Resources

I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page to show how I approach development, and what tools and resources I use/read. It’ll be a running list, and I will be updating it regularly. I recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience. Enjoy!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

My Most Recommended

Focus@Will: I use this service every day, and it has really changed the way I focus when I’m working. They describe themselves as “A neuroscience based music service that helps boost cognition by up to 400%“, and although I can’t give you an exact percentage to describe my increased productivity, there is a noticeable difference between how effective I am when using it vs not (vs just listening to regular music). I’ve used it for over 2 years, and almost never listen to anything else while i’m working.

Laracasts: Laracasts are in-depth educational videos made by Jeffrey Way, which were initially targeted at Laravel development. From very early on they expanded into software architecture, testing, development/environment setup and PHP/Javascript best practices. The content is top notch, and the site itself is intuitive and great for setting your learning goals. The content is broken up into Lessons (individual videos), Series (cohesive series of Lessons) and Collections (related Lessons grouped together). You can mark them as completed, to be watched later, favorite them, and even download the videos for offline usage. At the time I added this it was up to 611 lessons, and growing.

Hosting

Heroku: You can’t get much easier than Heroku for hosting and prototyping some code. Initialize a git repo, point it at heroku, and git push: you’ve just deployed and started your server! I’ve worked with Heroku for years from prototyping code to live production setups.

Linode: Linode is my first choice when I need a custom setup and want a solid VPS. All of their options are SSD now, and the pricing and management of your server is intuitive.

Shopify: Shopify is an awesome resource if you need to setup an online store. Everything you need to sell your products online, on top of a solid platform that is easy to theme and extend.

WP Engine: If you specifically need WordPress hosting, WP Engine is one of the best dedicated options available.

Freelance

Freshbooks: I used to be a big fan of Harvest, and I still think that’s a great service. But switching to Freshbooks has been great, and it’s more comprehensive than what Harvest offers. I use it for time tracking, expenses, invoices, and subcontractor timesheets.

Cushion: Cushion has been a great tool to help forecast my business and income. You can setup income goals, track project timelines, and get insights into your relationships with clients.

Developer News

Most of my developer news comes from one group, Cooper Press. Keeping up with development news across different languages and specialties can be difficult to do on your own, so i’ve turned to over a dozen different newsletters over the years. The stuff Cooper Press produces has blown most of it out of the water, which is why 5 of the 6 newsletters listed here are from them.

Javascript Weekly: Weekly resources and news from the JavaScript world, including some node.js content

HTML5 Weekly: Weekly resources and news from the HTML5 world

Mobile Web Weekly: Weekly resources and news focused on mobile web development, ranging from responsive web apps to tools like Cordova, React Native and Nativescript.

Node Weekly: Weekly resources and news focused on node.js

Ruby Weekly: Weekly resources and news all about Ruby, Rails and friends.

Laravel News: This is one of the few non-Cooper Press newsletters I subscribe to. It’s curated by Eric L. Barnes and he’s done a great job combing through the best Laravel related news from the week (plus some general PHP/JavaScript usefulness). Highly recommended if you have any interest in Laravel.

Education

Ruby Tapas: Much like Jeffrey Way, Avdi Grimm is a great educator and his videos are enjoyable and instructive. His content is much more focused on Ruby with less emphasis on any frameworks. Each “Tapa” is a bite-sized, targeted piece of content that illuminates topics ranging from Ruby best practices to general architectural choices. Unlike Laracasts though, the tapas site is much simpler and doesn’t offer most of the features Laracasts does (like grouping videos into Series, or marking a video to be watched later). You can however get a feed of the Ruby Tapas videos and easily watch them in iTunes or on your phone without logging into the site, which is a plus.

Code School: I’ve subscribed on and off to Code School, but always recommend them. Great videos accompany real-time coding exercises ranging from beginner to advanced content, and covering JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, and HTML5 among others. Even beginner content in languages and frameworks I’ve used for years have taught me a thing or two!

Safari Bookshelf: Safari Bookshelf has been a great tool that i’ve been using for several years. If you’re like me at all, there are usually dozens of technical books you’re looking to either pull chapters from or read in full, and buying them in every case could be prohibitive. Safari Bookshelf offsets the cost by giving you monthly subscription access to virtually every resource they have available to them. I’m more wary of recommending them these days because their costs have gone up alot ($39/mo). The value is there (I think) so if you’re interested give the free trial a try before jumping in.

Dev Tools

Jetbrains develops the highest quality IDEs (integrated development environments) available. Outside of text editors, they are always my first choice.

RubyMine: Awesome editing, tooling and debugging for Ruby and Rails.

PHPStorm: Has all of the features of their web-oriented editor WebStorm, plus tooling for PHP and related frameworks. Also offers the easiest PHP debug setup i’ve ever used.

Atom: My choice for coding when I don’t need the full features of a Jetbrains IDE or i’m just doing some quick editing. Atom is very similar to Sublime for anyone familiar with that, but built on an open source project with tons of extensability.

Lucid Chart: Lucid Chart is my favorite answer to Visio in the cloud. I needed a solution for creating charts/graphs/flows and UI mockups, and Lucid Chart is a fantastic tool for that. Also has plenty of options for sharing (png / web page / pdf) and collaboration.

Github: The programming community standard for git-based source code management. Having an account here is a must for tracking or contributing to any open source project you’re interested in, and most of my clients manage their code here.

Bitbucket: The user interface isn’t as nice as Github, and it’s usage isn’t as ubiquitous, but it has two big things going for it: free private repositories and more fine-grained collaborator management in their free version.

Personal Development

VIP Success Coaching: This is a coaching program from Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning. Topics are varied but some examples include growing your business, wealth management, and productivity.

Books

Miracle Morning: This book has had a huge impact on my life and business and set me on a path of growth that just wasn’t there before. Change your mindset about what you’re capable of and what you can accomplish, read and follow the challenge this book prescribes.