It occurred to me recently, that there’s a bit of variance in what developers use. For many folks not used to writing code, the availability of software to help write software can be a bit overwhelming. For that reason, I’m writing the stuff that makes me tick.
A disclaimer: I primarily use Mac OS X (Leopard). I love using Ubuntu, but it’s not where I get the bulk of my work done. So, here’s my Mac apps:
Eclipse PDT. I write primarily in PHP, and there’s just no better app out there for big PHP development. Something to note about Eclipse though, don’t use more than what comes out of the box. Eclipse can be buggy as hell, so don’t add all the plugins you can find to it. Eclipse is for writing code, not for committing SVN updates. Remember that, and you’ll love Eclipse as much as me.
TextMate. After having said all of that, there’s some times when I want a text editor that’s light, and gets the code updated quickly. Eclipse is a memory beast, and if you’re strapped for RAM, you won’t be able to run Photoshop, Illustrator, AND Eclipse at the same time. For that reason, TextMate is awesome.
vim. Finally, the most lean of all editors is vi. I use vim, since it has a few extra things I really appreciate. The learning curve on vim is hell, but once you’re used to it you won’t look back.
Adobe CS 4. I’ve tried all of the substitutes out there. But none of them hold a candle to Adobe’s mismanaged, bloated, overpriced Creative Suite. Photoshop and Illustrator are indispensable tools if you’re doing web graphics (or any other graphics for that matter)
Adium. I don’t know of an IM client that comes close to Adium. I can be logged into all of the social networks I use at one time, in one window, and it doesn’t cost me anything to do it. That beats the hell out of anything else out there. Hopefully, there will be some challenges to this in the future. But for now, this Mac-only app is the definitive way to do IM.
TweetDeck. Twitter is definitely mainstream these days. TweetDeck lets me create groups out of the people I follow, see replies to me (public and direct), search terms, and see whats trending on Twitter, all in the same window. That’s pretty awesome too. **NOTE** I’m starting to try out Seesmic, and it’s pretty good too. Both of these apps are built on Adobe’s AIR platform, so everyone can get a taste.
Apple Mail. This might seem a bit obvious, but I wanted to give Apple some credit here. Apple Mail is an awesome mail client that meets almost every need I have, out of the box. I use the WideMail app to give it just the right tweaking I need out of it.
Local Server Software:
MacPorts. I tend to need some esoteric stuff from my LAMP environment, so I use MacPorts as a package manager to customize the variables of my development environment to my liking. With MacPorts its usually a trivial issue to install Memcache, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, PHP, etc.. I’ll usually even change the version of rsync and vim using the MacPorts package manager. If you don’t know about MacPorts, you’re definitely missing out.
Quicksilver. Whenever I setup my Mac, Quicksilver is always the very first thing I install. Once you’ve got a mind for using the shortcuts in Quicksilver, you will never ever ever go back to the old school hunt-and-peck way of lanching apps, and performing tasks.
Visor. Another gem from Blacktree: Visor allows the terminal to always be quickly available to me, but also not intrude on the desktop. A lot of times, I don’t even change the default terminal theme (just change the font to Monaco 12pt Anti-Aliased).
Transmission. Transmission is the greatest bit-torrent application around. It’s light and gets to the point. Other apps try to push content and channels. Transmission just downloads the torrents. Awesome.