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Lou Franco
Lou Franco

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Five Pieces of Software I Install to Boost Dev Productivity

As an iOS dev, whenever I get a new dev machine, I need Xcode, homebrew, rbenv (many iOS tools are written in ruby), and some kind of extra code editor (currently I use Sublime).

But, there are a few other things that I find really help me be productive.

#1: RescueTime:

RescueTime monitors the time you use any app or website. Then, it categorizes your time based on what that app or site is usually used for (and is very customizable).

I monitor my own productivity to make sure I keep myself honest. This is because I think of my dev machine as factory equipment. If I find that a site is distracting, I add it to SelfControl (next tip) or to the hosts file directly (depending on how bad it is).

#2: SelfControl:

This app temporarily blocks websites by editing the /etc/hosts file and reapplying the change if you reverse it. Of course, you could stop it if you want, but it's enough to augment your willpower. What do I block? All social media, but also anything that I personally visit when I want to be coding.

Over time I just added many of these sites to my /etc/hosts file permanently.

I elaborated on SelfControl on my personal blog.

#3: Pastebot (or any clipboard manager):

The macOS and Windows (thanks xz) clipboard only has one slot—if you copy twice, you lose the first one. With a clipboard manager, you keep as many copied things as you want (and can easily manage, search, and paste from it.)

#4: gitprompt / bash_completion (install via Homebrew):

I use git mostly from the command-line. These tools allow me to have a custom (informative) shell prompt that shows the git status/branch and completes common git commands.

#5: imagemagick / gifsicle / ffmpeg (install via Homebrew)

I constantly need to convert, resize, or otherwise edit images. This allows me to script them rather than do what I need manually in an image editor. I also frequently post small animated GIFs of my work in Slack or in pull requests (for those that need a visual)—gifsicle/ffmpeg let me easily resize/resample them to keep their size down.

Honorable mentions: Keyboard Maestro, Gimp, Sourcetree

What do you use?

Top comments (2)

limxingzhi profile image

Great post, btw in Windows 10, you can access the clipboard history with Start+V 👍

loufranco profile image
Lou Franco

Thanks! Updated the post