Productivity Tools

Ever been working along and say to yourself “whoa, where’d the time go”?  Then you look back and can’t believe how much you’ve got done?  Sometimes it just magically happens to be sure, but I think the tools I’m using must play a big role in it (and turning off my email and cell).  These are the tools I find myself using in those spontaneous moments.
The tools of my productive environment

CodeIgniter, ExpressionEngine, Firefox and plugins, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Coda and the interweb.

Notice how the operating system is not there?  I haven’t found any noticeable difference between operating systems, as long as my macbook is plugged into a nice big monitor.  I do notice a decline as my screenspace goes down.  That said, there is something psychological going on there, since I want to use the Mac more then I ever wanted to use a pc.  I must be influenced by all those ipod and “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials.  I’m such a slave to media…

I’ve always liked Dreamweaver (yes its expensive, but feature for feature as good as any editor I’ve ever seen including Textmate), but I absolutely hate it on my Mac - and truthfully, its only 1 thing… I hate all those dopey floating panels.  I’ve been spending a bit of time with Coda.  Yeah there’s a lot of hype, but it isn’t undeserved.  I like the integrated environment, I have absolutely no need for a CSS editor (its nice that its included, but I don’t use it anyhow), and I find the terminal completely adequate.  I might just buy it since the trial runs out in a few days.

CodeIgniter and ExpressionEngine have completely revolutionized the way I build sites in the last year.  Fireworks has been my “go to” image editor for a long time now.  Its combination of vector and bitmap tools have been ideal for me, although a switch to Illustrator might happen if I find the right project. 

What tools do you find yourself using when the magic moment strikes?


Jos? Carlos wrote on

I have to agree with you: Coda is deserves the hype. The built-in CSS editor has now replaced CSSEdit. I just don’t use ExpressionEngine, but. Probably after reading Blog Design Solutions I’ll start to use it. :)

Jon Trelfa wrote on

I find myself switching between UltraEdit and Dreamweaver.  There are specific features that each one has and I wish there was just one editor (to rule them all) that had each of these:

—typing </ will complete whatever html tag I’m in the middle of.
—Syntax highlighting is one of the best
—Switching between code and half/design mode makes it easier to shove large blocks of text and/or long UL’s into the page without manually typing or copy/pasting

—typing ‘..’ can be auto-replaced with a ->.  This makes OO PHP much less of a PITA
—“auto” code folding: A function followed by curly braces is recognized as a block of foldable code and a little plus sign is immediately available - very nice.
—reads “symbols” available in the PHP code to help with code-completion for each individual project.

CodeIgniter is a must-have.  I haven’t had my chance at EE yet - but I’m looking forward to it :)

James Nicol wrote on

So I was 1 day into testing out Coda, and I am told my 15 trial period has expired!
That really blows as I was beginning to enjoy using it.

Matthew Pennell wrote on

My biggest “in the groove” enablers are probably iTunes, Aptana, Firebug, and the Visual jQuery API docs. Apart from that, I’m slowly getting the hang of Expression Engine, and obviously Google and are always handy.

@Jose: I could never replace CSSEdit - it’s hands-down the best CSS editor I’ve ever used.

Jos? Carlos wrote on

@Matthew: I agree with you , it’s just that now I don’t have to switch applications that often.

TaMeR wrote on

I am all about open source.
I use Linux Debian, Jedit, CodeIgnitor. By the way your movie files have no sound in linux, had to switch to windows also your site is down something about ‘Unable to connect to your database server using the provided settings.’

Thanks for the video

Derek wrote on

Opps.  Just switched servers and forgot to update the connection settings.  Thanks!

So, none of the 4 formats I made available played for you in linux?  Whoa.  I ran Mandrake, Suse and Ubuntu for years and never found anything that bad.

Henry Jin wrote on

My working environment is: Eclipse(plug-ins: PHP Development Tool + Mylar) for coding, Subversion & TortoiseSVN for version control, Wamp5 for Apache+MySQL+PHP5 servers, CakePHP for PHP framework, jQuery for JavaScript and AJAX framework.

You may have noticed that 1) I didn’t mention image editing. Yeah, my visual designing sucks. 2) I didn’t mention OS. Yeah, I use Windows at office and Ubuntu at home. Both rocks. 3) All these tools are free. Yeah, so that I put aside money for junk food.

My friend urges me to kiss CodeIgniter, which I just started to put my hands on.

Just said bye-bye to DOJO, too cumbersome…

Oh, one last thing: FireFox + Firebug + Google Toolbar! Without it, I can not debug,  can not bookmark tech article, can not search in real-time for myriad API docs like CakePHP, jQuery, GMAP, FPDF…can not survive!

Andre wrote on

Could I ask why you use ExpressionEngine (great piece of software), and also use codeigniter.

Do you use ExpressionEngine as part of development? or is it somthing you give to your clients as the default CMS?

Derek wrote on

Hey Andre.  Of course - EE is singularly the best CMS I’ve ever seen.  For anything “inside the box” (ie: a “standard” website) then I use ExpressionEngine as I find it accelerates my development dramatically. 

When I use CodeIgniter is when I need to build an application that is not like 99% of the websites on the net - generally this means data intensive applications such as BambooInvoice, or data intensive sites (think mutual funds, trading companies, etc).  Since EE and CI are so closely related, its easy to be comfortable with them both, and “out of the box” EE is setup and ready to go.

So really, it boils down to the task at hand.