Design + Development Tools

I often get asked about the tools, apps, and services I use to succeed in my work.

WorkStation


Apple Mac Mini M2 Pro

Apple M2 Pro with 12‑core CPU, 19-core GPU, 16‑core Neural Engine, 32GB Memory, 2TB SSD storage, 10GB Ethernet, and running MacOS Ventura.

Dual 32 Inch 4K Monitors

When it comes to Video Editing, this is a must. These two beautiful monitors allow me to cut in a video quickly, just because I have more real estate and allow for multi-tasking from running multiple applications simultaneously. I usually have my timeline on one monitor and my video preview on another. I also use tools like NEXT.JS, which lets me run VS Code on one monitor while my browser is live-reloading my coding changes. OBS also comes in handy for recording time lapses and content for how-to videos.

XP Pen Deco Pro

I was a longtime Wacom tablet fan, but recently I switched to the XP Pen Deco Pro, and it is every bit as good as a Wacom, perhaps, even better. You cant see the price point. I use this for digital drawing and painting. It is also a fantastic asset to utilize for photo retouching and editing. I highly recommend trying it out if you use a tablet. When I was on a Mac, I used Sequal Pro.

Dev Tools


VS Code

VS Code is the rock star of IDEs, in my opinion. This editor has every extension, plugin, or theme you could want. VS Code integrates with CLI on windows, Linux, or Mac and lets you easily sync your settings, plugins, extensions, and git between multiple devices—look no further than VS Code. It is open source and free and has many themes for every dev. Especially dark mode, so my retinas won’t get burned out while coding for long periods. It lets you view the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) exported from Illustrator or Inkscape, which is excellent.

GitHub

GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service for source code that offers simplified version control, collaboration, and distribution of software development projects. It has an easy-to-use interface accessible to novice coders and provides an alternative to command-line version control systems. Since the entire codebase is available on every developer’s computer, branching and merging are much more accessible than traditional software development tools. Honestly, I prefer to use Git the old-fashioned way. In my opinion, the CLI is still one of the most underrated tools.

Laravel Valet + Brew.SH

Valet is a Laravel development environment for Mac minimalists. No Vagrant, no /etc/hosts file. You can even share your sites publicly using local tunnels. I use Valet for all my local development. It’s fast, easy to use, and has a small footprint. I use Brew to install and manage packages on my Mac. It’s a must-have for any developer.

Design


Adobe Creative Cloud

If you’ve been in the Design game, you know this is the oldest kid on the block. Agencies want people that know it inside and out. I’ve found over the years that it’s become bloated and difficult to use. I know CC like the back of my hand. With that said, I’ve found better and more reliable tools over the years.

Affinity Suite

Affinity products are award-winning creative software for professional photo editing, page layout, graphic design and illustration. I use them on my older MacBook Pro, my windows Windows box, and iPad. They are well designed products that function well, when vectors and/or pixels get complex.

Figma

I started using Figma as a design tool, but now it’s become my go-to tool of choice. I use it on everything from prototyping, layouts, and wireframes to making icons and logos. I would never have expected the collaboration features to be the real hook. It’s the best collaborative tool for Designers and Developers to efficiently work with each other, from building sites to apps to anything UX/UI.

Da Vinci Resolve

I love motion graphics and video editing, and for years I only used Adobe After Effects and Premier. A few years ago, I started using Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve, and I have to say that going from layers to nodes was a huge hurdle, but once you get it, you get it. It’s hard not to use this as my go-to video editing software. It will truly change your video editing workflow.

Blender 3D

Using Blender you can create 3D animation for film and video game industries as well as produce still images for print publications. You can easily make short movies with realistic visual effects. It can even be used to make models for 3D printing. Blender is cross-platform software available on all major platforms and works in all modern operating systems.

DevOps


AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting refers to the web hosting services provided by the global ecommerce giant Amazon. AWS is one service within the larger AWS platform, which provides an array of cloud-based products (over 200 altogether). In addition to web hosting, some of its top products are cloud storage and database services. I regularly use S3 Storage to host media from WordPress sites there. Lightsail offers affordable solutions to host VPS (Virtal Private Servers) small and medium sized sites starting at around $5/mo. Amplify is awesome for Static Site Generator (SSG) sites and or small apps.

Digital Ocean

DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider specializing in simplifying infrastructure complexities for software developers, startups, and SMBs. It offers developer-friendly managed cloud servers with a wide range of Operating Systems and tools to build applications. Spinning up a VPS server for staging and production is an excellent, cost-effective solution. DO offers many prebuilt images that make hosting sites and apps, allowing developers to quickly prototype and build. The company also organized Hacktoberfest, an annual event held in October that encourages contributions to open-source projects.

GitHub

GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service for source code that offers simplified version control, collaboration, and distribution of software development projects. It has an easy-to-use interface accessible to novice coders and provides an alternative to command-line version control systems. I prefer to use Git the old-fashioned way because, in my opinion, the CLI is still one of the most underrated tools. Nusser Studios is a full-service design boutique for digital media focusing on developing engaging, high-quality brand experiences for businesses.

Netlify

Netlify is an open-source web development platform that enables developers to build, deploy, and scale modern websites. The platform is built on open web standards, making it possible to integrate build tools, web frameworks, APIs, and various web technologies into a unified developer workflow. Netlify enables building static web content files from source files stored in the version control system Git and serving them via a Content Delivery Network. It also provides services and features of serverless computing and edge computing. Best of all, you can host your low-bandwidth site or project for free.

Vercel

Vercel is a cloud platform for hosting static sites, dynamic web apps, and Serverless Functions that perfectly fits workflows for developers using continuous integration (CI). It enables developers to instantly deploy websites and web services, scale them automatically, and does not require oversight or configuration. It’s a perfect solution for developers to host and maintain sites and make changes quickly and efficiently. I’m using Vercel to host this site.