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About Me and My Work


My favourite editors are simple text editors with file managers, rather than complex IDEs, as I usually prefer knowing and managing the files directly. The simplicity of Visual Studio Code has stolen my affections and I spend most of my time there, as you can see from my config. When I was a Mac user, Coda 2 was my favourite as it covered everything I needed without needing plugins. I still install Sublime Text on Windows but mostly because Notepad doesn't cut it. EditPad Pro (with FileZilla) will always have a place in my heart.

For MySQL, nothing is quite as easy as Sequel Pro for playing with databases. I have no idea how anyone survives on MySQL Workbench. Unfortunately I don't work on Mac any more so I use HeidiSQL.

Git powers almost all of my work but I need a visual reference to explore, study, and understand where I am in a project. GitKraken was revolutionary and can now be integrated with VSC.

I develop almost exclusively on Linux, Zorin OS is my current choice as it has long release cycles (thanks to Ubuntu LTS) and minimal yet powerful customisation options. I also use Debian on servers and some minimal desktops where I don't run lots of applications.

Despite starting out with Lighttpd, I have ended up learning nginx and Apache to stay up with much of the rest of the world. I am keeping an eye on Caddy however as it has a radically simpler setup but I am still a fan of doing things manually.

Docker has made developing and running software much easier so I only use VirtualBox for running Linux on Windows computers. I have used Vagrant in the past but I can do other things with Docker so I focus on that now.

I was introduced to Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo at a young age and it remains my favourite although not necessarily available on Linux so I end up in the GNU Image Manipulation Program crowd.

Statuscake offers excellent monitoring to ensure I am alerted to any downtime and Backblaze is one of the best ways of backing up files to cloud storage and even a whole computer.

Programming Languages

I initially started out with Classic ASP a long time ago before being introduced to PHP and never looking back. VBScript remains a reliable favourite for some more advanced Windows tasks so is never too far away.

I have done some worth with Node.js but it does not suit many of my use cases. I am also toying with Go which definitely seems promising for what I need.

I am a big fan of SCSS for managing my CSS, automatically compiling it with PHP wherever possible. I did fall in with the jQuery but have recently been working in vanilla JavaScript to be a bit closer to what the code actually does.

Being a regular Linux user, I am no stranger to Bash scripting to run backups and keep combinations of configurations in check, particularly useful when combined with Git and Ansible.

Hosting and Email

Initially I got involved with Rackspace Cloud however as the complexity and cost of their services increased, I moved to DigitalOcean for a better deal having learned all I needed to.

I typically go with Namecheap for domains for their excellent services and pricing.

Whilst I have hosted email servers before, Google Apps, Zoho, and Microsoft Office 365 do a much better job of it than I could on my own.

Password Manager

Whilst I have used LastPass and bitwarden in my work, I am personally a bigger fan of pass. pass-winmenu and pass-extension-tail make it a breeze and owning my own data feels much more comfortable.

Other Favourite Programs

Typically I prefer to use Firefox as my browser most of the time as it clears its cache very effectively. Its built in developer tools have replaced most extensions I used. Other extensions I use are:

Also in about:config, setting browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab to false and dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled to false is a lifesaver. I have also set to true to scrape back some vertical space by setting density to "Compact (not supported)".

When I'm using Firefox on Linux, I sometimes have to remember to change doubleClickSelectsAll in about:config too.

Chrome is good for a few things, namely:

Theres also an honourable mention for Gapplin for previewing SVGs, SoundBunny for your volume levels, and AppCleaner for thoroughly uninstalling things.