Tools of the Trade
A love letter to our favorite apps
Running a small software company can be daunting — what are you supposed to do? Where do you start? How do you get help? Our company, Lickability, wouldn’t exist today without a few (okay, more than a few) sharp tools at our disposal to make our lives easier.
Some of our favorites—Google Apps, Xcode, and AppFigures, for example—go all the way back to when Lickability was born in 2009. The more recent additions we can’t live without are Danger, SwiftLint, and 1Password for Teams, which we’ve picked up in the last year. The list only continues to grow.
We’ve dedicated lots of time to researching and testing various applications and services that help us do what we do, and we want to share them with you. Consider this a love letter to all the apps we couldn’t live without.
We are a software company, so (surprise!) a lot of the apps we use are designed to make development go as smoothly as possible — from designing to coding to shipping.
We literally wouldn’t be able to do what we do without Xcode. It’s got everything you need to make great iOS apps, so it’s really no surprise that it’s first on our list. Xcode has been with us since the very beginning, and it will (hopefully) be around for a long time. It really is the backbone of our work.
Of course, making great apps isn’t just about writing code — apps need design to come to life. Sketch is our go-to tool for making the design documents that later become beautiful apps.
- Xcode: For building and maintaining apps like Pinpoint and Accelerator.
- GitHub: For collaborative development, version control, and code review.
- Tower: For using git, but even easier than the command-line.
- SwiftLint: For writing clean code and sticking to our style guide.
- Danger: For preventing us from making silly mistakes in pull requests.
- Buddybuild**: For easy-to-control build deployment and testing.
- Paw: For testing and learning about APIs we interact with.
- Dash: For faster and easier lookups in Apple’s documentation.
- Charles Proxy: For inspecting the network traffic of our apps.
- TextMate: For when all you need is a reliable text editor that works.
- Sketch: For drawing pixel-perfect icons and screens for our apps.
- Zeplin: For collaborative design and delivering specifications.
- xScope: For measuring and perfecting iOS graphics.
Communicating with customers and clients is a crucial part of any business. These are a few of our favorite ways to keep in touch with you.
Harvest powers all of our work by keeping track of how we spend our time, every hour of every day. It keeps us on task and keeps our clients in the loop about what we’re working on, while also handling all of our estimates and invoices. Harvest also automatically syncs our invoices with Xero, the bookkeeping software that helps us (and our accountant) check in on our finances.
- Harvest: For keeping track of time spent working on projects.
- Xero: For keeping track of invoices, expenses, and revenue.
- AppFigures: For tracking app sales and finding out when we’re featured.
- Helpshift: For delivering better customer support.
- MailChimp: For sending newsletters to keep you up to date with what we’re working on.
- Medium: For writing and publishing this blog. 😎
And, of course, internal communication is what keeps Lickability running. We like to use tools that make it as easy as possible to keep up to date with everyone at the company and what they’re working on.
Slack is our hub; it’s the glue that holds us all together. Populated by our entire team, plus a few people we love to chat with during the day, the Lickability Slack is a one-stop shop for asking questions, giving feedback, and making fun of each other’s tweets.
Some of our most-used tools on a daily basis are Google Apps like Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, and Drive. Having all of our files, schedules, and conversations in one easily accessible place helps keeps us organized like you wouldn’t believe.
- Slack: For giving us a space to talk to (and joke with) each other.
- Basecamp: For keeping us on top of our to-dos and checkins.
- Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive): For keeping track of everything — important files, dates, and conversations.
- Bear: For taking beautiful Markdown notes.
- Justworks: For simplifying the payroll and benefits process.
- Recruitee: For organizing the hiring process.
- 1Password for Teams: For locking down and sharing all our team logins.
- Giphy/GIFBrewery: For making gifs! Enough said.
Although these are the tools that have worked best for us the past few years, we’re always looking for better ways to serve our clients and customers. So if you’ve got the inside scoop on an app or service you think we’re missing out on, let us know! You can reach out to us on Twitter at @lickability. 💌