This is the first in a series of posts about apps and tools freelance developers can try to help them stay focused and get more work done.

Roman is one of our go-to guys for fun Testomato hacks, but he’s also the person to ask when you’re looking for a new app or tool to try. He likes to experiment with different solutions for everything from improving his workflow to getting inspiration.

So, we decided to share!

Here’s 5 cool apps we think you should test drive right now:

#1 WorkFlowy

While it seems like a computer would be the perfect place to store all your daily to-dos, reminders, ideas, and whatever else you might need to jot down – taking digital notes isn’t as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of apps out there to help you, but most of them require a certain amount of structure that might not work for your note-taking system.

Everything inside WorkFlowy functions as a giant list. Every item you add can have sub-lists under it and each of those sub-items can have their own list, too. Double clicking on a bullet point lets you “zoom in” on an item and all of its sublists. Basically, all points can function as single document for you to view.

WorkFlowy can be used to keep track of pretty much anything you can think to put on a list – meeting notes, your daily task list, books to read, etc.  If you want to learn more, Farhad Manjoo wrote an awesome in-depth review on it.

Although there are already a ton of to-do apps and tools out there, it’s one of our favorites because of its simplicity and flexibility.

#2 Kanboard

Strong tools for task management underpin all web development methods, so it’s obvious that our team is always interested in trying out new tools.

Kanboard is one of the easiest ways to manage your projects. It gives you a clear visual overview of the tasks you have coming up, what your working on, and what you’ve completed.

As an added plus, it’s self-hosted, free, and open source.

imageIf you’re looking for another web-based alternative for managing your workflow, we’re fans of Trello as well. It’s also free and simple – two things that tend to make tools stand out to us.

Both services allow you to see at a glance what your next point of action should be in development. They help cut out the complexity and simplify the multi-step process of building.

#3 PHPTrends

Everyone gets stuck once in awhile or just needs a little inspiration so it’s a good idea to find apps that help get your creative juices flowing.

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Roman’s favorite page is PHP Trends, which contains a list of current PHP trends, libraries, and frameworks. It’s a great way to find the latest Github repositories sorted by category and popularity.

For those of you who don’t know, GitHub is a Git repository hosting service, which provides access control and collaboration features. As we mentioned before, we use Git daily at Testomato and plays a big role in our development workflow.

#4 Kippt

Do you like to save a lot of links to articles or sources of inspiration when you’re working on a project?

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Kippt is a simple service for saving everything you need off the web for later. But unlike other bookmarking services, it has the advantage of letting you follow others to see what they’re saving, categorize your items, and even share things if you want others to know what you’re up to.

If you’re looking for a better way to save stuff – this is definitely a tool to test out.

#5 Bitbucket

Hosting your source code is something you should be doing regardless of whether you’re a freelancer or huge product company.

Testomato and Wikidi both use Github’s private code repositories to do this, but Roman also suggests taking a look at Bitbucket as another alternative.

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Bitbucket makes it possible to host both public and private repositories for free. They’re pricing plan is based on contributors rather than per repository (like GitHub). It also supports both Git and Mercurial (unfortunately, if you’re using Subversion – you’re out of luck).

We’ve found that if you’re working on a mostly private projects, Bitbucket is usually a better economic option. However, if you’re looking for more community involvement with your projects – GitHub is the way to go since it’s community is much larger and interactive.


What are your favorite apps for keeping focused and productive? 

Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook. You can also tweet us directly @testomatocom.