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A picture of Julie Ann Horvath

Julie Ann Horvath

Designer, developer (GitHub)

in designer, developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a designer and frontend developer at GitHub. I like to think of myself as an open source advocate with a big heart for making mockups in markup. I spend a lot of my time speaking at conferences and volunteering to teach (more) women to code.

I'm also the creator and organizer of Passion Projects, a monthly talk series designed to help surface and celebrate the work of incredible women in the tech industry.

What hardware do you use?

MacBook Pro SSD and 8 GB of RAM. It's important for me to be able to run programs from the Adobe Creative Suite and still have ruby and other local servers running in the background, as well as multiple browsers. I haven't upgraded to a Retina Macbook yet, I'm holding on to the hope that Apple will release a Retina Air. That would be ideal.

Sometimes I use a Cinema Thunderbolt display. I like to be mobile and I often work from home, as well as around the world, so I usually just stick with my Macbook, but when I'm in the office a bunch I use the display for more visual real estate.

And what software?

I mostly design in browser, but I use CS6 (again, late on the update) Photoshop to save assets and on the very rare occasion that I'm doing any illustration work, it'll be in Illustrator.

I spend most of my time in Sublime Text. Designing in markup and CSS, I'm constantly saving and refreshing in my browser.

Do browsers count as software? If so, Google Chrome is where I do most of my work. I use the developer tools like web inspector to manipulate mockups or apps locally and then make those changes in my text editor.

GitHub, GitHub, GitHub. I live in the GitHub workflow which usually looks something like this: pull down code from remote repository, make changes locally, test my changes, push code back up to GitHub. GitHub now has an entire flow in the browser that I use to make small changes like fixing typos. Because I use GitHub Pages for most of the static websites I build, I can just commit the changes in browser and the page builds happen almost instantaneously.

I honestly couldn't live without ColorSnapper. I never learned color theory and I didn't go to art school. I've mostly trained my eye for good design, so I depend pretty heavily on being able to color pick the web to recreate a look or effect. It's also handy for converting hex values into RGBs and vice-versa.

I use CloudApp obsessively. As a designer, I'm constantly taking screenshots of my work for both my own use and records as well as sharing it with my coworkers and peers. I post screenshots to Pull Requests to get feedback from teammates and get developers excited about what I'm hacking on. Because we work remotely a ton, we often aren't up to speed with what everyone else is working on. Screenshots are a big part of how we relay what we're working on to other Hubbers. Added bonus: CloudApp automagically copies a link from the most recent screenshot you've taken to your clipboard. It's removed several steps from my workflow.

Apple Mail. I do a lot of outreach work in our community and I manage most of my GitHub notifications from my inbox, so I use Mail a ton. I've set up a keyboard shortcut to archive directly from my inbox list. So that saves me a ton of time when wading through inbound notifications and random junk that piles up.

I used to use the Mac OS sticky notes for jotting things down until I got tired of them covering my desktop. As an alternative, I started using Notational Velocity a few years ago, which is rad for note taking and general to-do list chicken scratch. It's also fully searchable and you can sync all of your "notes" to the cloud with simplenote.

iMessage: I use iMessage to chat to people during my work day. I sync my old AIM accounts, my personal phone number, and my Gmail accounts. It's great to access all of those contacts through the same interface.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm dying for a MacBook Air with more memory and a Retina screen. At GitHub, so many of us work remotely and on the go. We've built a company around being able to do that. So, I'm just waiting for the right tech to come along to compliment that mobility, or at least one that would play nicely with the software I use. :fingers_crossed: