Tools I Use

So first off, heads up: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Sorry not sorry. 🤷‍♂️

Hardware

Macbook Pro 15″ – Total Mac fanboy, I know. But I’m very happy having this 15″ after working on both a 13″ Macbook and retina iMac previously. Best of both the productivity and portability worlds. (Also, space grey! ✨)

At home, my MacBook sits on a Rain Design mStand, which I’ve had for 3 computers now, and I still love it.

I currently have a 10 yo external Dell monitor that I’ll replace, eventually… This is the monitor I’m dreaming of. (But I’m making myself achieve some performance goals before I buy it!) 🤣

I ended up buying this 32″ 4K LG monitor on a recommendation/tweet from Wes Bos.

Software

Sublime Text – I like Sublime a lot. I know the cool kids are all on VS Code now, but I couldn’t switch for one reason… I didn’t find a replacement for my favorite Sublime shortcut/command: CMD-D to select “next-same-thing”. (Am I missing something here???) 

I’m now fully aboard the VS Code train. Change is hard! But I adjusted after a couple months.

Coda – FTP program with code editor built in. From the dark days of editing live sites on the fly! I know, I know. But I still love it for dropping in a robot.txt file or editing the wp-config file. 🤷‍♂️

Local – For local WordPress development. I have exactly 2 sites on Local by Flywheel (as of the writing of this post) but don’t think I’m going back to MAMP (after years of using it). I’m a sucker 🍭 for that super nice Flywheel UI.

Hyper – Terminal for Mac, but nicer.

Tower – A Git app for Mac. I seem to init stuff on the command line, but manage repos long-term in Tower. Plus, pretty. I’m actually rocking the command line for 90% of all Git stuff now? 😱#learningiscool #git

Spark – Got over the look of Mac’s Mail.app. Spark is nicer-looking, and works well-enough.

Dropbox – I have every-client-file-ever backed up on a Dropbox Pro account.

Tech

WordPress – I ❤️ WordPress. I’ve been developing with WordPress for 10+ years and using it even longer and haven’t found an easier product to 1.) customize, and/then 2.) hand off to my clients.

WordPress Themes

  • _s – “Underscores” blank/un-styled WordPress theme. For going fully-custom.
  • JointsWP (based on the Foundation CSS boilerplate). When a site needs “all the things”.
  • Beaver Builder – Drag & Drop WordPressing. I like to use this tool when I need to move fast & loose. Like a one-pager that needed to be up yesterday. 

Must Use Plugins

Web Hosting, Domains and Business Services.

I’ve hosted this site and my client sites on MediaTemple forever. Their Grid service is great for hosting a medium-size project or handful of small sites.

I’m now recommending WPEngine to my clients, after feeling (MT) was falling behind, in terms of service, features/functionality and performance.

For a single/smaller project I also recommend SiteGround, and have had a great experience with them as well.

I use Hover.com to buy/manage all of my domains. Their support is great, and they don’t “play games” at checkout with tricky up-sells or add-ons you (probably) don’t need.

On the business side of things, I switched from Paychex to Gusto for running payroll, and it’s amazing. Gusto’s web app is modern, beautiful, and easy to use, and makes me dread doing end-of-month stuff just a little less. 😉

Books

A Book Apart – Series
The whole A Book Apart series is excellent. Books by people at the forefront of our industry writing on the issues that matter. Book 7 in the series – Design is a Job, by Mike Monteiro – is one of my all-time favorite books, and not just in the “about websites” category. 💯

Digging into WordPress – Chris Coyier & Jeff Starr
This was my intro to WordPress development 10+ years ago. I dig it. 

Execute – Drew Wilson and Scott Long
A perspective changing read for me. Riffing on Yoda’s teachings, “Do or do not. There is no try.” 

HTML & CSS – Jon Ducket
A beautiful & thorough book about the basics building for the web. I got this after I knew HTML & CSS pretty well, but definitely wished I’d had it sooner. And I still page through it from time to time.

Podcasts

  • Web-related: Shoptalk Show, Syntax, Tools Day, PageBreak, Script & Style
  • Other: Hurry Slowly (work/life), Above & Beyond (trance music), This American Life (and others from MPR), FilmSpotting (film critique)

Websites