The software I used in 2012
As a software developer, I use a lot of software and tools to help me in my job. In this post I’d like to list some of my most used software of the last year. Hopefully there are some gems that can help you as well!
As an iOS developer, this Objective-C IDE simply has to be listed first. We’ve had some good updates in 2012: Xcode 4 finally got stable and the automatically synthesized properties and “modern Objective-C syntax” that 4.4 brought were very welcome. Sometimes Xcode is still acting up in weird ways but overall I can’t complain much anymore.
Not only do I use it a lot personally (for documents, code, backups and a lot more), some clients share Dropbox folders with me as well. It’s the perfect way to be in sync with the designer, to get new assets, screenshots and wireframes. It’s too bad quite a lot of offices seem to block Dropbox, or I would simply demand from all clients that they’d use it :)
A long, long time ago I used to use the same password for all my accounts. It was a good password and I guess many people still use one password to rule them all, but holy crap it’s so dangerous. If one site gets hacked and someone gets your password, he has access to your entire online life. So, I started to use a couple of different passwords, but since I had to remember them, they were not what you’d call very strong. In 2009 or so I bought a license to 1Password ($50), and since then it’s the first app that gets installed on my computers - together with Dropbox.
1Password keeps a secure database of all your randomly generated (and very very secure) passwords, and protects it with a master password. If you need to login to a website, you can simply press a keyboard shortcut in your web browser, type in your master password, and 1Password logs you in. So now I have an unique password per site, they are very very strong, and I can login everywhere with just one keyboard shortcut. The encrypted database is stored on Dropbox and is synced with 1Password across multiple Macs, my iPhone and iPad.
Sublime Text 2
After everybody was raving about Sublime Text 2 in 2011 or so, I also installed it. I don’t like it that much actually, but for quickly editing some text files it’s a good option, when starting PyCharm would simply be overkill. I do love the file overview / scroller on the right.
I loved TotalFinder, it brought dual panes to Finder and reminded me of good old (and dearly missed) Total Commander for Windows. Some performance problems however have caused me to switch to ForkLift somewhere in the middle of the year.
A dual pane file browser like TotalFinder, but instead of “patching” Finder, this is a separate app. It bugs me that I now have Finder and ForkLift open (since Finder can’t be closed or removed from the Dock), but as a productivity tool I love it.
Most of Gangverk’s customers are based in the US, and they all use Skype. It’s also a good option for chatting with my family back in The Netherlands - other than that I hate it with a passion. We’re actually slowly but surely convincing our clients to move to Google+ Hangouts because of much improved video- and audio quality, and functional group-video-chat.
A very good global color picker. On the App Store for $5 and totally worth it.
Watches a folder and creates non-retina image assets for any @2x file created. Most of our designers only provide retina assets, and this app makes it very easy to quickly create non-retina versions as well. On the App Store for only $1.
Another developer tool from the App Store ($10), this one analyzes your Xcode project and finds any unused image assets. I typically only use it at the end of a project, and can always remove a few images, saving hundreds of kilobytes, sometimes even much more from your app size.
I guess many people will laugh at the idea of using a GUI for Git, but I like it a lot. It makes branching and merging a lot easier. Oh, it also does Mercurial if you’re into that, and is completely free on the App Store.
A couple of developer tools in one, but I mainly use it for on-screen rulers. It’s not really cheap ($30 on the App Store) but I use it multiple times per week and is saving me a ton of time.
A very capable image editor for $50 (App Store), I use it for cropping and resizing images. It’s so much quicker to start than Photoshop or even Pixelmator!
Because Acorn doesn’t handle Photoshop files with layer groups, which is exactly what our clients send us, Photoshop is still used at least a couple of times per week.
When I write, I do it in Markdown format. All my blog articles, all company documentation, all README’s, everything is in Markdown, and iA writer is the most beautiful app to write in. It’s not always quick to start up, but it’s usually just open during the entire day. There are iOS versions too, and everything works via iCloud. Love it, well worth the 5 bucks.
I have a lot of apps that leave an icon in the menu bar. Too many! On my 13” Macbook Pro, sometimes they even get in the way of menu items. Bartender combines them in a separate bar, cleaning up a lot of space: it removes 9 menu bar icons for me, but they are still accessible with one click. It’s about $15 on their website.