2010 was a big shift in work environment for me. I migrated from an office to a completely distributed and remote team at Outspokes and then to Intridea later in the same year. Many of my daily tools stayed the same, but there’s been plenty of additions to streamline my work. Here’s an overview of my most used tools for web development.
I switched to Chrome as my personal use browser, but stuck with Firefox because of Firebug and other extensions. Chrome was snappy in daily use, consumed less resources, and just plain felt better than Firefox. Once I learned about the available “Web Inspector”, the switch was complete. Nowadays, I only open other browsers briefly for testing.
Instead of holding meetings in person, Skype is now always open for conference calls. Meetings are scheduled in Google calendar, and if screen sharing is needed, then we pop open a GoToMeeting.
I used Yammer briefly while at Outspokes, but none of us got into it very much. At Intridea, there was so much more knowledge and information that needed to be shared between projects and team members that I saw the real value of micro-blogging for the first time. On a remote team, it’s also a great way to share a virtual water cooler and hang out with your co-workers.
Campfire client for OSX. I don’t use Campfire for all my projects, but when a client requests it, then I can keep separate tabs. The integrated file upload and download is nice too.
I grew up on Emacs, and I still use it frequently, but Emacs and Vim are both kind of clunky and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Cocoa environment.
Simple way to stage and unstage changes. I know there’s fancier apps that integrate with Github, but for the time being, this app has just the right amount of features for me.
I use Cloudapp for ultra-quick screenshots and file uploads. When I need to draw a few arrows and text, I open up Skitch and drag the image up to the Cloudapp menulet. I know Skitch has built in sharing, but the Cloudapp one feels more polished to me. Both are great apps I use all the time.
Divvy lets me quickly tile a bunch of windows. It’s just a single feature, but it’s an awesome single feature.
I don’t do very much graphics work, but it’s nice to have an app that lets me whip up a quick background, or tweak an existing image asset.
Great way to test APIs and inspect HTTP headers.
When I do need to test multiple versions of Firefox, MultiFirefox is a kickass simple utility for launching different versions with different profiles.
For IE testing, I’ve tried Fusion, Parallel, and VirtualBox. Out of the 3, I think VirtualBox has been the least buggy and simplest. It might not have bells and whistles, but honestly, I just want to boot Windows and load shudder IE6 and 7. As an added bonus, there are libraries for controlling VirtualBox programmatically.
Do more with less
I’m open minded about trying new apps, but more tools doesn’t always mean more productivity. These apps represent a greatest hits list for the past year. It’s not a comprehensive list, but if any of these apps disappeared, I’d really be hurting.