I have 5 tools that I’ve discovered or discovered over the past week that help me get my work done in a fun, productive way.
Pencil and paper first
I can focus on things much easier without having to type. If I want to draw instead of write an idea, there are no basic skills to learn, I can just express myself instead. This works well even when coming up with web layout ideas. My hands can better translate what is in my head and my mouse can better duplicated what is already drawn.
There are numerous advantages to local development. Primary one being speed of page loads, etc. No/little reliance on internet (hey, stackoverflow is a MUST!). And the fact that your setup is bound to be simpler than everybody else’s idea of a server.
I use MAMP for my environment.
Subversion control using Git
I’ve only discovered this over the past few days. It’s never been important to me because of really only working with myself or one other person on coding.
Even by myself, however, it has increased the organization of my workflow. I make notes on changes I make, which is bound to be helpful in the future. It makes every change I make that more important and syncs between my computers.
Neat. It was hard to learn. I’ll post a video when I’m satisfied with speaking about it.
Design in-browser without a CMS
I’ve been glued to WordPress over the last couple years. It’s hard to rapidly design for from scratch. Too many variables like content through database, syncing development databases, plugin update garbage, etc.
It’s far easier to use a HTML5 boilerplate, write some page content and begin chipping away at my LESS stylesheet. It’s easier to git, dropbox, deploy, whatever. When it comes to non-blog or non-client sites, I’m through with CMS’es.
Spend time everyday working on personal projects
I find it addictive to finish things. Launching a new project everyday, no matter what the size, keeps me excited about firing up my text editors every day. It’s fun to create cool stuff. And in turn, it is making my pro projects much better.
And that’s it.
Using these methods I’ve found a refreshment in my day to day web development work. What has helped out lately?
Addendum: I started using Firefox again today and it is wonderful for development. I’ll write about it soon.