Tools of My Trade

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Sketch

Invaluable, Mac Only. Suck It Windows!

Sketch

I just can’t say enough about how freakishly awesome this app is!

When I stumbled across Sketch when it debuted in 2010 and tried it out it was love at first byte!

Having used all the Adobe apps for so many years and struggled with their annoyances, especially Illustrator with all of it’s bolted on, bloated web-centric features, Sketch was like the clouds parting and cherub asses playing hosannahs on their butt trumpets!

Even if I design straight to the web using my favorite CMS, I still usually end up using Sketch at some point in my workflow. Sometimes I’ll design entire sites in it and thoroughly exploit it’s CSS export to pass along or use myself and I’m just talking about its native features as I haven’t had the time to even really delve into all the amazing plug-ins available for the platform like Anima’s tools or Sketch to React, but I can’t wait to do so given the right project.

The team behind this app are fantastic, constantly pushing the envelope with new features and improvements and truly leveraging their super smart decision to use JSON as it’s native API.

It’s rare that a single piece of software truly revolutionizes its industry, but just looking at the landscape of web/app/responsive and React centric design circa now, its clear given all of the complimentary, modern tools which have emerged in Sketch’s wake, like (another favorite), Framer, Figma, InVision, Supernova, etc. that Sketch really has done that and is still setting the pace! If you’re a screen designer on the Mac, do yourself a favor and give Sketch a try. Not only do I think you’ll love it and will discover a thriving community behind it, including tons of resources and plugins, but you’ll also be doing your small part in resisting the Adobe hegemony!

Competition is good!

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Framer X

The Future Today!

Framer X

Working hand in hand with Sketch, Framer X is truly the future of screen design today! These folks are firing on all cylinders and for my money Framer is the one to beat in the now somewhat crowded field of digital design/data tools.

Framer X includes the capability to design in vectors, bitmap, create production ready animations and export everything to and from React.js as well as vanilla html/css. You can synch it with your code editor of choice and its collaboration tools allow working with teams of other developers, version control via GitHub and there’s even a marketplace of shared components which you can contribute to, import, and share amongst just your team or the entire community, so that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel!

I’ve barely had time to get much past a few tutorials, but already I can see that its potential is immense and I’m certainly not alone as its created major buzz in the industry.

One of their relatively recent hires is Jan Van Boghout, the indie Mac Developer who created one of my favorite and truly ahead of its time text editor/IDE’s Espresso which lives on, new and improved with its new indie steward/developer!

I haven’t used Espresso in a while, mostly because I’ve been sick and couldn’t afford the upgrade, so meanwhile I’ve been using Atom, which isn’t bad and is free and developed by GitHub, but its no Espresso! Oh well…

Framer is slick as hell and anything which allows for reducing the friction between design, code and collaboration is just phenomenal in my book!

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Transmit 5

Panic Makes Freakin’ Beautiful Software!

Transmit

Panic’s Transmit has been another invaluable tool for me since it debuted way back in the nineties on MacOS 8x! These indie devs are such an inspiration because of their uncompromising design centric, featuretastic approach to everything they do! And Transmit is simply the best SFTP/File Transfer app on the Mac and likely on any platform, bar none.

I mean, look at the list of features! And check out the meticulousness with which they craft even just the Transmit icon, let alone the entire GUI of the app which makes even the somewhat mundane, yet crucial file transfer aspect of web development a delightful and painless experience!

Why the Mac Rules!

I believe these three apps are perfect examples of why I gravitated towards and have stuck with the Macintosh over the years. Its because of the software stupid! All three of these apps are Mac only and though Framer for Windows is coming, the point is, just as desktop publishing via Postscript and Adobe’s debut of Photoshop on the Macintosh, it seems that so much industry leading and defining software gets developed on the Mac first as its dev tools, capabilities and user base are all much more design oriented, precise and exacting then the competition.

Plus Windows is just plain ugly as fuck, so there’s that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯