Chris Umbel

My Tool List

One of the more popular thing's Scott Hanselman has done is maintain a tool List, essentially a list of applications and utilities that he's found useful. There are plenty of absolute gems in his list and rather than present my own I'd be very comfortable just pointing you to his... But what fun would that be? None! I also think there are a few more that I can add that are relevant to my personal experience.

The list is rather short and there's a bit of overlap with Scott's but if all goes as planned I'll expand it over time as old useful tools come to mind or I discover new ones.


  • iAWSManager - This is an iPhone app that lets you manage many of the functions of Amazon Web Services such as S3, SimpleDB and EC2.

  • Rackspace Cloud Servers iPhone App - Here's an iPhone app that allows you to deploy and manage virtual servers hosted on Rackspace Cloud Servers.

  • Elasticfox - This is a firefox plugin that facilitates full management of Amazon's EC2 within firefox.

  • S3Fox Organizer - This is a firefox plugin that facilitates full management of Amazon's S3 within firefox.

  • SimpleDBExtension - OK, here's some shameless self promotion. SimpleDBExtension is a SQL Server Reporting Services data processing extension that facilitates using Amazon's SimpleDB as a data source. It's written by yours truly and is released under the MIT License.

  • SDB Tool - Here's a FireFox plugin that is like the query analyzer for Amazon's SimpleDB.


  • KomodoEdit - This is a great, multiplatform (Linux, Windows and Mac) and free text editor that's specifically targeted at dynamic language development. It's developed by ActiveState, a company who's bread and butter is dynamic languages.

  • jed - This is the text-mode editor I've been using under unixes for a LONG time. It's compatible with emacs commands, has syntax highlighting and friendly pull-down menus.


  • Virtual CloneDrive - This let's you mount ISO images in Windows and is compatible with Windows 7 64-bit. The price is right too... It's free.

  • Sun VirtualBox - VirtualBox is an open source desktop virtualization system (similar to VMWare Workstation) developed by Sun Microsystems. It's multi-platform, feature-rich and free.

  • Cygwin - This is one of my all time favorites. It's essentially a mini unix-like environment that runs under windows as an application. It's not a VM, more like unix shell for windows. It boasts an X server and gives you access to all the goodies unix guys are used to like sed, awk and grep.

  • putty - The defacto Telnet/SSH client for windows.

  • PowerShell - For years windows suffered from having an infirior shell in cmd.exe. Those days are decidedly gone with PowerShell. Although it's been around a while now it seems that broad adoption has only begun to happen. It's basically an operating system shell with full .Net Framework integration. Easily the most powerful shell ever invented. If you haven't used it before be prepared to read and experiment, however. There is a learning curve.


  • NDepend - Here is a very impressive refactoring and code management tool for .Net. My favorite feature is it's Code Query Language (CQL) which allows a programmer to answer questions about their code with a programmer-friendly SQL like syntax.

  • DB40 - This is an object oriented database for Java and .Net. A shockingly easy way to persist data.

  • Modify Headers - Firefox plugin that allows you to manually set HTTP headers.

  • Reflector - .Net assembly analysis tool by Red Gate with Visual Studio integration.

  • ComponentOne Controls - Control suites for Win Forms, WPF, ASP.Net, Silverlight, iPhone and more.

  • MongoHub - Native Mac GUI management tool for MongoDB.


  • GIMP - GIMP is basically the open source answer to photoshop. It's quite powerful but a left-brainer like myself uses it more as a utility rather than a creative outlet. Still it solves all my image manipulation troubles across all the platforms I use.

  • MediaInfo - Handy, cross platform utility that can be used to extract details about the encoding of various media formats/containers/codecs.

Mon Oct 26 2009 20:10:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)

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