Tools This Engineer Uses: Vim, iTerm2, Control P

Erin Dame /

You probably use many tools to get you through the day. Do you ever wonder what tools get other people through their days? In our Tools This Engineer Uses series, we explore the routines, systems, and tools (of course) that people rely on to solve problems and accomplish goals.

Meet Matte Noble, Sentry’s Partner Engineer and volunteer (heh) for the first post in this series. Before we get into the specifics, you should know that Matte loves his job. In fact, he loves it so much that he’s built himself a little niche, which he calls ecosystem engineering. “There’s something really interesting about building tools that enable other developers and people to build parts of their business on top of those tools.”

Welcome Matte Noble

This passion developed from an interest in building developer tools. From companies with no developer teams to New Relic to Heroku, every career move progressed Matte toward a space where he could enable people to build other interesting things. Here is a look at the tools he uses to do just that:

Workflow

As you can imagine, most of Matte’s time is spent editing code. For that, he primarily sticks to Vim, a text editor that he runs in his MacBook’s terminal (iTerm2). Matte likes to pile several plugins onto Vim to simplify his workflow.

Matte + Vim
Vim, the text editor that simplifies Matte's workflow

When asked about his favorite plugin, Matte said, “I think it’s actually called Control P or Control T or Command M — there’s like a thousand different versions of the same thing, but it’s basically a file finder, like a Fuzzy Finder plugin.” (Editor’s note: After some Googling, I found that it’s actually Control P.)

When looking for a file, Control P allows you to type parts of the file name while it searches through all of the files for you. Matte uses this plugin exclusively to jump between files instead of using an actual directory structure. Sounds convenient!

Matte + Control P
Jumping between files with Control P

Matte also uses Jira for issue tracking or non-issue checking, including product management, while using GitHub to deploy the code changes.

Finally, Matte uses a combination of actual paper and Dropbox Paper to create daily and weekly to-do lists. “Basically, I have two separate things: a personal to-do list of random little things that I want to do and project-specific stuff that is trackable that everyone can see.”

Minimizing Distractions

“I have specific times during the day when I check my emails so that I don’t get distracted by it — when I come in, usually around lunch, and then sometime in the afternoon.”

You read that correctly. Matte only checks his email, Gmail to be specific, three times a day.

Where email is inherently passive and asynchronous, Matte takes the synchronicity of a medium like Slack into consideration. “I try very hard to actually be able to context switch between what I’m doing in Slack to get back to people very quickly. It works better sometimes than it does other times.”

Tabs or Spaces

“Spaces. I’ve always done it that way. Tabs get all jacked-up in some tools.”

Speaking of tools that an engineer can use, Sentry is a very good one. We highly recommend you check it out (Matte included) now that you’re done reading this post and don’t have anything to do.