Cool Tool Friday: Symbolic Links on Windows

Cool Tool Friday: Symbolic Links on Windows

One of the biggest problems I had in transitioning from Mac to Windows for development was not having symbolic links anymore. Symbolic links allow you to create references to files that the operating system and all your applications treat as the actual file. In other words, it allows you to keep a file in one location, but trick your OS into thinking it’s in another location.

Symbolic links are extremely valuable for development. On Linux and OS X, I like to keep my source trees in a project directory, and symbolically link into that directory from other places (or instance, from my web root for web apps). I’ve found it also enables me to simplify my classpath when doing Java development. The problem is that symbolic links aren’t supported on Windows. At least, I thought they weren’t until Danny Dura showed me Junction Link Magic.

Junction Link Magic allows you to create the Window’s equivalent of symbolic links, and as far as I can tell, works perfectly. The interface is intuitive, and the application is completely free. And any application with so many warnings about being for experienced users only has to good!