My Web Development Utility Belt for Mac OSX

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People tend to ask me what apps I use for what, so I compiled a list for easy reference.


Alfred - Free

Launch apps, search files and much more. Alfred is spotlight on steroids. It’s worth while to check out the Power pack (£17), which will allow integration to 3rd party apps, custom scripts and more. Also try changing the the default launch command for Alfred to Alt + Cmd + Space.

Awareness - Free

Awareness is another one of my favourite apps. It unnoptrusively lets you know when you worked for 50 minutes (customisable) straight without a break with a subtle Tibetan singing bowl sound. Never forget to take lunch ever again.

Divvy - $14

Best screen dividing app out there. Easily create shortcuts to help align app windows. I tend to have the following presets:

  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + 1 - Left half of the screen (text editor)
  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + 2 - Top right half (terminal window)
  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + 3 - Bottom left half (FTP program/Finder)

Soulver - $11.99

I saw this app floating around in the app store before, but thought that it was just a new spin on the old calculator. After another well known developer mentioned that Soulver was part of his web-dev utility belt, I took another look, and was pleasantly surprised by it’s usefulness.

It’s a cross between the quick accessibility of a calculator, and the smarter logic of spreadsheets. I was use to quickly working out calculations in my head or on a piece of paper, but this allows you to not only get to the final result quicker, it allows you to store it for future reference. Think estimating of user load, speed improvements, hardware requirements, AWS hosting costs and other calculations for projects and sites.

Should I Sleep - $1.99

I See allot of people recommend other apps like Caffeine to prevent the Mac from going to sleep, but after trying out this app it just stuck. Might get annoying at times when it does facial detection to see if it should sleep though.

Yoink - $3.99

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be working with multiple dashboards, browsers with multiple tabs and windows. Dragging from one to the other can sometimes cause you to accidentally FTP your attachments, or move files, copy wrong files etc. Yoink makes it a bit easier to drag files to their destinations by having a little drag box that keeps your files. Really nifty!

DaisyDisk - $9.99

The MacBooks have all the speedy goodness of SSD’s, but with great speed comes a lack of space. So DaisyDisk helps me keep an eye on my disk usage and see what is taking up my precious hard-drive space.

Forklift - $29.95

This is the Usain Bolt of FTP apps. Forklift is fast, easy to use and mimics finder functionality well. Now it might be pricier than other FTP apps, but the precious seconds you’ll save will add up and make this app worth it’s price.

Sublime Text - $70

The most used app on my Mac. I found that I tended to work allot faster when using a text editor like Sublime Text, compared to bulky IDEs like PHPStorm/WebStorm, NetBeans etc. Now Sublime Text is extremely configurable, and you’ll be able to add the majority of the feature you liked about your IDE, whilst still keeping it pretty fast and lightweight. Install the package control add-on and the world is your oyster.

You can find my Sublime Text config here.

Markdown Pro - $9.99

Love markup? I do, in fact this post was written in Markdown using Markdown Pro. Yes, sure this is a bit pricier, and there are other options available, but after I got it on special ($1.99) I fell in love with it and would pay the full price. For some reason the other Markdown editors just suck.

Fantastical - $9.99

Have allot of meetings, deadlines, or just want to remember what day of the week it is? Fantastical makes maintaining your calendar a breeze, and well worth the price. The cursor does seem to get lost in the sea of text from time to time.

Day One - $9.99

Mentioned in the Mac Store Best of 2012, Day One makes journaling easy, and it allows you to reflect on some of the projects, the hurdles, how you overcame them, and how much you love your job :).

CheatSheet - Free

It’s always good to start learning shortcuts, and this app will do just that. It gets annoying at stages, so just remove it after you learned the important shortcuts.

AppCleaner - Free

This fills the gap that is left by Mac’s lack of an uninstaller.

Kypass - $7.99

Best Keepass app I found on the Mac. I still tend to have a Keepass file synced in my Dropbox between my work, personal machines.


Change Terminal and Finder Next/Previous tab selection

I tent to use Google Chrome and find that switching tabs with Alt + Shift + <Right arrow> & Alt + Shift + <Right arrow> easier than the default Mac Shift + Cmd + [ or Shift + Cmd + ]. By adding the Chrome style tab switching shortcuts, you’ll only have to remember one set.

To add new Shorcuts:

  1. Go to Settings -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts.
  2. Under App Shortcuts add new ones for Terminal and Finder.

Terminal tweaks

Open file in Sublime Text

It’s also helpfull to be able to open your files from the terminal in sublime:

// $ subl test.file 
$ sudo ln -s "/Applications/Sublime Text" /bin/subl

Fish shell - Free

Fish shell makes terminal work a no-brainer, with autocomplete, clever history selection and more.

Set fish as default shell:

  1. Add “/usr/local/bin/fish” to “/etc/shells”
  2. Run: “chsh -s /usr/local/bin/fish”

Monokai terminal theme - Free

If you like working in Sublime Text as much as I do, you’ll eventually feel the need to upgrade your terminal to a better (more Sublime like) colour scheme.

Set fish as default shell:

  1. Add “/usr/local/bin/fish” to “/etc/shells”
  2. Run: “chsh -s /usr/local/bin/fish”
Created: Thu, 23/01/2014 - 20:05