Personal Productivity & Performance Tools for Windows Developers

Get more done in less time.
Course info
Rating
(107)
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Feb 6, 2014
Duration
2h 5m
Table of contents
Reduce Typing with AutoHotkey
LINQPad – A C# / VB.NET Scratchpad
Starting Programs and Websites with SlickRun
Take Control of your Clipboard with ClipX
Remember What you Did with TimeSnapper
Making the Internet Work for You with IFTTT
Free Image Editing with Paint.NET
Description
Course info
Rating
(107)
Level
Intermediate
Updated
Feb 6, 2014
Duration
2h 5m
Description

We’re constantly under pressure to be more productive. Learn how to use these tools to improve your productivity, streamline your workflows, and get more done in less time.

About the author
About the author

With over 15 years experience, Jason Roberts is a Microsoft .NET MVP, freelance developer, and author.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Reduce Typing with AutoHotkey
Hi, I'm Jason Roberts from Pluralsight. Welcome to this course on Personal Productivity and Performance Tools for Windows Developers. In this course we'll be looking at a number of tools both programming related and also more general tools to help in our day to day work flows. In this first module, we'll look at how AutoHotkey can reduce the amount of typing we have to do. And also automate tasks so we can concentrate on the things that add value. Rather than boilerplate repetitive tasks. So in this module on AutoHotkey, we'll see how we can install and run instances of AutoHotkey. We'll see how we can create Hotkeys or shortcut keys to launch programs for us. We'll learn how we can create Hotstrings to reduce the amount of typing we have to do, by auto-replacing acronyms or other pieces of text. We'll also see how we can create longer multi-line replacements. And also how we can use AutoHotkey to remap one key on the keyboard to another key. So one of the things we can do here is to get rid of the pesky Caps Lock key. We'll learn how we can write basic macros to automate programs. And also how we can simulate mouse actions in applications.

LINQPad – A C# / VB.NET Scratchpad
Sometimes it's useful to be able to prototype C# and VB. NET without having to load up the full Visual Studio. LINQPad is a tool that allows us to write arbitrary C# and VB. NET, and execute it and get real time results. One of the awesome features of LINQPad is its ability to query different data sources and run LINQ based queries against them. So in this module, we're going to look at the installation and the different version options of LINQPad. We'll take a look how we can execute Expressions, Statements, and Programs. We'll see how we can add Namespaces and references to other dlls. And also how we can add references to those dlls that we've compiled with Visual Studio. Next, we'll look at some of the really awesome querying functionality, and this includes querying SQL Server databases, and also querying OData feeds. And again, this can be a really useful feature of LINQPad. Next we'll look at how we can export the results of our queries. And also look how we can get access to those queries that we use a lot, and how we can define extension methods that are usable from within our own queries. We'll also see how we can access sample code from a number of books.

Starting Programs and Websites with SlickRun
SlickRun is a general purpose tool that allows us to define words that execute Programs and Websites. So unlike having to remember Hotkey stroke combinations, we can define meaningful words, that's when we execute them, start the program or website associated with them. So while SlickRun is not a dedicated developer tool, it can help to increase productivity by making it quicker to start the programs and websites that we use. In this module, we'll learn how to install and configure SlickRun. We'll see how we can create MagicWords to launch programs, and also how MagicWords can open websites. We'll look at how we can parameterize our MagicWords. And how we can start multiple programs from just a single MagicWord.

Take Control of your Clipboard with ClipX
ClipX is another general purpose tool that allows us to save multiple entries in a clipboard history. So for example if you're working in visual studio doing some refactoring and you copy and paste a few items around, but then you realize that you needed something that you copied a couple of items ago, rather than going back to source control you can simply look in the ClipX history, and retrieve the code that you copied a few minutes ago. In this module we'll see how we can install and configure ClipX, how we can use ClipX to keep a list of text that we've copied and pasted in the past. How we can copy and paste images with ClipX, and how we can save and load history from ClipX. One thing to bear in mind when using ClipX or other clipboard managers, is that if your also using a password management utility, sometimes these utilities will use the clipboard to copy and paste passwords from the password manager into text boxes. So if you're using a password manager application and you like the look of ClipX, you should just check that your passwords don't appear in clear text within ClipX.

Remember What you Did with TimeSnapper
If you've ever had one of those days when you finish work, and looking back, it doesn't seem like you accomplished anything and you have no idea where your time has gone, then TimeSnapper can help. TimeSnapper records regular screen shots at given intervals, and then at the end of the day allows you to play back your day as if it were a movie. On top of this, TimeSnapper enables you to mark which applications are productive to you. By doing this you can review your daily productivity against the applications that you denote to be the most productive for you. For example, if you spend most of the day in nonproductive Applications, you can drill down and find out what you need to change so you can be more productive. So in this module we'll look at the installation of TimeSnapper, we'll see its basic use of recording regular screen shots, and then playing back your day. And then we'll learn how we can build on this, by marking specific application as being productive, and reviewing your day against these applications that you deem to be productive. By doing this you can see blocks of your day that haven't been productive, and then hopefully eradicate these blocks of nonproductive time in the future.

Making the Internet Work for You with IFTTT
There's an awesome array of tools available on the internet to help us get things done. However sometimes it's hard to get these tools to talk to each other. If this then that or IFTTT, for short, allows us to connect these different services together to produce more integrated solutions and to save us some repetitive work. In this module we'll get an overview of IFTTT channels and recipes. We'll then dig in to some of the channels available to us in IFTTT itself. We'll take a look at a recipe and pull it apart to have a look at its individual components. And finally, we'll go ahead and create a new recipe from scratch.

Free Image Editing with Paint.NET
We often need to quickly work with images and edit them. For example, if we're producing documentation with screenshots or if we need to create mockups of screen designs for apps as most developers don't have Photoshop installed. We're left with, by default, Microsoft Paint which is limited in its feature set. As an alternative to MS Paint we can use the free Paint. NET application to help us out. In this module, we'll see how we can download Paint. NET and get an overview of the user interface. We'll examine the Colors window and how we choose different colors and work with palettes. We'll see how we can work with the selection tools to select different areas of the image. And how we can crop, rotate, and resize images. We'll take a look at a few of the adjustments and effects available in Paint. NET. And finally we'll see how we can work with multiple layers in an image.