I came across an episode of The Pen Addict, where Brad and Myke were discussing an article from the Financial Times going over Jony Ive’s “tools of [the] trade”. Of course, there were some obscenely priced items on the list. But anyone would agree that no job can be done well without the right tools, regardless of profession. They benefit productivity and can even affect job satisfaction. In web development, the right tooling can make or break a product.
So I thought I’d make a small list with some of the more crucial tools I use on my day-to-day as a web dev and why I picked them. If you’d like a long and dirty list of everything I use, you can visit my Uses page.
Most of these items don’t work in isolation; they require additional gear. But I want to focus on the main tool that delivers the benefit, sort of speak.
It all starts here. 90% of my work is done with a keyboard. So it goes without saying that the experience needs to be comfortable and seamless. I don’t want to have to think about my keyboard, feel fatigued, or have to deal with compatibility. My employers change my machine often enough that it needs to be plug-and-play. And the HHKB fits all these needs perfectly. The built quality is phenomenal and made to last. The keys feel smooth and cause no fatigue on the hands. And this thing will work with anything. I’ve plugged it into any OS, tablet, phone, or gaming console. It just works.
Just like the keyboard, this needs to disappear and do its job well. But also not cause any strain on the wrist. While there are plenty of ergonomic mice, this one has been the most reliable. Logitech has a good enough track record that I don’t have to worry about it dying any time soon. It’s been running strong for a few years now.
Although I do everything in my power to minimize the time spent in meetings, I still want to sound my best. Video calls are not as common now with the introduction of Slack Huddles. So I like to ensure my voice is heard clearly when I’m getting my message across. The RE320 is the right balance of quality and affordability.
I love these headphones. You need a decent DAC + AMP to get the most out of them, but they’re affordable enough and don’t require that much juice to power them. They sound clean, but not too much. So listening to podcasts or music for hours on end is smooth and enjoyable.
These are mostly centered around VSCode, where I spend almost all my time. These tools are meant to extend and enhance my productivity without having to leave the editor unless completely necessary.
Terminal emulators are a dime a dozen. But I want something robust and stable. Not a fancy and excessively customizable app. Just a terminal where I can tweak how it looks and that’s it. This is just that. You can install it via several package managers and customize it with a single YAML file. And it just never fails.
Launchers aren’t as overpopulated as terminals, but there are a few options aside from macOS’ Spotlight. I’ve tried them all. Raycast has the best user experience. It’s not as customizable as Alfred, but you can easily make it your own and write your custom scripts that plug into the app’s API. It also provides a fantastic clipboard and snippets manager. As well as window manager. I replaced 3 others apps with just this one.
This is a simple one. It gives you granular control over your Mac’s audio. Down to the app and the output source. Everyone should install this app. It’s just a nice quality of life improvement.
Say what you will about letting AI write your code. We all know these things are one billionaire throwing a tantrum away from being run into the ground. AI will not replace developers. I’m sure it can spit out some decent algorithms. But can it debug a Redux bug on a legacy React app that’s under years and countless devs’ worth of code? No. It cannot. We barely can. So until then, I’ll just use it to help me write useable snippets. And Copilot those that job well enough.
It’s steroids for VSCode Git. There are a ton of little quality-of-life improvements added throughout your default git experience.
This magnificent plugin has saved my ass so much time. Sure, you can use git blame and traverse the commit tree. But this? This makes all that effort human-readable. I just wish it had line numbers.
VSCode already integrates quite well with GitHub, but this plugin adds full PR functionality right into the editor. If you’re in the flow and don’t want to venture out, this will allow you to make that PR right where you are and move on to the next issue.
Everyone writes code comments. Or at least they should. This just makes them pop more and thus more readable.
I’ll go ahead and say that you need this git plug-in. It integrates into git and makes most of the outputs so much easier to parse with beautiful syntax highlighting and useful info. And it works with diffs too.
There’s a plethora of good terminal prompts to choose from. But I opted for this because it’s built with Rust, can be fully configured from a YAML file, and it’s pretty nice. There’s no complicated installation process. It’s just a single binary.
This app is amazing. It integrates into your terminal and takes over as your shell history manager. And it works so well. You can easily jump between what’s immediately available or search through your history. And the search is just phenomenal.