Programming tools

By popular demand, here's the list of tools and stuff I use regularly now:

  • Visual Studio 2012 with a custom, solarized light based color theme. I really like this a lot, and while it takes a while to get used to it, I find it hard to go back to high-contrast themes. Project files are all generated with CMake of course.
  • My programming font is Source Code Pro. It's super-easy to read, works fine at the sizes I like, and I can have a consistent look & feel on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
  • For serious scripting, I use Python 3 together with PyQt. In my applications however, I typically embed Lua if I want to quickly try out stuff.
  • For UI, I'm using Qt if it requires more than 5 widgets. If it's super simple (read: Single button window), I might hack it together in C# and WPF, but I usually go for Qt or PyQt.
  • My text editor of choice is Sublime Text 2 (and yes, I bought a license). I'm using the DirectWrite font rendering there and the CMake extension
  • For references, I use Zotero Standalone. The storage is set to a SkyDrive drive, so it automatically synchronizes across all my machines for free.
  • For source code management, I use Mercurial only. On Windows, in the form of TortoiseHg, on Linux as well, and on Mac OS X, I use SourceTree.
  • For taking notes and quick sketches, I use a graphics tablet and MyPaint.
  • Most graphics I need are done using Inkscape. Otherwise, it's Veusz, but I'm curious to try matplotlib.
  • For IM, I've recently switched from Pidgin to Instantbird. Instantbird is the basically the same, but I like the default theme a bit more, and it takes really a tiny amount of screen space.
  • For 3D graphics, I took the time to learn a bit more Blender. The learning curve is steep, but it's definitely worth the trouble. The hardest part for me was to unlearn Maya, which I usually used, but with some time and pratice Blender is just as good for the little 3D modelling I need. For occasionally viewing a mesh, I use usually my own tools now, or, in rare cases, MeshLab.
  • For screenshots, I'm completely sold on Screenshot Captor. It can capture Aero windows with transparency and shadows, and just works.
  • For video recording, I use Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 and Fraps (yes, with license). For batch processing of images I use ImageMagick, and for the video production it's Ava together with FFMPEG.
  • Documentation is now all done with Sphinx and Robin.
Just recently, I also started to give a mind mapping software a try, in my case Mindjet MindManager, as our university has some deal with them and we can get it for free. It seems pretty decent, but I'm not sure how much I'll be using in in the end. It certainly has the feeling of "oh gosh, this boosts my productivity by 12053%" at first, but it might turn out to be to cumbersome to use in the long run.

Sublime text is probably the most significant change that came this year. I actually forced myself to use a different editor than before, just to learn something new, and so far, I'm really happy about that. The other big change was learning Blender a bit better. I've delayed this a lot, but this year, I sat down a few weekends to seriously model something with it. On the programming side, I've done a bit of Javascript and Lua this year as part of my "do something new" stuff. I expect to spend some more time with both languages next year, so getting accustomed to them doesn't hurt.

That's for the tool side this year. What I'm still looking for is a better e-mail client, but the rest of the tools gets the work done. Well, and maybe a rewrite for Robin, to make it a bit faster and more robust.


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