Laravel Tip: 6 tools I use regularly to speed up development + 1 bonus one

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As a professional developer of over 10 years I’ve learnt one thing that’s reasonably important, using open source tools is great but sometimes you need to invest in yourself and the ways in which you develop products. You can’t spend time building new things if you’re struggling with simple things that a tool can help you solve.

Please note, I don’t earn a penny from this, it’s not an advert, just 100% tools I’ve used for over a year or more and couldn’t go without.

Tinkerwell

This tool is simple and while not something I use every day, it certainly comes in handy when I do need to use it. Tinkerwell is simply put a playground for testing and debugging snippets of PHP code. Getting to quickly test snippets of code within this tool mak

Ray

While using the Symfony dump server or even just DD within Laravel is adequate, that said Ray is easily a strong improvement. Not only does it work with PHP, there are a number of languages and plugins that do work to make frontend code report debug information within Ray. Personally I enjoy using Alpine.js at the moment and as such find it a bit of a life saver that I can use Ray to keep my debugging unified.

With only a line of code, such as:

ray('Hello World!')->green();

We can start getting output into Ray:

Cleanshot X

Cleanshot X is screenshot and video recording tool for Macs, again, is it totally necessary? No, but does it save you time? Absolutely. I use this software daily as it allows me to nicely annotate screenshots and trim videos with minimal effort. The fact it can also record desktop audio or the microphone at the same time is just a really big bonus.

1Password

Much like the others on this list, alternatives are available for password managing, including Apple and Google’s own offering. These are fine but 1Password has a good background as well as working across multiple device and including lots of options to save API keys.

Helo

Another app from BeyondCode who make Tinkerwell but this app will help make testing emails far more simple. The thing I enjoy about Helo is just how simple it is to get the whole thing setup and start receiving test emails instead of having to fight with seeing the HTML inside the logs.

Paw

Paw is another app with plenty of alternatives including widely used Open Source ones but I find the app to be one of the best for managing and developing with APIs. One of it’s best abilities to convert swagger/openapi documents to testable clients. That and being able to manage multiple environments or the authentication mechanisms of APIs seamlessly really does save so much time.

Bonus Round: Fork

I can’t say enough how much I need the Fork app daily for all my usage of Git. While many are happy with the command line, I am not. I’ve also tried built in tools to my IDE and using similar apps like Source Tree. In fact before Fork I used Source Tree but as it’s native Mac app for ditched for something more multiplatform I found it too slow and at times frustrating. I then moved to Fork which honestly is just so good. I’m always surprised by little feature updates as well that make it easy to visualise the entire tree. Rebasing in this app is so easy as well it’s insane. I can’t state enough how good this app is.

Conclusion

One thing you’ll find in this list as well is that I much prefer applications that are both functional but also are appealing in the way of UI and UX design. For me it’s key that the apps I install are ones I want to use daily because they look and feel in a way that’s appealing and helps reduce and mental load I’m under to navigate the app. A rule of thumb I have is if a piece of software costs you less than an hour or two of your income, even if the costs to renew it every year, then chances are it’s worth taking a chance on.

I’m Peter Fox, a software developer in the UK who works with Laravel among other things. Thank you for reading my article, I’ve got several more on both medium and dev.to. If you want to know more about me, head over to https://www.peterfox.me. I’m also now also Sponsorable on GitHub. If you’d like to encourage me to write more articles like this please do consider dropping a small one off donation.

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Peter Fox

Peter Fox

Laravel Developer from the UK, does do other language/frameworks. Sponsor me @ https://github.com/sponsors/peterfox