Team Tools Roundup

Take a peek into the Collective Idea toolbox, to see what each of us uses to build amazing software.

Woodwork cutting tools by Unsplash is licensed under Creative Commons Zero.

We have an amazing team here at Collective Idea. Our staff comes from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and has a similarly wide range of tool preferences.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of what we use to build amazing applications:

The Non-Negotiables

These are the company standards we all use to do our jobs - those tools that either have no credible alternative, or that the company has settled on for its day-to-day operation on all or most projects.

  • Slack - Text communication among and between product and client teams.
  • Harvest - Time tracking. We track our time on client projects, as well as the time we spend on internal projects, travel, writing, professional development, etc.
  • 1Password - Centralized storage for credentials we all need to have access to.
  • Highfive - Our technology choice for video conferencing.
  • Git - Repo storage, version control, document storage - even our handbook is housed on Github, and pull requests from employees are encouraged.
  • Travis - Continuous integration server, to make sure our test suites remain healthy.
  • Rubocop - Allows us to work within the Ruby Style Guide guidelines, to promote consistency.
  • Google Search - Nobody knows all. Like developers everywhere, we rely on our community’s collective knowledge to solve problems.

IDEs / Text Editors

Few things set developers’ hair on fire like a good argument about which is the best IDE or text editor to use. So rather than strike a match, I’ll just list those editors our developers report using, roughly in order of popularity*.

Development Gems and Tools

  • Chrome DevTools - Useful for running commands against a live page, experimenting with style changes, evaluating JavaScript errors, and plenty more.
  • Homebrew - Mac package manager.
  • Ruby Version Manager (rvm) - Manages your gems for different environments.
  • RSpec - Much of the work we do is in Rails, and we favor rspec-rails as our testing framework.
  • Postman - GUI platform for API development.
  • ack - Search tool for very large codebases.
  • sass-lint - Checks SASS and SCSS syntax in node modules.
  • Rested - Firefox add-on tool that functions as a REST client.
  • Guard - Runs custom tasks when files or directories are changed.
  • hookup - Runs migrations and bundles whenever you switch branches in a Rails application.


Ticket Management

Remote Pairing

  • ScreenHero - Lots of apps enable screensharing, but ScreenHero is one that also allows for shared control of a computer. This makes collaborative programming much more effective.
  • HipChat - A group chat, video chat, screenshare application.

Version Control

Command Line

  • Terminal - Native Mac command-line tool.
  • iTerm2 - Replacement tool for Mac’s Terminal app.
  • zsh - An interactive shell.
  • oh-my-zsh - Framework for managing your zsh configuration
  • hub - A command line tool for interacting with Github.


  • Mail - Native MacOS mail app.
  • Licecap and Gifox - Animated screenshot grabs - produces animated GIF’s, useful to add to pull requests.
  • Monosnap - A screenshot tool.
  • Apple Notes - Virtual Post-It notes app native to MacOS.
  • Magnet - Window manager.
  • MailMate - IMAP email client for Mac.
  • OneNote and Evernote - Cloud-based apps that store notes, images, and more. It can be used collaboratively by team members to storyboard features, especially if one or more team member is remote.
  • Cinch - For easy resizing of windows.
  • Airmail - A mail app for Mac and iOS.
  • BusyCal - Calendar app for MacOS.
  • LastPass - Password management tool.
  • Google Drive, Dropbox, and Resilio Sync - Cloud storage and file backup/syncing across multiple devices.


  • Affinity Designer - Graphic design software.
  • Sketch - Design software specifically geared to web professionals.
  • Sip - A color-picker tool.
  • Right Font - A font manager.
  • ImageOptim - Optimizes images so their file size is smaller and they load faster.

Database GUI


  • Little Fingers - For those times when kids and cats want to help type.
  • WaterMinder - To help remember to drink enough water throughout the day.
  • LookUp - An app that reminds you to look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, to prevent eye strain.

Not all developers responded, so this list should be considered representative, not comprehensive.

Photo of Dana Jones

Dana was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She moved to eastern Washington after she married her husband, Mike, who is also a programmer. She now resides in Newburgh, Indiana with her husband and four children, ages ranging from 10-16.

Dana started programming in raw HTML and VBA, but moved on to C#/.NET. She did a six month stint writing Erlang, which she still applies to the way she approaches object-oriented programming. She has been writing Ruby on Rails since 2008 and was a founding board member of RailsBridge. After working freelance for many years and in the employment/product space for a couple more, Dana enjoys the challenges and variety that working for Collective Idea brings.

In her spare time Dana likes to read, sew, quilt, crochet, do puzzles, bake, and learn to play the violin. She also loves public speaking, going to conferences/meetups, getting to know new people, and learning about new technologies.


  1. Hans Le
    March 26, 2018 at 8:05 AM

    Hey Dana, have you tried TablePlus? It’s a very good GUI for relational databases too.