So, I’ve been experimenting again. And I do a fair bit of that on this site, but certainly not as much as Brian Gardner does on his.
This experiment was twofold. The first part was to convert the site’s content and look from the Genesis framework to the Builder framework. Part two was to do it with a different set of development tools.
Let me tell you about the second part first. I had been using Coda 2 (and Coda, before that) for most of my web work. Yes, I’d dabble with Espresso from time to time, but Coda was my main tool. And I like it a lot; but it’s not perfect, and I’m always looking for “better.”
It seems as if there as always been two approaches software developers to make tools for complex projects—integrated solutions or individual tools. And there are many examples such as Microsoft Works (integrated) vs. Microsoft Office (individual tools), text editor/compiler/debugger (individual tools) vs. Xcode (integrated). And for me, in the web world, there was Coda (integrated) vs. the combination of BBEdit, CodeKit, Transmit and Chrome (it used to be Safari, but version 6 screwed the web inspector up so badly I had to switch to Chrome).
BBEdit has been on my DragThing dock about as long as there has been a BBEdit (or DragThing). What can this text editor not do? In the face of a lot of new kids on the block the likes of Chocolat, TextMate, and Sublime Text, BBEdit has stuck around adding features and matching new OS conventions year after year. A couple of my favorite features? Tab stops can be shown as vertical lines line pinstripes on the screen to better line up code blocks visually. The alphabetically sorted navigation menu for functions or CSS declarations. And the editing dialogs for HTML and CSS. Love ‘em for when I can’t remember the right syntax.
Where does CodeKit fall in? Its kind of a junk box of handy tools, but I use it mainly for its ability to update a browser window whenever you save a file its been tracking. So as soon as you hit save for the CSS file you’re editing, it updates your browser. Nice! And one of these days I’m going to get serious about Sass or Less, and both of those are compiled on save by CodeKit.
My sites are all accessible via FTP, so something with the power and features of Transmit is the way to go for moving files around. It will handle all the file management chores and do sync and even mount an FTP server as a virtual Mac OS X disk. I’ve been using Transmit for other FTP tasks (outside of web development) for so long I can’t remember what I used before that.
Chrome is my web development browser, but not my day-to-day browser. I like Safari’s interface, iCloud connections, and general feel much better for my usual surfing. And it used to be my web development browser, too, because it added web inspector features; but then came version 6. For some reason the developers decided to change the web inspector and dropped the ability to easily find which CSS rule was overwriting which; it used to be in the Computed Style when exposed by the little down arrow.