Showing posts for tag "sotu"

State of my Workspace 2021

Jan 15, 2021, 10:59 AM

Tags: sotu
  1. State of my Workspace 2017
  2. State of my Workspace 2021

A few years back, I wrote a post about the State of my Workspace, and I figure now is as good a time as any to write an updated version.

That said, looking through my old post, it's a little surprising how much remains the same, considering how many of the categories where allegedly in transition at the time.

Eclipse is Eternal, Apparently

Over the years, I've spent varying amounts of time in IntelliJ, and it's remarkably good in a lot of ways. I love how well-integrated its features are, and the revamped Endpoints pane in the latest releases is outstanding. It's speedy, consistently-updated, and well-considered. It particularly shines when working with a single app (either an individual thing or a small multi-module project), such as working on this blog.

That said, I still use Eclipse daily and always return to it when I try to switch away. Eclipse itself has been improving steadily too. Recent quarterly releases have focused a lot on performance, and it's paid off - the switch to non-blocking completion proposals in particular has brought some of the editing snappiness that other editors revel in. In addition, the Wild Web Developer project, though still jankier than, say, VS Code, does a good-enough job bringing fully-modern JS editing to Eclipse by way of using the same underlying LSP as other editors (the fact that it's also the backbone of NSF ODP's Eclipse support helps too). It also has some of the inline Java hints like IntelliJ does now, too, dubbed "Code Minings".

There are a few things that keep me coming back to Eclipse other than just "it's speedy like others now", too. Most of my work involves working with multiple sprawling Maven trees from distinct repositories. While IntelliJ can do that by way of importing modules, Eclipse's UI just makes it easier to manage. There's also the eternal back-and-forth about Build Automatically, and I come down thoroughly on Eclipse's side there. While IntelliJ has some options to do something like that, it's not as consistent as Eclipse. With Eclipse, I can be confident that the Problems pane will always show everything applicable. In general, I just feel more in-control of a large set of projects when working in Eclipse, and that goes a long way.

Issue Trackers Are Even Worse Off Now

Keeping track of open issues for my various tasks - both open-source projects and client work - remains a real thorn in my side, and the situation has degraded further over the years. I quite liked using the app Ship years ago, but then the company behind it shut down. The Mylyn Bitbucket connector, too, kept breaking and I gave up on it entirely a while ago. This has left me back in the situation of manually checking various browser tabs to follow everything, and that stinks.

Every once in a while, I've tinkered with writing my own little coordinated issue-tracker app to bridge all the differences, but it never really gets off the ground. It's just one of those things where it never really makes sense to sink a bunch of non-billable time into slightly improving the way I manage actually-billable time. Maybe one day it'll tip over the mental threshold and I'll actually solve the problem. We'll see.

My Computer Is Due For A Change

I ended up buying the iMac Pro I mentioned in my last post, and it's been pretty decent. However, I've hit the same trouble that Marco Arment of ATP ran into, which is that the fans on this thing go constantly. It crept up over time, with them just spinning up when I would e.g. compile a bunch of stuff at once, but now they're going basically any time I use it. It's still under AppleCare, but, between the pandemic and the fact that there's no time when it's convenient for me to be without my development environment for a week, I haven't taken it in. It's just led to be getting more and more annoyed over time.

Fortunately, the M1 Macs should be an opportunity to cut the Gordian knot: my old MacBook was due for a replacement, so I'm swapping that out for an Air. In theory, that Air will be equivalent or better than the iMac Pro for the type of work I do anyway, and I'd long ago moved my Windows VM to a PC in the basement. I plan to give it a shot as my main desktop once it arrives, and that'll also give me some room to take this thing in to be fixed. I'm looking forward to that, since it'll be nice to not glare at my computer in annoyance all day.

Oh, and, since I mentioned Storage Spaces last time: since then, I took an old tower Mac Pro and installed FreeNAS in it, and it's a delight. FreeNAS is cool and I legitimately missed working with FreeBSD. So now I have that thing handling mass storage, while my gaming PC runs Windows Server and hosts my various development VMs using Hyper-V.

Other Misc. Tools

In my last post, I mentioned Franz as a coordinated tool for the ridiculous number of chat apps I had. I ended up settling on it and, other than some consistent problems with notifications and audio, it does a good-enough job. Certainly, it's a much-better experience than running all of those stupid apps individually, that's for sure.

I also did indeed make the switch from SourceTree to Tower. While I appreciated the $0 price of SourceTree, its general crashiness and tendency to hang on complex operations got to me and I've been using Tower ever since. It does exactly what it's supposed to and does it well. Nice job, Tower.

Browser-wise, I used Firefox Developer Edition for a while, but switched back to Safari when Firefox developed a tendency to somehow hard-crash my computer. I don't know if it's a computer-specific thing (likely related to whatever the fan trouble is, I'd guess) or trouble with Firefox, but it's not exactly the sort of thing I want to have to diagnose. Safari is speedy and I'm getting used to the developer tools, so it's a fine replacement.

For mail, I (and my company) have been using Spark for a while, and it's great. The ability to share emails and have inline threads among people in your organization is wonderful.

For calendars, I use Fantastical. I miss the days when I didn't have to really care about calendars at all, but, given that I regularly have meetings, this does a splendid job dealing with them. I quite appreciate the recent additions of weather reports and the automatic detection of meeting URLs, too.

For blogging, I use MarsEdit, both because it's good on its own and because writing an API for my blog meant I didn't need to bother making a good editing UI on my own. I think it's also just conceptually good to use tools that work with open protocols like that.

State of my Workspace 2017

Dec 28, 2017, 2:00 PM

Tags: sotu
  1. State of my Workspace 2017
  2. State of my Workspace 2021

Since the end of the year is a good time for recaps, I figured it could be fun and useful to look back to see how my development workspace and habits changed over the course of the year. One of the recurring pleasant side effects of working on Darwino is that it provides opportunities to dive into a wide array of tools and techniques, though my normal XPages development improved a bit too.

Eclipse Still Reigns

My primary IDE of choice remains Eclipse on the Mac. I've tried to like IntelliJ - I really have - and using Android Studio has given me a bit of appreciation for it, but the combination of inertia, its features, and the fact that IntelliJ feels more alien on the Mac have kept me with Eclipse. I do keep checking every milestone release notes page to see if they've improved the process of working with Tycho-based projects, though.

Text Editor Brawl

I've been a TextMate user since about when it came out, but the slowdown of development has taken its toll, and my eyes have started to wander. Its main replacement so far has been Sublime Text, which essentially feels like a snappier and more-modern TextMate, and it's suited well enough - I'm using it to write this post, for example. In recent weeks, though, I've also finally started giving Visual Studio Code a trial run for a React app I'm writing. Unsurprisingly, I'm finding it quite pleasant, and it's making a good play to take over as my default in the future.

The Markdown Editor Search May Have Reached Its Conclusion

The Darwino user documentation is written with Gitbook, which uses Markdown, and so I've been looking for a while for a comfortable environment for writing it. Each of the programmer text editors has good syntax support, and TextMate did some inline formatting, but the ones I use seem to either lack an inline preview pane or have one that doesn't work quite like I'd like. I used Haroopad for a while, but development petered out, and it was time to find another. I've recently found Typora - I'd thought at first that its semi-WYSIWYG editing in a single pane wasn't what I wanted, but it surprised me: it's outstanding. I have a few minor gripes, but I think I'm sold (or I will be once they release a for-money version).

Issue Trackers Remain Weird

I've gone through many iterations of how to track to-dos and issues for projects, and I've gone all-in on using integrated issue trackers in Git repos when available. The experience is never perfect, though: I don't like using browser tabs for these, but none of the native apps do quite what I want. One of the kickers is that not all of my projects are on GitHub, so either I need to check in two places or use something that bridges the gap.

Eclipse has Mylyn, which integrates with both GitHub and Bitbucket, but it's always a little janky about it. It does the job, though, and for a good while my solution was to have a separate Eclipse installation running geared entirely to issue tracking - no IDE functionality enabled, just a single window with the list of tasks. That worked kind of well, and I may return to it, but it never felt quite right.

For now, I've settled back on splitting up the two - checking Bitbucket via the web and using Ship as a mostly-native client for GitHub. The Ship UI is excellent enough to overcome my retience at the split workflow - the handling of milestones, Up Next, and whatnot make it a joy to use.

Aging Hardware Bristling With Drives

My main development machine remains the Late-2014 iMac 5K, which is nervously eyeing the iMac Pro page, but I've augmented it with a refurbished ThunderBay 4 mini to house my workspaces and VMs. I'll likely eventually convince myself to buy an iMac Pro, but for now this machine is still doing its job nicely.

Similarly, my gaming PC is still chugging along in its crazytown new case, and I've recently had a wild hair to cram it full of hard drives and group them with Storage Spaces. It's proving to have turned into a pretty nice NAS-alike and a capable workhorse for Plex serving, VR, and general gaming.

On the Chopping Block

I have a spate of apps that I use that I would love to trim down or replace if I can do so. Prime among those is Slack; while I like Slack for chat rooms better than the old standby of Skype, I'm hardly the first to notice what a hog it is, considering it's just a couple web pages. I've tried out Franz and Rambox a bit to tame the disaster zone of running Slack, Skype, Discord, and Microsoft Teams simultaneously, but they had some showstopping problems of one stripe or another. Still, I don't think the current setup can last another year.

SourceTree continues to be... kind of there. It's taken to crashing randomly every day or so, which isn't a huge impediment to working, but the notification dialog may as well say "hey, maybe it's time to give Git Tower a shot".

Parallels is still doing its job as my VM environment, but the advertizing for each successive version gets more and more desperate, and it's really been putting me off. Maybe it's time to make the switch to VMWare, especially since it seems like it took the performance crown in recent versions. Ideally, I wouldn't have to keep Windows running all the time at all, but for now it's a necessity.