Handy Developer and Administrator Tools

David Meego - Click for blog homepageI want to make everyone’s life easier.

I should clarify that this is life in respect to my work life. As a Developer, IT Professional and Microsoft Dynamics GP Consultant I love anything that makes my job easier.

That’s why I created GP Power Tools (formerly the Support Debugging Tool) in the first place.

This article highlights some of the Windows tools that I use. These tools are ones that I have found myself or have been suggested to me by others.

Poor Man’s T-SQL Formatter

This is a must for any SQL Server Developer or Administrator. This tool formats Transact-SQL (T-SQL) code into a nice readable and standard format. It has a plugin version which installs directly into SQL Server Management Studio (or Visual Studio).

If you have ever opened a view or stored procedure created by Microsoft Dynamics GP you will have noticed that the white space and formatting has been stripped and the script is all on one line. So with this tool, you select Tools >> Format T-SQL Code and voila.


Website: Poor Man’s T-SQL Formatter


While writing the section above, I needed to capture a screenshot of the menu and crop it to just part of the screen I wanted and finally save it as a png (better quality than jpg). Enter the next tool in this collection. I found out about PicPick when doing a screen sharing session with my friend and fellow Microsoft MVP, Beat Bucher, who uses it.

This tool, which sits in your system tray, is excellent for helping with screen layouts with its Magnifier and Pixel Ruler. It is also great for web design and checking RGB colour values with the Color Picker and Color Palette tools. Finally, it makes screen captures a breeze by using a number of options, it even triggers on the PrintScreen button.


Website: PicPick by NGWIN


This next tool was also discovered by me when doing a screen share with developer friend, Jeff Southworth from PureLogic. During the session, he clicked on something and suddenly a number of Windows Explorer windows opened to specific positions, sizes and folder paths.

When I am developing each of my products, I work on the current four versions at the same time so that the same features are available on all versions (where supported). My code base is the same for all products with conditional code and conditional compilation handling the version differences. So with ShellFolderFix, I can set up workspaces with the Windows Explorer windows in the positions I want for the folders I want and it will remember them. One click and I can restore the Workspace. It also has many other options that allow you to remember settings for specific folders.


Website: ShellFolderFix


If you need to edit plain text documents, then good old Windows notepad.exe used to be the tool of choice. However, with Notepad++ you get the same functionality but on steroids. You can edit multiple documents in tabs and it has Syntax Highlighting for many common languages.

It even let’s you know if a file has been updated and will refresh the contents in the editor.  This is really useful when looking at log or ini files.


Website: Notepad++

Sidebar Diagnostics

Do you remember the Windows Vista and Windows 7 gadgets? It was always cool to get statistics from your system such as CPU Usage and GPU Usage. Well, my son Aaron showed me there is a really nice way to get this functionality without the overhead of the gadget system or running lots of separate tools.

Sidebar Diagnostics provides a toolbar that you can pin to the edge of the screen which displays CPU, RAM, GPU, Drive and Network statistics. It is fully customisable in how it looks and what information it shows. So on my Surface Book, I can easily tell if the GPU is available or how busy the CPU is.


Website: Sidebar Diagnostics


If you are like me (and my son Aaron), as a technical person (Geek), you end up being the unofficial computer support person for all your friends and family. Every time they want a new machine bought and setup or an upgrade done or when something goes wrong, they are on the phone to you. I don’t mind helping out as a well set up computer is less likely to have issues and will run smoothly. I enjoy working with computers and if a machine works well it can be a joy to use. So I am trying to spread joy and happiness.

Aaron introduced me to Ninite. This tool helps with the spreading of joy and happiness. It is a “Meta” installer. You can just specify the products you want to install from a list of common products on the web site and it will allow you to download your custom installer. When you use the installer, it will download the latest versions of the products you have selected and install them for you. Here is where it gets clever, it will also automatically decline all the special offers and toolbars and other spy junk software that is sometimes included in installers. It is a huge time saver.


Website: Ninite


You might have seen that I recently released some GP Power Tools Videos. To create these videos I recorded each section of the presentation deck and each section of the product demonstrations separately using the Camtasia Recorder and then in the Camtasia Studio I pulled everything together to produce what I hope you think are pretty professional videos.

While this tool is not free, it does have a free trial and I would highly recommend having a look at it if you have any requirements to produce videos.


Website: Camtasia


Hope you find all these tools as useful as I do.


This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.

6 thoughts on “Handy Developer and Administrator Tools

  1. Love that list of tools.. I already use the SQL Formater, NP++, PicPick and also used something similar to the ShellFolderFix, but it was only taking care of the icon positions on screen.. One weird behavior up to Win7 was the random re-order of icons on the desktop.. very annoying. This tool fixed it (it’s called DesktopOK and is free). Going to check the SideBar replacement for my Windows 10 tablets.. though I found a package based on the original SideBar.exe from MS that comes with about 30 gadgets that you can use for Win8 & up.


  2. I compared the SideBarDiagnostics and the one I use on Win10.. my version uses 30% less RAM to work and displays 4 widgets : Clock, battery, weather and System Monitor with the same data plus quick buttons to OS actions (logoff, reboot, sleep or shutdown). Do a search for 8GadgetPackSetup.msi on the net 🙂


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