This post is part of a series where Behance developers talk about the various tools they use to get things done and make ideas happen.
1) Who are you and what do you do at Behance?
Hello world, I am Chris Henry, team member since March 2007. Over the years I have taken on a lot of roles at Behance, and regularly will wear many hats throughout the average day. From the beginning, I have been the team’s Backend Ranger & MySQL Wrangler, building much of the code and infrastructure that runs the Behance Network Gallery, Served Sites, and Creative Portfolio Display. As the company progressed, I have done work as an Ad Ops J-Ass, Big Red Button Pusher, Janitor, Email Navigator, and Firefighter for my work with the advertising side of the business, operations & build management, waste disposal, email marketing, and crisis management.
One of the things I have always loved about being at Behance is being a part of something growing incredibly fast, and constant challenges that come from it. I consider the most important thing I do at Behance to be finding solutions to difficult problems.
2) What hardware do you use?
While the first machine I requested at Behance was a HP (RIP) running Windows 7, I have since crossed to the dark side and become a Mac user. I blame Scott Belsky for corrupting me. However, working with a team so focused on design has certainly made me appreciative of the beautiful products Steve Jobs and his minions put out.
At the office, I run a Mac Pro powerful enough to keep 47 terminal tabs and 90123465 browser tabs open. At home, I rock a MacBook Air for portability and comfy couch coding. On the mobile front, I drank the Google juice and am a proud owner of an HTC ThunderBolt and a regular participant in the dizzying speeds of the 4G LTE network.
3) What software do you use?
For an IDE, I’m a huge PHP Eclipse fan. I’m a big believer in having the IDE I wrote code in remove as many headaches of development as possible. Working on a codebase as large and spread out as Behance’s makes working in most editors a game of Find the Key whenever you need to find code in different libraries. Eclipse’s hotlinking feature totally changed that game and allowed me to navigate without thinking.
As awesome as Eclipse is for working in PHP, it pretty much sucks for everything else. For other work (Bash, CSS, JS, SQL) I really like Textmate. Beautiful color coding, powerful editing (column editing kills it), and support for about a zillion filetypes makes it an awesome choice.
Once I’ve actually written some code, I use SmartSVN to commit to our SVN repos. SmartSVN is probably the most powerful client for SVN I’ve ever worked with. There is one-click support for a lot of slightly more advanced functionality, like tagging, branching, merging. But what I really like SVN for is it’s diff tool. Unlike a lot of diff tools that simply show you differences, SmartSVN’s tool gives you the option of moving changes between your pristine and working copy with a single click. It’s conflict resolver, which is a really just an extension of the diff tool, is a also stellar. It features a third, center pane that shows what svn believes are the conflicts.
Since I already have around 9873474732542 browser tabs open in EVERY BROWSER EVAR, my Gmail tabs tended to get a little lost. So I picked up Mailplane, which turns Gmail into it’s own application.
For chat, I use Adium. Despite the doofiest looking set of icons I’ve ever seen, it has a great set of default keyboard shortcuts. When focused on Adium, hit Cmd + / to bring up Contacts, type to search, enter to open a new, or existing chat, and voila, mouseless interaction.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the humble but almighty Terminal. I could not live without Terminal, in particular, it’s tab feature.
4) What do you listen to while working?
Generally, when I get my hands on a new album, or get into a new band, I like to listen on repeat for a week. This has resulted in me sticking with the same band / album for the duration of a project I’m working on. For more, check this.
However, there’s time when I need to fill in the cracks, and I can’t stick with anything. During those times, I’m a huge fan of music that’s melodic, dynamic, but still rock n roll all the way. Via Last.fm, I discovered a genre called post-rock that fits that bill perfectly. Check it out.
5) Out of all the equipment used, what piece of software/hardware do you feel is the most useful of all?
By far, I consider the most important piece of hardware I use to be my Dot Grid Journal(s). Over the past years, I’ve kept accounts of the builds gone wrong, decisions gone right, outages that weren’t our fault, ideas that were too good for cocktail napkins, outages that were totally my fault, and notes that I wouldn’t ever remember. When my memory fails, which is often, it serves as a place to go back and review all the lessons learned the hard way.