After years of being active in any computer related vocation, you gather a set of front-of-mind or go-to tools. In this short blog, I want to share which tools I am using to optimize my workflow and deliver above expectations.
This alternative to the built-in windows Notepad has been around for almost 2 decades already. It is by far my favourite tool. Its persisted tabs make it a digital alternative to too many paper notes on your desk. One of its best features is that the tabs stay open after you close and re-open it. Even after reboots, the tabs which were open, remain open. Another really neat feature is its built-in syntax highlighting, perfect for quickly having a look at my big SQL scripts toolbox without having to open a more heavyweight IDE. It’s also highly extendible with plug-in support and a built-in plugin manager. Yes, there’s even a plug-in for ABAP syntax highlighting!
How I use Notepad++:
for quickly scribbling down something during meetings
as an extended clipboard
to open any text-based files (CSV, SQL, …)
OneNote excels in its quick and easy usage. This tool offers a more long-term storage of notes and knowledge. After having used many different alternatives, this is the one that has stuck around. You can also share your OneNote notebooks with different people, and it even has a team integration.
How I use OneNote:
Documenting solutions for issues (so I don’t re-invent my own solutions)
Organizing my running project (analysis, testing, open questions, …)
Storing my knowledge
There are many versions of diagram software on the market. The most popular being Microsoft Visio, but the price tag often makes it less accessible. As a free alternative, I discovered Draw.io about 3 years ago – a browser-based, open-source diagram software. It also has a desktop version which can be easily installed. Though it’s not as feature-rich as its paid alternatives, it’s a free tool that anyone can easily access thanks to it being browser based.
How I use Draw.io:
During meetings to make a quick diagram for visualizing a problem/process
To quickly draw out a process/structure
Price: Free / €6.95 pm Website: https://lucid.app/
As opposed to Draw.io, Lucidchart is a paid tool (unless you don’t mind only making 3 diagrams). For that money you do get a diagram software with a lot more advanced features and a more user-friendly experience. This tool makes it a breeze to make large diagrams easy to maintain and navigate.
How I use Lucidchart:
For Blueprinting developments (CDS models, drawing out program logic, …)
For documenting the above
Integration into Confluence
DBeaver Community version
Price: Free Website: https://dbeaver.io/
Though I mainly work with SAP HANA, and there are dedicated tools from SAP for working with a HANA database, I often find that using the same application to write ad-hoc queries and doing development becomes a mess. When not using the dedicated SAP HANA studio to write a query, I will revert to DBeaver, which supports a lot more than only SAP HANA :). Under the hood it’s built on the popular IDE Eclipse. Additionally, you can build your query by drag-and-drop – perfect for when you have tables with field names which seem to have been written by a cat running over a keyboard.
How I use DBeaver:
Browsing through SAP HANA tables
Writing and executing ad-hoc queries
Price: Free Website: https://trello.com/
There are times when questions and requests flow into my mailbox too fast, or when I need to keep track of an important task which is not noted down in a project tracking software. I used to try and memorize everything. When that didn’t work, I started to use sticky notes. But neither of them seemed to really work for me. Ever since I discovered Trello, I’ve been able to cut down a lot on these tasks that “fell off the table”. It has also created more peace-of-mind as I track everything in this tool and no longer need to memorize my tasks.
How I use Trello:
Tracking tasks that I need to do
Making sure I don’t forget a task where I’m waiting on a response or follow-up from someone else
Trello is a really powerful tool that can not only be used for task management, but for a lot of other cool things as well. One use I found was for keeping a gift list for my family and friends.
If you register for Trello, be sure to sign up for their newsletter. They usually have quite interesting topics in their newsletters.
Now you know which tools I like to use on a daily basis to add value to projects I work on. Of course there are a plethora of tools out there I don’t know of (yet). Maybe you are using a very helpful tool I should know about – so please feel free to share your favourite tool with me!