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What are your secret tools?

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Joined: 2004-03-11

During JavaOne, the JavaTools Community in collaboration with the JUGs Community presented a BOF entitled " The Developer Tool Box: Jewels to Make Development More Productive, Easier, and Fun!".

The idea was to present not very known Java development tools that we find useful and make our lives easier. Now the slides of the presentation are available at for you to check what are the hidden gems we found in the develpment tools world.

After our presentation, we discussed with the audience what are _their_ secret weapons in terms of development tools. This discussion resulted in a very interesting list of tools and we would like to continue this discussion on-line.

So, if you use a tool that is not very known but makes your developer life easier, share it with the community registering it here!

The hidden gems we discussed at the BOF were:

- Which4j ( - Finds occurrences of a class in the classpath or any classloader

- Parse-dot-classpath ( - Extract the classpath from an Eclipse project configuration file

- JavaDoc Online ( - Finds JavaDocs in the internet from a class name

- Whirlycache ( - Fast, configurable in-memory object cache for Java

- Hudson ( - Monitors executions of repeated jobs, such as building a software project or jobs run by cron

- SquirrelSQL ( - Connects to any data source using JDBC. Allows to create/modify database schema and do database operations

- HAT ( - analyzes a heap dump file, to look for memory leaks, excessive object creation

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Joined: 2004-07-08

No secrets here. I use

I am very fond of Notepad++ for quick text changes.

Joined: 2003-06-12
Joined: 2003-06-10


To see exactly what's going on under the hoods of my applications using a DB...

P6Spy:, and there are also more sohpisticated tools build on top of it, like SQL Profiler: or IronEye SQL:

To create XML from Java -> ECS: , to substitute the JDK HTTP connection classes in order to have a time out -> HTTPClient:

To stress test our applications -> The Grinder: (even though I've used others)

We use our own framework to develop our web applications, and we are quite happy with it, but I won't plug it in ;).

We are basically focused on the server side, so having Ant as a common basis, anyone can use the IDE they like as we don't need sophisticated plug-ins.

I think that's about it ;).


Joined: 2004-07-10

Although I'm not sure if they are precisely development tools, I'd like to mention grep, sed, awk, find, and other traditional shell utils from the unix environment (they're also available for windows).

Many IDEs today have powerful refactoring support, but I still use these tools sometimes for mass changes to large codebases, spread in several CVS modules/IDE projects. A good script can save you a couple hours of work :-)

Joined: 2004-02-20

StackTrace: this lets you attach to a windows java process and see the stack traces of all the currently running threads, even when the process is not running in debug mode.

Joined: 2005-07-28

If you like that tool, you may want to look at couple more that work with the thread dumps:
1) Thread Dump Analyzer (TDan) at This is the one I did. I believe it supports more formats than the one you use. Specifically, there is support for some of the JRockit formats and also IBM's. Not an Open Source, but could become one if there are enough user votes..... :-)
2) Samurai at This one is more for JDK thread dumps, but it has interesting interactive features.

Both of the tools are more recent and have additional features over the original.

Joined: 2003-06-16

> What are your secret tools?

Emacs, of course...

Joined: 2003-12-02

my brain, and a large collection of O'Reilly animal books :)

JBuilder does most I want, and VI usually does the rest.

Ant has its uses, as does JUnit (both of course integrated in JBuilder as well)