Some people ask me about the tools I use for web development. My favorite computer is my iMac with a 24 inch screen. I also have a dual monitor setup using a Samsung widescreen TV/Monitor. My next favorite is my 13 inch Macbook Pro. It is the perfect size. I had a 15 inch and a 17 inch – they were just too big and bulky. The 13 inch is perfect. Since I use a Mac 99.9% of the time, you may not be able to use all these tools if you are on a Windows system.
I will take just a moment here to plug Apple. I switched from Windows to Mac about 5 years ago or so and I have NO regrets. Apple and the Mac are by no means perfect, but they have saved me a LOT of time that I used to spend with Viruses, Virus checkers, re-installing operating systems and trying to figure out why my computer just wouldn’t come on at all or why it had become so slow. I can work now without wondering if things aren’t working because it’s something with my computer or if it’s my code. I know it’s my code if there’s a problem.
I don’t like to push my opinions on others, so please don’t assume that’s what I’m doing here. This is just what works for me. My move to the Mac has saved me a tremendous amount of time every day. I know the move would not be right for everyone, but it was certainly the right move for me. Apple computers do cost a little more, but in my opinion, you get what you pay for. (I will step down off my soap box now)
My favorite web browser for development is Firefox for the Mac. I like Firefox because of the plugins and addons that help me during devlopment.
My next favorite Firefox plugin is the Web Developer toolbar. I don’t use this one as much but I do use to help me find broken links on the pages or to check and/or clear cookies. I also use it to check image sizes, show the outline of tables and other elements and to help validate my pages. There are some really great tools on that toolbar.
This is not related to web development, but I also like the Forecastfox Weather plugin that shows me what I can expect over the next couple of days and shows me the radar when I mouse over the little icon at the bottom of the browser window.
There are other Firefox plugin tools that I would use more if I spent more time on designing such as the measureit tool that allows me to check dimensions of objects on the page and color tools that help me chose colors for different elements.
I’ve heard that the Google Chrome browser has some good addons and plugins as well, but I’ve not had time to play around with that browser. It would have to have some pretty cool features for me to switch.
My favorite text editor is Coda because it integrates FTP and allows me to setup my local folders to match up with the remote folders. This makes uploading files to the correct place really easy. Coda also integrates with Subversion really well which helps me collaborate with others and keep good backups of my files.
I used to use symfony as my favorite Web Framework, but I got tired of the constant changes and tons of documentation that I had to keep up with. So, I wrote my own MVC framework. This way I can make it work just like I want it and I know about each change without reading a ton of documentation. Some would say that this takes me more time. I disagree because once I’ve added an enhancement, it’s easy to copy and paste it to my other projects. Symfony was often overkill for many of my projects.
I use photoshop for image editing which I avoid as much as possible. I don’t understand photoshop well enough to do very much and I often subcontract any image processing work that needs to be done. Or I buy images from iStockPhoto or another stock image site. I do use a program called ImageWell occasionally to do some quick resizing and editing for images.
I use Quickbooks for my invoicing and bookkeeping. I absolutely hate this part of my ‘job’. I suppose Quickbooks makes it as painless as possible. But, I still hate it.
I use ToodleDo for keeping myself in line and on task and to manage my projects. I have it on the iphone and ipad.
I use the DigitalColor Meter tool and FileMerge. Both of these came with my Mac. I also use a program called EasyFind to search code in files when I’m looking for something.
I like Evernote but I don’t use it nearly as much as I probably should. I also like 1Password for my password management and generation. This too, I can get for my iPhone and iPad.
Wow! I didn’t realize that I used so many tools. 🙂
What tools do you prefer?