Tools of the Trade

October 24th, 2012

I’ve recently reevaluated the tools and services I use to accomplish the different tasks I’m faced with on a daily basis. I thought it might be helpful to some if I listed everything I use, in both apps, configurations and web services. Let’s get started.


As part of my reevaluation, a few of my daily apps have changed or become more heavily used:

  • Sublime Text 2 – The newest addition, I am amazed as the configuration and add-ons available. It took me a while to get on board with the initial setup, but I’m loving this app and it really is speeding up my work rate. $59
  • Terminal – I’m spending more and more of my time in the command line because it’s simply faster moving around my files and folders and actively versioning my assets. Free
  • Photoshop CS6 – Who doesn’t, right? $699
  • Google Chrome – The Web Inspector is constantly improving and in my opinion is streets ahead of Safari or Firefox. Free
  • Transmit – When I need to access a server via FTP, this is my choice. Always been the best. $34
  • CodeKit – A nice app that does all sorts of things: compiling, image optimizing and browser reloads to name a few. $25

Cost: $817 (though CS6 cost me less since I work in higher education)


As I’m sure everyone does, I’m very particular on how my apps are setup, not only for better work production, but a more enjoyable experience while working.

Sublime Text 2

    "color_scheme": "Packages/Tomorrow Color Schemes/Tomorrow-Night-Eighties.tmTheme",
    "theme": "Soda Dark.sublime-theme",
    "draw_indent_guides": false,
    "open_files_in_new_window": false


function git_prompt_info() {
  ref=$(git symbolic-ref HEAD 2> /dev/null) || return
  echo "$(parse_git_dirty)$ZSH_THEME_GIT_PROMPT_PREFIX$(current_branch)$ZSH_THEME_GIT_PROMPT_SUFFIX"

PROMPT='$fg[magenta]⌘ $fg[blue]${PWD/#$HOME/~} $(git_prompt_info)'


Web Services

I use a handful of web services in my daily workflow, some free and some paid:

  • WebFaction – My hosting provider of choice. My clients and my own personal projects usually don’t garner large amounts of traffic so a shared hosting environment isn’t a big deal. WebFaction allows you to host any type of site, platform or application under one account, which is really nice. As example, in one site you could run a Rails app, WordPress and a third Django app all under domain, with very simple configuration. Starts at $9.50/m
  • Typekit – If necessary and the desired font is available, I use Typekit to serve my fonts. This site is currently serving a few fonts. Starts free with limitations
  • Dropbox – I’m not sure I know anyone that doesn’t use Dropbox, but it’s vital for my daily work with clients all over the map. Starts free
  • Bitbucket – Yes, I know the cool kids use GitHub, and while I’m on there as well, Bitbucket hosts all of my private Git repos without cost and some public as well. Free for 5 users
  • BrowserStack – Gone are the days of multiple VMs on Parallels, Sign in and test in any browser you want. Starts at $19/m
  • Ballpark – I’m not a huge fan of the business side of life, but Ballpark makes it easy to track time, invoice clients and get paid. They just relaunched a completely new version not long ago and have even integrated Stripe for online payments. Starts free

Cost per month: $39.16

So these are the apps and services I used on a daily basis to create websites. I like to reevaulate from time to time because a tool or service is only good if it’s making you work in a way where you produce better work. I’m excited to dive deeper into Sublime Text 2 and really tune it to be the workhorse that I’ve heard about.