Podcast Episode

475 – 2020 Version – Apps I use Daily

Valet +

VS Code

  • My text editor
  • Use it for making code changes
  • I open the entire wp-content folder so I can quickly navigate around my site


  • Chat with colleagues
  • Keep connected with local WordPress community
  • Organize WordCamp
  • Direct message other WordPress developers
  • Quick access to personal P2
  • Tab for Brain.FM

WordPress App

  • Catch up on P2 Posts
  • Use Reader to stay updated with Friend’s blogs
  • See WordPress.com notifications


  • Quickly take screenshots for customers and add arrows and text
  • Easily upload to the cloud
  • Keyboard shortcut to upload to CloudUp


  • Online image sharing tool
  • Embed images into ZenDesk support tickets


  • Quickly adding text to tickets
  • Adding my email address to forms


  • Search for GitHub repository
  • Toggle between WordPress dashboard pages
  • Highlight an order number and load appropriate refund page
  • Quickly create a markdown formatted link


  • Cloning WordPress repositories
  • Creating Pull Requests
  • Running wp-cli

Sequel Pro

  • Quickly open the WordPress database for test site
  • Easily run queries
  • Much easier to navigate than phpMyAdmin


  • Keeps track of all my tasks
  • Identify what I need to work on each day


  • Email inboxes for Automattic and personal
  • Has the same interface as Gmail

Transmit FTP Editor

  • Transfer files from computer to server
  • Connect directly to Amazon S3 or Backblaze B2


  • Make sure I stay on task
  • Automatically pulls in my hours I’m scheduled for live chat


  • Safari
  • Chrome


Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk about the different apps that I use on an everyday basis, the 2020 version, right here on Your Website and Your Podcast, Episode No. 475.

Hello and welcome to another episode of Your Website and Your Podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler and I am excited to be here with you today because I am actually in Florida. Yes, I am spending some time with my family. We are seeing Mickey in all of his fun parks down there and enjoying some 80-degree weather. It’s really incredible going from right now, as I’m recording this, it’s 20 degrees in Ohio, and it’s going to be 80 when we get to Florida in just a couple days. So, that’s just kind of an update. I don't have a big, long show for you today mainly because I’m getting ready to pack and get ready. So, I don’t have any news, or I didn’t find any new plugins because I just recorded it just a day ago for Episode No. 474.

But as always, in the beginning of the year, you always like to try to improve and try to figure out what exactly you’re using, what kind of tools, what kind of software, and this actually comes at a really good point for me as well because I am getting ready to get a new laptop. I’ll probably be getting the 16-inch MacBook Pro that came out. I’m eligible for an upgrade from work, and so I’m just thinking like okay, let’s evaluate these tools that I’m using as I move from my old machine to my new machine. Let’s figure out what tools that I use on a daily basis and how I can optimize them and streamline them just a little bit more. So, I’m gonna tell you my set up, and if you use similar, go ahead, and let me know, or if you’ve got a different tool for a better way to do things, just let me know that as well.

All right. So, let’s go ahead and dive in. The first tool that I use is something called Valet Plus, and this is how I run all of my local installs. And I have a podcast episode that I talked about this before, and I’ll link that in the show notes. And it basically allows you to run a local WordPress site on your computer. And they are always running, so you never have to like with Flywheel, local by Flywheel, you have to stop and start, or DesktopServer, you have to start and stop. And this just always works. I always update my plugins there. I do all my testing there. And then, I run my theme code and do all that kind of stuff on the local environment. And then, I can push it with different tools and whatnot to the live version or whatnot. So, that is my first tool that I rely on every day because I am all the time debugging and trying to figure out something that is going on within a WordPress site. And this is my first tool.

I also use VS Code. This changed from a couple years ago. I used to use Sublime Text. But I have gotten on the VS Code bandwagon. I just really like the way that it looks. I like that I can customize the colors and the styles and there are all kinds of extensions to make life so much easier. And what else I really like is I like being able to jack up the text and make it a little bit bigger. I do have a large monitor that I use on a daily basis. And I like to keep the resolution low. But it feels like when I’m talking with code and when I’m looking at code, I just like it to be just a couple points bigger. And I’m perfectly capable of doing that without changing the entire resolution of my entire screen. So, that is VS Code.

Another plugin, or another app, I guess, every time that I open up my computer and I’m ready to start my day and I turn on. And it’s called Franz or Franz, whichever you like. And it is at meetfranz.com or meetfranz.com. And this allows me to keep up with my colleagues. I chat with this. I have all kinds of Slack groups in this. So, it’s mainly like a chat tool. And so, I’ve got Slack for automatic. I’ve got Slack for the WordPress community. This is where I use Slack for my WordCamps, Dayton and WordCamp US All of that type of stuff is there. And then, I also have a section in there to listen to music. And so, I load a web app called Pretzel Rocks, and I use that to listen to music.

So, I basically turn that on, the music automatically starts playing. I put my headphones on, and I can just get into work. And I play music that doesn’t have any lyrics. It’s just generic beat music, and it works really, really well for me.

Another app that I use every day, and this one you may or may not use. But this one is the WordPress app, just the regular one that you can find at WordPress.org/mobile. And I use this to read on P2 Posts, and I kind of use this as a reader. I follow some websites, and I always put them into there because I check this every day. And it just kind of gives me an update of what’s happening around the web and what people are publishing on their blogs. And so, that is the WordPress app. You also get WordPress notifications. So, if something comes through from Jet Pack or if I get mentioned on a post somewhere with work, I get those automatically through the app.

The next two are ones that are very specific because of the nature of what I do. And one is Annotate, and one is called CloudUp. So, Annotate is an app on the Apple Store that allows you to quickly take screen shots for customers, add arrows and texts. And then, you can easily upload them to the cloud. And there’s keyboard shortcuts to upload to CloudUp. Or I can just copy them and save them to my desktop. I use this a lot when I’m submitting reimbursements or different things. I can take pictures. I can highlight, this is exactly what’s happening on my screen. So, that’s Annotate, and that’s in the Mac App Store.

And then, there is, like I mentioned, CloudUp. And you can find out more at GetCloudUp.com. But it’s an online sharing tool. And so, I basically will embed images inside a Zendesk, which is the sport tool that we use, and gibe people images of where to click on or what to do next when it comes to maybe whatever they’re troubleshooting. So, if I say, I’ll go to WordPress desk, and then settings, and then shipping, and then shipping zone. I like to put an image in there as well, just to make it a little bit easier to find, and just make it that much easier for the customer to figure out what I’m talking about.

The next couple tools that help me be fast and more efficient at what I do, the first one is Typinator. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of this one before, but it’s very similar to TextExpander. And if you listen to any other tech podcast, you might have heard of TextExpander as a sponsor for those shows, but Typinator is one that I find that just works a little bit better. It doesn’t have that online subscription feature. And so, I have to subscribe via TextExpander and get updated snippets from within my team, but then I have to move them over to Typinator. I feel that it works a lot of better, especially when you are typing things inside of brackets, or if you put a parenthesis and then try to expand a snippet, it doesn’t always work in TextExpander. Typinator is rock solid, and it works every single time.

Also, another thing that I found that just frustrated me to no end in TextExpander is sometimes it would just disable because there was a password field in Chrome or Safari or Firefox that locked it. And I could never kind of figure out what exactly that was being caused by. So, that kind of made me frustrated and angry. So, I ended up moving over to Typinator. So, that helps me get quick snippets that I use regularly. I type a type short snippet, and it expands.

And then, I use Alfred, which is another tool at Alfredapp.com. And I’ve created some special work flows where I can search for GitHub repository. I can toggle between WordPress dashboard pages. I can highlight an order number, and then automatically open a specific page. I can quickly create markdown formatted text. I can do all kinds of things. There are all kinds of workflows that we’ve created and I’ve created for Alfred, just to make my life a little bit easier. So, that is a tool, I have to say, that I use it dozens and dozens and dozens of times every single day.

The next one on my list, and I don’t use the terminal too, too often, but this one is called Hyper. And this is at hyper.is, and all these links are in the show notes for Episode No. 475. But what this is, is this is a way to use the terminal. And it is a java script-enabled, I guess, terminal basis. And you can go in, and you have all kinds of customizations, very much similar to what you can do with Visual Code Studio and whatnot. You can do all of that with Hyper. So, I really like that. I heard that on that on the Syntax.fm podcast and thought hey, I might as well use it and check it out. And it’s really nice. I have a border on the outside, and just it makes it easier to find on my computer screen when I’m using it.

But I use that for cloning WordPress repositories or creating pull requests, running wp-cli. I use that with Valet Plus and can open up databases and change permissions, and all of those wp-cli things that you can do, I run with Hyper. So, I would say probably on a five-day-a-week basis, I’m probably using Hyper two or three times per week.

And then, Sequel Pro, this one probably gets opened maybe once or twice per week. And this is an open source platform for viewing databases. And this is really handy because you can open up a WordPress database for your test site. You can easily run queries. That’s probably my favorite part about it, just trying to figure out, I want to know, maybe you’re looking for a specific order, or you’re looking for – somebody ordered a specific thing. And you know a couple words, but you don’t know exactly how to write the query. Sequel Pro does a good job.
There is some WYSIWYG or some visual editor in there that you can say, oh, in this column, look for something that has got text like this. It doesn’t have to match exactly, but something that’s like that. And I really like that. And it’s way easier to navigate than phpMyAdmin. And it takes less screens to make edits and changes. And so, Sequel Pro is an awesome tool to add to your tool belt.

Another tool that I use daily and regularly and all the time is OmniFocus. It keeps track of all of my tasks. It identifies what I need to work on each day. I have recently created a new layout view or a new, they call them perspectives. So, I’ve got a new schedule perspective. And this shows up everything that I defer. And so, what I do is at the beginning of the week, I defer things Monday through Friday, and then they show up as I go. And then, if it’s Thursday, like it might be, and I didn’t do things on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, all of those are at the top of the list. So, they are at a higher priority, and so, I can work on those things and kind of catch up with that backlog, if you will, if I get kind of behind in different things.

So, I have different things set up and reminders in there so that I do regular things and then, the things at work that I have to do once per week, I make sure those are all in there, and things along those lines. So, that is OmniFocus.

A new tool that I haven’t talked about before ever, and this is another tool that I found on the Syntax.fm podcast, is something called Missive. And it is an email inbox. And it is more made for teams or collaborations. So, if you had like an administrative assistant or maybe there’s two or three people handling emails, you can talk to each other, you can message each other about the emails inside the platform. I’ve just turned all of that off, but it is a super cool tool, and it’s all built in java script. And it works on iOS devices and the Mac, and I prefer the Gmail interface, but if I’m gonna use a tool for email, this is gonna be the one.

I have a few more tools here. It sounds like the list goes on and on and that I could talk about these things forever. But I use Transmit as my ftp editor. There’s other ones out there called Cyberduck or FileZilla, both of those are great, and both of them do the same thing. It just happens that I purchased Transmit a long time ago, and I really, really like it. So, I continue to use it. I use this to transfer files from Amazon S3, or Backblaze, or any type of server I have, even the Synology I have in my house. I can transmit files through the Transmit ftp editor.

I use the regular calendar on my computer. I have that open all the time. It makes sure that I stay on task, makes sure that I am doing the right task at the right time, and all of those good things. It automatically pulls in hours that I’m scheduled to work, whether I’m doing live chat or if I am doing ticket shifts, those all get pulled in. So, that is the calendar app.

I use three different browsers on my computer, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. I use Safari mainly for personal-type stuff. That’s my default browser. Chrome is one when I’m doing testing, and I’m trying to get myself to move over to Firefox. I’ve heard so many things about Chrome, and when you’re logged in to your Google account, then Google knows everything about you and yada, yada, yada. So, I’m getting better, and I’m trying to use Firefox more and Google Chrome less. I do like the developer tools. I think that’s the big thing that’s keeping me on Chrome right now because I just know where things are in the developer tools, but I think I can eventually figure out all the tools and where the settings are in Firefox.

And then, I’ve got a couple utilities. I wouldn’t say that these, that I actively use them every day, but these are ones that are always running on my computer, and they are always working in the background. So, I’ve got Backblaze, which backs up my computer. I’ve got Backblaze on my wife’s computer. So, we always have a backup. And it’s in the cloud, I guess, and so it’s not in our house. And so, those are always backing up.

I use Bartender 3, and this is a thing that just basically hides a bunch of icons. It’s up in the toolbar. Right now, I can only see five icons, my Wi-Fi, and one password, and a few. But I’ve got dozens that are there, and they are all hidden with Bartender, which is really nice. I have Better Snap Tool, and this is an app that helps me navigate my windows and put those in the direct place. I guess there is one called Better Snap Tool, and Better Touch Tool. And I’ve used both of them in the past. I guess Better Touch Tool is the one that I use because it also can customize the touch bar on the MacBook Pros, and you can fully customize it there.

I have a little plugin that I found on Git Hub, and it is called Podcast Menu, and it puts a little menu icon up there in the upper right-hand corner. And if you are an Overcast subscriber, and you have all your podcasts in Overcast, you can go ahead and you can just listen to all your podcasts right there. Unfortunately, with the way that my work is, I can’t sit down and listen to podcasts, but if I am doing some menial task, like working through budget things or just browsing the web or whatever, I will listen to podcasts that way.

And the last utility that I have is called Keyboard Maestro. And that’s again, always working in the background. It’s watching different things on my computer. It’s moving files for me. It’s doing a bunch of cool things. And I’ll have to talk about that in a different show, just talking about all the things that Keyboard Maestro can do.

So, that’s my list in 2020, all the things that I’m doing on my computer, and all of the apps that I don’t think I can live without. And I probably should add one password there as well. I keep all my passwords in 1Password. I mainly live in 1Password. I keep things updated. Anything that’s important, I put in 1Password because then it syncs to my devices, and I know that I’m always gonna have a copy of it.

So, that’s what I want to share with you this week. Next week, I promise we’ll be back and do WordPress news. I’ve got some great shows lined up for you once I get back from visiting Mickey and his friends. So, take care, and we’ll talk again soon. Bye-bye.