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Essential Tools Featuring Web Designer Rob Cubbon

By Char

One of the cool things about working on the web is being able to connect with others in your profession anywhere in the world. This week’s Essential Tools feature goes to London to take a look at the tools web & print designer, Rob Cubbon relies on for all aspects of his business. Rob and I have been following each others’ blogs, twitter streams and such for years but this is the first real conversation back and forth we have had.
In Rob’s own words – his essential tools for success online:
The three programs I use constantly are Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign (CS4 at the moment). InDesign because I still do a lot of print work and create on-screen PDFs for people – as well as my own invoices. Illustrator is essential for most vector work which I do a lot of. And Photoshop I use all the time (as I’m sure everyone does) for improving photos, creating web graphics, visuals, etc.
The first applications that start up with my Mac (I’m a Mac person) are:
  • Mac Mail (I need to get round to hosting my mail with Google apps but at the moment it’s hosted with my host – Dreamhost). I do like Mac Mail. I use the Mac’s “To Do” here as well which sycns with iCal.
  • Chrome – I switched from Firefox a few months back – just love the speed. Chrome Developer Tools are just as good as Firebug for Firefox. I also occasionally use Safari for checking and we have a cheep laptop to check Internet Explorer (yuck!)
  • TextEdit – this is the Mac’s version of TextPad. I use it all the time for quick code changes. Writing down my billable time for each client (automated, eh!). You can open documents in seconds and switch between rich text and plain text with a keystroke. TextWrangler is a great text app – more powerful than TextEdit, you can to find/replace on multiple documents with this baby.
Web design tools:
  • Cyberduck: Free FTP tool for Mac. Slow but good.
  • Dreamweaver: Great for writing HTML, CSS, PHP and JS. It color codes it all so you know where you are and I use it’s FTP function. Great for when I don’t use WordPress.
  • WordPress: my number 1 CMS of choice.
  • MAMP: for running WordPress (PHP and MySQL) locally
Tabs I always have open in Chrome:
  • My Google Analytics
  • Web mail (I use a Yahoo! address for non-work related stuff)
  • Twitter (To be honest I was late to Tweet and now I kind of put up with it. I’ve definitely learned tons of stuff from it but I’m not a massive Twitter enthusiast)
  • LinkedIn (My favorite social networking site. Fantastic information from LinkedIn Groups and great traffic from them. Traffic from there sticks around whereas Twitter/Stumble/Digg traffic comes and goes – my experience only)
  • My site and the WP backend
  • 5-10 tabs of blog posts I don’t have time to read but will do one day
  • Amazon
I’ve just got into making video tutorials. They’re embarrassing at the moment but one day will put a few on the site:
  • IShowU: Mac screen recorder.
  • GarageBand: For creating musical snippets for the intro and outro.
  • iMovie: for putting it all together. May move onto Adobe Premier when I have time.
  • TimeMachine with external drive to constantly back up my work. Have unlimited space on my Dreamhost account so put it up there as well. I still use Carbon Copy Cloner for a complete system back up.
  • iPhoto for, er, photos and iTunes for, er, music!
  • Occasionally use Flash but prefer using  jQuery on websites.
  • Microsoft Office, of course.
  • And … how could I have forgotten Skype!!!

Good to finally connect, Rob – and thanks for sharing all those great tools for the Mac!

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Categories : Essential Tools



Hey Char, it was certainly good to finally connect with you too. And I’ve realized I’ve missed an important tool from the list – a font handler! Mac’s Fontbook is quite good but I also use Suitcase. Here’s the link for Carbon Copy Cloner for any Mac people who just want to clone their hard drive (files, apps, system, everything) – … and TextWrangler is here – two great free apps for the Mac! This is a great series of posts and has surely been helpful to lots of people. It feels like we don’t have the time to check out these great tools but maybe we don’t have the time not too!

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