Tools of the Trade 2021

I feel like every programmer at some point catalogs all of their gadgets and software. Here are mine!



I’ve tried every editor out there: WebStorm, Brackets, Komodo Edit, Nova, Sublime, TextWrangler, BBEdit, oh my. I keep coming back to VSCode because it’s cross platform, has excellent extension support, and runs well on my 2015 MacBook Pro.

VSCode Extensions

The extensions I have installed are in constant flux, but there are a few I can’t go without at this point:

  1. Search Lights: I made a VSCode theme! It’s meant to be easy to look at for a long time. I spent a long time tooling the color relationships to be subtle and informative. Please give it a try, and let me know what you think!
  2. VSCode Vim: I got used to vim keybindings during a college CS class that required using vim for all of the quizzes and assignments, and ever since I can’t function without it.
  3. Python Language Extension: the various language plugins I have change over time, except this one. I use Python whenever I just need to write a quick script for something. I’ve been experimenting with switching to Node for my day to day data-manipulation tasks, but for the time being nothing beats Python.

Bonus: I just started using GitHub Copilot a few weeks ago, and it’s pretty cool. I love VSCode’s autocomplete, and this extension is a super-powered version of it. I am hesitant to use it for anything serious, though, before questions of licensing are nailed down. Also, it can be a little weird to have to check autogenerated code for bugs—but it’s quickly become part of my workflow.


I love Vim as an editor, and NeoVim is even better. When it comes to command-line editors, look no further.


A minimalist terminal emulator that does everything I need it to, no more, no less. Definitely the cutest option, as well. kitty also has a lot of interesting techniques to keep it running blazingly fast.


I use zsh with a few modifications as my terminal. PowerLevel10k and zsh-autosuggestions are the two I like the most.



I alternate between my MacBook’s built-in keyboard and a custom mechanical keyboard I put together. (For the nerds: an olkb Preonic with a silver aluminum case, steel plate, 65g Zilents, and DSA Vilebloom keycaps.)

Drawing tablet

I switched to iPad Pro + Apple Pencil in 2017 and haven’t looked back. All of my digital art is done in Procreate with 💜.