As a developer, there are many tools that I use on a regular basis that aid me in my work whether it’s for productivity, communication or even motivation. Here’s a list of the tools that keep me going.
Purpose: Processing SASS
I’ve never been a fan of using the command line. I prefer a visual interface, which is what Scout-App provides. It’s a simple program that just requires you to select a project and choose whether to minify the code or not on each save.
If the project folder you select contains a “scss” folder and a “css” folder then it automatically chooses the input and output folders for you. You can choose whether to turn on or off the automatic compiling with the play/stop buttons that appear next to each project. There is also an optional noise that plays whenever you save a file and an additional noise that plays when there is an error in your code.
I would recommend Scout-App to anyone that dislikes using the command line and prefers graphical interfaces.
Purpose: Git / repositories
Sourcetree is a program by Bitbucket that allows you to interact with your repositories from multiple places. So even though it’s a Bitbucket program, you can use it with Github as well. It’s an alternative to using Git on the command line and makes the whole process much quicker. That’s what every developer is always aiming for of course!
Git can be hard to understand with all the jargon that’s involved – it certainly took me a while to get used to it. However, with Sourcetree it’s easy to get to grips with it. Of course there is also plenty of help online with both Sourcetree and git if you’re stuck. One thing that Sourcetree excels at is branches – they are represented in a nice flowing manner which is easy to understand.
There are other GUIs you can download to interact with your repositories. However, Sourcetree was the first (and only) one that I’ve tried, and it does the job perfectly that I don’t feel the need to try any others.
Purpose: Code editor
I’ve tried many different code editors in the past – Aptana, Dreamweaver, Notepad++, Sublime Text – but none have come close in matching the power of Atom.
Atom is known as the “hackable editor for the 21st century”. There are many add-ons you can install to enhance the experience which can make it even better than it is. I’ve got several add-ons for enabling support for multiple languages (such as Blade and SASS) and minifying code on each save.
The visual layout of Atom is very nice on the eye. I’ve got one of the default themes enabled, but you can install any theme that other users have created or add your own if you wish. It now also has git support so you can interact with your repositories without even leaving the editor. This isn’t something I’ve tried but it looks useful!
Purpose: Professional communication
You see Slack advertised everywhere these days but it’s actually very good, especially in this “lockdown” we now find ourselves in. It’s great for keeping in touch with colleagues from wherever you are. It has a handy feature called “Channels” so you can keep different conversations in the relevant places (Talk about a project in one channel, big up the mighty Southend United in another channel).
The only downside with Slack is that you can’t share your screen or have multiple people in a call without paying. But they’ve got to make their money somehow, and that’s what Zoom is for!
Facebook Messenger (Mac App)
Purpose: Personal communication
I tend to talk to everyone using mostly Facebook Messenger, so when they recently released a Mac app I was happy. It’s a lot quicker than picking up your phone, typing in your password, get it wrong, mis-type it again, log in and then see that your latest message is just a thumbs up!
It’s got all the features you’d expect from Messenger in a nice visual layout you’d expect from any app on the Apple App Store. It gives you a nice, clean experience which enables you to get back to work quicker!
Spotify / iTunes
Purpose: Motivation / blasting Oasis songs at full volume
I used to be signed up to Apple Music but have since switched to the dark side AKA Spotify. Both services provide a great way to listen to music. I tend to work best while listening to music. It’s often a point for debate whether it’s best to work with or without music on but for me it allows me to get into a rhythm and produce the best results.
Spotify takes some getting used to (especially after “defecting” from Apple Music). However, once you’ve listened to a fair bit of music, it starts giving better recommendations on what to listen to next and what new music you should listen to. One thing that annoyed me when I was on Apple Music was that most exclusives seemed to be offered to Spotify than Apple Music, and everyone else seemed to be on it instead. So that’s probably why I changed!