tl;dr: When I’m logged into a SaaS app, it’s super hard to access the company’s homepage unless I log out. I want...
AHMAD AWAIS USES
A list of software & hardware products used by Ahmad Awais — as a web dev advocate and an open sourcerer.Ahmad Awais
Hello, there. It’s Ahmad Awais — I love teaching, developing, and automating things. I’ve seen many developers keep a
/uses page to share what they use. Nowadays, it’s almost customary and expected of you to have this page.
I use a lot of software and hardware products. Many times people ask me about that. That’s why I have started collecting a list of items here on this page so that I can redirect everyone to one single link and still follow DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) philosophy.
Teaching is a genetic bug in me. I can’t help it. I love to share what I know. It also helps that I come from a family of teachers. Both my grandparents and even my parents are teachers. You’ll probably enjoy my teaching style.
- VSCode.pro — Take a look at my VSCode Power User course. Turn yourself into a power developer and save time. Learn VSCode today.
31,441+ developers already learning →
- NodeCLI.com — I’ve created hundreds of CLI Automation DevTools. Yes, I love building automation software. In the course, I teach how to build Node.js CLI developer tooling.
6,783+ developers already learning →
- DenoBeginner.com — A free crash course on Deno runtime.
- NodejsBeginner.com — Learn Node.js for Free, and build Node.js apps, APIs, and CLIs. What I wish I had when I started with Node.js.
- NextjsBeginner.com — I’m writing a book, creating an app, and recording a beginner-friendly video course to help you start building production-ready Next.js apps without wasting hundreds of hours. Complete the step-by-step guide.
- Writy.io — A book/course where my better half and I teach how to write authentic and professional content for developers.
📟 Editor & Theme & Font#
- Visual Studio Code is my go-to code editor (I switched in Jan 2017) — I’ve also created a course called VSCode.pro. Sign up and I promise to turn you into VSCode Power User with all my pro tips and tricks.
- Shades of Purple: I am quite particular about what my code/work environment looks like. So, much so that I created my own code syntax highlighting a theme called Shades of Purple (SOP). It’s now being used by over 3 million developers in 13+ different software. It’s a dark mode theme, but I call it the Purple mode (better than dull dark modes) — I love the color purple; Purple can be genius.
⬇️ Download Shades of Purple theme for VSCode, Chrome, iTerm2/Zsh, and put SOP theme in 13+ software →
😎 I’m also launching Shades of Purple PRO soon.
- Sublime Text (used it for over a decade) — but VSCode won my heart
- I’m currently using Operator Mono as my code font. Yes, like many others, you pay for it. See, you spend most of your life looking at the code (as a developer). It’s only fair that your code looks good
— Before, I used Inconsolata and Source Code Pro for many years
— If you don’t want to spend money on the code font, some fantastic Operator Mono alternatives are available for free. I have tried both of these: IBM Plex & Fira Code
💻 Terminal Setup#
- I also use Zsh shell instead of Bash and am a core contributor to the ever-awesome Oh My Zsh configuration — which is also my thing.
- Again, I wrote custom themes for my terminal apps:
— 🦄 Shades-of-Purple-iTerm2
— 🦄 Shades-of-Purple-Zsh-Theme
— 🦄 Shades-of-Purple-Hyper-Terminal (on Hyper)
📹 Video Hardware#
- My primary camera is
→ Sony Alpha 7C Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera in Silver
→ Lens: Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens
→ Lens: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art Lens
→ Connect via Elgato Cam Link 4K + UGREEN Micro HDMI to HDMI
→ AC Dummy battery: Gonine NP-FZ100 Dummy Battery NP FZ100
→ Card: SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card
→ Charger: NITECORE USN4 Pro Digital QuickCharge 2.0 USB
→ Cleaning Kit: Altura Photo Camera Accessories Bundle
- My secondary camera is
→ Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera
→ Lens: Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical
→ Tripod: Slik s304 tripod-pro professional tripod
- Webcams: I currently own two webcams from Logitech:
→ BRIO 4K ULTRA HD PRO (pretty good)
→ Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam (pretty average)
- For lighting:
→ I use an excellent Elgato Key Light Air paired with
→ A regular selfie ring light + 7ft basic tripod stand
→ and a Lume Cube Broadcast Lighting Kit.
📹 Video Software#
- I use ScreenFlow to record and edit my screencasts on Mac.
- Relatively new user of Apple Final Cut Pro; it’s pretty darn fast.
- I also use Adobe Creative Suite: After Effects and Premiere Pro.
- I also use Cursor Pro and Keystroke Pro; both are fantastic applications built by Martin Lexow.
- My videos have a lot of silence. When I’m recording, I stop to think a lot, and then I remove that silence by hand. I hate doing this so much. It’s a chore — imagine the amount of time I spent removing 20 hours of silence from 30 hours of videos to produce a 10-hour-long course on Node.js CLI Automation (the irony?!). I recently discovered an excellent tool that automates this; it’s called Recut. The Mac app automatically edits your videos by cutting out silence. Thank you, Dave — you’re a life savior.
Throughout these years, I have had many different microphones. I currently use all three of these:
My primary mic is the legendary:
→ Microphone: Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone
→ Arm: RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Mic Boom Arm
→ XLR: Jet black Cable Matters 2-Pack Premium XLR
→ USB Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
→ Amp: Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator
→ Mount: Boseen Mic Stand Extension Tube
My secondary mic of choice is:
→ Microphone: RODE Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone
→ Arm: RODE PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Mic Boom Arm
→ Mount: RODE PSM1 Shockmount and Rode WS2 pop shield
Third and Fourth mic (mostly used by my better half):
- Mic: I also have a Blue Yeti Blackout USB Microphone
Filter: with a dual-layered Earamble Microphone Pop Filter
- Finally, a portable mic called Blue Snowflake. Here’s a picture of it and a silly custom boom arm with it.
I spent a decade with Windows, then more than a decade with Mac. I’m very happy with the macOS and don’t plan to return.
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max 64 GB – Space Gray
M1 Max 10-core CPU, 32-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
64GB unified memory
1TB SSD storage
Apple MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013) – Silver
2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz)
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5
Retina display: 15.4-inch (diagonal) 2880×1800
16GB RAM 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
512GB SSD storage
Dell Inspiron 15 5510 15.6 Inch Laptop
Intel Core i7-11390H, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD
NVIDIA GeForce MX450 Graphics, Windows 11 Pro
- I finally gave in and bought an iPad!!
- I bought an iPad Air first but got an iPad Pro 11-inch 3rd Generation space gray, 128GB, WiFi only—because of the nice M1 processor. Pretty happy with it.
- I also bought an Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) — must have!
- Paperlike graciously gifted me their screen protector. It makes writing on iPad a lot more fun. Paperlike is an iPad screen protector for creators and doers. Draw and write like on paper. It makes your screen a little bit dull, but I find it useful.
- Used to have an Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus tablet, HD display, 32 GB
- Fan of HP Pavilion 27xi Flat UHD display monitors.
- Big fan of trackpads but have a Logitech MX Master 3.
- A home theater convertible-to-bar speakers with an 8-inch Bass drum and 70W subwoofer by F&D T200-X 2.1, here’s a good review video.
- I sit on a beast cobra #Ergonomic office chair. The back of this chair adjusts itself with your back! That’s comfortable!
I own Sony WH-1000XM3, probably the best noise-canceling headphones on the market since I need ’em. I’ve been traveling thousands of miles lately as a developer advocate. And boy, I love these headphones. They are so good.
I also own Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which are the most comfortable, but the sound quality is not as great as the Sony ones.
I try to run 3-6 km a day — that’s where my Apple AirPods Pro come in handy. I bought a couple of other brands, but all of these stopped working after a while. However, Apple AirPods work great. You get what you pay for.
Being six feet tall, I oddly manage a good seat only to be seated next to a family with crying babies (for some reason, I can make babies laugh in a minute), which is a distraction from work on a 10+ hour flight. So, a set of noise-cancellation headphones help a lot.
Also, have the old SteelSeries Siberia v2 Full-Size Gaming Headset. I have had multiple headsets from this company, but I like Siberia V3. Here’s the pic, another one, and this one.
- Standing Desk: I use a white FlexiSpot E7 Pro standing desk, which has been pretty amazing so far, especially the pro version. The C-shaped frame both looks good and has a super-solid 200kg bearing capacity. I’ll be writing a review soon.
- Desk top: I use FlexiSpot light-colored bamboo for the desktop—a chemical-free bamboo desktop six times more sturdy than normal wood. It resists scratches, water, and insects. Desk top size: 60” × 30”.
- Primary Chair: After thinking about it for years, I finally gave in and bought a fully loaded Herman Miller Aeron, the remastered version—and am so happy I got it. It’s been super easy to sit on. Aeron as in sitting in the air.
Frame / Base: Graphite / Graphite
Size: Size C – Large
Back Support: Adjustable Posturefit SL
Tilt: Tilt Limiter and Seat Angle
Arms: Fully Adjustable Arms
Caster: Multi-Surface Caster with Quiet Roll
- I also have a secondary chair, FlexiSpot C7 Air. Premium Ergonomic Office Chair (C7 Air). Which is pretty nice as it has a headrest. It’s an acquired taste, though. My wife doesn’t like the back, I do.
- I currently use the iPhone 13 Pro Max and am pretty happy with the iPhone switch since I use a Macbook Pro, Airpod Pro, and iPad Pro. Makes sense, eh?
amused to be a huge fan of the Samsung Note series. Right now, I own a Samsung Note 8 device; in the past, I had a Samsung Note 4. Before that, it was HTC, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson. Hah, good ‘old days. yes, I like Android over iOS.
- Bought a custom 0.67x macro lens for it with a custom mobile stand. But nowadays, it’s a standard feature in smartphones.
I use HelloSign to get my contracts and love everything about it. Try out the free version if you are skeptical about it.
🖼️ Digital Asset Management#
Image and video handling, CDN, conversion, optimization, and whatnot. All of that is done for me by Cloudinary. Honestly, I can’t recommend it enough. Sign up now and get 10Gb space and 20Gb bandwidth for free →
I really like how easy it is to use Invoicely. I recommend it to everyone; they even have a nice free version. Use it. Believe me.
📸 Screenshots & Gifs#
2021: I have recently switched to CleanShot Pro for mac, and I’m absolutely blown away by the app experience. It’s phenomenal. As a developer, I’m generally a Power User of apps — but CleanShot has offered me more features than I had asked for. Features like scrolling screenshots, numbered annotations, video editor, and whatnot.
2016: I admire the screenshot, GIF, and small video hosting by My CloudApp — I use it daily. Comes in handy all the time. Update: Over the years, CloudApp has become extraordinarily slow. There were so many breaking updates, and that’s why many of my open-source repos have broken images. Their custom domain setup is not good enough, I have to disable Cloudflare, and their dashboard won’t let me add custom SSL for the custom domain. It made me sad. Hence I’m switching to CleanShot.
🛠 Text Expansion#
- The best workflow improvement I get is from Text Expander. I use it for canned responses and most of my code snippets. An incredible piece of software. Especially the random snippet expansion is so worth it.
🎳 Data and Backup#
- I backup with multiple portable hard disks with 2TB WD and 2TB Transcend, and a couple of others.
- I online backup with Dropbox and iCloud+ for most files and have been trying out BackBlaze for my entire hard drive.
- I love emojis 🔥 and use this cool little app called Rocket Pro.
- And like everyone else, I use the native Emoji widget.
- Not a fitness pro or anything, but I love the Nike Flex series. They fit in nicely. I’ve been meaning to check out Nike Pegasus. Next up.
- I’ve also started using multiple Sketchers training/running joggers. They are super comfy.
🎒 Social Media Management#
- I generally use Social media natively, but I have built SMM CLIs to automate some stuff. Also, use TweetDeck but not regularly. Sometimes, I find myself using ContentStudio to build campaigns. — I have started to replace Buffer with this one.
- Lately, FeedHive has been my go-to tool. Built by my friend Simon who has hundreds of thousands of followers. He knows how to do this. If I were you, I’d check out FeedHive. As VP of DevRel, I use this with my team as well. It’s totally, worth it.
- I also like how simple and accessible Typefully feels. Its intuitive UI is the best in class. Thread writing experience and keyboard shortcuts are top-notch.
📨 Emails & Newsletters#
I use a combination of Sendy (my favorite email tool), MailChimp, and Intercom for my emails. Inside WordPress, I use Amazon SES to send emails. I’m also using SubStack nowadays. I quite like it.
is important. English is not my mother tongue, but Grammarly helps me write better. I can’t stress enough how important it is if you blog a lot. I am a premium subscriber.
⏰ Time Management#
Well, time management has never come easy to me. I use the awesome RescueTime app on desktop and mobile to help rescue my time.
🗂 Chrome Extensions
I used to struggle with Google Chrome Tabs management, where I’d open lots and lots of tabs, and losing all the important ones would be hard. Now, after using so many tools/extensions,
- I’ve settled with Toby Mini, where I save tabs sessions and come back to them whenever I want. A true lifesaver, I must add.
- Snooze a tab, which later opens automatically or manually set time. This single productivity hack has saved me tens of hours. I used to like Snooze Tab until it stopped working, and now pretty happy with Snoozz (the author is super transparent and funny).
🐾 Cleaning My Mac#
I use CleanMyMac X to do what the name says. Well, this software is a real deal, and from time to time, it helps me delete 10Gb – 20Gb worth of junk files. I’ve used it for years and trust the MacPaw 🐾 team.
💠 SetApp | Set for all apps#
Seriously this is the best Mac app that you can buy. It’s like a SaaS subscription where you pay about /month and gets the most up to dated 100+ premium Mac apps. I have like 20 of those installed atm. This, again is built by the MacPaw 🐾 team, which is amazing.
🏪 Domain Names#
I love to buy domain names. There was a time when I had over a thousand domains in my portfolio, and I used to sell and resell those. If you’re just starting, use Dynadot to buy domains (you get them with my link)‚ they always have the best pricing. I also use Cloudflare to host domains, which is excellent.
I have always loved and appreciated good design. There are many good designers in the web community, but some are really good. They totally stand out from the crowd. I use the designs from the following designers, who have a beyond impressive design portfolio. I bet you’ll need a thing or two in there — these designers/designs are my goto design shops:
- LStore Graphics: Ruslan designs amazing hero images
- CraftWork Design: UI Kits from Denis have no parallel
- Icons8: For all the icons needs of my open-source projects
- Shape.so: Fantastic app for animated icons & illustrations
- I design with Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Primmer, and Auditions)
and Sketch,and now I use Figma.
- I also make use of Canva, Pixlied, and couple other design tools.
- I use ColorSnapper it’s probably the best color picker on macOS.
📺 Do you even watch TV, brah?!#
You bet I do. Nowadays, I mostly use a TV with Google Chromecast – 2nd Generation to watch TV seasons.
- Now I have an LG 65-inch C2 OLED TV. Impressive, what a quality picture it has. It was an expensive unit, but I watch a lot of tvs. So, it’s a good investment.
- I also have a TCL 55-inch C1 QUHD 4K Smart TV. It served me well for six years (I did claim a panel warranty once. Which was graciously offered by TCL two years after the purchase date).
- I have watched over 100 TV shows and 5,000+ episodes in the last couple of years. Without TV, my brain is like dead meat. I’ve relatively recently started tracking my TV-watching activities at this nice site called Watched.li take a look →
- To receive email updates about when a new episode’s up, I use the gold ol’ TV.com. I have labeled its emails as
TVand archived them (not to receive them in my inbox) in Gmail with a filter.
- I also have Episode-Calendar — my favorite way to catch up on TV shows and get the big picture of what’s streaming and when.
- I also use Next-Episode to track exactly what the name suggests
🍴 ForkLift + Transmit — Best FTP Editors & More#
I have toyed around with many FTP editors on Mac. But the combination of ForkLift + Transmit is unbeatable. Both are different; both have many pros. I recommend these two and use them whenever I need to access my private data dump — or a server with SSH — yes, these FTP editors work with SSH SFTP secure access very well.
🔦 Spotlight Workflows
- Raycast made me drop Alfred; it’s amazing; you get to build rich extensions with React, Node.js, and TypeScript. My kind of stack.
amwas a big fan of Alfred and had hundreds of workflows.
- The Alfred app was my default spotlight, which has excellent workflows. Not only is there a community behind this product with hundreds of workflows, but I’ve also been able to write tens of custom workflows for things like generating short domains, managing sites, calculations, and whatnot.
😎 CSS Scan for Quick Prototyping
Whenever doing a workshop, I sometimes have to quickly prototype a web example to explain a concept to the audience. Often I find myself copying the CSS from dev tools. Well, no more. CSS Scan takes care of that for me. Saves me a lot of time.
🏗️ UX Wireframing#
I often find myself wireframing a free and open-source project’s UX with this excellent tool called Balsamiq — a fantastic tool to help me process my ideas quickly.
📋 Clipboard Management#
Over the years, I have used many clipboard management apps that would help me copy multiple things to paste them later. I’ve recently switched away from Clipy (it was inaccessible) to a new app called Maccy. I love it.
😮 Automatic Organization#
I am one of those people who keep their computer files organized. Yet it’s a chore to clean up the desktop, the download directory — every day. For the last five years, I have been using Hazel App, which automatically organizes files. Set up the rules once, and forget them. For example, every time I take a screenshot, it stays on my desktop for 10secs and then gets moved to a backup folder, where it gets deleted after 30 days. Life savor!
🔗 Generating Short-URLs
I’m a fan of using short and more context-aware links. Some people are not, and that’s completely fine. I use two short domain names for sharing personal links.
- Awais.dev — I fell victim of the
.devlaunch and bought tens of such domains. I’m slowly building a custom Short-URL script that I host at Netlify (I plan to release it soon(ish) for everyone to use). For now, I use this domain to host links that are important, e.g., Awais.dev/press is where you can read my press mentions.
I am generally always learning something. I plan to list these things down here, but here is a couple of them you should look at:
- Awesome Random Stuff I find daily (need to update the extension)
- Learn Chrome developer tools with Umar
I often use Firebase and FireStore in different projects. Debugging the database locally is always tricky; that’s where FireFoo, a Powerful GUI Client
for Firebase Firestore, comes in. I just started using it, and it’s pretty fantastic.
If you have a question about anything mentioned on this page:
→ Tweet them at @MrAhmadAwais.
Disclosure: I get direct benefits from every post and page I put on this blog. Whether that is monetary or the simple joy of helping others, I’m benefiting. You may find affiliate links. That means if you click on that link and purchase a product, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. I must emphasize that the words on this blog are mine and are not influenced by any compensation. I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers.