All posts in Interviews

Tools of the Trade – Jan Cavan

Jan’s portfolio shows off just how talented.  Yeah she can do clean business sites but I think the character pieces are her best!  Jan has been featured in .NET Magazine, Web Designer Magazine and just about a million other places.  Check out the list!  Fortunately for us, she agreed to let The Web Squeeze interview her!  Thanks Jan!

Check out what tools Jan can’t live without!

Adobe Dreamweaver

Ever since I got started, I’ve always used Dreamweaver for coding. Well, I did use Notepad some time ago when none of these text editors ever existed yet.


I don’t think I can live without my iPhone! My favorite apps are 2Do for my “To Do” lists, iXpenseIt for tracking my income and expenses, Echofon for tweeting and WordPress for moderating comments.

Wacom Bamboo

I never really thought of getting a Wacom tablet but one time when I was out the country, I had to work on this one project that required me to create doodles. I didn’t have a scanner with me so I decided to get a Wacom. When I got one, I’ve never regretted my decision. I’ve been using it since.


For me it’s the best invoicing app I’ve ever tried. I use it for invoicing my clients and time tracking. I love their simple and easy to use interface as well.

Time Machine

The Time Machine automatically backs up the files I have on my Mac. Now, I no longer need to worry about manually making the back ups myself and it lets me go back in time in case I need to.
If you want to know more about Jan, you can follow her on Twitter!

Tools of the Trade – Anthony Hortin

Anthony Hortin

of Melbourne, Australia.  Anthony is the awesomeness behind Maddison Designs! He’s a huge fan of tweeting and we suggest your follow him since he actually will reply!

Here are Anthony’s 5 favorite tools of the trade!


One of my most used apps would have to be eWallet. This product allows you to securely store all your password and sensitive information in one easy location. It uses 256 bit AES encryption to keep all your data safe. The best thing about it, is that because it’s an iPhone app I know that I’ll have all my data conveniently with me all the time. Once you purchase the iPhone app, you can then purchase the desktop version for only a few extra dollars. Using your WiFi network, you can then keep them both synced very easily.

Seesmic Desktop & Echofon

I’m a huge Twitter fan and couldn’t get by without my Twitter fix every day. When I’m on my desktop pc or laptop, I’ll use Seesmic Desktop. When I’m out and about, I’ll use Echofon on my iPhone. I find Seesmic Desktop to be very easy to use and has some great functionality. On the iPhone, I’ve tried numerous Twitter clients but keep coming back to Echofon for it’s ease of use and long list of features. I find both of these apps extremely stable, unlike some other popular desktop & iPhone clients *cough* Tweetdeck *cough*.

Paymo Time Tracking

Paymo allows you to conveniently track your time and send invoices. Although I don’t use the invoicing side of Paymo, I do use it daily to keep track of time spent on the various projects I’m working on. One of the things I love about Paymo is that everything is online, so no matter whether I’m working at my desk or at a customer’s site with my laptop, I’m able to conveniently track my time. If I am using my laptop, I don’t need to export data across to my main workstation as everything is stored online. You can track your time via their website or install a convenient Desktop Widget to make it even easier.


SmartFTP is an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) utility that allows you to transfer files from your local computer to remote servers. Since the majority of my work is website design & development, it’s vital to have an FTP program that is easy to use, quick and reliable. I’m constantly using this application to transfer files to my own website or for uploading new client websites. It’s a great tool to use and makes file transfers very easy with their drag-n-drop interface.

Backup Maker

All too regularly you hear of people losing files due to hardware crashes, which is why I am very strict with sticking to a rigid backup routine. After trying numerous applications I came across this little gem. The main thing I love about Backup Maker is that it compresses your backup using the well-known ZIP compression algorithm. This means that not only can you open up your backup using the Backup Maker application, but you can also open the files using your “std” WinZip application as well. The zip file also ensures that you have one convenient backup file (although you can split your backup into multiple files if you’d prefer). Other backup programs I’ve tried create dozens of files. You can specify your backup schedule conveniently within the app itself, as well as the number of backup instances (ie. to overwrite older backup files). You can even backup files from Network drives which is ideal when you have a separate development server.

Jacob Haug

For this next interview we didn’t stray very far from TWS! In fact, we are featuring Jacob Haug, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer here at The Web Squeeze. You can find out more about Jacob at his website.

Here is what Jacob selected as his 5 favorite tools….


I regularly work remotely with clients, friends, and business partners. Without Skype, communicating with them would be much more of a pain. I can easily call up 5 or more people and discuss a project, or an issue I’m having. I’ve talked hours and hours with business partners and clients, sorted out mundane programming issues! It’s free, it’s high quality, it’s GREAT!


Coda is the only code editor I use on Mac. I feel like it’s built for me! I can add all my sites into Coda, and easily connect to the site and start editing. Coda even reopens documents I left open when I quit last time so I can start where I left off! Coda has great syntax highlighting, code hints, validation checking….and more. I can edit multiple files at a time, and easily be able to look up a function if I can’t remember it!


What would we do without PHPMyAdmin? Okay, I know what we would do, but that’s not the point. PHPMyAdmin makes managing your databases a breeze! It’s another one of those tools I can’t live without!

Everything PHP is on this website! All functions, classes, and even examples! If you aren’t using, then you should be!


Making your images as small as possible is an important aspect of making your website super fast! I love Yahoo’s “ uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a “lossless” tool, which means it optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality.”



I am in love with Firefox, not because it’s open source, but because I feel it’s the best tool for web designers and developers! It has so many addons that I couldn’t live without and that makes managing my websites, and developing them so easy!

Do you share the love for any of these tools? Let us know how you feel!

Tools of the Trade – Joel Gascoigne

Joel Gascoigne

Joel is an entrepreneur and web developer living and working in Birmingham, UK. His startup, OnePage, is a beautiful, indispensible networking tool currently allowing anyone to quickly create a digital business card, with more to come. After jumping in with both feet, OnePage is now starting to gain traction and a community for startups is forming called StartupMill, which Joel started when he felt there was a lack of events for those interested in talking about and collaborating on Internet startups in the UK. As a startup co-founder, Joel’s tools differ a little from those involved in web design in the more general sense.

Here are Joel’s choices for his Tools of the Trade!


We follow lean principles of reducing waste where we can, and one form of waste is creating full interfaces which are never used. Therefore, we like to wireframe our interfaces before we build them for real. After trying a few options, we’ve fallen in love with MockingBird due to its clean UI, page linking and sharing options and use it exclusively. It is also built on Cappuccino, so no Flash – always a bonus.


At OnePage we value metrics very highly, because we want to know what is working for us and how people are using our product. We believe it is useless to have a product that you don’t know how people are using. This is no easy task, and with the likes of Google Analytics giving you every measurement under the sun, it is hard to concentrate on the metrics which really matter. Luckily, KISSmetrics brings clarity with its fantastic funnel visualisation and focus on few key metrics.


Feedly is a product I discovered just as I was about to give up on Google Reader, and it truly saved me from stopping reading blogs. The interface and social integration make it effortless to keep up with all the awesome information out there. I like to quote small snippets and post them out to Twitter, Feedly makes this easy.


Posterous is another tool I use primarily for personal use. Whereas Feedly saved me from giving up on reading blogs, Posterous saved me from giving up on blogging. I am the worst blogger you will ever meet, I just can’t keep it up. However with the email posting and bookmarklet, Posterous makes it dead simple to put quick blog posts out there, and with 47 posts and counting things seem to be getting better! Please take a read, they’re all small posts inspired by my influencers.


At one time there were 4 of us involved in OnePage, and until just weeks ago we were all located in different parts of the world. For this reason, a lot of our tools are tailored around effectively working remotely to build an awesome product. With synchronised files and folders across computers and users, DropBox makes our lives much easier.

Next up is….Mark Poppen

Mark Poppen is a web designer at my his own company PoppenDesign. They create websites for small and medium businesses in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Here are Mark’s Tools of the Trade…

Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch

I recently got this when I upgraded my old Bamboo. I could brag about having an Intuos4 or Cintiq, but it’s not so much the tablet that makes the magic, it’s the user that does. It uses multi-touch for scrolling, navigating and clicking, and I don’t have to switch between mouse and pen all the time.


This app is awesome for bird-brains like me. I snap a picture of anything I want to remember with my phone and synchronize it into my Evernote database.  I can scan invoices,  record voice or typed notes. Now, I have a photographic memory… as long as I don’t forget to use the app.


I’m a music addict, and I can’t work without it. Grooveshark is one of the sites I use to play music continuously, that is, if I don’t want to be distracted by dj’s on regular radio-stations.

What’s playing? Pretty much anything. If I need to meet a deadline, I tend to play stuff like Kontrust, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer, Pearl Jam etc. If I’m being creative, some pounding beats from Tiesto, Armin van Buuren or Carl Cox rattle my brain.

FreeAgent Central

This is finance software made easy. I tried quite a few  accounting-apps, but none work like FreeAgent. It imports bank accounts, credit cards, Paypal accounts and lines it up nicely, so you don’t really need an accountant (although I do advise you to have one on stand-by). Estimates and invoices are professional and easy to create.


Screenshots on steroids! After taking a screenshot with Skitch, a little and simple drawing app opens. You can add comments or circle elements you want to explain. From here, you can drag and drop the screenshot all over the place. Drag it into Tweetdeck, Finder, email, IM, anywhere on your Mac or share it on the Skitch website, where you have your own account.

Our final interview is with Michael Guill

Michael Guill owns a small web design studio and spends way too much time on the grid. When he’s not performing some sort of Interweb jiggery-pokery, he enjoys competing in  triathlons, traveling with his family, and flying. You can find him on Twitter, frequently evangelizing the gospels of standards-based web design, accessibility, and progressive enhancement.

His favorite tools are….


WAVE is WebAIM’s free accessibility evaluation tool, and I use this tool not only to check for accessibility issues, but also for basic page markup. One of the coolest features is the ability to show a page’s outline, which is useful for pointing out illogically ordered headings. It’s also available as a Firefox toolbar, making it possible to check secure or protected web content.


Online billing, payment processing, and time tracking so easy that a guy like me can do it. I used to have desktop applications for this, but found that I couldn’t easily sync information when I traveled. Freshbooks hasn’t let me down yet, and my clients have an easy, no-hassle way to pay invoices online.

Email Templates

This is super old school, but it works. I have a folder full of email templates that I use to send out approval notices to clients, and it saves a whole bunch of time typing.

Google Voice

This is one of the most valuable tools to me. I can specify all my phone numbers (home, office 1, office 2, mobile, my wife’s) and then tell Google Voice which ones to ring depending on the group the caller belongs to. Close friends call and all my numbers ring, whereas most of my family goes directly to voicemail (sorry, Granny).


This is hands-down one of the best apps for managing Twitter streams, but it does so much more. I use it to schedule blog post announcements, keep up with Facebook fan page comments, post the odd update on LinkedIn, etc. Because I can have so many tabs, each with its own set of columns, it’s become super easy for me to keep up with hundreds of people I follow on Twitter. I hardly ever miss conversations on key topics, yet I’m spending less time searching and filtering.

We hope you enjoyed our Tools of the Trade for this week.  Feel free to comment on any of these tools you’ve read about.