My Tools of the Trade

Clinton R. Dreisbach, Former Viget

Article Category: #Code

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Inspired by Mike Gunderloy’s tools of the trade post, I made a list of what I use every day for development. My tools don’t necessarily reflect what every developer at Viget uses.


  • 2009 MacBook Pro 13”, 2.53 GHz, 4 GB of memory. This machine is a screaming demon of speed and fury. I’m meticulous about keeping junk that it doesn’t need off of it. I love my laptop, although I do wish I had 8 GB of memory in it. Maybe I’ll get the upgrade for its birthday present.
  • 20” Dell 2000FP monitor. It works. It seems giant to me, but I imagine I’d love a bigger one even more. I’ve had my eye on this 28 inch beauty for a while.
  • MacAlly ICEkey keyboard and Logitech MX518 mouse. Both of these are amazing. I have the same setup at work and at home. The ICEkey is my favorite keyboard I’ve ever used.

Development software

  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Pure joy.
  • Ruby Enterprise Edition 1.8.7. It’s what I use on my servers, and I like to develop in a similar environment.
  • Homebrew packaging system. I used MacPorts for a long time, and was a big proponent, but the ease of adding new packages to this won me over quickly. Max, the project head, is great about accepting patches.
  • TextMate. Big surprise, I know. There’s a reason it’s so beloved in the Mac development community.
  • NetBeans. I’m a wishy-washy person when it comes to my editing environment, so I switch from TextMate to NetBeans often. It’s an excellent IDE for multiple languages, and gets better with every release. If I have to work on anything that isn’t Ruby, I usually use this. If it felt a little snappier and had a little better usability, I’d probably use this for all my code.
  • Git and GitX. Git’s my version control system of choice. I mainly use it from the command line, but when I need to do some visualization, I pull out GitX.
  • Mozilla Firefox. It’s my development browser. For casual browsing, I use Safari, as it’s way faster. I was a Firefox-only user for a long time, but frustrations about speed and lack of customizable keybindings has pushed me into Safari’s arms.

Other software

  • Backblaze. I use this for constant off-site backups. I’d link to them, but they have an awful auto-starting movie on their homepage. Instead, check out this blog post about their storage pods.
  • Hiveminder. This is a great task management system. My favorite parts are the command-line client and IM interface.
  • Notational Velocity and SimpleNote. Notational Velocity’s a great super-fast note taking application for OS X, and SimpleNote’s the same for the iPhone. I keep them in sync with a Perl script, so I have my notes everywhere.
  • I like to keep everything I can online and off my computer, so along with Hiveminder and SimpleNote, I use Gmail for both home and work email, Delicious for bookmarking and making groups of links, and Instapaper for things to read on the can or while waiting in line. I use GitHub and Dropbox to keep all my projects off my computer and accessible.
  • Fever is my RSS reader of choice. There’s too many high-noise feeds with sporadic great content out there to read them all. Fever’s Hot List makes it way easier to sift through the cruft.
  • To control my desktop, I use a combination of LaunchBar, MercuryMover, and SizeUp. I can launch anything, do many file manipulations, and move my windows around without leaving the keyboard. LaunchBar’s also great for giving me a global kill ring.

Tell Me What You’re Using

If you’ve got a tool you love, or think my toolset is weak sauce, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.

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