January 2015

I was trying to think of the first thing I wanted to write about, and I had a lot of ideas, but I'd thought I'd start with something easy. If there's one thing developers love, it's tools. There is no better way to procrastinate working on something boring than playing with a new toy.

Text Editors & IDE's

I don't know why I mentioned IDE's at all. I don't use one. I've tried a lot of them. The learning curve always seems to steep for the benefit they provide. I'm much more excited about most of the features found in decent text editors than in most IDE's. Maybe one day this will change, and I'm sure there is value in using one.

Atom is my editor of choice these days. I was a big fan of Sublime Text 2. But I find Atom does a lot of the same stuff, has very similar speed, and is just a bit easier to configure and customize. There are a tonne of packages and themes available. It integrates nicely with git, too.

I still use TextMate from time to time, especially for just quickly editing one file.


I've used quite a few frameworks over the years, but the clear winner to me is Laravel. I've tried out CodeIgniter, Yii, Fuel and a few others, but none have grabbed me the way Laravel has. It feels very elegant, and the tools they provide (Artisan) are outstanding. The community is great, as are the tutorials and resources available. If you haven't given it a chance, I would highly recommend it. Some of new features coming in Laravel 5 are mind-blowing.

The other framework I am pretty excited about is Meteor. Meteor is a framework for Node.js apps. They've recently announced a partnership with PhoneGap to make developing mobile apps even easier, so that's something I am going to keep my eye on.

One thing I am absolutely done with is the CMS world. I am not doing any more work using Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, Expression Engine, etc. They end up being a nightmare to maintain and secure, and are filled with examples of how to do things the wrong way. I've built my fair share of sites on these platforms, but I have retired them from my toolbox.

Web & Mobile Apps

If you haven't heard of GitHub by now, I am not sure where you've been. It's as essential to development as having a keyboard.

I am a big user of FreshBooks and I am not sure how I could do on my own what they provide me. It's worth every cent I pay for it.

Trello is great for working with teams and collaborating on projects. It gives you a lot of flexibility on how you can setup your project. It would work just as well for an app development project as it would for a house remodelling project. I've used Basecamp in the past, and I like it, too. It's just not free.

I like Wunderlist for tracking personal and family tasks.

Tangible Tools

Every developer needs a good set of real tools for the real world. Here are a couple I like: