3 Free Tools I never want to miss again

There is more to Development than just the IDE. There are countless of little helper tools for certain tasks. Here is a collection of the tools that I use. As a Hobbyist, I try to stay with free tools whenever possible, and here are 3 free tools I never want to miss again.

Regular Expressions: Rad Software Regular Expression Designer

Ahhh, Regular Expressions, one of the best inventions since the invention of complex text that needs to be parsed. As nice as those regular expressions are, if you don't use them that often, the syntax is a bit hard to memorize. What was the syntax for positive lookbehind again, combined with a named group, when searching for three digits? Is a certain regex greedy or non-greedy?

This Regex "Sandbox" is god-sent. It was made in .net and therefore uses the same Regex Engine, and it supports not only Matching but also replacing. Previously, I often used more-or-less complicated String.Replace/String.Indexof constructs because I did not want to look up and spend 10 minutes of try-and-error Regex-writing. With this tool, I've started to use Regex for almost everything because it's so easy to work with it.
It's available at http://www.radsoftware.com.au/regexdesigner/

Hex Editor: XVI32


Every once in a while, it's needed to check the binary content of a file. Are the linebreaks \n or \r\n? Are there any NULL-Characters (\0) in the file? Is there a UTF-8 Preamble in the file?

XVI32 is a free Hex Editor that does not need installation and just does its job – nothing more, but also nothing less. It's available at http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/delphi/freeware/xvi32/xvi32.htm

Unit Testing: NUnit


Ok, Unit Testing would deserve a posting on its own, but there are already plenty available 🙂 One of the drawbacks of Visual Studio Professional is that it does not contain integrated Unit testing. This critical feature is only available in the bigger and much more expensive Team editions, which sucks.

Luckily, there are alternatives available. I use NUnit, which is a very mature and well-supported product, and it already includes both a GUI and a Console Test Runner.

You can get it from http://www.nunit.org/