What desktop applications I use for web development in 2018

January 29, 2018

These are my most valued, or most used tools in my developer toolbox. Some of these tools I could easily switch out for another alternative, and some of them I’ve just become so accustomed to that it would really take some time getting used to anything else.

Visual studio code

Easily the most important tool in my toolbox, the editor. Earlier in my career you wouldn’t have found me using anything but notepad++. I later had to get with the times, and I moved to sublime text 2, although I was never really happy with it. I tested out Atom briefly, but I felt it was too buggy and too slow (mind you this was when it was still in Beta).

When I finally tested Visual Studio Code, I fell in love.

Visual Studio Code is not to be confused with the slow and humongous IDE Visual Studio, which I avoid at all costs.

Google Chrome

The browser that I hate that I use. I love the web inspector tool, I love the simplicity of the design. But I hate that it’s not completely open source, and I hate that it’s controlled by one of the arguably most powerful companies in the world. I really need to switch to Mozilla Firefox again.

Mac OS

I’ve almost exclusively used Windows for desktop, and Linux for servers. But in early 2015, when I moved to Helsinki, I also switched from Windows to Mac OSX (later Mac OS). The main reason; I had grown tired of not having a good terminal in Windows (although now a days there’s the linux subsystem which I’ve heard a lot of good things about).

If I had a choice – and this is still just as accurate today – I’d run Debian full time on all of my machines, but because I need some of Adobe’s software (Photoshop and Lightroom), I’m not able to make the switch without losing what I consider very important tools in my day-to-day life.

I find Mac OS to be very much subpar to Windows and Linux, but since I get some of the great things from both worlds, it’s an acceptable compromise.


Generally, if there’s a good CLI tool, I’ll use it. I’m a bit ashamed to say this, but when it comes to git, I’ve always favored SourceTree over git in it’s CLI nativity. I find git almost a bit scary when doing larger tasks in the terminal, like cross merging, rebasing, etc. For simple operations like just pulling and pushing, CLI is fine, but for following a really large branch, I’d rather use SourceTree.

Sequel Pro

Makes browsing, exporting and importing MySQL databases a breeze. When I was still on Windows I did all database operations through nutty via SSH, I was always a bit envious on the mac users that had Sequel, life just seemed simpler for them. So once I switched to Mac, one of the first applications I got was Sequel Pro.


A lot more customizable than terminal.app. Other than that, it’s a terminal, I like it, I use it. I use it a lot. At my work I need to be almost constantly connected to one of our many stage servers, production servers, etc. Also with the amount of composer-based projects, not to mention node/npm based build tools, projects, and packagers, the terminal really becomes one of the main tools that you need to use daily, if not hourly.


Although a lot of designs are now a days created and presented in online tools like InVision, photoshop still is one of the crucial tools that I use when it comes to realizing design in the front end world, although admittedly, most of the things I use photoshop for could easily be done just as simply in Gimp.

Virtual box

It was a lot more important for me when I was still running windows, since I made sure to always run my web-projects in unix like environments, i.e. I always had at least one Debian server running with php, apache, mysql. Now since I’m running on mac, I have apache running locally, and I switch locally which php version I’m running for different projects – it’s just a lot easier that way. Though virtualization is still important in my workflow, although it’s mostly for testing now a days.