Sunday, 12 October 2014 22:25

Streamline and enhance your Windows productivity with Programmer's Tool


The free Programmer's Tool utility provides a virtual swiss-army knife of features for keyboard jockeys, whether they be programmers or otherwise.

Like any good IT professional I am always eager to find ways of enhancing my productivity.

For example, some years ago, while working long hours and working between different computers, I thought there must be a better way of keeping files in sync than email and USB sticks. For me, the solution was DropBox and I now enthusiastically advocate cloud-based storage mechanisms for everyone, whether DropBox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Barracuda Copy or anything else. The point is save all your work to your cloud storage and you can work on multiple machines, you can recover from disaster, you can restore deleted files, and you can access data from your smartphone even when away from your desk.

As another example, when manging a large fleet of servers I sought a better solution than constantly using SSH and RDP and typing in endless hostnames. For my Windows desktop I came across mRemoteNG, which lets me group servers and effortlessly work with multiple connections through nothing more than double-clicks and tab pages. It now pains me to see sysadmins manually connecting to individual servers when such tools exist to simplify their life.

In a similar vein, I was excited to come across Programmer's Tool which, despite the name, is as useful to sysadmins or project managers or web designers or business analysts or generally anyone just as it is to programmers.

Programmer's Tool is a free application for Microsoft Windows environments and can be downloaded here.

The basic concept is simple; the app sits discretely in the system tray near the computer clock and springs to life when you need it, providing three simple yet effective features.

The first is to set global hotkeys for a wide range of customisable actions such as launching an application, or activating an application that is already open, to perform certain copy or paste options, or send keypresses to an open application.

The limitation here is only your own imagination; using Programmer's Tool you can set a comprehensive range of custom actions, moving your hands across the keyboard with alacrity, launching apps, switching to specific named apps, and more.

The second feature Programmer's Tool offers is a quick launch menu, opened by a global hotkey - Ctrl+Shift+F7 by default. Add any application of your choice to this menu and it can be swiftly launched via a quick keypress - for example, fire up Visual Studio with Ctrl+Shift+F7, V.

The third feature offered is to display tray notification messages at a given date and time, allowing you to leave future messages and reminders to yourself.

If you, like me, look for ways to enhance your productivity then you would do well to try out Programmer's Tool. For the price there is no risk. While the product is freely available, if it helps you then you should, as always, consider supporting the developer with a donation.


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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.



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