Tools For OS X to Make Your Life Easier

The Apple lineup has been the status quo for design for the better part of the past 20 years, lately it has become the go-to for web development. Here are the tools you should get, or already have, and how you should be using them.

These are tools that are not dependent to the server-side language you may use.


Did you know you can debug web pages using the desktop Safari element inspector for your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch? On your mobile device, go to the Settings, then to Safari, then to Advanced and toggle on Web Inspector. On your desktop, make sure to enable the Developers Toolbar by opening Safari and going to the preferences: Safari -> Preferences, on the Advanced tab make sure Show Develop menu in menu bar is checked.

Now when You go to the Develop menu on your desktop Safari browser, you should see your mobile device when it’s plugged in to your computer and you have Safari open on your mobile device. Elements will even highlight as you dig into them in the resources tab in the Web Inspector. Neat!

Sublime Text 2

By far, Sublime Text 2 is the greatest text editor I have used ever. The next version is under development, and I can’t wait for it to be in a more usable state.

Some nice features of Sublime Text 2:

  • You can drag entire directories into the folders pane. This is useful if you have a directory that holds all of your projects so you can switch back and forth between them quickly.
  • Package Control is used with the Package Manager, and is essential. There are many plugins you’ll find specific to your workflow to make your life easier. Emmet comes highly recommended, along with JSLint.
  • Full screen editing is awesome. At first, I wasn’t a fan in Yosemite of the fact full-screen windows were defaults, but it’s really grown as me as I sometimes prefer to work in different areas of the house and am limited to one screen. With full screen editing, I’ll use the Columns: 2 layout and will find myself the most productive.

Cost: Trialware, licence: $70 USD

Sequel Pro

By far, the best GUI MySQL client I’ve used on any platform. Not enough can be said about this software, you almost feel bad using it for free because it’s that polished. For your average database needs, this can handle everything, and the interface is beautiful. I’ve found that showing and editing prepared statements is a little weird. I can view them, but don’t know exactly how to create/edit them, but I’m sure I just need to dig around a bit more.

Cost: Free, open source


MongoHub is another great example of a beautifuly designed application, and the best GUI client I’ve found for Mongo across any platform. The only thing is, there are a few different version of the application floating around the internet. I’ve found the most up-to-date version is the one provided is on the jeromlebel github (link provided above).

You’ll find, the same as with Sequal Pro, that you’re able to do most of what you’d require from a GUI client.

Cost: Free, open source


I can’t exactly remember how I found Transmit, I think I was looking for an alternative to Cyberduck because each update had become increasingly more unstable and transfer rates were very slow. Transmit filled that void very nicely, but you get a timed demo and will eventually need to buy a licence.

It’s just not an FTP client though, it supports SFTP, Amazon S3, and WebDAV. Cyberduck connects to OpenStack services (Rackspace CloudFiles) which was nice, but something I can live without.

Transmit has a great layout, and is pretty straightforward as far as a client to connect to services go. It’s quick, has an option to mount a server as a drive on your computer, and can sync directories if you need it to.

You really shouldn’t be deploying code using an FTP client if you don’t have to, but sometimes there is a need to use FTP for one-off things, which is where Transmit will shine.

Cost: $34 USD

Adobe Creative Cloud

This is a service that probably needs no introduction, but it gets one anyway. Before I had the Creative Cloud Suite I was getting by with Gimp, Paint.NET for windows, Inkscape, or whatever open source or cheap tools were out there. Now at $50/mo, it pays for itself with everything I get. I know the cost is still high at $600/year, but maybe it’s the fact that I can break down the payments and I get what used to be a VERY expensive product before Adobe came out with a subscription service which could pay itself off in less than an hour of work.

Even if your primary job isn’t a web designer, if you do front-end web development or you have ‘web development’ in your title, you can bet your ass someone is going to send you a PSD for you to chop up and turn into a website.

Cost: $50/mo


Their tagline says it all “The missing package manager for OS X”. Chances are you’re going to need it one day, so you should get it today. Easily install MongoDB, Redis, etc. and let homebrew manage the dependencies for you.

Cost: Free, open source

Anything else?

Of course you want to be running Firefox and Chrome, make sure you get your Spotify subscription so you don’t drown in your thoughts trying to figure out a bug, Skype is also probably a good idea because the professionals use it but really if you’re working on a web dev team, or any team, you’re probably using Slack or HipChat. Coda 2 is a nice alternative to Sublime Text, it has lots of stuff built in. There are probably other tools out there that others use, but they may depend on node.js, or be for Ruby on Rails, Python or PHP. These tools don’t care what you’re doing, but in most cases they’ll help get your job done quicker and easier.


Get Sublime Text 2 now, seriously. Go download it.

Last Updated: 2015-01-14 09:44:22 +0000 UTC

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