Dash

There aren't many apps that I would say dramatically improved my quality of life, but Dash definitely is one. Dash is a free app for downloading programming docsets that I downloaded ~two years ago. I changed computers and Dash slipped out of my workflow, but today as I was getting ready for my flight to Bangkok, I redownloaded the app and was reminded about how valuable having docs available anywhere is. When I was working in Mountain View I was commuting 5 hours a day in the hot little metal BART/CalTrain cage, which is about as motivating an experience as you can have to prepare for a job hunt.

In the mornings, before I left my house, I would try and open up all of the docs I would need for the trip. Then, after walking to the bart, I would read a programming book until after the Montgomery or Powell stop, when I would usually be able to get a seat, then I would pull out my laptop and start programming. If I accidentally closed a tab with the docs I needed, I would have to stop working on that project for two hours until I got home.

I eventually found bundle open that would at least let me read the source of any gem that I was working with. I started really appreciating people who wrote their docs in either rubydocs or as a github-pages, so that cloning their repo would make reading the docs easy. But questions that would take five minutes of browsing docs or googling took a half hour. I learned oodles by digging through the internal structure of gems, But if I was tryign to find an nginx configuration or understand what methods were backbone and what was underscore, I was completely out of look. Or, more accurately, I just had to wait two hours until I got home.

Then I found Dash. Dash is an app for mac that lets you download "docsets" from just about every programming language and framework. All of a sudden, I could work almost without interuption. I could download the postgres docs so that if I needed to lookup how to create a view, I could do that immediately. The access to almost all of the professional knowledge I needed to do really made a phenomenal difference in my quality of life while I was commuting.

I opened the app today, and in the style of Sublime Text, it asked me if I would please consider maybe buying it. I purchased it without a second thought and couldn't possibly reccomend it enough. If you're ever away from the internet or want an amazing documentation browser in your life, you need Dash. It's a better way to browse docs even if you have internet, but it'll change your life if you ever have long periods without access to the internet.

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