DevCity.NET -
Windows Developer Power Tools
David Jeavons
I have been programming database applications for almost 12 years starting out with VB3 and using every major version since then. I currently work for a retailer analysis company writing ASP.NET code for our ever evolving web site. I also enjoy helping other programmers with Visual Basic and .NET and am a moderator at vbCity. 
by David Jeavons
Published on 8/13/2007

With the wealth of tools available to software developers it can sometimes be quite a mission to find the right tool for the job at hand. Of course, the publishers of such tools will always claim that their tool is the best but this is a somewhat biased opinion. Enter "Windows Developer Power Tools".


Looking for the right tool for the job at hand is often an arduous process usually involving the comparison of similar tools and cost. It would be nice to have a reference to some of the most widely used tools available and an understanding of what makes the tool beneficial to you.

This is where the "Windows Developer Power Tools" book can help enormously. Created by James Avery and Jim Holmes (both Microsoft MVPs with a wealth of experience), the book introduces you to over 170 tools that are either free to use or published under various open source licenses.

Although the title of the book may suggest that it concentrates on Windows Development, don't be fooled, it contains many tools and components for ASP.NET developers plus tools that will help you document, debug and profile your applications.


Layout of the book

Windows Developer Power Tools contains 23 chapters contained within 8 sections that concentrate on a specific area of development. The specific areas covered include:

Writing Code
  Building ASP.NET Applications 
  Working with Windows Forms
  Developing in .NET 3.0
  Working with Code Libraries
  Generating Code
  Writing Code
  Creating Documentation
  Enhancing Visual Studio
Checking Code
  Analyzing Your Code 
  Testing Your Software
Running a Development Project
  Working with Source-Control Systems 
  Building, Using Continuous Integration on, and Deploying Your Applications
  Boosting Team Collaboration
  Tracking Bugs, Changes, and Other Issues
Troubleshooting Code and Applications
  Troubleshooting and Debugging 
  Using Decompilers and Obfuscators
Code Tools
  Tightening Up Your Security 
  Building Your Application on Frameworks
  Working with XML
Working with Databases
  Interacting with Databases 
  Exploring Object/Relational Mapping
  Enhancing Web Development 
  Boosting Productivity with Windows Utilities

Each chapter introduces you to a number of tools for the given development area and each tool is introduced using the same structure.

At the beginning of each introduction for each tool you will find a table that provides a quick overview of the tool that is covered, the author's home page, the license type and other useful details including related tools should you wish to compare the current tool against other tools covered in the book. Following this at a glance table, you will then be provided with four sections which comprise of:

Getting Started

Contains information regarding the download location of the tool, the software requirements needed to run the tool and installation instructions.

Using the tool

This section demonstrates how to use the tool including code examples where applicable and also describes the benefits of the tool.

Getting Support

If support is available for the tool then it will be listed within this section. Support may take the form of mailing lists, online discussion forums or contact addresses.

In a Nutshell

A final summary about the tool.



The book is extremely well laid out and offers good insights into the tools that you need to get your job done. The amount of time saved looking for the right tool and the information and instructions provided for each tool easily covers the cost of the book.

If you like your toolbox to contain the best tools of the trade, then this book is definitely for you.