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Essential Developer Tools

Chris Kelly

Read on for why you should be using a combination of Sublime Text 2 and Vim instead of Textmate…

LOLJK. The tool you should use is the tool which is best suited for you to solve the problem at hand. There is no one right tool that everyone should be using. We could go on and on about different editors as that is something that developers are very passionate about but the fact is that each developer at Highgroove has a different set of software that they use to get their job done. We have a recommended list of Software for Developers that can be pretty useful, but to each their own! Part of everyone’s job description is:

Buy any tool that you think might be useful, Highgroove will reimburse you, and you must present to the team how your experiment works out and if the tool makes you more productive.

Software aside, Highgroove has a policy of buying the best tools available for developers, and there is a short list of things that we think are absolutely crucial for keeping developers happy and cranking out high-quality software. Some people argue that you should penny-pinch in every aspect of your business, but with our goal of developer happiness, we disagree.

Physical comfort comes first! While our personal trainer goes a long way, we have an office full of Aeron chairs and adjustable height desks. An ergonomic evaluation is happening in a few weeks, and we’ll be figuring out how to make our sitting and standing desks more comfortable. Every desk has a laptop stand and a big external monitor (Currently 24” Dell 1920×1200 displays, but we have one Apple Thunderbolt 27” display that everyone is trying out), and everyone gets an external keyboard and mouse or trackpad of their choosing.

Also very important to productivity and happiness is a top-of-the-line laptop. SSDs and maxing out RAM are both great for running huge test suites and working with Big Data, and while it seems most of us end up with 15” MacBook Pros, we’d let someone scoop up something else if it works better for them. Laptops enable working from anywhere, and we’re all pretty used to seeing photos from people ‘ROWEing’ it from decks, patios, the beach, etc. Just yesterday I was on a Skype call with someone that was working from their bathtub at home. If WiFi doesn’t reach, we have a Clear Spot 4G and pay for iPhone tethering as needed.

We know we can’t think of everything, so when someone at Highgroove wants something to help them work, we make it happen. Legos get added to the grocery list and show up the next day, hundreds of tiny buckyball magnets are stuck all over the place, and we have some super-nice condenser microphones for clearer conference calls and podcast recordings. And the sharks with lasers attached to their heads? We’re not supposed to talk about those.

Did we leave anything out? What non-software tools help your software business be awesome?

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