It is important for a craftsman to use the best tools reasonable to perform his art. In the software business, this involves not only having a great hardware setup, but also great software tools. Hardware is usually much easier. Order a prefered development machine that is within budget and that is about it. Many developers prefer Macbook Airs and Macbook Pros nowadays. It can be a little bit more work for other platforms such as Linux and Windows, but it shouldn’t be overly so. It’s the software that takes time and effort to choose, maintain, and master.

Recently, I’ve started making it a habit to continously try out new tools, evaluate them against old ones, as well as enhancing my learning and use of existing tools. For example, I am continuously on the lookout to learning more about MacVim, my primary editor, or otherwise playing around with different configurations, like switching to a different font. I’m recently testing fishfish alongside bash. And I’m always evaluating open-source software libraries I can tap on.

I keep a text file open im MacVim all the time. It acts as my TODO list and worklog. For each piece of software that I am evaluating or want to get used to using, I just add a line that acts as a recurring TODO, to be reminded of it, as well as to add notes to.

Here’s some of the other tools I have been evaluating recently:

Some gems I found a while back:

  • Xscope - several utilities in 1 for designers and developers, especially nice if you need to work at pixel-perfect levels
  • Alfred - app launch
  • App Code - I still use MacVim, but that’s just me
  • Crashlytics - Crash detection/reporting tool for iOS and OS X apps
  • Divvy - Window management
  • Trello - a flexible project management/TODO list software

Have you been improving your toolset recently?