Recently my 2015 MacBook Pro has decided it is time to retire. Having gone through my tenure as a Presales Engineer and especially the last 2.5 years as a Developer Advocate @ Akamai Technologies, all of the time spend learning about and using Infrastructure as Code tools, API microservices from a wide variety of companies and other nifty tools related to video and content production has been available on that MacBook.
Of course, a new 2021 MacBook Pro was acquired which left me with the fun times of redownloading software and setting it back up to my liking. A great time to share what tools I am using in my toolbox on a daily basis!
I will group software and tools according to the good old DevOps Lifecycle phases.
Working from home means I will need to communicate with my colleagues all around the world with your typical tools.
- Microsoft Outlook for email
- Slack, Cisco WebEx Teams and Microsoft Teams for chat
- Zoom, Cisco WebEx Meeting and Microsoft Teams for video and audio conferencing
I realize that I haven't made an actual phone call or answered one in the last 2.5 years at my job, that is quite interesting.
For coding, there is pretty much only one tool that gets me through and that is Visual Studio Code. As I primarily code in HCL and use Akamai Developer Tools, I also the following extensions:
- Visual Studio Code
- HashiCorp Terraform extension
- Akamai Property Manager and Akamai EdgeWorkers extensions
Of course, as a GitHub user, I quite often use the source control plugins inside of VSCode to sync my code into repos.
Test, Release, Deploy
With Akamai and Linode offering a wide variety of Developer Tools to help create and manage all sorts of configurations such as DNS, CDN, Application and API Security, Edge and Cloud Computing, I rely heavily on those DevTools.
Both offer APIs to interface with the configurations as well as a command-line interface (CLI) and Terraform Providers. All of that gets installed quickly through Homebrew so I can manage my solutions fast.
- Akamai CLI
- Linode CLI
To interface directly with APIs, I am a heavy user of Postman. I have been using Postman for the last 4 years and it has been a great tool to learn about how to use APIs, how to create APIs and how to test them. I have developed several Postman collections for the Akamai and Linode APIs which have been very helpful.
While Postman is available in the browser, I prefer the software client.
And of course, you cannot say no to a Terminal. Using command-line interfaces, you will have to rely on a Terminal. Using either ZSH or Bash, I use this quite often for all sorts of commands. Running curl, dig, whois commands to verify HTTPS and DNS requests resolving properly is something I do all the time.
For source code and version control, I rely mostly on GitHub only.
With the focus on creating demos and lightweight applications and APIs, I don't have a huge need to monitor production systems. For this, the good old user interfaces from Akamai and Linode suffice. In my demos I also use AWS or GCP often and rely on their interfaces as well.
- Akamai Control Center
- Linode Cloud Manager
Alright, time for the good stuff! After testing tools, building demos, syncing code back to GitHub, it is time to go into the wonderful world for content production. This is usually video tutorials as well as articles and blog posts that can help others use the tools.
For video production, I use a Sony ZV-1 camera with Rode Wireless Go mics as well as an Elgato Key Light and Elgato Green Screen to record myself with great video and audio quality plus good lighting and removable backgrounds. Not really software but worth a mention!
- Sony ZV-1
- Rode Wireless Go
- Elgato Key Light
- Elgato Green Screen
Screen recording is important, I often have to show how to use the code examples or tools in action. I have been using Telestream's ScreenFlow for several years now and it is great as it acts as both a screen recording tool but also a video editing program. Two in one! Before I used QuickTime Screen Recording and iMovie to edit and that was quite limiting. Never did get around to learning Adobe Premiere though...
If you want to run the occasional livestream as well, I highly recommend OBS. It also allows for video recording as well which can be helpful as well. Screenflow is a paid license though...
Back in the 00s and early 10s, it was Microsoft Office all the way but in the last 5 years, I have transitioned over completely to Google Docs / Sheets / Slides. Having the ability to share it and work on the same doc is so much easier and I don't even have Microsoft Excel / Word or Powerpoint on my laptops anymore. Outlook though, that one is hard to get rid of.
- Google Drive / Docs / Sheets / Slides
Google Chrome has also been the browser of choice for me for a good 15 years now. Chrome has some excellent extensions that must be installed.
- Google Chrome
- Video Speed Controller
- and yes ... AdBlock
A Password Manager is a must-have. It is pretty much the only piece of software I gladly pay a yearly fee for. I have been using 1Password for the last 5 years and it has been extremely helpful. Randomized passwords, simple Chrome plugin and I am good to go!
Video Speed Controller is a must-have in my opinion. It allows you to speed up (or slow down) any type of videos played in Chrome. I can follow along at 1.5x to 2.5x quite easily and it helps me be more efficient with my time. Especially when learning new tools through video tutorials!
And that is pretty much it! The rest of the tools I use are typically inside of the browser, such as the Hashnode blogging platform used here or watching new tutorials on YouTube or of course brushing up on user documentation on a company's documentation platform!
I will say though, out of all the tools bookmarked in my Dock, why do I always have to add that trusty Calculator there :)
I hope this was a helpful insight in the tools that I am using as a Developer Advocate. It doesn't end here of course, I can talk about Docker, Kubernetes, Splunk etc. that I use from time to time, but the most important tools have been highlighted.
If you want to, let me know in the comments below what you are using!