Trent Walton: The Tools I Use

The latest in our series “The Tools We Use” features Trent Walton, co-founder of Paravel and part of the team behind sites like DayTrip and The Many Faces Of.

Atom: While I’m considering a switch to Visual Studio Code, Atom has been my code editor of choice for years now, mostly because because my two teammates were using Atom when I was looking for a new editor. I’ll switch tools anytime I think it’ll make teamwork and collaboration easier. That said, I find that my needs/wants are relatively simple for code editors. Syntax highlighting for code and spell check for blogging make me a happy camper.

CodePen: Most projects I work on that start from scratch begin in Codepen. It’s a great coding environment, but the main reason for this preference is a collaborative one: nothing feels too sacred or precious when the code is right there practically inviting you to riff and edit. Casual exploration and regular collaboration can massively impact the quality of the final product.

BetterTouchTool: I customize trackpad and Magic Mouse inputs with BetterTouchTool. While I feel Jedi-like when I tap and swipe to export, refresh, app switch, etc., my coworkers would tell you it’s the most stressful thing they’ve ever seen.

Grammarly: While I don’t utilize the browser extension, nor do I believe there’s a substitute for a human editor, I use the Grammarly app to help ensure I’m explaining myself clearly. If I’ve been working on an email and get the sense things are getting muddy, I’ll paste my thoughts into the app for a little help untangling them.

ImageAlpha and ImageOptim: I try to never upload an unoptimized image to the internet.

Slack: We have a team Slack for Paravel, and we’re typically in one for every client/project we’re on. It’s a lot of Slacks!

Font Explorer X: For me, font management is a myth, but I do my best with Font Explorer.

I’ve also got a few tools that help me deal with third-party scripts, which is the subject of my talk for An Event Apart:

WebPageTest: I’ve been using WPT for years with a page speed focus, but recently I’ve begun using it to block specific domains and third-party services to get comparative data on their performance impact.

Ghostery: While it’s crucial to support sites and online publications you value, I sometimes find it necessary to use a content blocker while browsing the web. Ghostery is my favorite, primarily because the browser extension is rich with information about third-parties. Expanding the extension panel while browsing served as my intro to gaining a broad understanding of all the different types of third-party scripts and services out there.

Charles Proxy: To me, Charles Proxy is a GUI for analyzing .har files, but it’s so much more than that. You can use it to monitor HTTP and SSL/HTTPS traffic between your machine and the Internet.

It’s worth noting that while some of these tools might seem highly technical, my talk won’t be! I’ve spent the past 8-9 months researching third-party scripts and their multifaceted impact on the quality of a site, and I’ll summarize what I’ve found from a web designer’s perspective.