Dock Show & Tell

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

Someone wrote in asking about some icons in my Dock. I figured that might be a fun thing to share, and y’all can follow suit and share yours as well. I know “Docks” are a little Mac-centric, but feel free to share your most used apps on other platforms as well. I bet this changes quite a bit over the years, so it will be interesting to re-do this in years to come and see how it changes.

The Whole Dock

I keep it as big as it can be. I also just a few days into having a really wide 34″ LG monitor, so my Dock is large-and-in-charge right now:

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The spaces are added by using this old trick.

The Apps

Activity Monitor – Sometimes my laptop fans start going crazy and everything gets slow. I often pop open Activity Monitor and sort by CPU usage and figure out what it is. Sometimes it’s some Ruby task freaking out or a Chrome tab doing something super intensive. It’s good to figure out so I can kills the task and calm things back down.

1Password – Essential app for managing passwords. I also keep a lot of notes in there of things I want to keep secure. I use pretty much every feature of 1Password. Multiple vaults. Shared vaults. Drivers License. Software Licences. Passports. Most useful: Credit Cards. So nice to have all this data in one app that also syncs to my other devices.

FontExplorerX – I’m not even sure how necessary this is anymore since the native Font Book looks like it can do most of what I use this for. Mostly grouping fonts into my own categories so I can browse for what I need quickly and shutting off stuff I don’t use very much. I like the interface though so I keep upgrading it.

The browsers!

Safari – On iOS I use Safari because it’s the only browser that supports that ad blocking stuff. On Desktop I use it the least, but it’s here for testing.

Chrome – I do most of my day-to-day browsing and development in Chrome.

Firefox Developer Edition – Mostly for testing. I’m not sure why I use the Developer Edition and I don’t think I use any particular features of it, but hey, why not.

Simulator – I use this iOS simulator (comes with XCode) quite a bit. I find it the easiest way to get a faithful mobile look and experience of a site without having to use the real thing.

I use CrossBrowserTesting for all other browser testing.

Git Tower – I like a GUI for git! I use this for 98% of all Git stuff I do. I find it nice for jumping around projects, cutting and merging branches, picking out files for commits… it suites my style. I do find it very crashy though. I’d say it quits on me a few times a day. Fortunately it starts fast. My favorite feature is the auto-stashing when switching branches.

iTerm – I use the command line a ton, but only for basic things and things real DevOps people have set up for our team. I’ve heard iTerm is far nicer than the native Terminal, so I use it. I doubt I use any of it’s many features though. I do like how when it quits and restarts it keeps all the tabs and the directory location of each.

Sequel Pro – For poking around in databases. I tend to just do little stuff like change settings, figure out user ID’s, ensure the proper tables exist and that connections work, and things like that.

Transmit – When I need straight FTP, I use Transmit. But even than FTP I use it for connecting to the various Amazon S3 buckets where I need to store stuff.

Coda – I don’t use it much anymore, but when I need to FTP into a site and hotfix some actual code in there, you can’t beat Coda. I don’t use most of it’s features, like version control and previewing and whatnot. Mostly I end up using it for editing files that are .gitignored for whatever reason, like an `.htaccess` file or something.

CodeKit – Any of my projects that are in between “super simple thing with zero build step necessary” and “super complicated project with custom build steps” I use CodeKit for. Like CSS-Tricks itself. Point CodeKit at a project folder and do all the preprocessing you need.

MAMP – I use the Pro version for firing up local WordPress sites. Someday I’d like to upgrade my setup and have everything be more virtualized or Dockerized or whatever, I just haven’t gotten there. And it bites me sometimes, needing all my other projects to work around MAMP stuff so everything can co-exist.

Noun Project – the native app means you can search for icons and then drag and drop them right into apps like Sketch, Illustrator, or Keynote.

Sketch – The design tool of choice for layout and component design work.

Photoshop – I mostly use it for cropping and resizing, as my attempt at a workflow didn’t go great. A little photo manipulation. Very little layout work anymore.

Illustrator – Any time I’m working with an individual SVG file I go for Illustrator. Haven’t quite moved that to Sketch yet. Not sure why.

Keynote – I feel weirdly guilty that I don’t build my slide decks with front end technologies. I think that’s usually a cool way to go. Makes them more shareable and searchable and all that. I just like working in Keynote. I also really like though, so I plan to use that more and more.

GIPHY CAPTURE – I like the UI and options available in this GIF capturing tool.

licecap – I still go for licecap when I need to make a GIF bigger than GIPHY CAPTURE allows or I need to very carefully control the framerate.

Photos – I quite like Photos lately. It seems a little slow to sync new stuff from my other devices, but it does do it. I’ve managed to port over pretty much every photo I’ve ever taken into it. So now I have this massive collection of photos, but only a fraction of which are stored in high res directly on my machine. The shared albums works great. The smart grouping works well. I can blast things up to Flickr as needed. Not much more I want!

iTunes – I don’t hate on iTunes as much as a lot of people, and I think it’s finally starting to get better. I probably shouldn’t, but I feel pretty locked into the whole iTunes ecosystem. I’ve boughten a ton of stuff from it. I have a ton of playlists and ratings and whatnot. I don’t use it a whole lot on my laptop anyway as I’m one of those weirdos who can’t work well with music playing. I use iTunes stuff way more on the phone and AppleTV.

Quicktime Player – I actually use the crap out of this since I use it for recording local audio bits for all the various podcasting I do. I also use it for quick screen recordings, which is useful for stuff like Buffer > Instagram.

ScreenFlow – For longer screencast stuff, I use ScreenFlow. Mostly because it has this really cool robust feature set that you could use to make screencasts much more compelling and watchable… that I only think about using but never do. I do use the timeline feature for stitching together multiple video and audio tracks.

Sublime Text – I switched to Atom for a good month there but ultimately couldn’t get it to stick. I find Sublime fast, comfortable, and productive.

Fantastical – This is the calendar app that stuck for me. I tried and essentially liked BusyCal, Sunrise, Google Calendar and the native iCal and they were all pretty good, but I just like this a bit better. Behind the scenes, it’s really all still Google Calendar though so it syncs nicely. If anything weird went down with integration, I’d probably just use the Google apps.

Messages – I only use this for SMS and whatever the Apple version of that is. iMessage or whatever. I don’t use AIM anymore and Google Hangouts works best through the Chrome add-on.

WhatsApp – I mostly think of this as a phone app, but recently found the desktop app and it’s pretty good! I don’t use it a lot, but I have a bunch of family and friends groups on it. So it you’re at the desktop anyway, might as well use the desktop app instead of having to change contexts over to the phone.

Slack – All communication lives here. I still find it so weird how Slack came out of nowhere and absolutely dominated team communication.

Zoom – The UI ain’t great, but it’s hands down the best video and audio conferencing software. Skype UI is infuriating. Google Hangouts feels slow and buggy. ScreenHero feels abandoned and buggy and the bits that made it into Slack doesn’t seem to work great either.

Front – A team-based tool for managing incoming email and Twitter and stuff. We love it at CodePen.

iA Writer – The best Markdown editor.

Notes – I use the crap out of Notes for personal organization. These are my to-do lists, thought dumps, publishing schedules, general notes. I haven’t even used all the fancy new features like drawing in them and whatnot. I love that they automatically sync through iCloud though.

ImageOptim – I upload a ton of images to the web intended to be seen on websites. Like all the images in this blog post. I drag and drop all of them onto this first to make sure they are as small as they can be. Ideally I”d have a WordPress plugin automatically optimize everything I upload, but I haven’t found anything that has worked great and stuck yet.

Recent Documents – Anything that I’m super actively working on I drag over here so they are one-click away.