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My Development Tools (2012 Edition)

Every year more and more tools come out in the technology space.  In 2012,  I’ve adopted a ton of new tools into my web development workflow.   Here’s a list of all of my tools, with the new ones in bold.

Hardware

Now that I’m working more and more away from home my main development machine has become a 15 ” Macbook Pro.  It’s a 2GHz Intel Core i7 with 8Gb of RAM.  When I do work from home I prefer to work on 27″ iMac.  I love the screen real estate and often wish I could bring it with me to the coffee shops I’m usually in.

I’m not big on using peripherals other than the standard keyboard and mouse.  I use several external harddrives to store my music, videos and backups.

Software

Here are the top tools that I use every day.

Dropbox - I use Dropbox for a variety of reasons.  It makes sharing files with other people incredibly easy.  I also use it to sync the preferences of several of my development apps across machines.  It’s easy to set this up using symbolic links.  I also use Dropbox to sync ebooks that I’m ready across my Macbook Pro, iPad and iPhone.

Sublime Text 2 - Until this year, my go to text editor was Textmate.  While I still think Textmate is a good choice (especially now that it’s open source), I think the features of Sublime Text set it apart.  I love how customizable it is and how many of the built-in features make you so much more productive.  And if it doesn’t do something you’d like, there’s probably a package that you can install to add in the feature.  Check out my Sublime Preferences file.

Alfred - Alfred has become an essential part of how I work on my Mac.  I’ve mainly used it for launching apps and doing searches but I’m slowly learning how to use all of it’s amazing features.

Developer Tools

Coda 2 - My editor of choice when I need to work on a live site.  The built in FTP client makes small changes to live sites a snap.

Git and Github - Version control has always something I knew I needed but I never knew how to go about learning to use it.  Thanks to a few mentors I was able to learn it this year.  I’ve started implementing it for every project that I work on.  Not only does it make version control easy but it makes collaborating on a piece of software with other developers manageable.

iTerm - Learning how to use the Command Line was a big part of the new skills that I’ve learned this year.  While the built in Terminal application of Mac OS X is fine, I really love the features of iTerm.  This is the newest tool I’ve adopted so I’m still learning how to customize and use it to it’s full potential.

Rubular - Great for writing and figuring out regular expressions.

Foundation - My preferred front-end framework of choice.  Similar to Twitter Bootstrap but I like the default design better.  I use it for building fully responsive sites but I also use it for quick prototyping.

Sass - I switched from using Less for precompiling CSS this year mainly because Sass is widely used in the Ruby community.

Adobe BrowserLab - Even though it doesn’t replace using a real browser, it makes it easy to get a quick comparison of a site in the different browsers.

User Tools

1Password - Great for managing all of the passwords I use.  A must have from now on.

Trello - Prior to this year I managed most of projects through very informal practices (ie. via email and written down to-do lists).  Now I’m using Trello to keep track of what I’m working on.  I also like that I can allow clients and collaborators to see what I’m working on and contribute if needed.

Freshbooks - Love how easy Freshbooks makes accounting.

Backblaze - I’ve added online backup to my workflow.  In the past, I relied on external hard drives with Time Machine.  Backblaze makes this something I don’t even think about.

Screenflow - I often record video walkthroughs of sites I build for clients so that they have a reference material on how to update their site.  Screenflow makes it easy to quickly record high quality videos.

LimeChat - I’ve started hanging out in some developer focused IRC channels lately.  LimeChat is my preferred client.

Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign - I’m still using CS5 for all of my design tools.  Haven’t had a reason to upgrade yet.

Rdio - In 2011, I started using streaming music to supplement my music collection.  In 2012, I’ve basically moved all of my collection to streaming music.  I’ve chosen Rdio because I love the great design of the app and the community features.

What’s Next

There are several tools that are on my list of things to learn about and hopefully start using in the coming months.  Here’s a breakdown of the ones I plan on diving into soon.

Coffeescript - Should hopefully help make writing javascript quicker and easier.

Haml - A HTML precompiler.

Backbone.js - An MVC javascript framework for the client side.

About the author

Adam Scott is a freelance designer, developer and online marketer that specializes in helping startup companies build their online presence.

Adam is available for freelance work, so hire him for your next project!

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