Environment Customization: My Developer Toolbox


All skilled professionals have a "toolbox", right? An electrician might have a multimeter, screwdrivers, and a hammer. A painter might have brushes, pallets, paints. An engineer is no different, except that their toolbox is often entirely digital.

In all cases, tools help you to be more PRODUCTIVE, FASTER, and MORE ACCURATE in your every day work.

My developer toolbox is a set of customizations, tools, and applications that augment and improve the operating system and computer I use. I'll specifically cover changes and tools I use that help with developing computer software and websites.

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How to set up ctags (go to definition) in Atom text editor

Have you ever wished github's awesome Atom text editor had better support for jumping straight to a class or method definition like Rubymine or Sublime Text? Me too! So, here's a short set of instructions how to get this functionality working on OS X!

To summarize what we're going to do:

  • Install exuberant ctags from homebrew
  • Install an rbenv plugin and a gem that automatically generates ctags for rubygems
  • Let git know that you want to include the ctags binary and your new hooks in all git tracked repos
  • Create a ctags binary that generates a tags file for each project, and a few git hooks to keep our tags files up to date
  • Ensure your git-tracked repos have the newly created hooks and ctags binary
  • Install a helper package in Atom called autocomplete-ctags
  • Profit!

Quick & Dirty

My good friend Tyler Davis turned this entire post into an awesome setup script if you'd like to avoid doing these steps manually!

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Updated DIY LED Lights with Node.js and Backbone.js!


When I originally open sourced Colorpicker, it was a beautiful MVP based on some really nasty legacy code.

I haven't had the time to focus on this project extensively, but over the last year I've made a lot of important improvements and wanted to discuss them briefly in this forum.

I still have several longer term goals for this project, such as eliminating the need for the Arduino entirely so that anyone can run the client on any computer (with an emphasis on low-memory and disk space cases for usage with a Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone, or other cheap computer).

I'm going to cover six new features added, but there are many more improvements I've made that you can see more about on Github.

Gratuitous Video Demo


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Sensible Development Dotfiles

My Dotfiles repo contains a sensible set of vim, fish, zsh, git, and tmux configuration files that work well for my development workflow (thanks mdp!).

These are a wonderful way to keep track of the plethora of configuration files that you'll undoubtedly set up while working as a developer, and quickly install them on another machine. Nothing like having your environments on your home and work boxes be the same!

If you want a nice baseline of configuration for your .zshrc, .vimrc, .gitconfig, .aliasrc, .tmux.conf, and many others, my dotfiles repo is a very quick setup that allows you to granularly pick exactly the files you want.

I recommend forking my repo to your Github account, cloning to your home directory, and then running the install script.

git clone git@github.com:Lordnibbler/dotfiles.git ~/.dotfiles

# follow the prompts

From here, you can adjust the dotfiles to your liking, keep them up to date, and safely backed up on Github!

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Where I've Been Since November 2014 (aka Breaking Your Femur 101)

The Accident

On November 17, 2014 at around 9:30AM, I was involved in a bicycle accident at the intersection of 3rd Street and Market Street in San Francisco. I was traveling northbound on Market Street at around 10 miles per hour as I entered the intersection on a solid green light.

There was a man standing in the middle of market street, and at the very last moment, he stepped directly in front me. I collided with him handlebars-to-chest, and immediately fell to my right side. Despite over 20 years of bicycling, I went against my instinct and stiffened up and put my hand down to my side. My hand and wrist broke much of my fall, and I put a hairline fracture in the scaphoid bone in my right wrist.

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