As a FileMaker developer with a focus on delivery of high-value solutions as quickly as possible, I always look for ways to enhance my development environment to optimize speed and efficiency. As you can imagine, there are multiple tools that I need immediate and reliable access to throughout my development day.
Here are just a few of the resources (i.e. application windows) I need at my disposal:
- The FileMaker solution I am working on (potentially 1-6 windows at once)
- DataViewer and Script Debugger
- Manage layouts and manage scripts
- A text editor (usually TextMate)
- My development reference library
…and any number of other applications as needs dictate. Managing workflow with this many applications active requires a consistent environment. I need to be know where things are and be able to access them with as little friction as possible.
My Monitor Setup: 5 Screens
This is where a multiple monitor setup helps increase efficiency and allows me to focus my attention while simultaneously monitoring communication tools so that I can respond to immediate needs.
I current have 5 screens:
- 27″ Apple Thunderbolt Monitor
- 15″ Mac Book Pro
- 22″ LCD Monitor
- 24″ LCD Monitor
In order to connect the LCD monitors, I use two Diamond BVU Display Adapters. These devices allow you to connect additional monitors to a system via USB. It requires one adapter for each additional monitor plus a software driver. The Windows driver is in the box, and Mac Drivers are available for download. They work well, although occasionally there can be screen flicker, graphic artifacts, or blackouts, and video performance is a bit laggy on the USB connected monitors. You will most definitely need a powered USB Hub in order to get all the USB cables hooked up.
With a multiple monitor setup, I can now position all of my application windows in a manner that allows quick access to resources. As a Mac user I make use of Spaces to organize my application windows. For example, FileMaker and all of its required windows gets its own space spread out across all four monitors. iChat is present in every space on a secondary LCD. While I do move windows around, I try to maintain a set place for different windows so I know where they are. And, if my windows become disordered, I use the free application Display Maid to restore window positions and sizes in every space with a single keystroke.
My goal is to reduce and remove all friction in the environment so that I can focus on delivering high-value applications to our customers in the fastest manner possible.