Ben Chinn

Slightly nerdy ramblings and linkage

All My Favorite Apps Are Useless

I heard about the application called LiveReload some time ago. It sounded pretty cool but seemed to be for those who developed for the web locally rather than running an app on a server like I do. So I forgot about it for a while. Then recently I came across another mention of LiveReload 2 and figured since it was a Version 2 it must be much better than it was before so I should give it a try. It’s great, stupendous, life changing and completely useless.

LiveReload watches the files in your web project and then reloads a web page when you save a file. In the case of CSS files it doesn’t even have to reload the page to show you the changes you’ve made even if the web site is running on a server. This saves precious milliseconds from one’s workflow. It means you can view your editor and your browswer side by side and not have to switch to the browser to refresh it. It makes CSS development a whole lot smoother. But that’s it.

This app will not make you a better developer, it won’t optimize your code or make your web site more beautiful. Nobody will know or care that you are using this app and nobody but you will see any benefit to using it at all. It may as well not exist. Except. Except that it makes coding for the web feel like butter, like you’re just gliding through CSS changes rather than slogging through them and makes you feel like you have a robot on the refresh button rather than having to hit those pesky command and R keys yourself. This app gives you a web development superpower. A completely useless, private and uncared about superpower.

Most of the applications I love are of this like this. LaunchBar, Omnifocus, Sublime Text 2, and on and on through the list of applications that improve my quality of life without, alas, improving the quality of what I produce. I’m writing this post in Sublime Text 2, and will prevew it in Marked before publishing it on my blog running on the Jekyll Platform. I could just as well have been writing in TextEdit and publishing on Blogger for all the difference it would make to the (questionable) quality of this article. I like those tools though and using them makes me feel, if not always good, then at least a little bit special. What more can I ask for?