Inspired by the Hanselman Tools List.

MESS – Multiple Environment Synchronisation System

One of the best combinations of tools that I’ve found has been the use of Dropbox and PortableApps.

Dropbox allows you to have a single (automatically synced) storage location, which can contain anything, and gives you 2Gb of free space (2.25gb if you use the link above).

PortableApps is a set of applications that are configured to run from a specific location and have no dependencies outside that directory. It was created to allow applications to run from a PenDrive. It includes products such as FireFox, NotePad++, WinMerge, Opera, Thunderbird, and dozens more.

Combining these products gives you the opportunity to have all these apps automatically synced, so you don’t need to install anything on the machine, aside from DropBox. You get all your app settings migrated automatically around the place, which for FireFox includes the pages you last had open in that browser.

I’d like to say that this was a flash of inspiration that I had, but it wasn’t. I saw it here: Steve Rumsby’s blog . Well done Steve!

The Tools List

For the machine:

Currently, it’s a Sony Vaio VPCEB1Z0E. We got some of these as they’ve got decent Full HD (1920×1080)  screens, adequate processor and will support 8Gb RAM which is good for the future. It’s also got an eSATA port, which is outstanding for connecting an external drive to. It gives faster performance for Virtual Machines.

For Developing:

Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate

We’ve got a licence to use the best, so why use anything less… Winking smile

DevExpress CodeRush and Refactor Pro

I spent a fair while switching between ReSharper and CodeRush, and couldn’t really decide between the two. Eventually, it came down to CodeRush  ‘feeling’ better. Whether it is or not is open to huge and emotive debates, but I wanted to choose one, so I did. This far, I’ve absolutely no regrets. Thanks Guys!

For Database work / Data manipulation:

SQL Server 2008 R2 Developer edition

There are a load of tools that help with data manipulation, but really, do they have any benefits or greater flexibility over dumping it into SQL Server, and using t-SQL on it ?

SQLPrompt Pro

The great people at RedGate gave some licences to my local Community group (DevEvening), which I won one from. Thanks Guys!


VMWare Workstation

I’ve used this for a few years now, and it’s never let me down, never let it  be said I have no loyalties.

Odds and Ends on the Machine


An amazing utility for Virtual Desktops, because multiple screens are never enough. It’s integration into Windows 7, with SevenDex, makes for a great set of functionality.

Desktop Restore

A great shell extension to allow saving of your desktop icons, and prevents the ‘aaargh, all my icons have moved’ problem.