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the tools in my development environment

I've been in this job for four months, and I think I have the development environment I want. Things are fitting together more nicely than they have in a long, long time. Fundamentally, I'm using the mac for client side computing, and whatever I can find for a server.

  • mac g5 (dual-2, 1 gb ram). running Tiger. This is plenty fast so long as I don't try to run a server or a java VM. It's a client machine.

  • dell inspiron 8200 running OpenLaszlo, tomcat, mandrake 10.1. Just a 1.5 gigahertz processor and 512 mb of ram, but the java runtime outperforms the mac's by a factor of 5.

  • BBEdit, mostly just because it's a classic and the key commands are easier on my hands than emacs. I've been switching editors for so long that I don't really have a home, but Scott Evans pointed out that at some point playing with new tools just becomes a way to avoid doing real work... so I'm sticking with BBEdit for a while. Also because my employer bought a BBEdit license for me.

  • PathFinder by cocoatech. Industrial-strength, professional-grade Finder. I need massive speed and control when navigating the filesystem, and I need to do it all right from the keyboard. Macworld gave it 4.5 mice, which really made me take notice. Superb integration of the terminal, a graphical file browser, preview, info, shortcuts, keyboard commands. I'm just getting started with this but it is already a major productivity enhancer.

  • xScope by IconFactoryfor on-screen pixel measurement and color sampling

  • perforce, industrial-strength version control. Version control we pay money for. A set of related changes are a changeset, which can be treated as a unit. Nice graphical tools, but since I'm becoming keyboard-kid, I'm getting into the command line.
  • bash, find, grep, and terminal. Did I mention that I like the command line?

  • Safari. for a while I felt bad that I wasn't using firefox, but I'm over that now. Safari works for me, except when it crashes, and I know the keyboard commands.

  • Quicksilver. It took some work to get me and Quicksilver working together well, but now we're just in love. It's all about rapid keyboard navigation.

  • OmniGraffle 4. Now my diagrams can look like I'm a designer. Sort of.

What I'm not using:

  • Microsoft Office. I threaten to get out my machine gun whenever anyone sends me a word file; this technique has been surprisingly effective at reducing the number of doc attachments.

  • Macromedia Flash. LZX is my authoring tool for Flash. I write Flash via lzx. Every once in a while I think, hmm, could I do that in the Flash application? That thought passes more quickly than I can requisition a chunk of expensive software.

So, look at that: a few small-to-moderate tools, each focused on one goal. From the universe of software and methodologies, I'm picking the ones that work best for me... Tiny tools which work together. I wonder what government would look like if I could set it up just like my development machine.

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