Tools of the trade for 2012


There are a few standard apps that will perhaps never change as I see them essential for any type of web development (especially on OSX).

Old favourites.



Not much needs to be said here. I know there are alternatives for running a LAMP stack on osx but once you get your local server setup properly I don't think there is much benefit to using another app.



There has been a lot of talk about designing in the browser recently and while I think that suits some types of designs, I think I will always resort to a design app when i want to quickly throw together an idea.

I could never get the feel for Photoshop for designing for the web. I think it's more out of habit rather than anything else, but Fireworks is certainly my go to app for designing outside of the browser. My only worry about this is that there are some rumours that Fireworks won't be updated to work on the Retina. Let's hope that's not the case.

CSS Edit


CSS Edit has actually been discontinued and incorporated into the Espresso app (see below) but despite this I still prefer to use this app in stand alone mode rather than the version integrated into Espresso. At some point I will probably have to change this but for now CSS Edit is my key css editor. Find a download if you can.



Phing has been an integral part of our local build environment for almost two years but it's worth restating how important it is in terms of automating our build and packaging processes.

I use a modified version of this TermHere app that triggers the build process, which automatically creates the template, framework or extension package and then builds the quickstart package and opens the demo in the browser - all from a single click in the finder.

New apps in to the fold ...



I bought the app for this online tool but whether you use the app online or on your desktop it's an awesome - and beautiful - app that you can use to clean up, compress and prettify your css.



I've been a long term user of Textmate and have dabbled with Smultron, Coda and Sublime as my primary text editor, but as of today Espresso holds the key for me in terms of managing my code projects.

I like it for a lot of reasons:

  • the UI is nice and clean
  • the search function is very handy
  • project management is easy to control

I know that Sublime is the key app for a lot of web developers at the moment and I'll probably revisit that app soon but for the time being Espresso is always open on my desktop.

Chrome Inspector


In the beginning I used firebug, but that was when I enjoyed using firefox as a browser. Then I moved to Safari and it's inspector, but for me, the update to Safari 6 really reduced the usability of the Safari inspector.

So now my browser of choice is Chrome and the bundled Chrome inspector.



We recently shifted our project management from Assembla to the Podio app and I honestly can't believe the way this has changed the way that we get things done - and that's only in a week of using it.

I plan on writing a dedicated post on this app but in the meantime Podio is a killer app because:

  • It has an activity stream that easily helps you to follow team activity and also comment directly on any issues. It's like Facebook for project management - I can hear some of you groanign already but seriously, don't knock it until you have tried it.
  • It's super flexible. You can create your own apps that cater to the specific needs of your team or project and thats all with a drag and drop interface.
  • It has an inbox that actually works. 1. Login check your inbox 2. View the stuff that's been assigned to you 3. Fix stuff. No more wading through your email client to follow correspondance or keep abreast of changes happning in the code.
  • Beautiful UI - simple clean and quick.

What do you use?

I know I missed some apps here and those listed above are decidely Mac-centric - so let us know what you use to build your templates, extensions or sites with.

Workflow is such a personal thing. It's kind of like an alchemical process getting the right mix of apps and tasks working together in the right way - but when you do - it's pure poetry.

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