The software behind Substance Lab

When I founded Substance Lab I knew I wanted to build a virtual business – or at least as much as it could be. Why should petty details like physical locations decide whether I can help my clients?

From the get go, I chose primarily web applications to run my business on. Also, it kind of makes sense because that’s what I am building, and there is no better way to learn about good and bad web applications than using them yourself.

Let me give you a rundown of the most important ones.

Source code hosting: Github

All source code must be version controlled, and I use git for pretty much everything. Github is a great companion, and various open source projects as well as private and client projects are hosted there.

Issue tracking/project management: Redmine

For all Substance Lab run projects I use my own, pimped out installation of Redmine. Redmine is a great open source project management web application and it’s a great fit for software projects. It comes with git integration and a ton of plugins makes it possible to customize it to my needs.

Invoicing: Blinksale

Blinksale is a sweet little invoicing app that I’ve been using ever since I started Substance Lab. I have clients here in Denmark and outside the EU, and I need the ability to invoice in different currencies. I also need fairly flexible VAT settings. Back in the days, Blinksale gave me all of that and I like its focus on invoicing and nothing else.

Office apps: Google Apps for domains

I’ve been using Google Apps for email and calendars for a long time and I am pretty happy with it. For some reason, I have never really warmed up to using the Document editor part of the Google Apps and I keep NeoOffice around for those. I do use the Spreadsheet editor a lot and feel totally business managery when I do.

As an aside, “” is run on Google App Engine (mainly for kicks) and is powered by Webby.

Yes, Google owns me.

And then there are the desktop apps

Some stuff is still run locally on my machine, obviously. Code is written in TextMate, documents are backed up and shared via Dropbox, the full harddrive is backed up locally using SuperDuper! remotely using Mozy, ears are being pleased via and meetings are held via GoToMeeting.

What amazing apps are you using that I absolutely must use?