A non-VS Code list for software engineers
This is not going to be one of those articles about tools that can help you develop code faster. If you’re interested in that, you can check out my previous articles regarding VS Code extensions, linters, and other tools that make your life as a developer easier.
My job is not only about software development but also about solving issues that my customers have. While their issues can be code-related, they can be an operation error or even a design problem.
I usually tend to define my role as a lone ranger. I go out there without knowing what I will face, and I need to be ready to adapt, solve the problem, and make customers happy. This experience has helped me to develop a toolchain that is important for doing that job.
Let’s dive in!
This is the best tool to manage different connections to different servers (SSH access for a Linux server, RDP for a Windows server, etc.). Here are some of its key features:
- Graphical SSH port-forwarding for those cases when you need to connect to a server you don’t have direct access to.
- Easy identity management to save the passwords for the different servers. You can organize them hierarchically for ease of access, especially when you need to access so many servers for different environments and even different customers.
- SFTP automatic connection when you connect to an SSH server. It lets you download and upload files as easily as dropping files there.
- Automatical X11 forwarding so you can launch graphical applications from your Linux servers without needing to configure anything or use other XServers like XMing.
2. Beyond Compare
There are so many tools to compare files, and I think I have used all of them — from standalone applications like WinMerge, Meld, Araxis, KDiff, and others to extensions for text editors like VS Code and Notepad++.
However, none of those can compare to the one and only Beyond Compare.
I covered Beyond Compare when I started working on software engineering in 2010, and it is a tool that comes with me on each project I have. I use it every day. So, what makes this tool different from the rest?
It is simply the best tool to make any comparison because it does not just compare text and folders. It does that perfectly, but at the same time, it also compares ZIP files while browsing the content, JAR files, and so on. This is very important when we’d like to check if two JAR files that are uploaded in DEV and PROD are the same version of the tool or to know if a ZIP file has the right content when it is uploaded.
3. Vi Editor
This is the most important one — the best text editor of all time — and it is available pretty much on every server.
It is a command-line text editor with a huge number of shortcuts that allows you to be very productive when you are inside a server checking logs and configuration files to see where the problem is.
For a long time, I have had a Vi cheat sheet printed out to make sure I can master the most important shortcuts and thus increase my productivity while fighting inside the enemy lines (the customer’s servers).