Personal Workflow Tools

A few of my main tools and applications I use daily in my workflow.

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As a first post I thought I would make the obligatory 'these are the apps and tools I use' as a testing ground for my initial post. So without delay I will continue.

I love apps and I'm a complete App-Junkie so I'm guessing that in a year from now I could look at this post and cringe at some of the items that I consider to be 'essential' and I'm pretty sure that a few people will have something to say about my choices, but at this time right now, these work very well for me personally.

I design and code. I initially used to specialise in front end visual and active elements of web pages, so in a nutshell how it looks and how it reacts and feels to the way that you use it. Recently though I have been getting more and more interested in development and creating the apps and services and working from the ground up to get the design and development working together in one fluid goal - my goal. So with that in mind a few of my tools will be swinging that way.

  • Espresso_icon
  • Chocolat_icon
  • CodeKit_icon
  • Keynote_icon
  • Sketch_icon
  • Pixelmator_icon
  • ImageOptim_icon
  • iTerm_icon
  • Pixa_icon
  • Sip_icon
  • SourceTree_icon
  • VirtualHostX_icon


Sketch 3 - I purchased Sketch 2 at the end of January this year (2014) and played around with it as a vector tool mainly to be used as a simplified version of Illustrator for icons and logos for vector output but upon using it it became quite evident that this app could be used for so much more. I started reading various articles from awesome designers exclaiming that Sketch was the Photoshop / Illustrator killer for UI work.

Before this I had been using Photoshop Shifty edition since version 7 and had then later used it professionally (and legit) at work due to the many years of experience with my 'extended' trial. I had grown distant from the newer bloated versions and I have never liked monthly costs of the CC suite or anything if possible so I was looking for an alternative. This is a personal preference and I prefer to pay for things outright if possible and always will.

Pixelmator - So Sketch seemed a great solution at a fraction of the price. This along with Pixelmator that I have been using for about a year which even though it falls short in a couple of areas compared the behemoth that is Photoshop it is superb for bitmap photo editing and the Pixelmator team are constantly updating and pushing it forward. In short the Sketch + Pixelmator Team Combo is outstanding quality.


Chocolat' - My current code editor of choice. Probably the most controversial of my all my app choices since a code editor is the application that the majority of us use the most. I know the popular ones are Sublime Text, Atom among others. I tried Sublime on it's generous extended trial and for a while liked it but it just didn't feel 'right' for me. In the days of old on Windows I fell in love with Notepad++ then after moving over to a Mac I started using TextWrangler which while I still think is superb it doesn't have the clout for what I wanted. I later purchased Espresso and later upgraded to version 2. This is an outstanding code editor but in recent years developers have advanced and so have many of the applications. Espresso from MacRabbit had seemed to been left behind. So after loving the rapid flow of Sublime Text and the native Mac beauty of Espresso along came Chocolat' which to me feels like the secret child between Sublime and Espresso.

EDIT 30/08/14: Since starting this site I have moved from Chocolat' back to Espresso 2. Not sure why as both are outstanding applications and I highly recommend both, it's just I always used Espresso from years back and feel highly comfortable. I recent added a few Sugars (Plugins) that made it more up to date as there has been a lack of new features. I'm pretty sure though they have something up their sleeve at MacRabbit after reading this tweet. Not sure how patient I can be though :P.

Codekit 2 - Along with coding in Chocolat' Espresso I use Sass (or more accurately Scss) for my CSS styles. I use Codekit to compile the many Scss files into one CSS file.


For Prototyping I work either straight in Sketch or sometimes use Apple Keynote. It's just about throwing shapes around rapidly to get an idea of the structure and layout for the content that will be used. I personally think that quick thinking and common sense prevail in this area rather than worrying about the finer details.

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