Links

Developer links

  • In a relatively short time, Stack Overflow has become the most useful and most active Q&A community for programmers on the web. Other sites in the StackExchange network that I find extremely useful are Super User and Server Fault.
  • Code Project, Code Guru and Programmers' Heaven are all great resources for programmers using many languages.
  • gamedev is the premier game development site on the internet.
  • Wotsit's has information on just about every file format you can think of.
  • Any Win32 programmer should read Raymond Chen's blog "The Old New Thing" religiously. Lots of interesting stuff on Win32 development, including important information on what not to do (and even more importantly: why not to do it that way).
  • Other stuff not to do, be it as a coder or just in general in the IT industry, is presented in a humourous way at The Daily WTF.
  • RageStorm is being run by an Israeli team, which are friends of mine. You'll find some good tutorials on their site as well as some code snippets for Win32/DOS/ASM, games and some other resources.

Cool sites

  • Ancient DOS Games, by Kris "Gemini" Asick, is a webshow with weekly episodes (released on Saturdays) about ancient DOS games. Perhaps the title of the show already gave that away. Well worth a look.

Cool people

  • Stefan Thoolen is a very good friend of mine, former co-worker and a prolific programmer. His keeps a blog on his site, some Visual Basic projects as well as a couple of WordPress plugins worth checking out.
  • Folkert van Heusden is one of the smartest people I know. He has lots of interesting pet projects and did some great tools for *nix, Windows and other platforms.
  • My friend Remco Pols takes some amazing pictures that you can view on his website.
  • Avery Lee has made VirtualDub, my video editing software of choice. Not only did Avery create this excellent program, he also made it available for free!
  • Al Lowe is the creator of the infamous Leisure Suit Larry. Al shares some of his great sense of humour with us on his website. While you're there, sign up for the CyberJoke3000 mailing list. It cracks me up every day.
  • Wil Wheaton (formerly at wilwheaton.net) played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although some people weren't too fond of Wesley, there's no arguing that the actor is a cool guy. Check out his website to know what I mean.

Recommended products

I don't have any commercial interest in the following products, but they're the ones I actually use and like enough to recommend to others:

  • Piriform Recuva, a free undelete utility. Surely you make regular backups so you won't need an undelete utility? When you do, this is a lifesaver. Kudos for it being free too, whereas most other products bully you into buying them at a time when you're already in a pickle. Err on the side of caution and install this ahead of time!
  • While Recuva can handle most files, the NTFS file system deletes large (that is: multiple GB) files in a different way. Most undelete software will be unable to recover them, saying they are 0 bytes in size. I have not yet found free software that can do this, but Restorer Ultimate is a solution that works and, at $30 (Canadian), doesn't break the bank.
  • IObit Smart Defrag and Piriform Defraggler provide a bit more extensive functionality than the regular Windows disk defragmenter. Both are also free.
  • Piriform CCleaner automates a lot of the cleanup and maintenance work I do for people who experience PC trouble. I have found it to be accurate and reliable, which cannot be said for many tuneup utilities. Like the other Piriform products, it's free too.
  • Whole Tomato's Visual Assist is the extension for Visual Studio. Probably the single largest boost to my productivity in Visual Studio that I have experienced. So much so that VS without VA feels awkward to me. Using Visual Assist should be compulsory by law to anybody spending any serious amount of time in Visual Studio.
  • PSPad is my text editor of choice. More features than you can shake a stick at without being in-your-face about it. It's also free.
  • Avira AntiVir Personal Edition is a free (for personal use) anti-virus solution with daily updates that has less of a performance impact on the computer than many of its competitors (including commercial ones) while maintaining highly reliable detection and protection. A daily ad popup is slightly annoying, but if it bothers you, you can buy the product to get rid of that popup.

Old, but still interesting

  • flipCode was my favourite game development site. There used to be an image of the day, a lot of articles and tutorials and some good message boards. Unfortunately, the site deteriorated over the last two years of its life and has now been shut down. R.I.P. flipCode.
  • PC Game Programmer's Encyclopedia is a collection of text files dealing with just about every aspect of game programming for DOS. The follow-up, the Win95 Games Programmer's Encyclopedia has never been (and never will be) completed, but there are still some pretty good articles in it.
  • SWAG archives are a compilation of a lot of Pascal source code conveniently categorized. Hasn't been updated in many years, but if you do Pascal programming, you'll find some gems here.

Web Development

  • Social media are all where it's at, nowadays. Quick links to integration instructions for the Facebook like button, the Twitter buttons and the Google +1 button.
  • Using CSS2 or later, it is possible to embed custom fonts into websites. This has been supported since Internet Explorer 4, Firefox 3.5, Opera 10 and Chrome 4, but building the appropriate CSS rules and font formats is a complicated business. Fortunately, there is an online fontface generator. Another great option is Google web fonts.
  • Old versions of Internet Explorer are a royal pain in the backside when it comes to web development. What's worse is that it's not possible to install multiple versions side by side. Microsoft provide VPC Images for download or if you need a quick check, the IE Net Renderer is also an excellent tool.
  • Another way to conveniently test in older browsers (not just limited to IE) is Sauce Scout. This lets you run another browser inside your own, using a VNC interface. The "individual" account gives you 200 minutes per month for free. Prices for more are quite reasonable too and they apply to Sauce Labs' other services too.
  • Scout doesn't currently support mobile browsers. Various solutions do exist. One such great tool for checking Android browsers is Manymo which emulates many different OS versions and form factors.
  • After the fact, keep your website consistent in its internal and external linking by checking your site contents with Xenu Link Sleuth.
  • Many sites send e-mail to their users. How likely is it that your e-mail arrives in a user's inbox, rather than being marked as spam? Setting up e-mail properly is tricky. Fortunately, mail-tester.com is a very clear and user-friendly service that can help identify problem areas.
  • You should really use SSL/TLS to protect sensitive parts of your websites like control panels (WordPress backends, phpMyAdmin) with at least a self-signed certificate. To make this easy, use TinyCert. Disclaimer: I created TinyCert.
  • And once you're at it, improve security of your site by scanning the HTTP response headers using securityheaders.io and set up a Content-Security-Policy header with the convenient CSP header generator tool.