Noobies, we love you!

 

 

Aspiring programmers!!  This section is just for you!  I was not fortunate enough to have a mentor when first entering the technology field so much of my knowledge has come from on the job experience.  Trust me, we have ALLLLLLL been there ... everyone has to start somewhere.  Have a good mentor if possible, get on lots of educational sites, and review StackOverflow. A lot. :) 

I still remember the days when I felt like I couldn't code worth a shit.  It was torture, thinking I was failing.  But I kept at it, and got pretty good through A LOT of trial and error.  I blew up websites, deleted databases, took down entire websites, sent the wrong email to the wrong person, and every other wrong thing in the book!!  After a decade, I still do dumb things just not as often or as epic.  Never give up and never get down on yourself.  Every day is a new day and every challenge is there to help you get better.  We are here to help you get better BUT always make sure you have used your resources to try to find the answers before waving the white flag and asking for help.  Due diligence is key in this profession!!   Sometimes it's as easy as knowing the right term to Google for, too.  We veteran coders still remember and we still struggle too.  We will always help you, but you may need to wait a few minutes until I finish writing this console app I'm working on ..... 

Over the years, I've compiled a short list of "must have" tools and URL's as well as a long list of helpful items that could benefit anyone, especially those just starting.  Please feel free to let me know if there is a tool that you just HAVE to have on your PC every time you start fresh!!  I would be happy to add your suggestions to the list. 

 

I always install these immediately:

  • Notepad++

  • SQL

  • Visual Studio Community

  • SourceTree

  • Beyond Compare

  • Chrome

  • Git

  • Microsoft Web Platform Installer

 

 

My Looooong List of Useful Online Tools

JSON Formatter 

The JSON Formatter tool will take a JSON object and make it more readable for you to verify the structure is correct. 

GUID Generator 

The online GUID Generator creates up to 2000 Guids randomly based on some criteria if required. This is very useful when testing table structures and database rules.

Shipper Tracking URL List 

List of major shipping tracking URL’s.  This is important if your company sends tracking emails to customers.

JetBrains 

JetBrains offers several useful tools that are helpful for developers to be more efficient, accurate coders.  The toolsets are searchable by language. 

Xenu Link Checker

Xenu link sleuth does a great job of finding broken links and other potential issues on your site.  I know the site looks a little ….strange but I promise this is a legit download from the original author.

 

Google Webmaster Tools 

Google Webmaster Tools help to analyze your website and visitor traffic  

Google Analytics 

Google Analytics is available in the Webmaster dashboard and is key to seeing exactly where your site is working and where it could use some help. This is the bread and butter for marketers.

Google Tag Manager 

Google Tag Manager helps to organize a site’s scripting and tags from programs being used 

TeamViewer

This is a fantastic communication tool to use for quick calls to that developer that works from home - you can record the calls and share screens, recording those as well.  I've used this a lot for sessions where I am learning something and would like to keep a record to review later.

Envato Market 

The Envato market has digital creativeware to purchase to enhance your website.  Some things are just better to purchase rather than create from scratch. If you have created something that can help others build a better website, this is the perfect forum to start selling on!

LINQPad

LINQPad is a valuable scratchpad that can be used instead of creating a test Console app in Visual 1studio.  The IDE is lightweight and allows referencing libraries from Nuget or manually added.  

AJAX Toolkit

The AJAX Control Toolkit is an open source library that can be added to a project an immediately add AJAX capabilities. 

W3schools

The ultimate guide to front end code usage.  I use this more for how not to do things the hacky way 😊

  

Rasterbator

This site will take any image and enlarge it to a poster size, sending you the PDF.  For free.  If you use this site often for image enhancements, consider donating. 

IHeart

Because sometimes we need music in our lives, especially when coding! 

Law Help Interactive

We all need a little legal advice at times for a plethora of “life things”.  This site can help you find some legal self help in your state.  Many offerings are available regarding copywrites, using public resources (images, celebrity quotes, processes, etc) on your personal or client’s website.  Most states also offer a form to complete a simple will for free.  Do it! 

Statvoo

This is also an analytics tool that offers a free plan that can help you control your website better, fix errors, and view reporting on visitor traffic. 

The Joel Test

The Joel test is a simple litmus to determine if the company you are looking to work for is programmatically appealing.  There is also a litmus test for the qualities of a programmer that you are interviewing.

 

Online Toolz 

This site has over 80 tools that can be used for a multitude of development issues faced.  Some include:  XML Validator, JSON Formatter, Currency converter, SHA1 generator, Javascript validator, and many more! 

SSL Labs 

The Qualys SSL Test determines if your website is truly secure and has the most up to date security protocols in place. 

Regex Test

This Regex tester is the easiest tester to use, in my opinion.  It states it’s used for Google Analytics specifically, but I use it when I need to verify my Regex is sound. 

Codebeautify XML Viewer

Codebeautify has multiple tools available, but the one I use most often is the XML viewer.  It formats for you which can be extremely useful when you get an XML blob that is HUGE.  They offer so many things to help in development processes, it’s worth the couple minutes to check out the whole list at https://codebeautify.org/ . 

JQuery UI

The JQueryUI site offers some generic code to the JQuery beginner for some of the most used objects to add to a website. 

  

JS Fiddle

JSFiddle is a great site that allows users to add working code examples when answering forum questions or when needing to “fiddle” with some code to verify it’s correct.  I like using this when my css isn’t playing nice to determine what item is offending my sensibilities. 

Soft 112 and CNET  

These sites are dedicated to offering tools for downloads and reviews from users.  The user reviews are a goldmine to determine if a tool is worth trying or buying. 

Web Response Results

This reference offers a review of the errors a web response can receive.  This can be helpful to determine any errors using HTTP protocols. 

Hex Finder 

RGB to Hex converter can help find the perfect color match you need. 

Web Hosting

Free web hosting.  I have not used this for anything but testing sites but you can host a site here free. 

C# Coding Tests 

Feel the need to test your skills? This site allows self testing on coding concepts.  This link is for C# but they have a multitude of other tests.

 

Visual Studio Community 

Visual Studio community version is free.  This version is lacking a few bells and whistles but you can build a beautiful app or site using this version.  If you are learning on your own or want to have a home copy or whatever your reason, you can get it free!! 

Beyond Compare

This is where you download Beyond Compare, a fabulous tool that lets you compare 2 files for differences and edit one or both.  This comes in very handy during Sitecore upgrades when figuring out what config files changed …. Hint hint 😊  

Waaaaaayback Machine

The WayBack machine is great for viewing webpages and they change over time.  Do you need to see when the menu for your favorite restaurant changed?  You can use this tool to view what their menu page looked like the last time the site was saved.  Maybe you want to verify a candidate was indeed listed as an employee of company ABC in 2016.  You can review the employer’s website to see if that person was listed in the employees section. 

 Amazon Prime Credits

No, this is not a code site – it took me way too long to find the direct URL to the Amazon credit page.  In case you are a Prime member and haven’t been able to find it either …. 

Do you have more MUST HAVE tool suggestions?  Let me know by sending a message or commenting below!!

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