Further awesome

So earlier I raved about how Firebug is made of awesome. One of those Free Software projects that just saves you massive amounts of time as a developer, and really raises the quality bar you expect from tools.

There’s one other project I should have mentioned earlier in this category, which is Valgrind. I’m sure nearly all Planet Fedora/GNOME developer readers know if it (though I was surprised there were still people not using Firebug), but Valgrind almost makes you feel like if it was a bit smarter it could write the code itself, and you could kick back on the beach and watch it.

But besides praising Firebug and Valgrind, I wanted to link to ANTLR as also raising the Free Software quality bar. Now, probably a lot fewer programmers have the need for a parser generator than need to debug HTML/JS or C, but I have to say – if you need a parser, ANTLR is also made of awesome. It’s not just that the parser generator is powerful, documented etc. What definitely takes ANTLR a notch up is that it actually comes with a custom IDE for writing and interactively debugging your grammar. All Free Software, and pretty sexy too (Though sadly the screenshots are on a Mac). I also started using another nice Terrence library, StringTemplate in a project recently, which is what motivated this blog post.

Are there any indispensible tools or libraries that have really impressed you lately?

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