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The tools I use, July 2018 edition πŸ› 

Michael Lee πŸ• on August 02, 2018

I've always been interested in the tools that others use to get work done. I enjoy evaluating my tools to improve my workflows and get work done. A...
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Ben Halpern

Whenever I see a post like this, I’m always in search for the category of tools I don’t event use, and for me the design stuff is where I’m lacking. I do little more than rough sketches and fluff long with the code. I need to find some tools to help me express myself more effectively.

Definitely checking through this list carefully.

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

Very cool Ben. I'm not sure if you've tried Balsamiq before, but it's a nice wire framing tool. It provides you with a lo-fi, sketchy, set of elements that lets you focus on piecing together ideas instead of getting side tracked with things like color or pushing pixels here and there. I've also played around with Whimsical which has tools for creating flow charts and wire framing. The wire framing is a little lacking in my opinion but it's getting there.

As mentioned above Figma is my tool of choice with design related stuff. I've created some components that serve as my elements for generating wireframes. Which allows me to use Figma for several workflows besides just UI design. Where Figma really shines is being web-based and collaborative.

If you've got any other questions, let me know. Would love to help out.

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Jack Harner πŸš€
 I've also been placing environment variables in 1Password

With this are you pointing the applications directly to wherever 1Password stores them (after typing that out this kinda sounds like a dumb question, but here we are), or do you just have them there and then copy them to the env file?

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

Hey hey Jack, you're write in that I do the latter. I store them in 1Password and when I'm setting up a new machine to dev on the application, I just need to access 1Password and I can set env files by copying them from 1Password.

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Anurag Mathur ο£Ώ

Thanks for sharing the list.

Here are the tools I regularly use, in no particular order

  • Vim, Emacs, SublimeText
  • Jdeveloper, Eclipse MAT, IntelliJ
  • iTerm2
  • Outlook
  • Adium, Slack
  • Chrome, Safari
  • RealVNC viewer
  • oh_my_zsh

The reason for using many similar tools of the same category is due to easy of doing something at that moment, and no particular loyalty or affinity to one.

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

Thanks for sharing Anurag!

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Igor Moura

I believe I've done something similar in another post, but I guess it's time for a nice update anyway:

Since I've been using Windows at work (ugh), WSL has become a nice stopgap for my terminal needs. Using it along with ConEmu has made things a bit less painful. At home I use xfce4-terminal because it just werks.

For my terminal usage I've been using zsh with oh-my-zsh and my own theme.

Sublime is my favorite text editor, and the one I mostly use at home, but since I do no own a valid license (yet, I swear I'll buy it... someday), I've been using VSCode at work, it's a bit slower but manages to get things done. I also like to have Wakatime installed, as to track how uΜΆnΜΆproductive I am.

Chrome has been my browser of choice for a couple years now, gotta love all the integration and sync it offers.

As for miscellaneous tools, the ones I use most are clang, gcc, avrdude, openocd and picocom (putty on Windows). Oh let's not forget about git, of course.

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I tried tmux for a while but I went back to screen because it's super basic enough for me :D

I migrated to Firefox for the same reason, I also use it on my Android with sync between them. I keep Chrome around for testing and for Google Hangouts/Meet that doesn't work on Firefox :-( - the developers tools are great, I just miss Lighthouse (which is from Google :D).

Didn't know about Figma, thanks for the tip! It must be a huge React app...

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Nayeon Kim

Yay notion! I was recently I introduced to it and I love it so much as a knowledgebase. I am getting ready to introduce it to my team and a little nervous they might not want to adopt it. People are getting tired of new software it seems... :p

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

Nice Nayeon! Let me know how it goes with your team. Definitely adoption is a little tough, but I think as long as someone is maintaining it, folks will see the value and really support it.

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Ben Sinclair

I'm still surprised Apple hasn't baked in their own window management system in macOS

I'm not :)

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

Right on Alex! Yeah I've been using it for a few weeks now and it's a really cool tool with a lot of options. I just ran a test doing real time collaboration on a single doc with others yesterday and it lagged compared to Google docs, but I imagine it will only get better from here.

For what I was looking for, which is a knowledge/wiki for my team, it helps create diverse content and I love how you can organize things.

Would love to know what you're using it for and how your experience goes!

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Thomas Landin

I'm not using it professionally, but I've started using it as a knowledge base/information sharing here at home with my wife and for myself.

I read a good blog post a while back that brought up some tips for home owners and how to stay on top of things. For example they suggested simple quarterly checklists for things you do once a month or less (clean drains in the bathrooms, deep cleaning the house, testing fire/smoke detectors, etc.) to make sure you don't miss things. So I keep templates of those in Notion.

Another tip they had was to keep a "project list" of things you'd like to do that aren't something you just whip up after work one day. Repainting rooms, rip up those old bushes and plant new ones, build that fence, re-carpet that other room, etc. So I made a Kanban-esque board in Notion where we dump those ideas and use simple tags to arrange them by priority, roughly estimated duration etc. So if we feel like doing something and we know we have X hours we pick something appropriate from the board and get it done.

We also use it to store things like trip ideas, movies we want to watch, and favorite recipes.

It's all set up to be fairly asynchronous so we rarely edit the same page simultaneously so we never run into any sluggishness related to that. It is also very easy to (on web or desktop, not mobile) import data from other sources with existing integration with many of the tools you mention (Dropbox, Figma, etc.)

It's also trivial to get a full data dump by going to the top level of your setup and hit "Export All As Markdown", it gets you a zip file with everything including imported images. So you aren't locked into Notion forever and you aren't screwed if they go belly up.

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

Thomas! I love this. Thanks for sharing. That was definitely one of my fears for adoption of Notion, since it's new and there's always they risk of it disappearing. I hope for their long term success but nice to know you can export all to markdown :)

hansvdlaan profile image

Great article, you gave us a lot of new tools to check out!

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Ali Spittel

Congrats on the CTO job!!!! I am also obsessed with Spectacle. Have you used Sketch before, if so how does it compare to Figma?

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author • Edited

Thanks Ali! πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Spectacle is sooo good right?

I have used Sketch before and thought it was the bees knees.

Figma is a powerful tool. For me what appealed to me is, it is web-based so it is agnostic to a specific OS which makes it is more accessible than other options. I think for most of what Sketch was providing me of putting together design for UI interfaces and vector based illustrations it is awesome. I have used it for creating icons, app interfaces and illustrations so it is versatile. Where it really shines is collaboration.

In my last team at CloudBees design, we had explored other options, Sketch being the tool they had used across the entire team. But as we were ramping up our UI architecture, advocating for a design led approach and figuring out ways for dev and design to have better hand off, Figma, although didn't do everything well, checked off enough marks for us to adopt as a team.

It was nice cause we got to consolidate tools by switching to Figma since we got real time collaboration, commenting, building prototypes and team shared components all in one app/service.

One draw back for me though was the web-based approach as well. Although the desktop app will generate a .fig extension for offline use, I do like working offline at times or am forced to work offline because of a lack of wifi. This made me nervous cause I wasn't sure if Figma would reconcile changes from two sources well; meaning offline file with cloud save.

But yeah if you haven't tried it out yet, totally encourage you to check it out!

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Noah Betzen

I disagree with JIRA being great; JIRA is one of my least favorite project management tools.

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Ravern Koh

Do you pay for Figma?

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Michael Lee πŸ• Author

For personal use, right now I don't since I don't have the need to have a shared space. But for work, yes, definitely paid as the added features was essential for collaboration as a design team.

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Enrique Moreno Tent

An interesting topic to blog about. Here is mine: