5 useful Mac OS X applications for webdesigners

After using Win­dows for many years, I recently switched to Mac OS X for my new com­puter. Until now, I am quite happy with it (well, I still don’t like not to be able to cre­ate a file any­where with a right click, and the impos­si­bil­ity to resize win­dows from any place but the right-bottom cor­ner, but I guess I can live with it).

More than the shiny design (..mmm OK,it plays a bit maybe) and the very intu­itive UI (I am a big fan of Expose), it’s essen­tially a cou­ple of appli­ca­tions — that I learned to love work with dur­ing my actual job — which made me make the jump.

Some or them are free, the oth­ers don’t exceed $100, which is not too expen­sive regard­ing their qual­ity (and very cheap com­pared to, let’s say, Adobe prod­ucts…). I am still quite new on Mac OS, so if you have any sug­ges­tion of use­ful soft­ware, I am more than interested.

MAMP

mamp-logo I guess every PHP devel­oper around knows this one ;) , but for the others…

MAMP stands for Mac, Apache, MySQL, PHP. It allows you to run a PHP dri­ven web­site on your local machine, with the same set­tings as your actual live server. It is very use­ful to cre­ate vir­tual hosts, or to man­age your local db.

There is a free ver­sion, which does the job quite well, and a pro ver­sion around $60.

Coda

coda-logo I was using Notepad ++ while on Win­dows, and was quite happy with it.

Then I dis­cov­ered Coda.

I never man­aged to find a text edi­tor with a more intu­itive inter­face, usable short­cuts than with that appli­ca­tion. The FTP/SVN inte­gra­tion works very well too, and make work­ing on com­plex projects (remote team, many revi­sions, etc.) very easy. And it’s beau­ti­fully inte­grated into the OS.

Text­mate is per­fect when you deal only with Eng­lish, or west­ern char­ac­ters in gen­eral, but when you use multi­bytes char­ac­ters (like Japan­ese, which I deal a lot with), the spac­ing between the char­ac­ters is all messy and it’s very incon­ve­nient to work with. I heard there is a workaround to this, but I never had a chance to find what it is (if you have an idea, any com­ment is welcome).

You can grab Coda here (about $100).

Ver­sions

versions-logo If you’re work­ing as a team, which seams to be a very com­mon pat­tern in this indus­try, chances are high you’ll need a Ver­sion con­trol sys­tem.

For those who are look­ing for an easy to use, nicely designed front-end, Ver­sions might be what you need.

It includes sev­eral SVN ver­sions, nicely han­dles SSH, and offers a very easy to use time­line func­tion. And like Coda, is really beau­ti­fully inte­grated in the OS.
I know that there is a SVN client inte­grated in Coda. But if you pre­fer a ded­i­cated appli­ca­tion, Ver­sions seems to me like a very fine choice (and it’s only $30).

Cyber­duck

cyberduck-logo Again, Coda includes an inte­grated FTP, but for those who like a ded­i­cated client, Cyber­duck is just really fine.

It has FTP and SFTP, let you CHMOD, man­age fold­ers, see hid­den files, etc. — all the clas­sics. And it is free.

Skitch

skitch-logo In my work, I use a lot of screen captures.

It can be to add ele­ments to a design directly on the top of a cap­ture of a live design (use­ful when your lay­out files con­tains MANY lay­ers and you don’t want to open them). For archiv­ing. To share with peo­ple. Etc.

Skitch com­bines the abil­ity of Mac OS to take a screen­shot of just a por­tion of the screen with a very use­ful palette of tools allow­ing you to scrib­ble directly over the cap­ture: text, arrows, cir­cles, free draw­ing… You can then pub­lish the edited screen­shot online in one click, and share the URL (which is unique, and known only by you or the peo­ple you want to share it with).

It is super con­ve­nient when you work as a team, and are testing/debugging a web­site, a sim­ple draw­ing being some­times way more explicit than a long expla­na­tion. And also it’s free.

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