These are the most interesting that we incorporated to our development tools this year:
Compass, a set of reusable patterns for Sass, is in conjunction with Sass the best improvement that we’ve ever had in order to maintain a css library that makes sense. Even if you don’t intend to use it, take a look at the source code for its mixins in the reference to get ideas for your own mixins.
Saves you a ton of time and gives you a good base to build upon. There’s a second contender on this space which I’ve heard it’s pretty good, specially handling responsiveness, it’s in our New Year’s resolutions to check it out: Zurb Foundation 3
Vagrant and Chef
We have to struggle a little bit to get it up and running but now that we got the hang of it we love it. As they say on the website, Vagrant lets you Create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments., whereas Chef is responsible of handling your provisioning recipes. It makes the “works on my machine” a thing of the past and it makes you really easy to deploy and tinker first on your staging local server before getting to production, which gives us a lot of peace of mind. We also use Chef to provision a new production machine.
** Coffeescript & Backbone **
** Vim + tmux + iterm2 **
It’s great for remote pair programming, it gives you a real time experience even with below average connections. The best script that I’ve seen to set it up is this one:
brew install https://raw.github.com/adamv/homebrew-alt/master/other/tmux-iterm2.rb
Lately we’ve been enjoying a connection good enough to use the screen share tool trough imessage, and you can actually forget which computer is yours except when neither of you can type nor click for a couple of seconds (it happens time to time).
** Capybara **
It was about time that we started doing some browser testing, and though we are still only covering some actions, it feels really good. We have some timeout issues and our tests are pretty slow, but slow and cumbersome tests are far better than no tests at all.
** CodeSchool **
From Envy Labs, it has made into the top of the list of learning resources, along with railscasts and Peepcode. Really entertaining and practical tutorials, thanks to them we started digging into Backbone.
** Dev Chrome Tools **
It just gets better and better, we don’t know how we did frontend development before (that probably a little unfair to Firebug, which is also great, but we ended up switching to Chrome for good..). There’s a great talk from igvita:
** MongoDB **
We just finished the courses “Mongo 101 for developers” and “Mongo 102 for DBAs” that 10gen gave online for free on 10genEducation. We are looking forwarding to taking advantage of this freedom for modeling DBs next year.