Mac Apps for the Dev at Heart
As developers, we are pretty picky with what apps we use. Not only that, we defend our choices pretty strongly as well. I, for one, like to keep finding new apps that help increase my productivity and keep myself organized.
For this first post, I’ll run through the apps that I have installed and use on a daily basis. In the future, I’ll go through which tools and package managers I use for when I’m developing.
Browsers and Extensions
If you’re an iPhone user and tend to use Safari on your personal Mac so that you can enjoy a seamless experience on your iPhone later, let me explain that you can do that with Google Chrome as well, just make sure you’re signed into your Gmail account on your browser and do the same on your phone. Doing so will allow you to access all your bookmarks, reading list, recent tabs, history, as well as generate a list of tailored articles to read.
Chrome may not be the best browser, but as of today, it covers about ~60% of browser market share worldwide and has many extensions which I take advantage of.
- Chrome Remote Desktop: allows users to remotely access another computer through the browser
- OneTab: allows you to quickly close out your tabs, categorize them into lists, and reopen them at a later time, saving you a lot of memory
- Momentum: nice little daily pick-me-up for those with trigger happy fingers that open up a million tabs
Email Clients and Calendars
There are many mobile email clients and not so many Mac clients available, for free at least. The best app and desktop client I found was, Spark. Its’ features include smart inbox, snooze mail, shared drafts, reminders/follow-ups, smart notifications, multi-calendar integration, and of course, dark mode that was released with the new update to macOS, was an easy sell.
As for calendars, even though Spark has the ability to integrate my calendars into one view, I still prefer forwarding my Gmail calendar details to the Apple Calendar app on my Mac. However, on my phone, I use Google Calendar instead of iCal.
There are three simple apps that I use on the daily to help me increase my productivity.
CopyClip is the most efficient clipboard manager that I have used on a Mac. It launches on startup and sits as an icon on your toolbar. You can copy paste things by using shortcut keys or choose from a dropdown list of over 20 saved items.
When it comes to managing windows, I have been using BetterSnapTool for a couple of years now. Yes, the UI isn’t terrific, but it mimics the same functionality I had on my Windows, snapping applications to the corners of my screen. On top of that, I can customize certain applications to snap to certain spots on my screen, not just corners. Fair warning, this is the only app that isn’t free out of the collection I use, and therefore, as an alternative, which some say is better, there is Spectacle.
Last but not least, we have, Alfred (thanks, Javlon Usmanov). This is pretty much a level up from the old Spotlight app that comes preinstalled with your macOS. Alfred has the ability to search the web with default and custom key words, search your files, initiate workflows and much more. Albeit, not all the perks are free, but it’s still better than having Spotlight. In order to use ⌘ + Space to open up Alfred instead of Spotlight, follow this simple troubleshooting guide here.
For those wondering how I made this gif, I used Gif Brewery.
Another powerful app that you can use to make gifs is called GIPHY Capture. I have just always used Brewery, so I stuck to it.
Text Editing and Note Taking
Sometimes you just need a place to jot down notes quickly or save a code snippet that you don’t really want to save to a file per se.
To manage my code snippets, I use Snippets. It’s not a very well known app and it’s still in beta but it works just fine, and it’s free to use. It has syntax highlighting and the UI is pretty clean, no clutter.
To take notes and manipulate plain text, I use, what everyone loves, Sublime. I wasn’t a Sublime user in the beginning, but it grew on me.
Check out ways in which you can super-charge your Sublime to increase your productivity here.
Now, just because I have Sublime, that doesn’t mean I use that as a Code Editor. If I am building a full fledge server side/client side application, I switch over to an Integrated Development Environment.
For server side applications, I use IntelliJ IDEA by JetBrains. Anyone can download the Community Edition for free and students receive a free license for the Ultimate Edition with their student license. IntelliJ, just as all JetBrains products, does one thing better than most IDEs, and that is, detects context. IDEA indexes your whole project, analyzes the whole code base, and churns out a syntax tree for your convenience. No other editor works as smooth, in my opinion.
For client side applications, I use Visual Studio Code. Now, before you attack Microsoft, their latest version of VS Code is pretty neat and does something that other editors haven’t done: design a very prominent side-bar. The side-bar includes: Explorer (file-tree), Search, Source Control (i.e. Git), Debug, and Extensions section. The plugins are not too shabby either and they definitely help improve the experience. A few plugins to help ease your eyes when you’re staring at code are listed below. However, for an extensive curated list of packages and resources by language, check out Awesome VS Code.
Memory and App Cleaners
My Mac only has 8GB of RAM, so yes, there are times when I need to free up some memory in order to speed up my Mac.
There are many times I download apps and then end up uninstalling them. However, each time I uninstall something, in the back of my mind I know that the whole drag-and-drop the application to the trashcan is not the most effective way to delete an app. However, AppCleaner allows you to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps easily.
That’s it! Now you have a basic idea of all the apps that are a part of my setup. If you have a better suggestion in terms of what I should use in-place of any app that I mentioned above, feel free to comment below!