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Development productivity: tips and tricks

Here's a few things you could do or learn to make your life a bit easier when it comes to software development. This is an ever-growing list; feel free to add to it!

Note: Most of these instructions assume you're working with OSX.



⌘ + eOpens the 'recent files' window. Select by typing the name of the file or moving up and down with arrow keys. Or press the return key directly for the previous file.
⌥ + ↑Hard to explain, just give it a try... Selects, or extends, the selection of text in your editor. Pressing it repeatedly, increases the scope in which code is selected. Can be used to select a word, a statement or variable, a line, a function or a class and so on.
⌘ + ⌥ + lReformats your code according to what you have setup in your code style settings (PhpStormPreferencesEditorCode Style{your language}). A very useful tool for preventing your colleagues from requesting changes on your pull requests just for a code style error.
⌘ + 9Opens the 'version control' panel. Here you can check out the history of a branch. View which files are changed in what commit. And albeit with a little more effort, open the changed files in the editor (it defaults to changes window).
^ + gMultiple selection: select next occurrence. Find the next occurrence of the selection and adds a cursor there too. Very handy for a quick refactor in one file. Also you can just ⌥ + click to add an extra cursor.

Sublime Text

Auto-indent code like PHPStorm does.

Open the keybinding settings in the menu bar: Sublime TextPreferencesKeybindings

It opens two files. Edit the one on the right (It's specific for your user). Add this line between [] and then restart Sublime.

{ "keys": ["command+option+l"], "command": "reindent", "args": {"single_line": false} }

⌘ + ⌥ + l now properly indents your code.

iTerm 2

Natural Text Editing

In normal text editors on your mac, you can navigate through text quickly using ⌥ + ← or ⌥ + →. To enable this in your terminal, go to iTerm 2PreferencesProfileskeys, Click Load Preset... and select Natural Text Editing.

⌘ + ← and ⌘ + → enables you to switch to the next or previous tab if you have multiple open at once. If you want to have these shortcuts jump to the beginning or end of a line, follow these instructions (you can skip the instructions for the ⌥ + arrow shortcuts, as the previous step already took care of that)


Delete merged branches

(This only deletes them locally and does not affect the remote in any way.)

Add this line to your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.zshrc file. Use the latter only if you're using Z-shell (or echo $SHELL outputs something like /bin/zsh).

alias delete-merged='git branch --merged | grep -v "\*" | grep -v main | grep -v trunk | grep -v develop | xargs -n 1 git branch -d'

You can now use delete-merged in the terminal in any git repository to delete branches which have been merged to either trunk, develop or main.

Aliases tips

This is a nice post about git aliases:


Autojump is an awesome tool for moving where you need to go in the terminal super fast.

if you have brew installed, which you totally should, run brew install autojump. Then, if you're using oh-my-zsh, simply search for the plugins variable in the ~/.zshrc file and add autojump to the list. After sourcing that config file again, or restarting the terminal, you can use j to jump to any directory you have visited earlier while autojump was installed.


Instead of cd ~/Dev/, you can type j yoast-c directly. It only needs a small part of the path or directory name to know where it should go.

If autojump picks the incorrect directory, simply run the command again. It will then pick the, in its mind, second best match. You could then boost the current directory's weight by calling j -i [WEIGHT] from that directory. run j -s to see the current weights of all indexed directories.

Command line

  • pbcopy will copy a certain result to your clipboard.
  • pbpaste will paste your last copied text from your clipboard.

So to get your SSH key into GitHub you could use the following command, cat ~/.ssh/ | pbcopy and then paste it into to GitHub UI. pbpaste is very useful if you copied data from somewhere that needs to go into a script. Use pbpaste | ./awesome-data-processing-script.php.

sudo easiness

  • Increase sudo timeout: Add this to your /etc/sudoers file:
Defaults timestamp_timeout=15