I am Peter Breuls. I write web applications in PHP, movie reviews and irregularly something on this weblog. Welcome!
Through my company Devize, I'm available as a developer or a consultant for websites or web applications.
I work as an Administrator at online community FOK! and as a Lead Developer at frontoffice supplier SIMgroep.

Tools of the trade, revisited

about:breuls / Techcomment

Looking back at old posts on this blog, I found my list of tools that I used on a daily basis, back in 2008 when summer in this country lasted longer than a day. Since I'm still doing some of the same work as I did then, let's see how much of it has kept its place in my toolbox.

  • I'm still working on a MacBook Pro, although of course a more recent model. In 2008 I wrote that I had the Mac as an 'extra' machine next to an Ubuntu desktop. That's no longer the case and hasn't been in a long time. The desktop is gone, and I've completely adopted OSX as my main platform. In the meanwhile I have started using an iPhone and an iPad, partly because I like how stuff fits together.
  • I'm no longer using Zend Studio. After being bummed about the 300 euro price tag for an upgrade, I switched to Netbeans for a while. That was about four years ago. Recently, I have started using PHPStorm, which is awesome and will probably have completely replaced Netbeans in my workflow within a month from now. Still using Textmate, by the way, for the quick-and-easy edits.
  • Still using Transmit for (s)FTP. No changes there, although I have added some hooks to the Git repository for this site so that when I push edits from my editor, the software is deployed to production. So FTP is out when it comes to updating my website.
  • iTerm has stuck as well. No CVS anymore, of course, and Subversion is almost completely out of the picture in favor of Git. But I don't think that last step will take long.
  • Query Browser is out, Navicat Lite is in. Works fine. 'Nuff said.
  • Zend Core has been succeeded by Zend Server.
  • XDebug is still firmly placed in my toolbox, now also including the actual debugging, of which I didn't even realize how powerful it was, five years ago.
  • As I've switched to Google Chrome as my browser, I no longer use the FireFox/Firebug combo. However, what Firebug adds to FireFox is something that Chrome has by default, and I couldn't imagine working without it.
  • YSlow: out. I'm way less involved in frontend work, so this has become less of a focus point.
  • CSSEdit: out. I'm just using Netbeans or PHPStorm now.
  • OPML Editor: out, unfortunately. It just runs sluggishly, doesn't work (or look) all that well. Pity, because I'd still love an app like that to be part of my workflow. For notes, I now usually use Evernote. Hell, I'm writing this blog post in it.
  • VMWare Fusion: out. I have a Virtualbox install with Ubuntu (and Windows), but I'm only rarely using it. I have enough tools in OSX to replace what I did in 2008.

So that's the status of those older tools. What I have added:

  • Git. It's awesome. Any developer who doesn't see the added value of switching from a regular VCS to a DVCS isn't being serious about their work. And Git has a plethora of unbelievably useful features. In addition to Git, I use SourceTree from the fine folks at Atlassian for graphical support of my version controlling.
  • Kaleidoscope. This is the visual diff tool I have been looking for since I lost Kompare when I stopped using Linux as my OS. In version 2 it gained merge capabilitites, which prompted me to buy a license immediately. It's a delight to use this, as it plugs in nicely with version control, my editors and even the OSX clipboard. Big recommendation here.
  • I used Versions as my SVN client for a while, but with the drop of SVN for version control, that has slowly gone. Pretty nice Subversion client, though.
  • iA Writer. Next to writing PHP code, I also often write for FOK!, where I'm an Administrator and Editor. I write reviews about movies and tv shows, and iA Writer is a nice, clean writing interface that just lets me write without distraction. I can really focus on the text and worry about markup and layout later.
  • TicToc: a simple time tracker that helps me keep a tab on what I need to bill clients. When I leave my computer and forget the timer, it notifies me when I return that I might have forgotten the timer and offers to reset it, which is nice.

And all kinds of smaller stuff. On the personal front, I'm still using VLC for video, although I'm mostly streaming video to a receiver (my PlayStation) to watch video, using the Twonky app. RealPlayer has been replaced by the flash widget on the BBC Radio 1 web site and Twitterific has been replaced with Twitter for Mac. Still using iTunes, but I've also become a Spotify Premium subscriber.

So not much has changed, software-wise. Just refined. I'm not expecting a lot of changes in the next five years.