Everyone has their favorite productivity tools – those handy programs or services that you feel like you absolutely need to have in your arsenal. You know, the one text editor that you would choose if you were stuck on an island with nothing else. That kind of thing. In this blog post, I’ll share my favorite tools that help keep my productivity high. This is by no means a complete list, nor is it sorted in any particular order, but I have tried to include the things that I use on a daily basis. Also, I have kept this list somewhat generic, that is, these are the tools I use regardless of the programming language I’m working with at the time.
This is my favorite general purpose text editor by far. Of course, it isn’t an IDE so it doesn’t compare to Visual Studio when it comes to working on an ASP.NET web app. But for smaller edits it’s perfect. It’s quick and uncluttered. It’s also cross platform (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and the license allows use on multiple computers for one user.
Cost: $80 USD (free trial available)
I don’t know how I managed to keep my sanity all those years before I discovered Ditto. Simply put, Ditto is a clipboard manager that stores everything that is placed on the clipboard, essentially providing an infinite number of clipboard spaces (theoretically). All of the items can easily be accessed by pressing Ctrl + ` (that’s a back-tick). There is also a search feature, and the first 10 items can be inserted at the current cursor location by pressing a number 1 through 9 or 0 for the 10th item.
Often times I will cut a piece of code or text from one file, but before I get a chance to paste it I copy something else also. To make matters worse, sometimes I may have already saved and closed the file from which I cut the text or code, thus making it impossible to recover without a backup or source control. Obviously Ditto is a lifesaver for those kinds of situations.
Cost: Open Source
Aside from some projects for work that require me to use SVN, every project I start goes into a Git repository immediately. Even the smallest of my personal projects have their own repositories. The value of change-tracking cannot be understated and is absolutely essential to maintaining one’s sanity. What changes have I made since the last commit? Git knows. Did I introduce an accidental keystroke somewhere in a file? Git knows. How did a confusing line of code come to be? Git knows. When it’s only a
git init away, there’s no reason not to put each and every project in a Git repository, whether it’s just kept locally or also pushed to something like GitHub.
Cost: Open Source
This is basically an open source version of Evernote or OneNote, which I use to keep all my notes organized. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it serves my purposes well. What it does have is basic functionality that isn’t restricted behind a paid upgrade. For example, with Evernote, free accounts are limited to 2 devices. This is a big problem for me as I need to synchronize notes across 2 computers and my phone. Joplin supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, and there are no limits to the number of devices that can be synchronized.
Joplin also gives you complete control over where your data is stored. It can sync with the file system, WebDAV, Dropbox, OneDrive, AWS S3, or NextCloud. Combined with its end-to-end encryption feature and the fact that all of it is open source, Joplin clearly has an edge over the competition for those especially concerned about privacy and security.
Cost: Open Source