Dev tools Square Dance

For the longest time I was a died-in-the-wool Adobe guy, not quite a full-on fanboi, but pretty close. I used Dreamweaver since before Macromedia acquired Homesite, and loved it. It seemed the perfect blend of proprietary dev options, and open-source options. I could dev .NET pages, PHP pages and work with HTML5 and custom mobile frameworks too. I even went so far as to develop HTML5 hybrid apps to bring onto the Android platform through Eclipse and Phonegap using Dreamweaver. I was in the dark ages.

It has been years since Adobe has done anything innovative or even much more than mildly interesting with Dreamweaver. They don’t support many of the new frameworks (in regards to intellisense), and the developer community for extensions seems(ed) to be DOA, and I wanted more.

That’s where the total shift started.

I had heard about Coda a number of years ago, as well have been using Transmit for years and just never really made the switch. So I started a new job, which brought with it new platforms, different development ideas, new strategies and shorter timespans for prototyping (which became my sole source of dev work). Dreamweaver wasn’t cutting it, and I wanted to work more with emmet, so I switched. I didn’t stop there though, I needed to integrate LESS into my workflow as well, so I added CodeKit to the mix and I was off and running a LOT faster than I had been working before. With CodeKit watching folders and auto processing LESS files it freed me up to work on the important bits of protoyping, and less on the housekeeping bits. I know I’m not even using it to its full capacity, but just having clips for Lorem Ipsum, and plug-ins for emmet and LESS (just to name a few) really broadened my development world.

That was years ago now, and other players have been in place to compete with the other guys for a long time. I don’t find myself sticking to a single IDE any more. Now it’s more like which one I use for what type of code I’m working on. On any given day I have Coda, Atom and/or Sublime open and running at the same time. What I still don’t do however, is code in a text editor. I hate Notepad with a passion and Text Wrangler isn’t much use to me either unless I have to have some crazy ass big JSON file open or something, but even then Sublime and Atom handle that with a shrug. I still prefer a fully functioning IDE and I imagine I always will. It’s faster to have autocomplete and intellisense running so I don’t have to worry about what to close and when to close it. It’s not a matter of need, like a lot of devs would have you believe, but it’s a preference. I have a lot of things vying for my attention on a daily basis and the one thing I don’t have to remember is everything about every tag that ever lived. I use it especially for CSS, that’s where it really shines and Coda beats other IDEs that I’m using. The intellisense is awesome, and the thorough code coloring makes my job as a front-end dev easier, and I like that. That’s also why I still use Codekit and Virtual Host X. I know the trendy thing is to use Grunt and Gulp and Node to build these elaborate (and fragile) development environments, but I’m still not jumping on that wagon.

There’s value in these frameworks and tools, but again, I prefer to accomplish these things with a different set of tools. There are projects that I do use Gulp along with node of coarse, but I don’t go out of my way to set up watchers and compilers manually if I can help it. It takes more time for me to setup a set of grunt tasks than it does for me to point Codekit at a project directory and set up a few compile files and rules. Again, the important thing for me is to be able to work efficiently and effectively on the projects in front of me. This could change though, I never rule anything out. I mean, there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t use anything but Dreamweaver and the idea of developing on a Mac was as far off as Mars.

Don’t even get me started on css-in-js.

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