TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Makes You Productive

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Toys and Tools

What Makes You Productive?

By John C. Daub, Austin, Texas USA

Tools and toys to enhance your productivity

A few months ago, the MacTech Editors asked the subscribers of the MacDev-1 mailing list to share with their fellow developers what makes them productive. Cool tools, favorite INIT, Contextual Menu plugin, whatever wonderful things that we create to help make our lives more productive and easier. Response was overwhelming, and here I'll share some of the more popular items that we use - just in time for holiday shopping!

Goes Without Saying

Without a doubt, there are certain things that most developers use and cannot live without. Topping that list is none other than our Macs! From iMac's to G4's, none of us get very far in a day without our Macs. But as nice as those desktop Macs are, I have to agree with Brian Pink that PowerBook's are even better because you can code on the couch.

When it comes to tools, hardly a Mac developer can get by without their trusty copy of Metrowerks CodeWarrior. From the core tools like the IDE and PowerPlant, to fringe tools like ZoneRanger and the Profiler, software for the Macintosh just wouldn't be the same if not for CodeWarrior (would it even exist if not for CodeWarrior?). Coming in a close second to CodeWarrior for "must have" tool is Resorcerer from Mathemæsthetics Inc. Resource editing is fundamental part of Mac software development, and although ResEdit is free and can get the job done, it's difficult to go without Resorcerer for your hardcore development work. Finally, what development setup would be complete without a low-level debugger like the ubiquitous MacsBug from Apple or "The Debugger" from Jasik Designs? Of course, those of you that are able to write bug-free code can skip these last tools.

More For the Tool Chest

We certainly cannot live without our core tools, but they alone are not enough to get our jobs done. Beyond the core, response tallies put AppleScript as the #1 productivity enhancer. Says Antoine Beyeler, "its expandable". AppleScript allows Kenneth Woodruff to "refine, optimize, and organize the entire planet." If you don't know what AppleScript is and/or what it can do for you, then visiting Apple's AppleScript Web site is required reading for you (after you finish reading this article, of course).

Various editors also made the list. HexEdit is a general-purpose editor that allows you to edit the raw hexadecimal of files; simple and straightforward (and free). For a more powerful editor, consider General Edit from Quadrivio Corporation. J.J. Larrea had this to say about General Edit: "Nothing else comes close for decoding data files. After a one-time investment of several hours learning the syntax and designing display templates for my various file formats, I've saved many many times that. Now, months later, whenever I drag a file on General Edit and it automatically matches the template and comes up with the file beautifully decoded, I think 'wow, I'm so glad I spent the time to do that!'" And what discussion of editors would be complete without Bare Bones Software's BBEdit and its freeware sibling BBEdit Lite. BBEdit is a high performance text editor. Arne Kuilman and Ryan Walker use it to author their web pages. I use it for my web pages and just about any text editing that I need to do.

Another set of tools that garnered a good response were "RAD" tools. Good old HyperCard from Apple is a favorite of Rob Cozens, but Michael Gibbs prefers SuperCard. "Hard to beat for mocking up control panels, keypads, and other simulated hardware," says Michael. "In one case we built an entry keypad from scratch and had it up and running and talking to another simulation application via Apple Events in 30 minutes flat." REALbasic is another popular tool, and with a new book now available from O'Reilly, learning to use REALbasic has never been easier.

Last, but certainly not least, QC and Spotlight from Onyx Technology. QC is a great stress-testing tool, always having an important part of my testing and quality assurance plans. As for Spotlight, here's what your fellow developers have to say about it: "Tracks down the bugs you didn't know existed.", "Makes finding bugs a breeze.", "Very useful for tracking down those hard to find memory leaks and memory corruption.", "Amazing finder of pernicious bugs. Probably the best investment of money in development tools I've ever made. I can't imagine releasing code without Spotlighting it first. If you're not using it, you're crazy." Again, those of you that are able to write bug-free code can skip these last tools.

Cool Stuff

Not all productivity enhancers are "traditional" development tools. One of my favorite applications is James Thomson's DragThing. Ken Luke likes DragThing as well: "the tabbed palettes really help me get the most out of the desktop area." FileBuddy, a high-level file utility, and Snitch, the Get Info window enhancement, are both indispensable tools. FinderPop, turly's uber-enhancement for contextual menus, is also high on the list: "My dispatch center when I want to do something.", "Pop all those contextual menus in one menu.", "It rocks.".

In the previous section I listed some editors, but left one out of the list as I felt it more appropriate for this section. That editor is Tex-Edit Plus from Trans-Tex Software. I think Rick Roy sums it up best. "A very inexpensive, fast, lightweight text editor with aggressive support for AppleScript (yippee), and a developer who is really committed to customer satisfaction and quick responses. It can open SimpleText read-only files in addition to any text file. Even helps me with my HTML ,which is nice because Tex-Edit Plus is what I use to edit 100% of the HTML I create. An excellent product!"

Rounding out the responses was CDFinder (a little tool that helps a lot if you have more than 5 CDs), Default Folder (make your Open and Save dialogs smarter), the ACTION family of products (Files, GoMac, Menus, WYSIWYG), and TypeIt4Me (because we're all lazy, check that, efficient typists).

Other Stuff

One other item listed as a major time saver and life organizer is the PalmPilot and the Palm Desktop software. The Palm ranks #1 on Alex Thomas' list. "Without question my Palm IIIx has had the most effect on my personal productivity. I keep sysadmin and code hints as memos on it, along with a bunch of things like an HTML manual, and use the address book for product keys and web site passwords." The PalmPilot is one of those things that once you start using, you wonder how you ever managed to get along without it.

One response that I did not expect to receive was from Kelsey Schwind. "What makes me productive? When I can really concentrate and focus. The herbs Ginkgo and Gotu Kola aid in mental clarity and I have noticed the difference." Others find Jolt, Mt. Dew, and coffee to do the same for them as well.

And one response that I expected to see but did not was the Internet. The boom of the 'Net has put a wealth of information just a few keystrokes away. Inside Macintosh no longer takes up rows of shelf space since you can find it on the Web. The 'Net allows us to communicate and discuss, seek help for problems, ask advice, rant and rave, and all the while paying no mind to the vast distances that might separate us; in fact, the 'Net brings us closer and allows us, Mac developers, to foster an even greater community. Discussion forums like comp.sys.mac.programmer.help and comp.sys.mac.oop.powerplant help newbies find answers and old timers discuss philosophical issues about the latest Mac OS technology. The more we put online, the more empowered we will become. And of course, Tango 2000 is a great tool to help you share information online.

Happy Shopping!

If you're looking for that perfect gift to get for yourself or some other geek in your life, hopefully you've found a few new items to check out. I appreciate tools and toys that make my life a little simpler, a little easier. I hope you find something here that does the same for your life. Enjoy!

URLs


John C. Daub is a member of Pervasive Software's Tango Development Team working on the Tango Editor. John enjoys spending his free time with his family: wife Michele, son Wade, and now daughter Fiona. You can contact John at hsoi@pobox.com.

 
AAPL
$101.32
Apple Inc.
+0.74
MSFT
$45.15
Microsoft Corpora
-0.07
GOOG
$582.56
Google Inc.
-0.81

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Garmin Express 3.2.17.0 - Manage your Ga...
Garmin Express is your essential tool for managing your Garmin devices. Update maps, golf courses and device software. You can even register your device. Update maps Update software Register your... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.1 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
calibre 2.0.0 - Complete e-library manag...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.5 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
Apple Keynote 6.2.2 - Apple's prese...
Apple Keynote makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more
Apple Numbers 3.2.2 - Apple's sprea...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
OpenOffice 4.1.1 - Free and open-source...
OpenOffice.org is both an Open Source product and a project. The product is a multi-platform office productivity suite. It includes the key desktop applications, such as a word processor,... Read more
Pages 5.2.2 - Apple's word processo...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more
Quicken 2015 2.0.1 - Complete personal f...
The new Quicken 2015 helps you manage all your personal finances in one place, so you can see where you're spending and where you can save. Quicken automatically categorizes your financial... Read more
CleanMyMac 2.2.7 - Delete files that was...
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac 2 lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Trolls vs Vikings Update Adds Over One H...
Trolls vs Vikings Update Adds Over One Hundred Levels, Reduces Item Cost, and More Posted by Ellis Spice on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
SNK Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of T...
SNK Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The King of Fighters With a Big Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Star Wars: Commande...
With a brand new Star Wars trilogy on the horizon, prepare yourselves for Disney and George Lucas’s space fantasy throwback to be more omnipresent than ever before. So it should come as no surprise that new adventures in that galaxy far, far away... | Read more »
Swing Copters Review
Swing Copters Review By Jordan Minor on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIE TRYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The creator of Flappy Bird is back with a vengeance.   | Read more »
Beam Me an Update Scotty – Star Trek Tre...
Beam Me an Update Scotty – Star Trek Trexels Receives its Biggest Update Yet Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
The Outcast Review
The Outcast Review By Nadia Oxford on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: HANDS OFF. WAY OFF.Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s easy to see what The Outcast is trying for, but its execution needs a lot of work.   | Read more »
HeroCraft Unveils New iOS Game, Marble D...
HeroCraft Unveils New iOS Game, Marble Duel Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] HeroCraft is developing a new chain popper game called Marble Duel, wh | Read more »
Brain+ Review
Brain+ Review By Nadia Oxford on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DIM BULBUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Brain+ is just another entry in an over-saturated brain-training marketplace – and not a particularly fun entry... | Read more »
The Witcher Battle Arena – New Gameplay...
The Witcher Battle Arena – New Gameplay Trailer Revealed Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Based in the Witcher universe, | Read more »
Max Gentlemen Review
Max Gentlemen Review By Jennifer Allen on August 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: OUTSTAYING ITS WELCOMEiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Max Gentlemen seems pretty quirky initially but that appeal wears thin... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
Leftover 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros a...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Pro.Calendar – New Productivity App for iPad...
Austin, Texas based mobile business and productivity app developer LightArrow, Inc. has announced Pro.Calendar, a powerful and intuitive calendar app with eight versatile calendar options including... Read more
SanDisk Ultra II SSD — Supercharge Your Syste...
SanDisk Corporation has announced the new SanDisk Ultra II SSD with enhanced SSD Dashboard. The new drive is designed to deliver a cost-effective and easy upgrade solution for PC owners looking to... Read more
Samsung and Barnes & Noble Introduce New...
Samsung Electronics America and NOOK Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. have announced the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK, a 7-inch tablet combining Samsung’s leading... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698, save $...
Abt has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698 including free shipping. Their price is $101 off MSRP. Read more
Mac Backup Guru 2.0 Drive Backup/Cloneing Uti...
Mac Backup Guru developer MacDaddy has released Mac Backup Guru 2.0, offering new and enhanced advanced features, such as bootable backups, synchronised volumes and folders, and a Snapshot mode that... Read more
Operate GE’s New Free-Standing KItchen Range...
Think you accidentally left the oven on? Switch it off while on the go. The new free-standing Profile™ Series gas and electric ranges are GE’s second cooking appliances, following their wall oven, to... Read more
Parallels Announces Parallels Desktop 10 for...
The no. 1-selling software for running Windows applications on a Mac becomes an even easier choice for millions of consumers and IT professionals worldwide with the launch of the most powerful... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.