In terms of historical user interface traditions and conventions, Unix and the Mac could hardly be more different, but there is one similar philosophy shared by both cultures – a preference for using a collection of smaller, dedicated tools that work well together rather than using monolithic do-it-all apps.
Thought, at first, Well duh… But it occurs to me that not everyone realises this. The image of Apple and of OS X is of this monolith - you use everything Apple provides. And sure, Apple’s integration is one of its strongest selling points. But what I love about OS X is that I can plug in whatever little unix tool I feel like using.
Meanwhile, Jeff Croft asks that everyone “just chill out a minute”. His own problem with Coda is that it’s missing SVN integration, and part of me wants to agree (Coda seems to assume that you use FTP).
But my problem, I think, is the very idea that you can arbitrarily select the tools that I’m going to use and bundle them all together in one app. I actually like being able to collect my tools myself - makes it easier to switch, eg, to a different text editor. Gruber touches on this in that he suggests that Coda’s strength is the interface (“Coda groups and visually organizes these disparate elements by project, rather than by app.”) But still, I tend to only work on a single project at a time, and deliberately strip my collection of open Apps back - so I’m effectively using my entire desktop to do what Coda’s designed to do. (And that’s where the Desk metaphor really works - if I’m working on a project, I clear my desk, get out the tools I want to use, &c)
Personally, I’m currently using:
- TextWrangler, the free version of BBEdit, and more than enough for me
- A combination of Quicksilver and Markdown (I just hit Command-Shift-M, paste in my latest bits entry in plain text, and it gets converted into HTML)
- Terminal, SSH and SVN; I have a central repository on Dreamhost from where I check out the Django source to this website (to here and to my test server at home, plus to work when I feel like hacking on my lunch break)
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