Tools for Getting Things Done as Perfect as Possible
It’s been almost a year and a half since I have joined the team, and one of the things I have learned while working in Studio Present is that, even if seems like it is, nothing is perfect - there’s always space for improvement, whether it comes to a design, development, workflow and even company culture. However, we always strive for perfection. That’s why each one of us in the team uses a plethora of tools to get things done as perfect as possible.
These are the tools I use on a daily basis.
Issue Tracking & Project Management
For the last year, we are using JetBrains’ YouTrack. It’s a very easy to use and fully customizable tool for agile project management. As I said, nothing is perfect, and neither are our agile boards, but we’re always working on improving our workflow - YouTrack’s ability to create custom fields and rules is a great addition!
Of course, we need to track our time working on various projects, whether they are internal or external. People in our company track their time in different ways - but the majority of people use one of the two methods: pen and paper, or Toggl. Personally, I’ve used pen and paper since I have started working in Studio Present. I’m going to try Toggl in a next couple of weeks, but I tend to jump through a lot of different projects (or duties) during the day, so I didn’t have time to work it out yet.
For team communication, we are using RocketChat. It’s an open-source alternative to the world popular team communication tool Slack. I’m not a fan, but I can live with it (I’m trying to pursue the team to switch to Hangouts Chat, but anyway).
Wireframing & Design
Although I’m a front-end developer in our team, sometimes I wake up as a designer (on some days I’m a copywriter, too), so I have to use many of the popular design tools available on the market.
When it comes to basic wireframing and prototyping after the initial meeting with the client, we usually use either Figma or Sketch. Figma is great, because it’s web-based, so you can access it wherever you want, on any platform. Recently, Sketch has also become a great tool for wireframing. I was always enthusiastic about Sketch (one of the reasons I have switched to macOS) - I feel like it’s a perfect and lightweight tool for a professional non-print design. Additional features like an amazing export tool, Sketch Mirror-ing and, of course - (nested) symbols makes it a no-brainer - Sketch is the design tool to use.
I store my Sketch files in G Suite’s Google Drive, along with the needed assets. For fonts, I’m using the native Font Book application.
Of course, there are a lot of tools used during our development process. It depends on the team or the individual person which tools is he (or she) using, but we try to use the same tools as much as it is possible.
Last fall, we started using Docker for easier deployment and running of our Drupal websites. Using Docker is ensuring that all of us are using the same stack based on various Docker images - currently, we’re really satisfied with Docker4Drupal stack.
For code editing, I’m in a love-hate relationship with JetBrains’ PhpStorm - it’s used by the majority of people in the development team. Some people, myself included, think that the PhpStorm is process-heavy, so I’m currently using Visual Studio Code - my macOS computer is handling it so much better.
I’m using Gulp to run my tasks, Emmet for code expanding and - a matching color scheme and typography for my code editor and my terminal. Operator Mono is my favourite mono-spaced font. Two spaces over tabs, by the way.
Terminal is another application which is important when it comes to the workflow. Some of us hipsters (I’m looking at you, front-end guys) have recently switched to Hyper (which I adore) with replacing the default bash with Oh-My-Zsh - now we are using the terminal on steroids!
As my main browser, I use Google Chrome with some useful extensions like Page Ruler for measuring, Fontface Ninja for font recognition (although I’m a font ninja myself), ColorZilla and Wappalyzer. For an occasional FTP communication with the server, I’m using Transmit.
Of course, Git is our version control system. We have a self-hosted GitLab, which we use for our projects’ life cycles - version control, CI and wiki. We always try to keep our wiki up-to-date, since there are constant improvements to our workflow, which needs to be understood by all members of our team.
For some reason, we love Google’s products, so recently we became G Suite users - we use Google Drive (Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides) on a daily basis. I’m using Astro for my work email, Google Calendar for keeping track of reminders or any upcoming events and Google Keep for any notes that I need to… well, keep.
What are your go-to tools that you use on a daily basis? Do you have any that you have a special love for? Write to us in the comments below!