State of the Dock 2018

  • 3 minutes reading time

Two months after writing State of the Podcasts, where I talked about my go-to podcasts in 2018, this post is about the apps that find their home on my laptop’s dock. These apps are those I use most often and make me much more productive.

I switched from a Firefox/Opera combination to Chrome as my primary web browser when it was released in late 2008 because it was fast and secure. Today, I use Chrome because it’s still standards-compliant and I’m very deep into the Google ecosystem. Chrome isn’t the fastest browser out there anymore, but I can only switch to a new browser if it’s also made by Google (or another company I can rely upon for cloud storage, email, search, etc., or integrating with Google.)

One of the two major switches in 2018 was from Boxy, a Mac client for Inbox by Google, to Airmail 2. This change was part of a large overhaul of my entire email system, but that’s a story for another day. Airmail is fast and efficient, and lets me configure multiple inboxes, signatures, and most other things I need. I still use Inbox on my phone.

Franz is a native* client for multiple messaging apps. I think of it as a browser with perpetual tabs for apps I need running in the background. I have it configured with multiple Slack workspaces, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp Web, Google Calendar, and Google Keep. Before Franz, I used similar all-in-one apps.

In 2017, I starting using Visual Studio Code from Microsoft instead of my long-time favorite Sublime Text as my go-to code editor. In the past, I’ve used everything from (then Macromedia) DreamWeaver to fully fledged IDEs, but I fell in love with the customization and extension ecosystem of VS Code. I use the theme Atom One Dark with the ligature typeface Fira Code.

iTerm2 is the terminal replacement I use, primarily because of its features like multiple panes, search, and better themes. Even simple tings like copy-and-paste are simpler in iTerm2 and it’s native to Mac (unlike other Electron-based terminals.)

Termius is the most recent addition to my dock. It’s a beautifully-designed SSH client which also lets me store keys and credentials. It’s far better than my previous attempt at SSH management---writing shell scripts and one-liner Slack notes.

Even though I switched to Sketch for UI design when I bought a Mac, Photoshop has been my favorite way to quickly create raster images since I started using the tool even before I turned 10. I like the classics like compression and export options and new features like Content Aware fill.

Sketch, in general, is how I design. I did a freelance app UI design project this year and extensively made use of Sketch. It has a vibrant ecosystem of plugins and an incredibly active community.

Postman is the best way of developing and sharing REST API endpoints. I use it in almost every project, because it’s simple yet powerful. It’s great for simple POST requests but also great to collaborate on collections of projects with hundreds of endpoints.

I started using Navicat in 2017 because it lets me use all major database management systems and connect to both local and remote servers. I use it for MySQL on localhost, Oswald Labs’ MariaDB in production, and PostgreSQL for new projects.

Again, in 2017, I started with physical computing as part of my curriculum in Creative Technology. Today, I use Arduino for everything from university projects to IoT products for clients. I don’t use the Arduino GUI (I have a setup in VS Code), but still need to go to the app to compile and upload (note to self: configure Arduino for VS Code).

Earlier this year, I moved from Apple Music to Spotify, primarily because Apple Music in India did not give me recommendations I was looking for. Spotify makes me great playlists, lets me download them, and I love features like crossfading and Genius.

1Password is my password manager and generator. I use it for all my online passwords (with the exception of Google and Facebook), credit cards, WiFi password, etc. It’s simple, and works with all my devices.

Illustrated portrait of Anand

About the author

Anand Chowdhary

Anand Chowdhary is a creative technologist and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CTO of Pabio, an interior design and rent-to-own furniture company funded by Y Combinator. He lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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