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
$118.63
Apple Inc.
+2.16
MSFT
$47.59
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$539.27
Google Inc.
+1.77

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Carbon Copy Cloner 4.0.3 - Easy-to-use b...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
ForeverSave 2.1.3 - Universal auto-save...
ForeverSave auto-saves all documents you're working on while simultaneously doing backup versioning in the background. Lost data can be quickly restored at any time. Losing data, caused by... Read more
Voila 3.8.1 - Capture, annotate, organiz...
Voila is a screen-capture, recording, and annotation tool that is a full-featured replacement for Mac's screen-capture and screen-recording capabilities. It has a large and robust set of editing,... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.0.6 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.1.1 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
Cobook 3.0.7 - Intelligent address book....
Cobook Contacts is an intuitive, engaging address book. Solve the problem of contact management with Cobook Contacts and its simple interface and powerful syncing and integration possibilities.... Read more
StatsBar 1.9 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Evernote 6.0.1 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is C...
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is Coming to iOS December 4th Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] So Much Drama | Read more »
Crimson Keyboard (Utilities)
Crimson Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing a faster way to type. Crimson Keyboard adapts to your writing style and provides smart, personal and contextual... | Read more »
The Sandbox EDU Review
The Sandbox EDU Review By Nadia Oxford on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: COME PLAY IN THE SANDBOX AGAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Like its predecessor, The Sandbox EDU offers lots for players to see, do, and... | Read more »
Taichi Panda Hits iOS in December
Taichi Panda Hits iOS in December Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Snail Games has released the first official game play trailer for  | Read more »
Five Apps to Make Your Thanksgiving Plan...
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! You know what that means? Eating too much turkey, watching the Big Game, and spending time with family (whether you like it or not). Oh, and that scary Black Friday thing, but we won’t talk about that here. For those... | Read more »
Kingdom Rush Origins HD Review
Kingdom Rush Origins HD Review By Jennifer Allen on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: JUST AS GOOD AS BEFOREiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad It’s more of the same again, but that’s really no bad thing at all.   | Read more »
Skylanders, Show Off How You Fight Kaos...
Skylanders, Show Off How You Fight Kaos to Win Cool Prizes Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad | Read more »
Mark of the Dragon – Tips, Tricks, and S...
Calling All Dragon Riders: | Read more »
Playdek has Annouced a Delicious Thanksg...
Playdek has Annouced a Delicious Thanksgiving Sale Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playdek, makers of | Read more »
Pair Solitaire Review
Pair Solitaire Review By Jennifer Allen on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADDICTIVE. SO ADDICTIVEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Welcome to your new ‘five more minutes, oh no, why is it dark outside’ addiction.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Jumptuit Launches One-Tap Windows 8.1 iTunes...
Jumptuit has launched Windows 8.1 support for One-Tap iTunes Sync. with which Windows 8.1 users can now easily sync their iTunes libraries with Microsoft OneDrive. Jumptuit provides easy access from... Read more
CEA Study Finds More People Recycling Electro...
A new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) finds that electronics recycling receives the continued and growing support of consumers. According to the CEA,s Recycling and Reuse Study,... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $17...
 B&H Photo has the 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale today for $1749. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on...
 B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979, save $1...
B&H Photo has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has lowered their price on the 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air to $1059.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $140 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this... Read more
Save up to $400 with Apple refurbished 2014 1...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping... Read more
New 13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $8...
 Adorama has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook... Read more
Apple Expected to Reverse Nine-Month Tablet S...
Apple and Samsung combined accounted for 62 percent of the nearly 36 million branded tablets shipped in 3Q 2014, according to early vendor shipment share estimates from market intelligence firm ABI... Read more
Stratos: 30 Percent of US Smartphone Owners t...
Stratos, Inc., creator of the Bluetooth Connected Card Platform, has announced results from its 2014 Holiday Mobile Payments Survey. The consumer survey found that nearly one out of three (30 percent... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.