The tools and services I use

James Mills > Blog > The tools and services I use

Workstation

Workstation December 2019

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018)

I made the switch to use a 13″ MacBook last year. I have used a 15″ MacBook for most of my career but I made the switch for portability. It’s powerful enough (just) for what I use. I wish I could have gone for the 32GB of RAM but the 16GB just about gets me by.

Apple Magic Mouse & Apple Keyboard

Anything that means I don’t have to have cables anywhere keeps me happy. Having an external mouse and keyword just makes sense to me.

Samsung Monitor

When I decided to go with the 13″ MacBook I also committed to getting a good sized monitor so that I could dock my MacBook. For the majority of my career, I have been a huge advocate of using two monitors. This was a big decision but having one screen seems to keep me more focused.

I got some little box’s from Muji which I use as a monitor stand. I prefer to keep my monitor high to try and help aid my sitting position so that I am looking up or directly ahead at my screen. One day when I am rich and famous I will invest in everything from grovemade.com

Plants

I like to be surrounded by plants. I am not sure why but I feel they help my mental health. I feel they bring an element of calm when working in an open office.

Development

PHPStorm

I have tried them all. I started my career using Dreamweaver, progresses to Sublime and then found PHPStorm. I absolutely love PHPSotm. I prefer to keep the minimalistic look and feel so I have a lot of things hidden.

Sequel Pro

I have been using Sequel Pro for a long time. Although I am getting very frustrated with the bug that exits the app when I close a tab, I am still to move over to Table Plus. I have it installed, I just always find myself reaching for Sequel Pro.

iTerm 2

I use iTerm with oh-my-zsh plugin. Using zsh allows you to install plugins like Auto Suggestions which helps.

Homebrew

Quoting Jeffrey Way “If it can be installed through Homebrew, then I’m installing it through Homebrew. And that’s all I have to say about that.”. I agree.

GitTower

I know it’s highly debated if you should use a GUI for Git or use the command-line. I should probably know more about Git’s command-line commands but, that’s life. I use GitTower and absolutely love it. We use GitFlow to ease our workflow and things work well.

Medis

We use Redis quite a lot and having a tool to be able to manage and view Redis comes in handy.

Postman

For API development and API testing Postman is something I use a lot.

Workflow

Clubhouse

One of the newest tools in my toolbox. I have tried a number of tools for project management including Trello and Codebase. Codebase was a huge part of the last four years as mentioned in my article about Clicksco PHP Flow in 2014 however it felt clunky. I stumbled across Clubhouse and after an initial trial, I switch my team over to it and haven’t looked back since. It has seamless integrations with a number of services.

Evernote

This may sound like an odd one given there are a million other tools out there which probably do a better job. However, I have been using Evernote for years now and it has a huge history of notes, brain dumps and lists.

Everything goes into Evernote, everything! I have install guides, technical note and diagrams, brain dumps, to-do lists. Everything! It just works for me. Once it’s out of my brain I can concentration getting things done rather than going over and over in my head what I need to remember.

Spark Mail

This one is relatively new to me. I found out about it from someone on Twitter. I tried it and in less than a day I had moved to use it permanently for Mobile and Desktop. I use Google Mail to power my mail (work and personally) and it’s almost enjoyable to work with email again.

1Password

I don’t use the browser password managers. I have used 1Password for a long time now. It helps me sleep at night. The browser plugins are amazing. If you don’t use a password manager then please start to use one today!

Services

Laravel Forge

I have been using Laravel Forge for years. It’s an amazing tool to spin up new servers in seconds.

Laravel Envoyer

Simple zero-downtime deployments. This tool gives me the control I need when deploying a multitude of different projects f different sizes and complexities.

Laravel Shift

I use Laravel Shift on a number of projects. I use the Shift service and also the Fixer. I also use the automated dependency updater as part of our CI process.

Sentry.io

I have been using Sentry for a long time now for exception tracking in my production apps. I love how it

Other Stuff

Spotify & Soundcloud

I really wouldn’t be able to work without my paid Spotify account. I also listen to Soundcloud. I like a mix of music. I am usually listening to some Hip Hop or if I am focusing I tend to listen to 2F Friendly Sessions or Trademarks The Pregame Series

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones

I remember the first day I invested in some Bose Nise Cancelling Headphones. My productivity and mental health shot through the roof! I cannot recommend a good set of headphones enough for anyone who spends part of their day in “focus time”. I currently have some Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones.

Awesome Uses

I am not sure where the Awesome Uses started but Wes Bos has a list of loads of people who have added a /uses page to their website here https://github.com/wesbos/awesome-uses a few of my favourite are listed below.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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