What tools do you use?

what helps you the most with building your website? what are you using to maintain your servers? what independent software do you use for your digital hobbies? share with us, and maybe we’ll learn from one another about new tools to use!

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Hmm, well I use Neocities’ native editor when working on my site directly, because I’m a gremlin, lol. Otherwise I’d probably use like Notepad++; I like the color-coding as it makes coding so much easier to read. I also use Cyberduck for running periodical full backups of my sites!

As for graphic work, I use good ol’ (blech) Photoshop, GNU Image Manipulation Program (I hate the short name for this program), and Paint Tool Sai 2, depending on what I’m working on and what I need to accomplish. For making gifs I very often use the online tool EZGif!

For writing, I use LibreOffice, which is a great lil’ freeware office program.

For audio listening, if I’m not streaming of Spotify but playing a file I actually own, or listening to a podcast, I use WACUP, which is “A media player that’s made to emulate some of your favourite media players from the past & bring them into the future.” It supports my Winamp skins while offering more functionality than classic Winamp, which is awesome! For video watching I use VLC Media Player, although their website seems to be down at the moment so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

I’ve been wanting to do some video editing but haven’t found anything very good for that that’s free or on the cheaper end; if anyone has any tips I’d love to hear it!

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For my webbed site, I mostly use Notepad++ as well! It’s the most intuitive for me ^^ I use Cyberduck to back things up and push them back towards Neocities when need be.

For graphic stuff, I use Paint Tool SAI 2 also as well for drawing, and Photopea for things that it can’t really do, like text. For editing pre-existing stuff, I use photopea along with EZGif and Lospec’s Pixel Art Scaler. I also really like XnConvert for batch resizing and downscaling of pictures from my phone.

For music, I download everything from Youtube (I know the quality isn’t great, I don’t really care, I’m so sorry audiophiles lmao) using JDownloader and then add the metadata manually. I listen on my laptop using Foobar2000 and on my phone (Android) using Blackplayer.

Everything else I use is pretty basic (like Notepad and Microsoft Word, lmao)

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i’ve been meaning to write a /uses page, so i’ll take this opportunity to catalog some of those things here and put that page up soon.

for writing code, i use Sublime Text 4. this is not free software, but does have an indefinite evaluation period (the idea is that you buy a license eventually). it’s sort of fallen out of vogue now, but it still holds up as a robust, lightweight editor with some unintrusive IDE features such as build systems etc. for those typescript and node-heads out there.

saturn.town is written with Jekyll, a static-site generator written in Ruby. i use ruby a decent amount in my day job, so it just feels comfy, even after trying the other offerings.

despite being a static site, i am hosting on a DigitalOcean VPS with a handful of my other sites. this allows me to have more control over the tooling i use vs. shared hosting. nginx acts as the main web server, and i use mariadb or sqlite for other projects with databases. other projects are utilizing php or ruby on rails. i believe it’s Ubuntu 23.04, but i don’t remember for sure. definitely debian-based.

for accessing my VPS, good-old-fashioned SSH is the ticket. if i want to transfer files, i use lftp, which has become indispensible. git for version control; currently, the remote is Github; i’m looking to move this in the medium-term future. as such, i’m not using any github action-based automation: i simply commit to the master branch, remote into the VPS, then execute the jekyll build process.

graphic work is done in Aseprite (hopefully) or GNU Image Manipulation Program (reluctantly). i would like to do more visual/image-based work on the web, but i tend to let the stylesheet do most of the visuals on my projects for reasons of time and ability.

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Currently, I use Visual Studio Code and the static site generator 11ty/Eleventy for website building, StimuWrite for writing, and I’ve got this GitHub Action set up for pushing site updates to Neocities.

I’ve also been trying out Front Matter for my more “professional” website recently and liking it so far, it’s basically a VSCode (also apparently runs in other programs too) extension that gives you a CMS (content management system, like how a blogging platform might let you manage posts) right in VSCode itself. But it is finicky at first and does sometimes require troubleshooting, so it’s kind of simultaneously more simple and more complex of a system at the same time.

And I do all my art in Krita or Blender 3D!

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for my website i just use neocities’ native editor, unless it’s a larger project, then i do it within vscode

for notetaking: i use obsidian! i highly recommend it to anyone; i use it for journaling, studying, habit tracking, creative writing, etc etc. i have a project tracker which is really useful :) for keeping my pdfs i use zotero.

for genealogy: gramps! it’s a free, offline program that is highly customizable and just mwah.

for browsing: arc! i would like to use a non-chromium browser at some point but idk i just really love using arc :3 very good

for worldbuilding: i use gplates for tectonic histories. maps are edited in inkscape.

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For coding my website I use a mix of VSCodium and Notepad++ depending on my preferences at any given time. I find for quick little alterations and basic stuff I tend to lean towards Notepad++, but when I want to deal with my website as a whole I use VSCodium as it’s easier to switch between different stylesheets / pages on the fly. I just use PHP as a backend language so I don’t use SSGs.

For art I use SAI2 + this SAI 2 Dark Mode Mod. When doing pixel art specifically I use Aseprite which I adore, and I very much recommend buying it to support them if you’re able.

When reading pdfs, which I usually do for TTRPGs and such I very much recommend Sumatra which is incredibly fast.

Music if I have it downloaded I use AIMP, which also has an Android App! I personally use youtube-dl for stuff, but I’m also not an audiophile.

P.S. Running out of disk space? Check out WizTree! It is an incredibly helpful tool to find out what’s taking it all up!

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Oh WOW, AIMP looks incredible! I might switch to that :shocked:

obsidian looks incredible :shocked: i just finished schooling but i might start using it for my writing processes just to get to use it!

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@mysteryslug You’re in my brain! I also use VSCodium/Notepad++, Sumatra, SAI (back when I did digital art) and even WizTree—I didn’t know anybody else knew about WizTree… Right now I use MusicBee or foobar2000 on desktop, and BlackPlayer (sometimes Musicolet too) on mobile. But I want to try AIMP now.

Notetaking software used to give me the biggest headache of all time. I’ve tried Obsidian, OneNote, Dendron, TiddlyWiki, Joplin, Logseq, even TreeSheets :roll_eyes: I realized I spent too much time thinking about how to keep notes and not enough time about my notes. So now I do as much note-taking as possible on pen and paper.

For books, I use Libby which is connected to my hometown library card. Back when I did research, I tracked sources and stuff in Zotero as mentioned above; now I track my reading on The Storygraph. Manga I read on Mihon.

Webbed sites I access with Firefox, and most of my site is coded by hand with the exception of the Japan blog, which was generated with Hugo. I’ve lost the drive that had the source on it though, so until I find it I don’t think I’ll update that page. Always make a backup!

Miscellany: I use Kustom for a custom homescreen on my phone (currently set to look like a Nintendo DS homescreen), and I used to use Rainmeter for desktop until I realized it was eating up a lot of CPU. Twilight and Flux keep my eyes happy late at night. And Stellarium keeps me humble by reminding me how big our universe is.

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Miscellany: I use Kustom for a custom homescreen on my phone (currently set to look like a Nintendo DS homescreen), and I used to use Rainmeter for desktop until I realized it was eating up a lot of CPU.

TWO things okay whoa :

  1. is there a spot you got the assets required to get the DS home screen look, or is it custom (haha kustom get it)? That sounds awesome and I kind of want to try.

  2. do you have any rainmeter alternatives? I really like rainmeter for keeping track of my computer temp and memory/storage usage but I’ve also noticed the CPU drain :(

I like to use the terminal as much as possible, I find I get less distracted than way. For coding and all things text I use neovim with a nice selection of plugins. My site is generated with Hugo, stored in a git repository on a DigitalOcean VPS, then automatically published with a custom shell script.

For music I use a combination of mpd and ncmpcpp. It was a little difficult to set up but I like being able to control playback with any mpd client. One day I’ll set it up so multiple devices can stream from my PC but I haven’t needed it yet.

For web browsing, I use Firefox with the Tree Style Tab. It organized tabs exactly how I think about them in my mind, so I can keep track of the hundreds of tabs I open :shades:

I think Windows 11 has a widget for this but I’m not totally sure how to get it.

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Honestly I just use VSCode to edit my code and then paste everything onto Neocities. I cannot do anything without a live preview and it’s less confusing for me to use lmaoo.

For Graphics, Krita it used to literally just Krita for everything, but then I got Asperite on steam so, future pixel art is made using just Asperite.

For Writing, Google Docs. I know it’s not ideal, but my editor also uses it and most of my wips are in it.

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I use a couple programs.

Website: Jekyll, because I just needed to pick something to help me figure out how the website is actually going to work from a markup standpoint. I’m definitely hoping to write my own CMS as uploading animations is a very manual process and I have rather unique requirements for my website.

Type design: Glyphs, occasionally some Python scripts with that

Art and Animation:

  • Krita for rough sketch/animation
  • OpenToonz for cleanup and coloring
  • Motion for compositing if it’s more complex
  • Blender if I need any 3D elements in my piece
  • ffmpeg for encoding all the files that get uploaded to my website. I also built a Python script to encode variable frame rate videos, so that only the unique frames are actually encoded. I plan on releasing this script and an explanation behind it in the near future.

Graphic design:

  • Glyphs for any lettering or very heavy Bezier work
  • Inkscape for laying out vector graphics
  • DrawBot for some rare things, if I need to generate PDFs for testing my fonts or make some dynamic typography.

If I have to watch YouTube I always just use yt-dlp before watching it.

For watching videos I primarily use mpv, sometimes QuickTime Player.
For listening to music it’s mostly Apple Music, but I do have a few of my favorite albums and EPs as lossless FLACs (which I just plop into mpv).

Video editing is DaVinci Resolve but I have Final Cut Pro on hand in case I need to handle variable frame rate videos.

Text editor of choice is Sublime Text. I write software with it and also take notes. If I need a more traditional word processor for whatever reason I just use Pages, or even DrawBot.

I browse the web with both Safari and Firefox. I tend to use Safari by default but I switch to Firefox for some services as well as if a website has ads.

I have some other pieces of software too but those are the ones that I use a lot of.

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here’s the software i use most commonly:

  • for editing text and code, including for my websites, i use TextMate.
  • for playing music, i use Cog. i have my entire music library saved as local MP3s and FLACs.
  • for my artwork and graphic design projects, i use Affinity Designer. i’ve tried using inkscape before for vector graphics, but it didn’t really work for me personally - i find affinity designer to be much more usable.
  • for editing RAW photos and any other raster graphics editing, i use Affinity Photo.
  • i usually use the Processing programming language when writing software and scripts. it’s a very intuitive java-based language tailored towards real-time art and graphics, but i use it for just about every programming task.
  • for 3D CAD, i use Onshape. i’m not totally happy about it being a cloud-only web app, but there aren’t really any other options for 3D CAD on mac sadly.
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My OS for my PC is openSUSE Tumbleweed I use KDE as me DE.

On servers I tend to use Debian or Ubuntu Server LTS. I’ve been toying around with the Ubuntu Pro free tier subscription but I’m not sure it benefits my hobbyist/project needs really.

For coding I typically use Visual Studio Code. I don’t have any extensions installed really except for one that highlights color hex codes with the color they are instead of just the little square preview usually provided.

I use some self hosted apps such as Memos for stream of thought style journaling mostly. I use Kavita for reading books. Finally I use Navidrome for music streaming.

I don’t find myself using my computer as much as I used to. This is due to some external things in my life at the moment. Technology was my first love and I’ll always come back to it in some way.

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> Operating System: I currently use macOS mostly, though I want to transition to primarily using Linux Mint.

> Personal Website: My main tool is the Hugo Static Site Generator with one of its many pre-made themes / templates (currently using Doks) but planning to move off of it to something fully original / handmade / custom-coded. I use Git for version control and Visual Studio Code for the editor. My comment system is provided by FastComments ($12 USD per year) and I couldn’t be happier with it.

> Art: I use Aseprite ($20 USD) for most things now, have used GIMP for others.

> Notes / Research: I’m currently (failing at) using Obsidian for notes. It’s not bad, I just haven’t put in sufficient effort. I was using Joplin and was doing well with it, but the mobile experience was terrible and Obsidian’s is incredible so ¯\(ツ)/¯ For bookmarks I’m using Raindrop.io ($28 USD per year) and I feel it’s worth the price! I just need to get a bit better at reviewing links I saved. For browser (Firefox btw) tabs, I tend to go more with session / tab savers rather than tab organizers / managers. My current one is SessionSync, but I’ve just noticed it hasn’t been updated in 5 years… Yikes! Should probably change it, but it works! Miniflux ($15 USD per year), my RSS reader, is also worthwhile imo. Great for keeping up with individuals / the small web as a whole.

I’m sure I’m missing a few things, but in case you weren’t keeping tally: ~$75 USD. Personal Website-ing can definitely be a cheaper hobby, but it’s still a hobby and you’re probably gonna be spending your hard-earned dough somewhere. Just make sure you’re doing so thoughtfully when it springs its greedy little head!

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operating system: Windows 11 :vom:, but i do plan to downgrade to Windows 10 soon-ish (because of some weird hard drive issues relating to my game controller that did not happen on linux or Windows 10). i used linux (arch btw :stuck_out_tongue:) for a few months back in 2023, but i abandoned it because most creative apps that i use (mentioned below) don’t work under linux, and the alternatives offered on linux are not up to snuff, imo.

website stuff: haven’t redone my site yet, but i have been experimenting with an outside-in static site generator called Soupault. if you’ve ever used a traditional SSG it’s basically the opposite of those – instead of modifying the page through templating or front matter, Soupault reads a config file you give it and modifies the pages via the config file! great if you want the niceties of an SSG but the full control of manually writing an HTML file. (not sure if i’ll stick with it though. might learn PHP instead :v )

creativity: for design work, i either use Lunacy for prototyping, or an extralegal *cough cough* copy of Adobe Photoshop CC, which i mainly use for graphic design. however i really need to try Affinity Designer because while I really like PS’s featureset it runs like crap on this decade-old mid-high-range PC. :upside_down_face: similar deal with Vegas Pro 13, which is the video editor I use. i occasionally make nonsensical YouTube Poop-esque videos with it when i am bored. welcome to my life.

oh yeah, and i’ve been dabbling 3d art with Blender (what else)? it’s really fun. it’s like 2d art but it works better with my brain. (for 2d art i use Krita, ftr.)

notes / thought jotting: i am that one person that puts digital sticky notes on their pc desktop. i am sorry. :joy: but for real though, Zhorn Software’s Stickies is probably the best desktop stickies app i have ever used. it’s super customizable, and has so many features it will make your head spin! (i tried using Obsidian before this, but it just doesn’t work well for the kinds of notes i take: off-the-cuff and super loose. i may end up using it for projects and longer notes though. i just need to remake my entire vault first :joy: )

also thanks to some people in the thread i am now trying out Memos as an alternatives to stickies on my VPS! :D

finally, some self-hosted crud:

  • FreshRSS for RSS feeds
  • linkding for bookmarks (mainly of homepages, which i hope to make the links of public eventually)
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Memos is pretty great. I don’t think I use it for the intended purpose it was made for but I find it works well for journaling too. Being able to tag things is kind of like having diaries within diaries and I can track how I feel or my progress through certain events in my life with it

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For working on our website, we use Dreamweaver mainly because of a few reasons:

  • Live editor: It has a live editor which allows us to see the edits change as we edit the HTML or CSS. You can also sort of interact with your site with the live editor.

  • GitHub Pages integration: It has GitHub pages integration as an option. I think it might be the only thing it allows but this means we can push updates to our site without having to open up the GitHub repo for our site, then manually upload files.

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