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Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com

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Secret dev tools for every code newbie

I’d been learning a lot of new programming tricks lately and picking up new tools too. Some of these tools got me really excited that I have to share them! These tools are not commonly recommended in online tutorials or articles and might not be well-known to code newbies:

Coding, hosting - Glitch

This really blew my mind. It sounded like just another Github alternative on paper, but when I arrived on the site, all the vibrant colors, cool whimsical illustrations……! It’s like Github but with unicorns and rainbows; like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but for coders! It’s got so much personality and confidence in their branding, that I’m super impressed. Such a fun and delightful experience just browsing through all the code repos. And it’s not just a prettier Github, but a better one too. Glitch allows you to code collaboratively in realtime, much like Google Docs. This makes Github feel like Windows 95 Microsoft Word (oh wait, Github was acquired by Microsoft lol). You also see your site or app deployed live in a preview window with a unique subdomain (or custom domain), much like Codepen and JSFiddle. There’s definitely something of a trend here, where community-generated content is built around a collaborative tool.

Command Line - Hyper

Using the terminal used to scare me a lot, but since having to learn Rails and Vue, I had to start using terminal quite a lot and am slowly coming round to it. But not the user experience of it though. The developer experience of using this dark mode interface with neon green characters isn’t the best, so I decided to try out Hyper. It’s an alternative to using your native terminal, and comes with themes to add color to the text, and plugins like search that allows you to search for a particular command you used in the past. Much better UX now.

Testing APIs - Insomnia

Postman is a popular tool for testing APIs, but it feels bloated. I chanced on Insomnia from a tutorial and loved the simple and well-designed interface for it. Sometimes simple with less features is better for beginners, because it’s not so overwhelming. Coding a Ruby on Rails API is completely new ground for me. It was scary initially, but after following a few tutorials, I feel more confident, and being able to now set up the GET/POST/PUT/DELETE requests and test the API easily had really boosted my morale.

Database - TablePlus

This was a real life-saver. I hated trying to access my database over the terminal. A database is best visualised as a table, but command line returns it in text! It just doesn’t go. TablePlus shows the data you have in a table format, allows you to query and search easily, and more.I’ve not even touched the depth of the features available. I’m just so relieved to be able to see my data now in a table format, in a way I can understand, and manipulate my data much more easily.

Design - Figma Community

This new Community tab in Figma is still in beta, but I can see that it’s going to be a huge hit amongst designers. Figma is a collaborative UI/UX design tool, kind of like Photoshop remixed with Google Docs, but ten times better. I always felt it had an edge over Sketch (which is another design tool popular with UX designers), but now with the Community feature it’ll really stand out, because the Community feature is like Dribble remixed with Github rolled into one - a bank of Figma templates made by notable tech companies (like Spotify) and great designers. Browsing through all the different templates made available for free, I almost feel like I don’t ever need to design anything original ever again, because all I need to do is to search, and then duplicate and customize to my own project. And it’s not just templates for designing UI for phones or desktop screens, but also lots of cool collaborative tools and templates to hold a remote brainstorming session together, resume templates, everything! It’s like a designer’s dream come through!


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Discussion (43)

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sixman9 profile image
Richard Joseph

I'd like to believe I got the viral spread of Insomnia going at a former employer. I do appreciate Postman's grip on API testing, their collections sharing feature is popular in the enterprise, however, Insomnia's UI is SO much easier on my mental, I often felt like Postman was playing tricks on me ("where is the data/output).

Obviously, I highly recommend you try Insomnia (try both, you'll understand).

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12dimov profile image
Vania Dimova

I often felt like Postman was playing tricks on me ("where is the data/output). ... made me laugh

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Hahah indeed. TG for Insomnia

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Oh I did but went with Insomnia in the end. It just works!

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Nicolas Hervé

I would add dbeaver as a free alternative to TablePlus in the database category.

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natetronn profile image
Nathan Doyle • Edited on

I've been using Beekeeper as of late: beekeeperstudio.io

If you want simple and don't need all the power it might be worth a look.

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

As in Beekeeper over TablePlus? Interesting.. what's some features that Beekeeper do better?

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natetronn profile image
Nathan Doyle • Edited on

I can't comment on TablePlus, as I've never used it. I have used DBeaver but, it's been awhile. I remember it worked fine at the time but, it's a bit of a mess UI wise; that's what I recall anyway, maybe it's changed? I don't know.

I'm not living in the DB, day in and day out, and only need to do a few operations here and there, which is why I said, "it's simple and if you don't need all the power", so that's the only comparisons I think I'm making if referring to DBeaver and what I'm seeing of TablePlus.

To clarify what I mean by "power": they have a ton of features that I don't currently need or use. If I did then I'd consider something more full featured, like the others but, since I don't need much and Beekeeper is free, elegant (opinion) and has the features I do need, it works well for me. Of course, to each their own. Really just sharing something I recently stumbled upon.

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Thanks for sharing your point of view! :)

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Not seen dbeaver before. How is it different/better than TablePlus?

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hnicolas profile image
Nicolas Hervé

Dbeaver is free. It supports a lot of databases and has all the functionalities I need.
Except that, from the screenshots of tableplus I would say that tableplus is prettier.

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Junior Hernandez

I currently use TablePlus as a replacement for Sequel Pro, which sadly they no longer keep updating. Before TablePlus use several clients, including Dbeaver and Datagrid. Those apps seemed too bloated to me compared to Sequel. In addition, TablePlus supports Postgres, MySQL, CockroachDB, Redis and SQLite, the databases I work with most commonly, which far exceeds the old Sequel.

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Yeah tableplus looks cleaner, less cluttered it seems. I like that there's premium features I can upgrade to if I need. The software dev behind tableplus feels taken care of...

jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Yeah that's what i like about tablePlus! 🤜🤛

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jenningsf profile image
JenningsF

Thanks for the resources! Haven’t dove deep into UI/UX design, but I’ll definitely bookmark the Figma Community.

I currently use the cmder console on Win10 and remember reading about Hyper when I was looking at Unix emulator consoles. Have you run into any problems with Hyper?

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shravan1908 profile image
Shravan

There's also windows terminal by Microsoft and it works pretty good for me :)

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Yes, the community is a great way to dive deeper into UI/UX. many done for you templates and tools!

Hmmm I use a macbook pro, so not sure how relevant my use case will be from yours in windows. So far, enjoyed using Hyper loads! Love the font colors. And I'm not even maximising its full potential yet

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jenningsf profile image
JenningsF

Gotcha. I'll check it out and try it. Thanks! 👍

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emurrell profile image
Eric Murrell

I've been using hyper terminal on windows for about a year now and have had no issues.

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j471n profile image
Jatin Sharma

Suggestion : It would be really nice if you could just show the screenshot. ;)

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Good idea! Will add, cheers Jatin!

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pinotattari profile image
Riccardo Bernardini

Glitch allows you to code collaboratively in realtime, much like Google Docs.

Urgh! 😄 Honestly, I never liked that kind of collaboration: N hands messing with the same object at the same time. I used few times with Google Docs (because others decided it was a nice option), but I never liked it.

For shared document editing I, honestly, prefer the old fashioned solution: one single editor has write privileges on the document and asks for inputs to the others. If you use the shared approach then you need a deep rewriting phase afterward since you need to clean all the "jumps" between parts written by different people. Integrating inputs received from others is much faster and easier.
If the document is very large (e.g. a book with chapter), assign a "block" (e.g. a chapter) to its own editor.

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

I think you misunderstood. I made reference to Google Docs as an analogy to Glitch, not direct comparison. Glitch is actually for code editing, not writing a book.

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Charlène Bonnardeaux

Great ressources, i thinks that Glitch and Hyper are more pretty than usefull but it's great to make a glance in the other side :D But i'm really happy to discovering Insomnia, Postman make me feel really uncolnfortable with it's bad interface, and i'm never sure what i make with it :P

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Awesome, glad you found them useful. Yeah, Insomnia just works. Been using it for almost 1 year now. No complaints

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johnkegd profile image
John Garcia

U forgot

  • Iterm2
  • oh-my-zsh
  • Canvas 😁👊
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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Thanks for the suggestions! I compared iterm2 vs Hyper and went with Hyper in the end. I don't use zsh.. would a code newbie need to know about zsh?

What's "Canvas"? You mean Canva ?

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johnkegd profile image
John Garcia

yes sorry, i meant canva, and about zsh and iterm2 why not?. Everything that can be done with these tools is incredible. I would have liked to know something about them. especially because at the beginning the terminal is usually scary.

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Never needed zsh so far for my dev work... and hyper feels like a prettier alt to iterm2, that's why I went for it. But functionally, I guess there's little difference?

Canva is a great tool to add to the list! I didn't because I use Figma

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ranelpadon

For those who are not aware, Sequel Ace is the successor of Sequel Pro.
github.com/Sequel-Ace/Sequel-Ace

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sanishchirayath1 profile image
Sanish Chirayath

Thanks for recommending these gems

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Glad you like them!

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gleisser profile image
Gleisser

Great share! really useful tools

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Thanks! Glad you found them useful as I did

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Mahmoud EL-kariouny

Thanks bro :)

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Jeff Svicarovich

Great post! I created an account on Figma, but don't really know how to use it yet. I suppose I just need to play around with it?

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Yeah give it a whirl. I find it pretty intuitive, like Google Slides/Powerpoint but slightly more features

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Jeff Svicarovich

Thank you, I'll see what I'm able to do with it.

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Blessing Samuel

Lovely Content! Thanks for sharing.

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

My pleasure!

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jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~ golifelog.com Author

Cool! I love it! Still use it often for my product.