Tools I use everyday

I published a list of tools I use everyday. Maybe someone will find something what is useful for him, but never heard about.

I will try to keep it up to date and it will be always accessible through http://jj09.net/tools.

Not all tools are multi-platform. For now, the list is only for Windows. Maybe sometime in the future I will publish also “Mac Specific” tools.


Copy and paste without formatting

When you copy some piece of text e.g. from Web Browser to Word it preserves formatting. Which is sometimes (most of the time) unnecessary. I dealt with it (so far) with paste the text into notepad or url input in the browser and then copy again, and finally paste into destination. In case of Web Browser it was: CTRL+C (from source) -> CTRL+T (open new tab) -> CTRL+V (paste formatted text) -> CTRL+A (select entire text) -> CTRL+C (copy again, now it is not formatted) -> CTRL+W (close the tab) -> CTRL+V (paste not formatted text into destination).

I didn’t do that very often, so it wasn’t big issue for me. However recently I was working on some documentation and I was copying/pasting code from IDE into Word a lot. After n-th time I googled for ‘copy and paste without formatting’ and I found nice discussion on StackOverflow. One of recommended tools is PureText.

PureText

It allows to paste text from clipboard without formatting, by WIN+V. This shortcut can be changed in options.

My life is much easier right now. I am able to save around 5-10 seconds per each CTRL+C/WIN+V.


Windows 8.1 Preview and Visual Studio 2013 Preview

At the build conference (June 26-28, 2013) Microsoft announced Windows 8.1 Preview and Visual Studio 2013 Preview. I installed them on my Virtual Machine. Just in case, to protect my system from some unexpected features 🙂

In case of Windows 8.1 there are no big changes. Only some small, useful improvements. I like ‘search all’, which enables you to search within apps, settings and files in the same time. However I am still using Search Everything, because it’s faster and more effective. It’s also cool to have the Start button, which brings you to the metro desktop, but again – no big deal (I was ok with WIN button). You can find list of improvements/changes here and here.

The new Visual Studio is more interesting. The One ASP.NET idea is applied. When you create new project, there are only one template: ‘ASP.NET Web Application’. Then in second step, you can choose which types of applications you want to include into it.

Visual Studio 2013 One ASP.NETVisual Studio 2013 One ASP.NET templates

There is MVC 5 (Preview) in it, along with various scaffolding options. You can e.g. scaffold just edit action.

Great feature for web developers: you can open page in multiple web browsers and then refresh them all from Visual Studio (e.g. after change in code).

The editors experience is improved. You can have code map in the scroll bar. HTML editor is rewritten from scratch. Short list of my favorite features:

  • new code snippets (in HTML document try: ‘div.myClass*4>lorem’ and click TAB)
  • intellisense in web.config
  • ALT + UP/DOWN – move code line up or down
  • ALT + 1/2 – extends text selection to level up or down
  • ALT+SHIFT+W – allows to surround selected text with new tag
  • ALT+V – voice commands (which shows shortcuts), yes we can speak to Visual Studio!
  • JavaScript frameworks intellisense (e.g. AngularJS)

But the greatest news is: WebEssentials2013 are now Open Source on github. Everyone can contribute. The policy is to add experimental features to WebEssentials and then move the hottest to Visual Studio (once they are tested). To see all, new, hot features watch Mads Kristensen’s talk at build 2013.

Another cool thing is possibility to ‘sign in’ in the Visual Studio. Once you sign in using your Microsoft account, you can synchronize settings across your devices. Now, it is enough to customize you Visual Studio only once.

There is much more new features. You can find them here and here.


The “Last Lecture”

Most of people I know doesn’t like lectures. I think I have been at 1000 lectures so far. 1 course = ~10 lectures per semester. During my undergraduate studies I had ~7 courses per semester, and 7 semesters. That is 10*7*7 = ~500. Another 500 is conferences, scientific groups meetings and Graduate School courses.

There is one lecture I like the most of them all. The “Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. It is amazing, and I watch it every 1-2 years. I did it again today. Randy Pausch was a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. A month before giving the lecture, Pausch had received a prognosis that the pancreatic cancer, with which he had been diagnosed a year earlier, was terminal. Despite this, he didn’t lose optimistic life approach. His last lecture is about achieving childhood dreams and…you just need to see it! I promise: you won’t regret it!

The lecture took place at Carnegie Mellon on September 18, 2007. Randy Pausch died on July 25th, 2008. There is also a book written by him after worldwide success of the lecture (16 millions views on youtube).


The future of Mobile Apps

I think that in next 5 years Web Mobile apps will be more popular than classic Mobile apps we are using today.

Me, June 28, 2013

That is what happend in case of PCs. 10 years ago we were installing apps instead of just use them in the browser. Now we can edit Word documents, play games and even use IDE in Web Browser. I am not saying that it will be no classic Mobile apps at all, but e.g. apps like Calendar, gmail, Evernote, OneNote or games should be easilly accessible through Mobile Web Browser. The advantage of that would be lack of necessity to install bunch of apps.

What that means for developers? People who are currently working as Mobile Developers will need to learn Web Development. People who are currently working as Web Developers will need to learn Mobile Development. Additionally, future developers will not necessary need to know all different platforms (iOS, Android, WP), because they will be able to create apps in HTML5 and JavaScript (which should be well supported and compatible with Mobile Web Browsers in next 5 years).

This is my prediction. We’ll see what happens after 5 years.