Our most utilised design and development tools (pt 2)
In the early days of the Steadfast Collective blog, we posted about the development tools that were most-utilised by our team in the studio. Fast forward three years and our team have grown and developed, further honing the products and skills that we utilise in our day-to-day work.
We spoke to the team and took a fresh look at the tools that are helping us to do our best work, better.
Laravel Valet (Dan Jones)
Over the years, I have used lots of different apps for running a local server, each requiring a manual setup for each individual site that I made.
As you can imagine, at Steadfast we build a lot of websites and, although a small task, this quickly became tiresome. The beauty of Laravel Valet lies in how it automatically creates a domain for each project, meaning that as soon as we create a project, we can immediately visit it in the browser and start developing.
Laravel Valet also has some great additional features, such as the ability to create a public URL that you can share to test on different devices and local HTTPS signing. We would highly recommend Laravel Valet for anyone building PHP websites.
Tailwind (Josh Taylor)
As a Junior Developer, I found that going from straight HTML and CSS to using Bootstrap made writing code so much quicker and easier. However, when building out client sites that have unique designs, Bootstrap quickly becomes quite restrictive.
This is where Tailwind really shines. Tailwind has been built with a utility-first approach, meaning there are no pre-built elements, instead every component is built and styled with just a handful of different CSS classes.
Brand colours can be set at a global level, rather than having to change them in multiple places. Classes can be applied to other classes easily which allows you to make custom components that are easy to update. In short, building a custom-designed site with Tailwind is a breeze.
Visual Studio Code (Mike Turner)
Over the course of a developer’s career, they will jump from editor to editor trying to find the best one that fits them and the one they like the most.
Visual Studio Code (VSCode) is a code editor developed by Microsoft that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is free, open-source and has a built-in terminal, as well as built-in Git support.
The editor is very easy to use with its shortcuts and syntax suggestions.
TablePlus (Andre Breia)
After using SequelPro for many years for database management, I’ve recently switched to TablePlus.
The decision to switch came after updating to macOS Mojave, after which SequelPro started to randomly crash. Even installing a nightly build did not work for me, and its small bugs made it quite frustrating to work with.
I have been using TablePlus for a couple of months now, and it has really impressed me how good (and stable) it is.
Having tried many database clients before, its UI is a breath of fresh air – very user-friendly and quite easy to use.
Some of my personal favourite features include:
- The organisation of connections by group, tags and colours
- Easily application of (multiple) filters to query data
- Not automatically committing the changes made, which can be done with a well-known keyboard shortcut (Cmd + S)
Adobe XD (Sarah Bond)
I have found working with Adobe XD much easier to use as a website-designing (or any digital media) tool.
It is easy to import and export assets, especially since the introduction of ‘share for development’ allowing developers to see CSS of the design, fonts that are used, as well as sharing various assets.
Adobe is constantly updating the program with new features so it provides a constant learning curve and ever-expanding toolkit, keeping it exciting and new.
We are always on the lookout to try new products and tools that increase productivity, workflow and aid in creating the beautiful digital products, websites and applications we are working on every day.
What design and development tools are you enjoying using?