We all have the tools that make our world go round. Today I was wondering what other developers use to churn out their designs and I took stock of what tools I use. Hopefully you will find something new that you have never used before and love it.
I used notepad++ for years, then one day someone turned me on to Sublime Text. I have not opened notepad++ since. My favorite features are the multiple selections and the split view editing. Having large monitors, being able to open several files side by side saves an enormous amount of time, no more switch windows for me. The project switching is a nice feature too, especially when you are working on multiple sites at the same time.
Snagit is the best screen capture tool I have used. You can capture images, video, or text with it. I rely on it heavily for showing clients functionality in their shopping carts. I have a list of mini movies for them to watch that show them basic through advanced operations in their shopping carts. The screen shot functionality is also great for showing clients changes or marking images up too.
Adobe Creative Cloud
This is the single investment that has saved me the most money. For $49 a month you get access to over 20 Adobe programs. What makes the Creative Cloud an excellent deal in my case is that you can use programs you would not normally buy. If you have a one off job, it might not be worth it to buy a license for a program you might never use again, with the Creative Cloud you have access to that program without any additional charge. This is an excellent investment.
I used to handle all of my billing by hand in Paypal until I discovered PancakeApp on reddit. After purchasing it and testing it out, I just cannot go back to anything else. When I do graphics for clients, I can have it set to automatically send the graphics after they pay. I love that feature, because I can send an invoice and go get coffee without worrying about sending the files. Pancake makes it dead simple to track invoices and see who has yet to pay.
To me Spoon beats the brakes off of running different virtual machines. Spoon is a browser plugin that can utilizes virtualization to run thousands of programs without having to install them on your local machine. I really take advantage of the different versions of IE, Chrome, and Firefox. Between those browsers there are 36 different versions that you can run.
myRepono is an interesting service that backs databases up and stores them offsite. I maintenance agreements with several clients for their e-commerce shops and I use myRepono with everyone. I have a SVN for the files on the website, so backing them up is not necessary, but the SQL databases change so often it is now reasonable to back them up after every time someone purchases from the sites. MyRepono works automatically, you can set the frequency up and the best part is, once it backs up a database it sends it to their server where it is stored. If a server ever crashes, I can have a client redeployed on another machine in under 30 minutes. That is why MyRepono rocks.
I have heard countless people talk about holds put on their accounts and other horror stories from Paypal, but I have never had one myself. Sure I have had holds put on my account, but they were taken off quickly when I provided them with additional information. As a freelance developer Paypal is my main form of payment, I even have the debit card.
Everyone has their favorite SEO suite, but after trying several I have come to the SEO Moz camp. The suite of tools it offers saves me countless hours of time if I were to try to collect all of that information on my own. It displays the information in a clear concise manner that is easy to understand and easy to work with. They also have a great blog, a great video series, and tutorials to get you started in SEO.
Beyond compare is another tool I cannot live without. Some of my client’s shops have heavily modified files in them, so when a bug fix comes out affecting one of those files I use Beyond Compare to merge files. I can compare my edited version to the pristine version that I modified off of to the bug updated version. Comparing all three versions saves tons of time then trying to merge different versions without seeing the changes.
I hope you found a new tool for your toolbox with this article!
About the Author: Lesley Paone
Lesley has worked in e-commerce for over a decade, and is the founder of dh42. Starting out with PrestaShop and brancing out into other platforms like Shopify. He loves all things e-commerce and loves a challenge, in his spare time he helps moderate several forums on SEO, e-commerce, as well as the PrestaShop forum. If you have any questions for him about any of his articles just use our contact form to contact him.