I find myself increasingly drawn to using different apps for quite narrow functions – something about switching between tasks is made easier with a total change of environment. So in this vein, here are three apps I’ve been loving in the last part of 2019. They’re specialized but not complex, do that one thing very well and have made a genuine impact on my productivity.
A bookmark organizer and reader for Pinboard. I frequently found myself declaring Safari Reading List bankruptcy – the native share extensions means it’s far too easy to funnel any and all links in there. Likewise I’ve been using Pinboard to mark links for years, but wasn’t using it nearly enough when I need to find something again. Spillo lets me continue using Pinboard, but now it feels like a much less one-way system: I’m saving links but also now easily searching them (via Alfred too). Plus I love the in-app browser to catch up with my Unread list while not being distracted by whatever forty-three tabs are open in Safari.
A code snippets manager. Again, I’ve been saving bits and pieces of useful code pretty consistently in a folder of text files… where they have sat totally ignored while I just go and look up the same thing on StackOverflow over and over and over again. SnippetsLab does exactly what you’d expect – an organized list (folders, tags) of syntax highlighted code fragments. Also searchable via Alfred, it’s becoming indispensable.
This app is all about the switch between contexts. It lets you save a collection of apps, documents, folders, links, whatever, which can all be opened in one fell swoop. So, for example, I have a workspace for the business of life (bank account links, Omnifocus, a Soulver document, a spreadsheet that needs updating), and one for learning Go (a link to a textbook in Books*, VSCode open to the
go folder, iTerm, my Linode server). It’s what I always wished Spaces could be and it’s brilliant.
*By the way, a link of the form
ibooks://assetid/1219117996 is how to get a specific book to open in Books - the asset id can be found at the end of the url that the store gives you under