Development: My IDE Toolbox

I’m always curious to know what other developers use for programming, so I decided to share what IDEs I use on a regular basis.

iOS/Swift: Xcode

This is an obvious one. I know a few developers use other IDEs for programming Swift in particular, but those are usually outside of iOS development. Xcode is needed for building and deploying iOS, watchOS, and tvOS applications.

Xcode has improved greatly over the years. One of the cool features is Interface Builder. This feature lets you design your app by dragging views, images, buttons, etc. to a storyboard and connect those elements to code. You can also view the designs in different devices such as various models of iPads and iPhones.

I’m torn about Interface Builder. Sometimes I’ll use the builder and other times I’ll create all my designed elements via code. I feel like I have more control when developing in code but coming from a design background I also want to see what I’m doing instead of building my app several times. I’m still on the fence on what I prefer, but maybe over time I will lean one way.


For many years I used various tools for PHP development beginning with Notepad on Windows then I moved to Coda from Panic on the Mac. I love Coda and I’ll describe it more in the next section, but when it comes to PHP, PHPStorm from JetBrains is a clear winner.

Every week I’m learning new features. A few highlights include the Database/MySQL connector so you can write and test queries easier. Much like Xcode, any syntax errors will display right away so you can code faster while catching simple errors quickly.

My favorite feature is debugging. You can debug code locally or even listen on live servers and debug when hitting a PHP service. There is the ability to catch PHP exception errors and break at those points for more precise debugging.


When it comes the HTML and CSS development, the tools are endless. Everyone will have a different opinion on which tool to use. For me, Coda from Panic is clean and Mac friendly. PHPStorm is good for HTML/CSS as well, but I’m drawn to a cleaner IDE like Coda.

The built-in FTP feature is great so I can easily move files and even edit live files. The terminal is nice so I can work on server-related items while developing my websites (restarting Apache, change file permissions, etc.).

What I like most is Panic Sync. I can sync my websites and ssh keys to all my devices such as my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. There have been numerous times I needed to make a hot fix but I was away from my computer. I can quickly open up Coda for iOS, edit remote files, and make my tweak.

There are several good IDEs out there for various situations. I suggest spending a lot of time studying the IDEs you use as you’ll find hidden features that will make your workflow more efficient.