Developer Tools

The number of development tools available to you today is almost impossible to keep track of. And if you are new to programming you really shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with all of the options. So here is a short, simple list of some of the best tools out there that will serve you well for a long time to come. Best of all, most of what you’ll need to start is absolutely free.

If you are an experienced developer and recommend any particular tools for new/er developers, leave a comment with your recommendation(s). We’re also working on a list of tools for the more experienced.

Visual Studio
This is THE primary tool you’ll need to develop for Microsoft technologies. Visual Studio is perhaps the best integrated development environment available today, covering a wide range of languages and allowing you to development for not only Microsoft technologies, but also other platforms. There are free and paid versions. If you are a beginner, the free version will do more than you’ll know what to do with for quite a while. But if you are going into development full force, Visual Studio Professional is a worthwhile investment.

Microsoft Software Development Kits (SDKs)
A software development kit is basically a bunch of pre-written program code that allows you to more easily development for a particular technology. For example, there are SDKs for Windows, Windows Phone, Kinect, Office, and the new Microsoft Band. The link above will take you to the official Microsoft SDK site where you can learn more about each kit. While you might be interested in focusing on a particular technology, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a little about each to give you a broader knowledge of what is available to you.

This is the text editor of choice for most programmers. Notepad++ takes text editing to the next level for programming by supporting syntax highlighting and code folding for over 50 programming, scripting, and markup languages. And it’s free.

At some point you’ll likely need to upload files to a website or other web server, and FileZilla makes the process easy. It is also free.