Updated November 14 2022
The following are most of the tools that I use day to day to build software for the web. They are the tools I most understand, most rely on and the tools that I am most fond of. I think people might be surprised at how vanilla my set up is. I am typically the last person to adopt a new tool because I favour the things I know how to use productively.
Qualities of Good Tools
Over the years, I've tried lots of tools. The ones that have stuck around for me share some mix of these qualities:
I'll be honest, when I first tried TS, I really didn't like it. I wasn't used to type-safe programming and thought having to declare the type of everything was unneesary. Now, having seen so many problems arise from type-unsafe projects, I sware by type safety.
Before 2020 I just wrote JS in ES6 syntax and transpiled it to ES5.
Before 2014 I tried out Coffeescript and liked it. I can't recall why I didn't stick to it. Perhaps this primed me to love Python's syntax?
Before 2014 I just wrote a lot of poorly organized and sprawling CSS files.
I have used other tools for bundling like Webpack, Babel, Gulp and Grunt in the past. I find them all to ask the developer to learn and configure far too much.
Before 2013 I wrote server-side code in PHP. I credit Brendan Lynch with introducing me to Python and the basic tools. The language has come a long way since 2.7. It's my favourite programming lanuage and the one I recommend without hesitation to anyone.
Infra has never been of much interest to me. I have run
kubectl and deployed to AWS in the past, but I have always favored paying Heroku to worry about my infrastructure whenever possible. I also usually work at the early stages of projects where costs are not as important to tune.
Before 2021, I used Heroku to deploy applications to the internet. I moved away from Heroku because the platform began showing a lack of maintenance from their acquirers.
Before 2016 I would use Digital Ocean droplets and run and update applications. If I wanted to trade a bit of value for complexity, I would move a project off Heroku to Digital Ocean.
Before 2021 I would just use virtualenv, .env files and detailed instructions to set up local development. Docker makes this more scalable for teams, but I don't use it for personal projects unless they require specific versions of databases.
Mac Mini M1
This computer is terrific value. It's very fast, silent and has the ports I need. If I end up doing more ML work locally, I will replace it with the rumored Mac Pro with Apple Silica.
Apple Pro Display XDR
I wouldn't recommend this display. Here's why:
- Poor value. The price point makes it pretty hard to recommend. You pay more for the how did they do that? hardware.
- The matrix of backlighting is visible as darker vertical bands in certain situations. For example, when I swipe from one virtual desktop to another. My guess is that the refresh rate of the backlighting is lower than the LCD.
- There is a ghosting / halo effect in high-contrast, on-black conditions. For example, when the Apple TV logo appears before "Swan Song (2021)"