Stuff & guff about the web, design, and what’s inspiring us at The Bold.

Developer Tools

Developer Tools

Every profession has their tools of the trade. Builders have power tools, accountants have calculators, and I have software. Here are a few of the ones I can't live without.

Google Chrome

A bit of an obvious one, but one of the most important. Not only is it the best browser for performance, it has the best developer tools by far. They allow me to analyse a site's performance and speed during the development process and optimise it on the fly.

I can check each request a website is making, how long it takes, and when it starts and finishes. There are graph and timeline representations. I can directly manipulate the page code and test changes live in the browser, and much more. Needless to say, without Chrome, developing a website would take five times longer.

Google Chrome developer tools


The terminal should be every developers best friend. It allows me to access files and folders through a command line interface. I can access Homebrew, an OS X package management tool that allows me to easily install software like Git, MySQL, the latest PHP version, and many others.

Live site files can be directly accessed by opening up a secure channel into the server using SSH, from here I can manage the server, install server modules, or update site files.

Git version control is also managed through the Terminal, and this allows me to track every change made to a website.

Terminal is one of the most used pieces of software on my iMac.

The OS X Terminal


The (current) code editor of choice. There are masses of them out there, some free, some not. What separates Brackets from the others? It is developed by Adobe and integrates seamlessly with Photoshop files, allowing me to access PSD layers from with the editor. This speeds up my process significantly, creating less back and forth between PSD files and Brackets. It also has a well laid out file/folder structure and excellent colour coding.

Brackets Preview


Site optimisation is very important, and Codekit is an excellent tool in helping to achieve this. It has built in compilers, allowing easy collating and compressing of files. Codekit links a site's asset files across browsers and devices, and refreshes them all on the fly as files change. I can edit files, and Codekit will compile them immediately, then update all browsers I have open. This means less time spent hopping back and forth.

The features that Codekit offer could be done through the Terminal, using different modules and commands, but Codekit makes it so easy it's hard to pass up.

Sequel Pro

The best and easiest database management application out there. It gives me easy access to multiple servers and the databases on them. Normally this is done through PHP MyAdmin, or through the server control panel, but those interfaces are ugly and counter intuitive. Sequel Pro is the opposite, and best of all it's free.