Luke Bennett

Uses

Written by Luke Bennett on May 18, 2019


Here is a list of the software I use to Get Things Done™

Inspired by this post from Wes Bos.

Code editor: Visual Studio Code

VS Code is the best text editor on the market right now and it’s free! It is extremely customisable and there is a huge marketplace of extensions to make it even better. You can see my settings here.

The built in version control is so good that I have no idea how to use git properly ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I normally just keep everything on Master and rely on Netlify to roll back any mistakes I make. Works For Me ™.

I’m keeping an eye out for Nova, the follow-up to Coda 2 by Panic, which should be coming out later this year. I’m a huge fan of everything that Panic do and would prefer to use a native app rather than one built with Electron app.

Terminal: iTerm 2

Most of the time, I’m happy using the terminal that is build into VS Code, but when I do reach for a dedicated terminal, my favourite is iTerm 2.

It is a native Mac app, that has been around for years, and is actively maintained.

I’m not a terminal power-user, so I don’t need a whole not out of a terminal. I mostly use it npm install things, rm -rf node_modules and cowsay dumb things to when I’m bored.

Cow saying dumb things

I don’t ask a lot from a terminal client, so my favourite features of iTerm 2 are small: being able to ⌘+Click on a link to open it in the browser, and being able to map a universal shortcut to bring the terminal to the front from anywhere (I have this mapped to ⌘+Esc.)

Lots of people swear by Hyper made by the folks over at Zeit, but it’s another Electron app, and I found iTerm to be simpler to set up.

Terminal Shell: Fish

I spent ages trying to configure Zsh, and frameworks for managing Zsh plugins — such as Oh My Zsh, Prezto and Antibody, but in the end there was just too much configuration involved.

Fish does 99% of what I want it to do out of the box, and since Fish 3 came out in late December 2018, it’s so close to POSIX compliant that I almost never run into weird edge cases anymore.

Shell package manager: Fisher

Fisher is great, it’s fast, easy to use, and works with more popular packages, such as Oh My Fish.

Other

I have a dotfiles repository set up with all my configuration settings. This make setting up a new computer a breeze, and I have some peace of mind that everything is backed up.

I probably need to go back and clean it up a little, so use these at your own risk. PRs always welcome.

Mac Apps

Here is an alphabetical list of some of my favourite Mac software.

  • Affinity Designer: Powerful vector image editor. Much cheaper and faster than Adobe Illustrator, and does most of the stuff it needs to. I need to spend more time learning it though.
  • Affinity Photo: Powerful vector image editor. Much cheaper and faster than Adobe Photoshop, and does most of the stuff it needs to. I need to spend more time learning it though. I may, or may not have copy/pasted that last paragraph…
  • Alfred: I feel like I’ve got handcuffs on if I try to use a computer without Alfred. Invaluable. I use it to launch applications, find files and folders, search Duck Duck Go for things, text expansions, copy contact information and tons more.
  • Backblaze: Cloud backup, extremely cheap ($5 USD per month, or $50 USD for a year.) Takes a few days for the first backup to complete, but it’s incremental after that. Haven’t needed to use it yet, but well worth the money for peace of mind. The link above is a referral code, so I get 3 months free for each person who signs up. You should totally sign up, you won’t regret it.
  • CleanMyMac X: This is a class of software that can be a little scary, but MacPaw (the company behind CleanMyMac) have proven over the years that they can be trusted. This application cleans caches, and other unused files to clean up disc space, but it does a ton of other useful things as well: you can update and uninstall applications, remove malware, force quit hung applications, run maintenance scripts, and much more. The link above is an affiliate link, so if you sign up; I get an extra month free, and you get a nice discount.
  • Figma: Alternative to Sketch, but has a free tier if you don’t require the collaboration features. It’s also insanely fast compared to the alternatives. Another app that I need to spend more time learning. The designers at Phiranno Designs where I work are all-in on Adobe products. When I can finally convince them to stop making mockups in Photoshop, I think I’ll have a hard time getting them to avoid Adobe XD, but I’m still going to try.
  • Hazel: I had this running on a previous computer, and it was great, but takes a lot of fiddling to get everything working just the way I like it. I’ll get around to setting it up again. One day.
  • Sip: Great little menubar app for grabbing colours and keeping track of them for you.
  • Things 3: My favourite task manager.
  • Toothfairy: Handy menubar app for pairing AirPods (or other bluetooth devices) easily.
  • PixelSnap: Super useful utility for measuring and checking alignment of items on the screen. I use this every day, so useful.