Lee’s Apps: Revisited

So, just over a year ago I did an article called ‘Lee’s everyday favourite mac apps, highlighting some of the apps that I used for my work with Kalexiko and in my own pursuits. Now, a year down the line; after thousands of phone calls begging me for for another app blog, not to mention more older, wiser and maybe a touch more cynical…I thought now would be a good time to please my fans and to revisit the blog.
Obviously a lot can change in a year and looking back at some of the apps, indeed a lot has, there are some there that I don’t use anymore, some I still do and some new ones I have thrown in there for good measure.

 

So, this is for you fans, fresh for 2013 I humbly present for you: Lee’s Apps: Revisited.

 

Terminal

Surviving the cut from last year and making a second appearance is Terminal. Terminal is still an invaluable tool for any web developer. It’s fast, ultra-customisable, ultra-controllable and offers little distraction from outside sources- though developer work is gripping anyway. You can still navigate through your remote servers efficiently and easily and automating local tasks is easy and reliable, the Terminal app is an all round winning formula which is why I still use it on a daily basis.

 

However something that I now use which enhances the Terminal experience is something called Terminal 1. Terminal 1 gives me instant access to Terminal through assigning it a hot key. Now whenever I tap the hotkey the terminal window slides down on my current window.

 

Right, so Terminal Pro’s;

  • Quick and efficient usability
  • Navigate through remote servers fluidly
  • Ultra-customisable
  • Uninteruptive
  • Total Terminal

 

Terminal Con’s;

  • You have to pay for an upgrade even though Terminal is a free app.

 

PhpStorm

Last year, I used Sublime Text 2. Admittedly I really loved this app. It was a nice, simple text editor. This has now been overshadowed completely by PhpStorm. PhpStorm is a full-blown IDE application. It’s possibilities are made endless by the sheer number of features that are available- most of which I haven’t even begun to use yet! Better still, PhpStorm has just received a major update which has thrust it right up to date. My favourite part of this update is a style overhaul; codenamed ‘Dracula’. This is a dark UI scheme, which I find personally easier on the eyes- it drains less from you when you spend 8 hours staring at it

 

So, the pro’s are;

  • Extended via plugins
  • Incorporation of many different tools (namely git, which I’ll return to soon)
  • Boasts ‘pro’ level features, consisting of;
  • Code sensing
  • Smart Refactoring
  • Ticket Integration
  • Operates well with other tools (beanstalk, jira, harvest)

 

Stormy Weather;

  • A bit slow to start up
  • Steep learning curve

 

Adobe Fireworks

I have noticed that even my overall usage of Adobe Fireworks gradually decreases as time goes on. This is mainly because I tend to do less graphic work now. However, when I do need to occasionally create a graphic I always return to this.

 

I find it far easier to use than photoshop (I’ll leave that behemoth to Kalexiko design guru Paul).

 

I find the update to CS6 has really boosted the application to new heights; with the right skill you can create awe-inspiring graphics for computers and mobile devices without coding, making it a nice simple program to use but with endless possibilities if you put the time in to master it.

 

So, Adobe’s Fireworks;

  • CS6 update has created more creative possibilities
  • Simpler to use than Photoshop
  • Usability seems to always prevail, regardless of how long I leave it.

 

…and bonfire;

  • Since I don’t create graphics as much, nothing has really grabbed me to want to play with it in my free-time- subliminally I may find it a bit boring (I’ll let you know next year).

 

Gmail

‘A pretty obvious choice, Apple Mail in lion is simply fantastic, full screen mode allows for distraction free communication.’ Well it turned out to be a bad apple. A year on from the last App review, Apple Mail 5 has been completely overtaken by Gmail’s web interface. It’s really not hard to see why. Gmail is far less elusive than Apple mail, it can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, on any machine; as opposed to Apple Mails Mac only policy.

 

So, what makes Gmail a good apple;

  • Superior speed
  • Universal access on any machine with an internet connection

 

Rotten fruit;

  • Limited to having an internet connection (Ed- but realistically speaking where is there not an internet connection?)

 

Basecamp

This wonderful application is still used everyday here at Kalexiko HQ. It’s in the name with this one; it is literally a Basecamp. It is a primary source of contacting with clients, exchanging ideas and sample pieces thus enabling projects to run far smoother. We also use it as a means of connection between ourselves at Kalexiko HQ. We communicate ideas, exchange inspiration and do pretty much everything on here without uttering a word to each other for 8 hours a day…only joking, we are a very sociable bunch; just very busy ALL the time.

 

Retreat to Basecamp;

  • Excellent form of communication between ourselves and clients
  • Ability to share information through a cloud system
  • Easy to use
  • Optimisable with other tools (Harvest for example)
  • New upgrade Basecamp Next has improved all its features

 

Abandon ship?

  • Prepare to never have to talk to another person again
  • You can’t escape work- ever

 

Tower

Tower is still a nice GIT GUI application, however PHPStorm includes excellent GIT integration which has rendered the tower unused. That being said, its still a really nice app, it’s easy to use and nicely designed; meaning that it is quick to grasp and find yourself using it well fast.

 

Tower of Babel;

  • Easy to use
  • Nicely Designed
  • Easy to grasp
  • Low learning curve

 

Leaning Tower of Pisa

  • Slow to start up
  • Stunts a users growth by hiding the complexity that GIT has to offer

 

Beanstalk

This one hasn’t changed at all. Beanstalk is still a great app. Beanstalk still remains as a great place to store all of your precious code in a safe way. It still also allows you to deploy changes quickly and securely. It is accessible anywhere you have an internet connection, which is useful as developers never stop working…

 

The only real downside to the app is that it is run by third party users; meaning that if they have downtime, we also have downtime.

 

Climb the beanstalk

  • Secure place for your precious code
  • Can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection
  • Supports GIT, SVN
  • Includes EASY deployments

 

Cut it down fast!

  • Third party software
  • If they suffer downtime, so do we

 

Transmit

I still think that Transmit is a good FTP client. It boasts a vast amount of nice features which make it a leading FTP client. It is easy to use and has a really nice interface. I rarely use it now as Beanstalk has really taken over the need to use Transmit for my deployments. Beanstalk is just far easier and more secure than Transmit.

Send transmission

  • Easy to use
  • Nice interface

Sever contact

  • Beanstalk is a better option
  • Can be very easy to lose track of what files need to be uploaded

Google Chrome

What can anyone really say about Chrome other than it’s fantastic? It’s a brilliantly user friendly web browser, plain and simple. It has a nice interface and a list of plugins that I think are brilliant.

 

A few that I use are; 1password, gmelius, bonfire for jira, web-developer toolbar and screen capture. With features like this and customisable usability to suit every user it’s really obvious to see why Chrome skyrocketed its usership in 2012 from 35.3% of usership in January to 46.9% in December.

 

Chrome pro’s

  • All round fantastic usability
  • Excellent plug-ins
  • Popularity ensures constant development

 

Chrome cons

  • I really can’t think of any con’s of Chrome, everyone should use it!

 

Spotify

Again, Spotify has stayed on the list, it is the best music player app out there; perfect for when you need to get your head down and work. With Spotify, you can access pretty much all the music there is out there available and even discover new stuff; through sharing playlists, linking with your social media profiles and through the ‘recommendations’ made for you by Spotify. It really is a great app. The only downsides being that unless you upgrade to ‘Pro’ you seem to get bombarded by adverts between each track, which can be very distracting; VERY. But by upgrading to ‘Pro’ you can access so much more music, you lose the adverts and it is an almost un-flawed application. Being able to access it on mobile devices has made the experience even better, your playlists can go everywhere with you and you have almost the whole world of music there on your device.

 

Tune in

  • Access to an endless amount of music
  • Mobile option to use Spotify on the go
  • Excellent social share elements

 

Tune out

  • Adverts are the most annoying thing on earth

While you’re at it why not check out the Kalexiko team playlist, to see what we listen to while our creativity runs wild.

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