for writing your own.


    I have also written a few other applications you might find useful:

    Lacuna Launcher: Allows you to open a list of files and applications with a single click. Also allows more control over how they are launched by allowing you to set an initial delay for processing the list and pauses between items, so they aren’t all opening at the same time & competing for your computer’s resources. (cures the problem with lots of tray icons and not all of them making it to the tray on startup, in XP) It can also be used to launch portable apps from a USB drive, if Lacuna Launcher is placed at the root of the drive and you use relative paths in your lists. It also supports opening any file on the system, not just applications.


    ToDo List: I am a big fan of simply designed software that doesn’t try to be your everything, yet allows you to come up with your own system that lets you choose how it can be your everything, any way. This application is great for recycling lists because with a single click you can move everything from Done back to Todo. You can develop your own prefixes for entries, perhaps numbers for priorities, tags for grouping, etc. It will just sort them all alphabetically, grouping them according to your prefixes, if you choose to use them. Items can be edited and you can type in the date on the end of an entry, before you move it to the done side (great for documenting development history on projects). Printing out the ToDo side gives you a list with little check boxes. With its simple design, the possibilities for use are endless and I keep coming up with new uses for it, from party planning, grocery shopping, printed out task assignment lists, etc.


    PesterMe: Your very own personal obnoxious nag (some people need stuff like this to get any amount of work done)


    • trulsjor
      September 16, 2009 at 00:25

      Hi April, and WOW! Thank you so much for all the suggestions. As with the previous comment, your comment was caught by the WordPress spam filter. Sorry for the delay!Bad, bad, filter.

      FileBox extender seems to be a real time saver – functionality that should have been native. I didn’t know about FARR, but I’ll put it head to head with Launchy and see what I make of it – the fact that FARR can run commands like in the Run.. dialog gives it a head start.

      I’ll add all your suggestions, and yeah, update the Instant Boss description right away!

      • September 16, 2009 at 00:37

        There is a lot of screencasts recently made by the developer of FARR, and he’s still making more.

        Check this page now and through to the end of this month (unless he decided to extend his “screencast a day” for a 3rd month straight)

        He’s working on screencasts for various plugins now.


        • trulsjor
          September 16, 2009 at 09:49

          thanks, I’ll check them out!

  4. Christian Larsen
    September 15, 2009 at 14:24

    WinMerge, visual and colored diff, useful for comparing stuff on the fly: http://winmerge.org/

    • trulsjor
      September 15, 2009 at 17:10

      Thank you, WinMerge looks really cool!

  5. September 15, 2009 at 15:19

    Even though you summon productive programmes in your blog (maybe I would qualify as alumni now), but I hope you accept my weapon of choice which has helped me becoming more effective and handling many parallel tasks: MindMap

    I’m using FreeMind (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page), an open source tool, and it is excellent. The main benefit has been to structure my thoughts in a big map and then be able to focus on only branches of the map at any given time. This helps me to keep the flow…

    • trulsjor
      September 15, 2009 at 17:15

      Up on the list with FreeMind! Thanks!

  6. September 15, 2009 at 20:15

    I assume a GOOD CI-setup is in place? That is a build-server that actually works 😉 Try Hudson (https://hudson.dev.java.net/) and this plugin for monitoring builds http://wiki.hudson-ci.org/display/HUDSON/Status+Monitor+Plugin. It is quite nice…

    What about SQL tools? You will always need these. Squirrel?

    • trulsjor
      September 15, 2009 at 22:34

      Hudson up on the list! Perhaps we can get rid of good ol’ CruiseControl – worth a try 😉

      SQL tools should def be on the list, Squirrel is already in place, and Toad is scattered around here and there. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Jan-Erik Carlsen
    September 16, 2009 at 08:56

    JDiff ( http://www.jdiff.org/ )is a handy tool for comparing Java API’s between different versions. Essential when you need to tell your application’s consumers how your interface really changed 🙂

  8. Øyvind M. A.
    September 16, 2009 at 21:30


    Try out MoreUnit! A great plug-in simplifying creation of JUnit tests and switching between test and implementation.


    • trulsjor
      September 16, 2009 at 23:20

      Hi Øyvind, and thanks for your comment! MoreUnit looks very interesting, and we’ll def check this one out!

  9. September 17, 2009 at 18:56

    Hi Truls, I found your blog through the Cap web site. I didn’t know that so many people I know work there.

    Never mind, I really liked your effort of gathering developer tools and I just wanted to suggest Subclipse. It is a useful (if you use Subversion that is) little plug-in for Eclipse. I guess you are aware of http://www.tigris.org/ which has a lot of open source tools for developers, if not, it is absolutely worth a look.

    • trulsjor
      September 18, 2009 at 11:04

      Hi Øyvind! Long time, no see 🙂
      I put Subclipse on the list, because version controlling integrated in the IDE is important, no matter which version controlling system one is using. I don’t think it will be in the candy bag for my current project, however – we are stuck with ClearCase..

      Hope everything is going well with your PhD!

  10. October 13, 2009 at 10:12

    My 2-cents go to Beyond Compare, an excellent tool for comparing files. I can’t live without it 🙂 See http://www.scootersoftware.com/

    • trulsjor
      October 13, 2009 at 10:42

      Hi Odin, and thanks for your suggestion! Unfortunately, Beyond Compare is not free. What differentiates Beyond Compare from other free diff tools such as WinMerge?

  1. September 14, 2009 at 23:18

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