We tend to be very fascinated with the lives of others. We can learn a lot about how people get things done by looking at the tools they use. Doing so allows us to emulate their successful, freeing up our brains to focus on our unique endeavors.
I love seeing what other people use. Lifehacker weekly showcases relatively successful people and the tools that they use in their How I Work series. While I do not find myself anywhere near their success, I too have favorite tools. So I put together my own list of favorites.
Xcode. For a long time there was not much of a choice but to use Xcode for development of iOS apps. Things have opened up more now with platforms like Xamarin and RubyMotion. Still, as time has passed Xcode has continued to improve and now I personally find it to be a great tool. I won’t discount the others, but for free you can’t beat Xcode.
VIM. I’ve always loved that VIM was pretty much on every linux based system I used, but it was confusing and I never used it much past doing a quick edit to a document from the command line. Recently after listening to an episode of the Giant Robots podcast I decided to give it another try. I love it! There’s definitely a learning curve, but I do find it a joy to use once you get the memory muscle.
SourceTree. This is the best git client I’ve found! I love git on the command line, but this software makes it so much more of a joy to use. It makes it incredibly easy to dig deep into your projects version control with very little effort. This guy is free, and it’s a steal.
1Password for mac, iOS, and Windows. As developers, we accumulate hundreds of passwords. This software will help you keep track of it all. I love the random password generate and DropBox integration. It’s available on most platforms and is worth the money.
WebFaction. I’ve tried a dozen hosts, and WebFaction is the best. The performance is amazing for the price. You will get nearly VPS performance at a fraction of the cost. The control panel is a breeze to use (it’s custom and way better than Cpanel). And they also have very helpful support. You can even signup for a demo account without a credit card.
Evernote. I dump anything that I might need to reference later into Evernote. Code snippets, product reviews, blog ideas, life hacks; I put them in here. Then I install the Chrome plugin so when I search Google I also see the results from my Evernote. It’s a great place to keep things. The free version is plenty adequate for me, but the pro version has some features that you might find useful.
One thing noticeably missing is a good project management / todo app. I am currently playing around with Trello and Asana. Both are worth looking at. On my iPhone I use Todo for household items.
Tools are an important part of our workflow. We do have to be careful that we do not become obsessed with them (something I struggle with, always trying out new ones). They should help you to get something done. They are the means to an end and not the end themselves.
Do you have a favorite tool that didn’t make my list?