Tools I Rely On - Those I Use From PN


Useful for both HTML and XML, Tidy provides formatting and cleaning of HTML/XML code. I most often use it to pretty print large streams of XML (like those Programmer’s Notepad uses for user settings) into a nicely indented document for readability.

AStyle - “Artistic Style”

This is an open source code formatter for C, C++, C# and Java source code. I use it to format code to the appropriate set of standards for whichever project I’m working on. Highly customisable, this is the recommendation for anyone asking for automatic code formatting in PN!

xsltproc - XSL Transform Processor

The linked site provides Win32 ports of the libxml XML processing libraries developed for the GNOME project. Xsltproc is a tool that comes with the library providing excellent command-line XSLT processing. I use xsltproc to transform the PN help documentation from Docbook XML into HTML Help files, and also generally when wanting to test transforms.


This tool is a syntax checker for javascript, I’ve often used it to find the un-obvious mistake hidden in my javascript code. The link is to a Windows Scripting Host runnable version.


This is a .NET build tool (sort of a port of Ant for java, a good alternative if Java is your thing). I actually use NAnt for a whole bunch of things, not all build related. Basically NAnt runs an XML script which can draw from a whole bunch of very useful built-in tasks. There are very handy tasks for working with XML files and some nice powerful file copy/move/zip tasks too.

Also worth checking out: ASpell - Spell Checking