Update: I’ve written a newer list:
53 Mac Only Design/Development Apps (Oct 2013)
There’s plenty of cross platform solutions made by big players but
the most avant-garde and forward thinking tools are coming from small
studios. Some of these tools are relatively young and some have been
around over two decades
These applications are often built with a different mindset, one that
embraces the Apple aesthetic of interface design. I decided
to compile a list of these apps, without silly rankings or any
obligation prune the list to fit a numerical objective Instead, I
opted for a simple list. One that consisted of the app name, icon, a
marketing blurb from the authors and my own personal take.
The only requirements for this list are:
- Mac only
- Not made by Apple
- Reflect great design/usability and usefulness
Some of the applications in this list are redundant
(ex: BBedit, Coda, Espresso), a few defy simply graphic design / web
design (BetterTouchTool, Crossover, djay, Little Snitch, Parallels
Desktop, Playback, Radium) and yet a few more
aren't intrinsically aimed at professionals (Acorn, Permute
and Radium). A few developers have multiple
entries. (Black Pixel, Bohemian Coding, Mac
Rabbit, Panic Studios, Pixel Cut and Rogue Amoeba).
You probably don’t need every single one of these apps or utilities,
but they all are well worth purchasing or downloading. I’ve labored
over this list, trying to get the best of the best and spent more time
than I care to admit, compiling it. If I missed any, feel
free to let me know.
Now I present:
44 Mac only Design / Development Utilities and Apps
Flying Meat Inc
$29.99 (Until End of May)
“Everyone needs to edit images at some point, but not everyone has
the time to learn complicated super pricey image editing programs. This
is why we created Acorn. Add text and shapes to your digital pictures.
Combine images together to create your own. Work with layers to touch up
your favorite photos or make something new from scratch. Do all this
and more with Acorn.”
Photoshop might have its place but its price and feature set may be
overkill or unneeded. Acorn’s new non-destructive filters and bezier
tools, an interface that is reminiscent of the best of both
Photoshop and iPhoto makes for a compelling Photoshop alternative.
Acorn is aimed at the prosumer but makes image editing a breeze, even
for non-designers. Its perfect for quick photo manipulation.
Running with Crayons Ltd
Free (Powerpack £15)
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred
saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more
productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at your fingertips.
Loads of app-launching, file-searching goodness - free for you to
download and use with no strings attached. Alfred is the ultimate
productivity tool for your Mac
Alfred markets itself as a productivity app, yet it doesn’t track
your time or progress. It’s actually a utility toolset to make you more
The killer feature is one of the simplest which allows you
to take any copied text and paste to plain text, stripping any
unwanted formatting. It works much better than pasting a wad of text in
your browser bar and copying it back.
ERGOSIGN Technologies GmbH
Antetype UI designer is a brand new,
ground-breaking design application that supports user-interface
designers at every step of their work. Design beautiful interfaces,
invent new widgets, style them, and put it all together in an
Antetype is unusual as its designed for prototyping websites, apps
and even manufacturing projects. Its one of the few prototyping apps
that boasts responsive wireframes, specifically designed for UI
Serious projects call for serious tools. It sports smart guides,
widget creation, stylizing, collaboration tools and more. It also
exports to the web as interactive presentations.
Audio Hijack Pro
Record any audio - three simple words to explain Audio Hijack Pro.
Record from applications like iTunes, Skype or DVD Player. Record from
microphones, Radiosharks and other hardware. If you hear it, you can
To reiterate the above: Audio Hijack Pro allows you to record any
audio on your Mac, be it a movie, VoIP chat, radio, web browser, game or
otherwise, and export it to AIFF, AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless etc.
Audio Hijack Pro isn’t the first app of its type and it borrows heavily from Wiretap (another
Mac only app with similar functionality). Hijack makes the list as
Rogue Amoeba has kept it up-to-date and it costs less than half the
price of Wiretap. (I can’t recommend Wiretap as Wiretap users were left
in the dark until 2013 regarding 10.7+ support). Audio Hijack also
sports some features Wiretap Studio doesn’t, like VST and AU
Also check out Audio Hijack Pro’s younger (less expensive) $15 sibling , Piezo. Its even more simplified.
Bares Bones Software
Integrated Development Environmen t/ Text Editor / Show Diff
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the
Macintosh. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors
and software developers, this award-winning product provides an
abundance of high-performance features for editing, searching, and
manipulation of text. An intelligent interface provides easy access to
BBEdit’s best-of-class features, including grep pattern matching, search
and replace across multiple files, project definition tools, function
navigation and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages, code
folding, FTP and SFTP open and save, AppleScript, Mac OS X Unix
scripting support, text and code completion, and of course a complete
set of robust HTML markup tools.
BBEdit has been around since 1991, making it older than some web
designers. Old isn’t bad, and its still the preferred IDE of legions of
developers for a good reason. It sports in-app FTP, show diff and can be
integrated with the OS X terminal.
BBedit was the first IDE I ever touched. Unlike Coda and Espresso, it also has a show diff tool built into the IDE.
Mouse Configuration Utility
BetterTouchTool is a great, feature packed FREE app that allows you
to configure many gestures for your Magic Mouse, Macbook Trackpad and
Magic Trackpad. It also allows you to configure actions for keyboard
shortcuts, normal mice and the Apple Remote. In addition to this it has
an iOS companion App (BTT Remote) which can also be configured to
control your Mac the way you want.
You can add gestures that you simply cannot configure within OS X by
default on your trackpad or magic mouse. It’s free and allows per app
configurations, (you can even configure 11 point touch gestures for the
Integrated development environment
Welcome to a fresh approach to web coding. Bursting with features but
without bloat. Built to make your life better. Coda 2 is the editor
you’ve always wanted!
So, you code for the web. And in Coda 1, we
revolutionized that process, and put everything you needed in one
place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. File management. SVN. But we knew we
could do more.
Now, with Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. We
added tons of highly-requested features, and a few nobody expected, then
wrapped it all up in a shiny, groundbreaking UI fit for the future.
Coda has been my IDE of choice ever since version 1. I might even
have a little bit of a mancrush on Panic studios ever since the late
Audion, a fantastic audio player from the Mac OS 9 days.
Its a single pane editor that sports a webkit renderer, FTP, terminal
and git integration, with CSS color panes. Its
everything in one, and the app I spend the most time in daily (outside
of Chrome). I highly recommend Coda, but be sure to check out BBEdit,
Espresso and TextMate to see which best fits your
CodeKit helps you build websites faster and better.
Compass files automatically each time you save. Easily set options for
Live Browser Reloads:
see changes in your browser, with animation and without hitting the
refresh button or installing plugins. Great for tweaking layouts!
— Girlfriend’s reaction when I explained what CodeKit does
Codekit is the evolution of Less.app.
Paired with Safari, the CodeKit is able to edit Less / Sass / Stylus /
Coffeescript and see the results in real time. The best way to explain
CodeKit is to watch the video. Its an avant-garde app that allows for
refresh-free CSS updates with Safari. Depending on your needs, it could
be your new best binary friend.
CSS3 Toolkit is a really simple utility tool to help you create complex decorative CSS3 styles visually.
With a live webkit-based preview and instant CSS generation, see your styles come to life in real time.
Toolkit is a huge time saver for designers, front end developers and
engineers who want to work with cutting edge CSS3 styles right now
without having to write any code at all.
Most of what’s contained in this app can be found on various
websites, but its nice to have all your borders, gradients and shadows
in on place. At $3 its enough to stomach but many modern IDEs are
starting to integrate these same features.
djay transforms your Mac into a full-fledged DJ system, allowing you
to mix your iTunes music library on a hyper-realistic turntable
interface. Perform live, record mixes on-the-go, or enable Automix mode
and let djay mix your favorite playlist automatically. With
unprecedented ease-of-use and innovative features like Harmonic Match,
djay for Mac takes DJing to the next level and offers a unique
experience for beginners and professionals alike.
djay is a surprisingly powerful DJ app for only $19.99. Its a simple
two track DJ app, akin feature wise to the now-defunct Serato Itch (sans
the wider hardware support). Its killer feature is the harmonic
key, which lets you match songs with similar keys or switch on the fly.
This is a feature only fond in the much more expensive Virtual DJ, and
is still strangely missing in Serato DJ and Scratch Live and
Traktor. Virtual DJ also sports shamelessly simple auto mixing making
anyone a DJ.
While it allows midi configuration, it doesn’t support the Numark
NS7s and doubtfully works with other Serato specific hardware
and the fx do not have BPM matching, nor can you view FX + Loop tools
all at once.
It’s worth $19.99 to me despite high end hardware support as I
was able to index the root keys and BPMs (with a fairly good degree of
accuracy) on 24,200 songs in several hours on my Mac Pro, making for
easier sample matching. Harmonic matching isn’t perfect so don’t expect
DJ works great and has all the basics, plus some surprising
additions (AU plugin support!? Harmonic Mixing?). A little too
much screen real-estate is defaulted to a
visually appealing yet-garish skumorphic interface, especially
when compared to Serato DJ/Stratch, or Traktor Pro which are have much
more minimalist-yet-featured-packed interfaces
In short, it is good enough to use professionally and novices can get
surprising results out of the box. $19.99 is actually a bit of a steal.
The only thing truly holding it back is high end hardware and an
interface that requires too much clicking to bounce between looping and
FX. If you’re looking to try your hand at DJing, this is your best bet
as unless you have truly deep pockets.
Integrated Development Environment
You design and develop for the Web?
Espresso turbo-charges your workflowwith the perfect blend of
features. Speed through day-to-day edits with extensive language
support, contextual completions, powerful smart snippets, and Zen
actions. Use the Navigator and code folding to
prevail over the most complicated documents. Watch your web pages update
in real time with live styling, visualize and inspect your layouts
with X-ray, then push the changes to your server
withSync or Quick Publish. Oh, and did we mention CSSEdit
3 is built in?
Coda’s $25 drop in price to $75 probably has something to do with
Espresso. Espresso has tighter CSS integration than Coda, but lacks the
built in WebKit render and git integration.
Espresso vs Coda has become the Coke vs Pepsi debate for Web IDEs. I
demoed it, and while I stuck with Coda, had I started with Espresso, I
doubt I’d be swayed to Coda. Very highly recommended.
Crop and trim audio, paste in or join files, or just rapidly split
one long file into many. Fission is streamlined for fast editing. Plus,
it works without the quality loss caused by other editors, so you can
get perfect quality audio even when editing MP3 and AAC files.
If you need to convert formats, Fission can do that too! You can
rapidly export or batch convert files to the MP3, AAC, Apple Lossless,
FLAC, AIFF, and WAV formats.
Fission isn’t my favorite two track editor but it can edit AAC and
MP3s without having to re-encode for lossless editing which alone makes
it worth purchasing. It also strips the iTunes Personal Identifier information from iTunes purchases by saving as… but you didn’t hear that from me.
Its perfect for cleaning up MP3s such as splitting tracks and joining
tracks. Its the tool for the ultimate music nerd music
collection maintenance. Its been a life saver.
Webkit HTML wrapper
Web applications like Gmail, Facebook, Campfire and Pandora are
becoming more and more like desktop applications every day. Running each
of these web apps in a separate tab in your browser can be a real pain.
Fluid lets you create a Real Mac App (or “Fluid App”) out of any website or web application, effectively turning your favorite web apps into OS X desktop apps.
Creating a Fluid App out of your favorite website is simple. Enter the website’s URL, provide a name, and optionally choose an icon.
Click “Create”, and within seconds your chosen website has a permanent
home on your Mac as a real Mac application that appears in your Dock.
This particular app seems a bit silly…. that is until you realize you
can create a wrapper for your favorite website and simply command-tab
to it. I run HelpScout using Fluid daily. While we live in the era of
protected memory per browser tabs, its nice having
a separate webkit just for NPR.
Fontcase is a professional font manager in an elegant package with
beautiful font previews and robust (auto-activation) support. It
effortlessly handles libraries with thousands of fonts and organising
your fonts is dead-simple thanks to our Typedia integration.
Fontcase operates a lot like OS X’s Font Book, it allows you to
preview fonts and quickly activate and deactivate font families, but
that’s underselling it. It shines brightly when previewing entire font
families, glyphs and text bodies.
It also makes genre organization and font family merging fast and
simple. The real killer is the Typesetter mode, that allows you to drag
fonts onto other documents/websites for live previewing.
FTP/Amazon S3/Bluetooth Client
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and
ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that
offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected
from a well-executed Mac software.
ForkLift will connect to
any remote server FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDAV, the SMB, NIS and AFP
shares on your local network, or your Bluetooth mobile phone- pretty
much anything you can plug into or hook up to a Mac. ForkLift also
carries a complete toolbox for managing your files, including Folder
Synchronization, Batch Renaming, Archive handling, Application deleter,
editing files over remote connections and many more. All these power
features are packaged into a Finder-like, dual-pane interface that
delivers superior workflow while remaining absolutely familiar to use,
along with QuickLook, Spotlight search and all.
Forklift is the only FTP that stands it the same realm as OS 9/OS X’s
undefeated champion. It boasts a few features Transmit does not such as
That said, the interface just lacks the fine polish of Transmit. Its
still a damn fine FTP and a hair cheaper than Transmit. Some users
even prefer it to Transmit, so check it out.
Hello, Resolven Apps
GIF Brewery lets you convert brief clips from your video files into
GIFs. Whether you want to create the newest cat GIF or provide a preview
of a longer video, GIF Brewery is for you.
No longer must you extract frames from your movies and fiddle with
layers in Adobe® Photoshop®. Instead, let GIF Brewery do all the tedious
work for you.
In addition, GIF Brewery contains plenty of other features to express
your creativity. You can add captions to recreate dialogue or add
multiple image filters.
I recently wrote a mini review
of this piece of software. It’s not a full-fledged GIF animation suite,
that allows frame-by-frame GIF creation. Instead, it converts videos to
GIF and does it extremely well, and at an exceptionally reasonable
Tumblr users: This app is for you.
One-click commit, push and pull. Unique search in history and undo
for Git commands. Powerful commands like rebase, branch reset and cherry
picking. And now it works with submodules.
Gitbox is the minimalist’s Git management choice. At $15,
its significantly cheaper than Tower. It integrates with other
ShowDiff tools (Changes, Kaleidoscope), Xcode and others.
It remains one of the highest reviewed Mac Store Apps and makes Git
much more accessible for the non-CLI users. While I prefer Tower, I’d be
happy to use Gitbox.
ImageOptim optimizes images — so they take up less disk space and
load faster — by finding best compression parameters and by removing
unnecessary comments and color profiles. It handles PNG, JPEG and GIF
ImageOptim seamlessly integrates various optimisation tools: PNGOUT,
AdvPNG, Pngcrush, extended OptiPNG, JpegOptim, jpegrescan, jpegtran, and
It’s excellent for publishing images on the web (easily shrinks
images “Saved for Web” in Photoshop) and also useful for making Mac and
iPhone/iPad applications smaller.
Simply drag and drop batches of images into ImageOptim and watch it
do its magic. I’ve had it do wonders on PNGs without any issues, shaving
often 20% off the png filesize. It can be a little pokey when dealing
with larger PNGs but at the price, its hard to beat.
Show Differences Utility
Use Kaleidoscope to spot the differences in text, images, and
folders. Review and merge changes in seconds with the world’s most
advanced file comparison application.
What makes Kaleidoscope special is the ability to show differences on a variety of situations: Text, Images and Folders.
It integrates with a variety of tools, (Gitbox, Tower, SourceTree,
Versions) and boasts support for mercurial, git and subversion.
Paired with an easy drag and drop interface, it takes little
effort to spot differences (as it should be). Completely awesome.
LaunchBar is a smart and powerful, keyboard driven productivity
utility that lets you access and control every aspect of your digital
life. Whatever you want to get done on your Mac – with LaunchBar it’s
only a few keystrokes away.
Get instant access to applications, documents, contacts, calendars,
bookmarks, media libraries, search engines and so much more – just by
typing short abbreviations.
It’s a file manager, a web and desktop search tool, an app launcher, a
clipboard manager, a jukebox, a calculator, an information browser, …
or quite simply a tremendous time saver!
Launchers have been around since the beginning of Mac OS, including Apple’s own Launcher and AtEase (and not mention tons of Windows-esq Start menu utilities) and the OS X Dock.
Unlike any of the aforementioned, Launchbar is the only one
focusing on a mouseless experience. It won’t untether you completely but
you’ll drastically reduce your mousing once you get into the
Firewall / Network Monitor / Process monitor
Little Snitch sees what happens under the hood.
firewall protects your computer against unwanted guests from the
Internet. But who protects your private data from being sent out? Little
As soon as you’re connected to the Internet,
applications can potentially send whatever information they want to
wherever they want.
Sometimes they do this for good reason,
on your explicit request. But often they don’t. Little Snitch allows
you to intercept these unwanted connection attempts, and lets you decide
how to proceed.
Little Snitch is essential to anyone looking to protect their privacy
and monitor what their computer is actually doing online. With the
ability to block network connections of all stripes, and identify
processes, Little Snitch is indispensable, especially for power users.
Little Snitch is battle tested, as its been around for more than a
decade and has grown into possibly the best firewall money can buy.
Pair it with VPN (like privateinternetaccess.com) and a few Chrome Extensions, and you can be a ghost in the wires. Take that Zuck.
Real Mac Software
LittleSnapper was built to help designers and other creative-minded
Mac users build up a design scrapbook. Whether it’s proofs of client
work, live sites that interest you, or screenshots of your favourite Mac
applications, LittleSnapper allows you to capture, organise, annotate
and share them all - from one beautiful OS X application.
I scored LittleSnapper in a bundle. I’ve forgotten what else came in it, but I still use LittleSnapper years later.
LittleSnapper shines at quick screenshot annotation, great for
quickly communicating ideas and/or documentation. Its on the spendy side
but keeps your desktop clutter to a minimum.
Web Development Utility
What does LiveReload do? LiveReload monitors changes in the file
system. As soon as you save a file, it is preprocessed as needed, and
the browser is refreshed. Even cooler, when you change a CSS file or an
image, the browser is updated instantly without reloading the page.
Live Reload isn’t ideal in every situation as its mostly relegated to
local development. If you’re working and running code directly off
a remote server, it may or may not work with your work flow. That said,
its amazing when you can use it.
Full disclosure: Yes, LiveReload has a public alpha for Windows. That said, for now it stays on this list.
Diagramming / Wireframing
Need a diagram, process chart, quick page-layout, website wireframe
or graphic design? OmniGraffle can help you make eye-popping graphic
documents quickly by keeping lines connected to shapes even when they’re
moved, providing powerful styling tools, importing and exporting
Microsoft Visio files, and magically organizing diagrams with just one
click. Whether you need a quick sketch or an epic technical figure,
OmniGraffle keeps it gorgeously understandable.
Omnigraffle started out as a diagramming application but has evolved
to be so much more. You can create/download UI libraries (iOS,
Bootstrap) and create high quality mockups, or stick the stand by of
simply creating idea charts and mapping out structures.
Its on the spendy side but white boards aren’t e-mailed as PDFs very easily ;)
PaintCode is a simple vector drawing app that
instantly generates resolution-independent Objective-C or C#/MonoTouch
drawing code for both OS X and iOS.
You no longer have to
tweak and recompile your drawing code over and over again to achieve the
desired result. With PaintCode, a graphic designer with no programming
experience can draw beautiful controls, icons and other user interface
elements, and the app automatically generates code that is equally
Paint Code lets you draw vectors and export them to native objective
C, for OS X and iOS. It sports your standard vector operations you know
and love (Union, Intersection and Difference), blend modes, smart
guides, and SVG import. You can define the resizing behavior
for control points which allows you to set rules to determine how
UI elements are reused.
I’ve test driven it and I’m very impressed. If I ever jump deep into iOS development, it’ll be one of my first purchases.
Parallels IP Holdings GmbH
Parallels Desktop for Mac is the most tested,
trusted and talked-about solution for running Windows applications on
your Mac - without rebooting.
Even Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal is talking about the new version and how well Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac runs Windows and Mac apps side by side.
Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both Windows and Mac
OS X applications side-by-side with speed, control and confidence.
Setting up Parallels Desktop for Mac is easy. Bring
all your PC programs, documents, photos, music and browser bookmarks to
your Mac, then run them all like they were made for your Mac. It’s the
best of both worlds on one desktop.
Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are the two virtual machine giants on OS X. Both products are locked in fierce competition,
which has been great for the end user. No matter which you choose, you
can’t lose. I use VMware at work and Parallels at home. I can attest
each works great with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8. Sure VirtualBox is free but it feels like a dinosaur compared to the polished experience that the aforementioned offer.
Each is a fantastic product but Parallels has been a little more Mac
centric, has a performance edge, slightly better Linux support and
supports retina in VMed machines. Opt for Parallels over VMware.
Permute is the perfect A/V conversion tool for those of us that are
not A/V experts. With its drag and drop ease of use and simple, custom
settings behind the curtain, it’s the answer to all the “other”
confusing and complicated alternatives.
While there are some great freebies like Handbreak, ffMPEGx (if
you can find a working download), Permute makes video conversion dead
simple. If you don’t like looking at bit rates and complicated settings,
Permute will give you great results without much work. You can create
your own presets but codec geeks (self included) might be slightly put
Its great if you’re looking to drag and drop files and apply
profiles, and amazing if you’re looking to quickly convert videos for
your iOS devices.
Pixelmator Team LTD
Pixelmator is an inspiring, easy-to-use, beautifully designed image
editor built to help you create stunning new images and edit your
Pixelmator takes full advantage of the latest Mac technologies,
giving you speedy, powerful tools that let you touch up and enhance
images, draw or paint, apply gorgeous effects, and just have fun with
your pictures. Once your images are ready, access them anywhere with
iCloud, send them to iPhoto or Aperture, email, print, or save them to
popular image formats, or share them through Facebook, Flickr, and
more—all right from Pixelmator.
Ever wonder if you could survive without Photoshop? Pixelmator makes
it rather feasible for $15. It boasts most of the Photoshop standbys,
layers, masking, pressure sensitivity and even basic vector support, and
a few things like Autosave that Photoshop doesn’t.
Ask Different did a shootout of Photoshop vs GIMP vs Pixelmator, spoiler, Photoshop wins but Pixelmator is a close second. CNET in 2011 gave it a perfect review and Macworld gave it a 4 out of 5.
At $15, you’re capable of doing professional level editing. I’ve seen
some great stuff from GIMP users, but having tried GIMP twice over the
years, Pixelmator is worth every penny over the free alternative. The
planned 2.2 update will allow text to be converted to paths and photo
filters (surely overplayed by now… right?) that offer
significantly more control than any would-be Instagram. Pixelmator
can open any RAW images that OS X can open, but it won’t do any
pre-import color correction.
If they give me smart objects and bezier masks, I’d probably ditch
Photoshop as my go to editor. Hear that Pixelmator Team? You could
who’s beenusing Photoshop for over two decades to switch…
Pixel Image Editor
Pixen is an open source pixel art editor designed for working with
low-resolution raster art, such as those 8-bit sprites found in
old-school video games. With innovative features like a unique color
palette system, patterns, layers, and high-zoom support, Pixen packs all
the tools pixel artists need in an intuitive, Mac-native interface.
Pixen also makes creating frame-by-frame animations fun and easy.
Formerly a free app, Pixen is a specialty image editor with a strong
focus on pixel art. It sports animations, layers, tablet support but
specializes in color management. As a bonus you can export your
animations as animated gifs and spritesheets.
Pixen is a gem for anyone in the world of pixel art… indie game devs look no further.
Playback allows you to share your media with
any Playstation 3, Xbox 360, or other UPnP compatible device. It
automatically integrates with iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture, Adobe Lightroom 2
& 3, Photobooth, EyeTV, and more. You can share all content from
these applications or choose specific playlists and albums.
can also share media stored in folders or even make entire disks
available to your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. By default, Playback will
share almost any content on your system. No configuration required! If
you prefer to tinker, you’ll appreciate Playback’s built-in access
control list (ACL) and bandwidth throttling. The ACL allows you to
control which devices have access to your media. Bandwidth throttling
limits the transfer rate from your computer to your UPnP device so
others on your network can still surf the Web and check their
I was a bit hesitant to include Playback as it falls
outside of scope. In short, its a media server for UPnP devices,
including the PS3 and Xbox 360.
What makes it special is the ability to integrate with, Lightroom,
Aperture & iPhoto, which makes easy photo presentation, so you can
show off your creations without much preparation.
However, playback isn’t a transcoder, so unsupported codecs will not
play on your Xbox 360 or PS3. That said, it has the ability to repackage
H.264 video from an MKV file into an MP4 file on the fly. Also, as it
is not a transcoder, the CPU overhead is minimal compared to a
transcoder so multiple devices can connect to a single server.
$49.99 ($99 with Pro Pack)
Prizmo is a revolutionary scanning application with Optical Character
Recognition (OCR) in over 40 languages with powerful editing
capability, text-to-speech, and iCloud support.
No matter what capture device’s at hand, Prizmo is the key for
scanning and performing OCR. It works with pictures taken with your
iPhone, iPad, or digital camera, with documents coming from connected or
Wi-Fi scanners, even with screenshots! It will help you easily scan any
documents (invoices, receipts, boards, giant advertisements…) of any
sizes (US Letter, US Legal, A4, and custom)…
Paper still exists, even for the us web developers.
Prizmo boasts the ability to use your iPhone and iPad as a digital
camera but the older versions of these devices won’t give you great
results due to the low resolution. Despite the gimmicky marketing text,
this is a true work horse application.
Prizmo is probably the best OCR software for OS X despite a few
missing features: it can do multipage PDFs but not multipage TIFFs. It
can export to .RTF but not .DOC. These minor caveats are not make or
break, plus they can be worked around. That said, it would be nice to
see them in an app that already boasts serious Pro features such as
batch processing, automator actions and Apple script
support (in the Pro Pack edition).
Outside of a few limitations, it outputs multipage docs in RTF and PDF, and can do onscreen OCR.
ProCSSor is a CSS formatter and compressor,
ProCSSor is an essential tool for seasoned professionals and hobbyist
Web designers alike.
Let’s face it - we’ve all come across
badly written CSS with no style, mixed styles, or even machine generated
CSS. Then, there’s our own lazy, late-night CSS which makes no sense in
the morning. Now with ProCSSor you have no more excuses for confusing
and ugly CSS!
ProCSSor formats your CSS in an elegant and
readable way. Instead of pouring over an unformated CSS file, let
ProCSSor turn it into a readable document. It automatically indents,
spaces, and styles your CSS according to your specifications. ProCSSor
also compresses your CSS for production and quickly lets you prettify
when you’re ready to code, so you’ll never have to keep separate copies
for development and production.
You may know this one as it’s also a website that is available for free use.
ProCCSor is a one trick pony. It prettifies an minifies CSS. That’s it,
but damn if it isn’t handy. It gives you plenty of prettifying options
to fit your formatting style. Drag and Drop or CLI, your choice for
instant gratification. Its worth the $5 for the native app.
If they added auto-minification on file modification, this would be worth 5x what they’re charging. *HINT* *HINT* DEVELOPER
TextMate brings Apple’s approach to operating systems into the world
of text editors. By bridging UNIX underpinnings and GUI, TextMate
cherry-picks the best of both worlds to the benefit of expert scripters
and novice users alike.
Whether you are a programmer or a designer, the production of code
and markup is hard work. Without an editor dedicated to the task, it is
also often cumbersome, overwhelming, and repetitive. Especially when you
are dealing with a lot of files at once — like most projects do.
TextMate puts you back in control, reduces the mental overhead, and
turns manual work into something the computer does.
Textmate is a shoe-in for almost any best of OS X app list. Its not
an IDE but it can easily function as one. It has massive syntax support,
snippets, plugin/add-ons, integrates with the terminal and macro
TextMate is the Terminal user’s best friend.
Need Diff comparison Add it on. HTML? Add it on. SQL, Subversion, LaTeX, Xcode? You guessed it… add it on.
Fournova Software GmbH
Tower is a powerful Git client for OS X that
makes using Git easy and more efficient. Users benefit from its elegant
and comprehensive interface and a feature set that lets them enjoy the
full power of Git.
Learn Git with Tower. With its easy-to-use interface you’ll be up to
speed in no time. Tower takes the pain out of Git and makes complex
I’ll admit that I wasn’t crazy about Git until Github
released a GUI version. While I’m not afraid of the CLI, (I can sudo
nano my etc/hosts to force a DNS change when I’m feeling antsy for a
name server change and I hacked my original Apple TV using SSH and
barebones instructions) I’ve never been as comfortable with the CLI as a
Tower makes Git management sane. Even version control newbies like
myself can dive in and start branching, merging and making commits (and
misusing Rebase). Its powerful and easy to use. While its internal diffs
leaves something to be desired, it integrates very nicely with diff
tools like Kaleidoscope.
Its considerably more expensive than Gitbox, which offers roughly the
same level of functionality. Tower feels more evolved than Gitbox. At
my current position I’m the only dev using Git (*sigh*) so I can’t
comment on multi-team Git usage with Tower (or Gitbox). One day… one
FTP/Amazon S3 client
Transmit is an excellent FTP (file transfer
protocol), SFTP, S3 (Amazon.com file hosting) and iDisk/WebDAV client
that allows you to upload, download, and delete files over the internet.
With the most Mac-like interface available, Transmit makes FTP as
simple, fun, and easy as it can possibly be.
I <3 the Transmit Icon. Other people <3 the Transmit icon enough to steal it.
Seems crazy to pay for an FTP when there’s Filezilla and CyberDuck
for free, right? If you think that, you haven’t used Transmit (or
Forklift). Transmit supports FTP/SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDAV and iDisk. It
also can mount your various bookmarked FTPs on your desktop… from your
You can create droplets, little icons you can place anywhere, including your dock, and drag files onto them to upload.
If it sounds like I’m gushing, its because I totally am.
Forklift gives Transmit a serious run for its money, but I’m still
sold on Transmit.
Protip, purchase directly from Panic, as you’ll get the updates quicker without App Store delays.
Introducing the new Radium, the most beautiful and intuitive internet
radio player you’ll ever use. Find stations in real time by name, genre
or region, and tune in to your favourite radios with just one click.
6000+ high quality stations, full AirPlay support, Smart Equalizer and
built-in Wish List make listening to your favourite radio a breeze.
Redesigned from the ground up, Radium 3 features a new,
elegant and minimal user interface that sits in the menubar and stays
out of the way. Feel free to concentrate on doing what you love and let
Radium take care of the sounds.
Music (and caffeine) fuel design. Radium is just too good
not to mention. There’s been plenty of internet Radio station apps but
none are this easily. Want BBC World News? Just search for it from your
menu bar and click.
It also supports popular subscription services SiriusXM, Live365,
Last.fm, Calm Radio etc plus 60,000 free radio stations preprogrammed.
You also can save the names of track you like in a wishlist with a click
of the mouse.
Radium is how I get my BBC World News on. I’d use it for SiriusXM if I didn’t have to pay friggin’ double just to get XM internet streaming. I <3 Radium. I do not <3 SiriusXM.
Sequel Pro & CocoaMySQL Teams
MySQL/CSV Database Browser
Sequel Pro is a fork of the abandoned
CocoaMySQL project, with plans to expand to other database engines and
improve the user interface. For more information, visit the Sequel Pro
Years ago at a previous position, I had to enter in products
using Navicat to our SQL database as we didn’t have an in house CMS, I
haven’t touched Navicat since. Impressively, Sequel Pro offers the
same level of functionality as Navicat, without any price tag.
Also, unlike a few other SQL management utilities like Querious, Sequel Pro is still being actively developed. Sequel Pro is a total win for mac users.
Slicy (was Layer Cake) turns PSD elements into images for the Web and
for Apps, simply name your layer groups once and let Slicy do its
magic. Bye bye, “Save for Web/Devices”. Hello, boost in productivity and
Designers and Developers, rejoice – exporting is no longer a workflow
killer. Name layer groups like the files you want to create, and Slicy
will extract them individually. Enjoy complete freedom to move, obscure
and even hide these named layer groups without affecting the extracted
Formerly Layer Cake, Slicy is a miracle worker.
Slicy will take a PSD and export the layers
into separate files with a simple drag and drop. Oh but wait,
it gets better, you can auto-generate retina versions, set up
auto-repeat exports (hit save and photoshop and update your individual
It takes minimal Photoshop set up, name your folders properly and let Slicy kick some ass.
Sketch is a innovative and fresh look at vector
drawing for the Mac. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a
drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels,
menus, windows, and controls. Though simple to use, it offers powerful
vector drawing and text tools like perfect Boolean operations, Symbols
and powerful Rulers, Guides and Grids.
Sketch is the new kid on the block who’s been lighting up the UIX
world. Its a vector based app targeted at web design. Its super
lightweight, fast, can do retina exports, SVG and some CSS, and its
fast. Since I’ve purchased Sketch, it has grown by leaps and bounds..
Its a vector app that makes you think about the math in your graphics, which is a very good thing.
So far its won an Apple Design Award Winner, 2012, maintained a 5
star review in the App Store and continues to make splashes across the
blogosphere. I’ve started making my mobile UI in Sketch instead of
Photoshop and haven’t looked back.
Sad about the impending death of Fireworks? Check out the future of sketch…
Snapz Pro X
Ambrosia Software inc
Snapz Pro X allows you to effortlessly record anything on your
screen*, saving it as a QuickTime® movie or screenshot that can be
e-mailed, put up on the web, or passed around however you want. Snapz
Pro X 2.x costs $69. New version 2.5.0 has been rewritten from the
ground up with the most modern APIs to take maximum advantage of Mac OS X
10.7.4 or later. It is OS X Mountain Lion & Retina Display
Why take a static screenshot when Snapz Pro X makes creating a movie
just as easy? Snapz Pro X does that, and so much more! Download a free
demo version right now, or check out the video tutorials we’ve created
and see for yourself.
Famed classic shareware game makers, Ambrosia, once upon a time
decided to venture outside of 2D games and made a screen capture app.
Snapz Pro. At the time it was revolutionary and oddles better than other
Along came OS X and to delineate the OS X version, X was added
to the namesake. After over a decade of OS X support, remains one of the
better screen capture utilities on the Mac. It even has full retina
support for capturing video (and possibly the only as of
writing this). It hangs in an elite club on this list with BBEdit and
Transmit, making the transition from OS 9 to OS X, and from PPC to
The more expensive Camtasia (cross platform) offers considerably more in the way of editing but Snapz Pro X gets the point, capture video.
Felt Tip Studios
Features at your fingertips.
Digitize tapes and vinyl records, record live performances, create
your own mixes with crossfades, tweak the levels and EQ, apply digital
effects, and save in all major file formats with Sound Studio.
Professional quality recordings.
Record professional-sounding Podcasts and other audio dialog. Spoken
word, speeches, presentations, music, and other audio can all be
recorded and edited with the same high fidelity.
Easy batch processing.
Process multiple files using Monbots, developed specifically for
Sound Studio. Sound Studio also supports Applescript and Automator.
Sound Studio is regularly updated to add new features and take advantage of the very latest Apple technologies.
I miss Macromedia SoundEdit 16.
It was completely ahead of its time as a multitrack waveform editor.
Even today, it still does things that some basic editors have
That said, the closest thing since is Sound Studio. The UI is dead on
and as a two track editor, its my favorite for years and years
Despite owning Logic & Cubase, I still use Sound Studio quite
regularly to chop up samples into loops before moving on to Recycle or
Battery or Cubase/Logic.
Its much better than Peak or Soundbooth, or Audacity or the disgraceful Mac port of SoundForge
and the UI is easier to use than Fission. Plus, they survived
the acquisition of their publisher, Freeverse, by
Sound studio is great for pros down to beginners.
Versions offers the best way to work with Subversion on the Mac.
Thanks to its clear-cut approach, you’ll hit the ground running.
New to Subversion?
Don’t panic. Versions makes Subversion easy. Even if you’re new to
version control systems altogether. Commit your work, stay up to date,
and easily track changes to your files. All from Versions’ pleasant,
true to the Mac interface.
Take your workflow to the next level with Versions. There is no
better, faster or more efficient way to stay on top of your projects.
Download the demo and see how Versions beats the CLI — or anything else,
for that matter.
Using Subversion control or not a fan of Git? Versions is an awesome
subversion management GUI, including a spiffy timeline view. It contests
Tower as the best GUI front end to a popular version control software.
They boast it “Integrates with Kaleidoscope, FileMerge, Changes,
BBEdit, TextWrangler, Araxis Merge and other file comparison apps” and I
can attest it works well with Kaleidoscope. I might even recommend this
over Tower if you’re strictly a designer looking to break into version
control on your own.
Illustration/Vector (SVG) to CSS Editor
If you are doing a lot of HTML5 Canvas drawing, WebCode will become your best friend.
You will no longer have to tediously write the drawing code by hand.
countless hours of boring work.
Most importantly, the generated code is nice, clean and readable.
just when you need them.
CSS + HTML
Stop writing CSS3 gradients, shadows and media queries by hand - from now on, WebCode will do that for you.
In fact, it will convert as much of your drawings as possible to
CSS+HTML code! Rectangles, rounded rectangles, ovals, texts, images,
gradients, inner and outer shadows, strokes and fills are all well
And for things like beziers that simply cannot be converted to
CSS+HTML, WebCode will let you know by generating helpful warnings.
SVG shines when making infographics, and WebCode is a great tool that
instantly transforms your drawings to readable, succinct and beautiful
The code is shown in real time - you can see it change and grow! This
is not only really cool to look at, but it is also a great way to learn
All of these features are designed to save your time, so you can focus on what is really important - the content itself.
Webcode is hard to classify hence the massive description above. Its a
vector illustration/animation app that generates HTML5/CSS/JS
Canvas code for the web. Its designed with high resolution
independence in mind is a true undiscovered gem.
There’s no lag between browser refreshes when designing, simply draw and see the code magically appear.
I’ll be picking this tool up in the near future, its exceptionally
promising. High five to new comer PixelCut, both PaintCode and
WebCode are unique and awesome apps.
The Iconfactory & ARTIS Software
Created specifically for designers & developers, xScope is a
powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting &
testing on-screen graphics and layouts.
xScope is another genre buster, its a collection of several
tools, Mirror Dimensions Rulers Screens Loupe Guides Frames and
Crosshair. xScope allows you get get dimensions, colors of anything on
screen, accessibility testing (color blindness), preview designs on
iOS devices and so on. There’s several Mac Store apps that replicate
some of the functionality but none are as full featured.
Its a user-interface designer’s toolbox, designed for on-screen content delivery.
There’s a few apps I debated mentioning, like Diskwarrior which has
saved my ass so many times over the years but fell too far out of scope.
iDraw and iFFmpeg are both quality products and worth buying but not my
Diskwarrior - HFS maintenance tool - $99.95
iFFmpeg - FFmpeg GUI for video conversion - $15
iDraw - Vector Illustration - $24.99
Techtool Pro - Computer repair utility suite - $99.99
Thanks for reading. All icons and marketing blurbs are property of their original owners.