Project tools

Luke Canvin

Choosing the right tools to support a team working on an application is pretty important - they need to be a good fit to the way the devs are used to working, but in this case need to offer the flexibility and be very lightweight; we do not have time to spend filling in fields in feature-heavy project management tools.

Development Environment

At OCC we specialise in Microsoft languages and frameworks. The majority of our software is produced through Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio, written in C#, TSQL and the .Net Framework. Microsoft's technology stack is really very good and the .Net Framework has come on in leaps and bounds, keeping up with the more agile open source community. So for that reason we'll be using Visual Studio as the IDE for the majority of what we produce for this app, be it C#, CoffeeScript or LESS.

Earlier this year, the Visual Studio team released NuGet - a package manager integrated into the software - that has gained traction extremely quickly. The range of NuGet packages available is really heartening and makes adding chunks of functionality to your application extremely easy. Some of our favourites are:

  • ELMAH for logging errors
  • Glimpse for seeing what's going on, on the server
  • Mini Profiler for tracking exactly how long calls to the server and database take
  • Combres for minifying and combining JavaScript and CSS files
  • Loads of options for your favourite ORMs and dependency injectors
  • Packages for your favourite JavaScript frameworks (jQuery, Modernizr, etc.)
For the Dev Camp we'll also be seeking out NuGet packages for the technologies we'll be test-driving, such as:
There is also a great collection of Visual Studio extensions that enhance the IDE itself, providing improved intellisense, context menus, etc. Some we'll be making use of include:

Source Control

The majority of us at OCC use SVN for our source control, and as we're all working on Windows, we make good use of TortoiseSVN to integrate it into the Windows UI.

For the dev camp we're keen to try out Mercurial, and our curiosity boils down to the promise of far less pain in managing and merging branches.

So we'll be trying out Bitbucket for our Mercurial repository, and using TortoiseHg for Windows UI integration.

Task Management

We'll be giving the very light-weight Trello a whirl, it doesn't impose any workflow so it'll fit in to our, no-doubt, ad-hoc approach.

One Response to “Project tools”

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