Stuff I Like


For Ruby development, lots of people really seem to like the SciTE editor that comes with Ruby.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve just never warmed to it.  For a long time, I just used TextPad with a Ruby document class.  I’ve tried a few others, but my favorite IDE by far has been ArachnoRuby.  I liked it so much, I paid for it.  For me, it has been well worth the price.  If you’re interested, they offer a 30-day trial.  Sorry Mac users, they don’t quite have it working on OS X yet.


Every software tester needs to be able to take a screen shot to show (or prove) problems.  Of course, in Windows you can use ‘Ctrl+Prnt Scrn’ to copy the screen and then ‘Ctrl+V’ to paste it into an app to save it.  This works, but doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility.  I’ve been using SnagIt since I first started working in the software biz.  I loved it back then and it just keeps getting better – it’s another application that I’m happy to pay for.

Aqua Data Studio

When I first started working with databases (Oracle, specifically), I used Toad or a command-line interface to check out the database and run SQL queries.  These days, I need to look at more than just Oracle, in fact, I need to work with both a MySQL and an Oracle database.  Aqua Data Studio allows me to do that.  It’s pretty expensive (I’m still using a super-old version), but it looks like open source developers can get discounts.


Sometimes, the best way to work with an object on a web page is to reference it using it’s xpath.  This isn’t always easy to find and the path can get huge fast.  In the past, I resorted to firing up the Selenium IDE to find the xpath of an object, but I’ve learned that there’s a Firefox plugin called XPather that does just that.  Hooray!

Pivotal Tracker

Recently, I worked on a project with other people scattered across the country.  We used Pivotal Tracker for project planning and it was great – intuitive, easy to get started and FREE!

Ruby on Windows blog

If you have to work on Windows and need to access the Microsoft Office applications with Ruby, you won’t find better tips and tricks than you will on David Mullet’s Ruby on Windows blog.  I’ve used it a lot, especially for writing data to an Excel spreadsheet from my Watir tests.

Learn to Program

When I first decided to check out Watir, I was a bit daunted by the fact that I’d also need to learn Ruby.  I stumbled upon Chris Pine’s great tutorial and in a couple of days, learned enough Ruby to use Watir well.  Chris posts his original tutorial on his web page for free, but you can also buy his book.


1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Željko Filipin  |  April 9, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I have used ArachnoRuby for years. I did not know anybody else was using it. 🙂 I switched to NetBeans since ArachnoRuby is dead for years. (I have also payed for it.)

    Thanks for the list, I have just installed XPather while reading this. It looks like something I could use a lot.


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