A creative coder’s toolbox

by Andreas Koller

It’s crucial to select the right tools for each project. Equally important is not to spend too much time checking out the newest tools – there are just too many of them. The practice of creative coding is evolving quickly, so I thought it might be useful to document the current state of my toolbox.Obviously, this can only be an incomplete list. On a sidenote, some of the apps are OS X / iOS only.

  • Processing for code sketches in Java (works perfectly with Sublime with this plugin by Benedikt Groß)
  • Sublime Text 2 for decent text editing with lots of innovative functions (multi-cursor, command palette, fuzzy searching) – check out the excellent tutorials by Jeffrey Way
  • openFrameworks is an amazing framework for developing native apps in C++, and has an enormously helpful community and loads of addons and examples, development in Xcode is really comfortable
  • Source Tree for checking in and out GIT repositories (prefer this over GitHub and Gitbox)
  • iTerm for finest terminal emulation
  • Various software and libraries for datavisualisation, a good selection of tools is provided by Benjamin Wiederkehr of datavisualization.ch
And let’s have a look at some useful productivity tools:
  • Alfred for fast app launching (forget the dock)
  • VLC the one and only for decoding all kinds of video formats
  • Quicktime Pro 7 for playback, very basic video editing and (semi-professional) encoding. Get Quicktime 7, the newer versions lack a lot of features. Although version 10 introduced screencapture, so you don’t need an extra program for that.
  • Cyberduck for clean and non-cluttered FTP transfers (although I’m still looking for an alternative here, as it sometimes fails me)
  • Harvest for time tracking (we use this at Strukt)
  • Wallet to keep all your passwords safe
  • Dropbox for cloud storage (although I’m not really satisfied with it and it keeps disappointing me)
  • Mindnode Pro for creating – guess – mind nodes!
  • Podio for collaborative working (still testing this one with our course at the RCA, though. It was recommended by Jussi Ängeslevä of art+com)
  • Menu Bar Countdown for using the pomodoro technique and not getting lost in the chaos (provides a simple countdown and alert – there are a lot of similar tools out there that do the same)

And while on the road:

  • Flipboard for reading news with style and keep up to date
  • Twitterific for handling the twitter madness
  • Foursquare app makes travelling and checking in easy and fun

What would you add to this list?

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