I usually like to start out with an up to date clean installation of Windows 10. Contrary to what some might say, you don't need a monstrous hardware configuration. I have found an Intel i5 with 8GB of memory is a good starting point. The next step is downloading the latest version of Visual Studio. You can find that here.
Downloading and configuring Visual Studio has never been easier. The installation process deploys the tools and dependencies necessary based on your preferred programming language and target. In my case that means ASP.NET and web development along with Azure development, .NET desktop development, Desktop development with C++, Universal Windows Platform development, Mobile development with .NET, Data storage and processing also including .NET Core cross-platform development.
The next step depends on your data storage requirements. In my case that means SQL. Visual Studio has tools for connecting to and managing SQL but more often than not I find them not to be enough. Even when utilizing a code first approach and working with Entity Framework, SQL Management Studio, SQL Server Profiler and Database Engine Tuning Advisor are a must. These tools will ensure you are ready to take on the task of working with SQL tables, views, stored procedures and SQL data itself. You can find these here. This combination provides a solid foundation, but there still ways to enhance your experience by way of Visual Studio Extensions.
Many exist, some are paid, some are free and some are useless. But there are many which can help boost your productivity and abilities with just a few clicks. One of those options is aptly named "Visual Studio Productivity Power Tools". This particular extension provides excellent error and warning visualization, match margin which marks a highlighted variable across active documents, quick launch tasks with features like collapse all regions as well as many other useful shortcuts and helpers to make coding as friction-free as possible.
Another invaluable resource for web developers is your browser's built in "developer tools". For the purpose of this article we're going to look at the Chromium based flavor. This tool provides incredible insight into your application, it allows you to make style adjustments in real time, track network traffic, storage, inspect all elements of your application, track performance and most importantly emulate many types of devices.
It would be impossible for me to mention all of the extensions and applications which could help you in your coding journey. But I've found this to be a good combination which ensures you're stacked with the necessary tools to tackle most tasks thrown your way.
Are there specific tools you feel we should have mentioned? We would love to hear about them!