Here are 14 must have web design and development tools for the Mac that I use on a daily bases. Many of these applications are also available on windows, and the ones that are not have alternatives. These tools can make your life easier and optimize your workflow. Unless the word “demo” is included in the download link, most of these apps are Open Source or just plain free.
I just started using Adobe’s CS5 this week at work. When ever I install a new version of any software I usually run into a lot of bug and configuration issues, and Photoshop is no exception. If you are a web designer and use Photoshop then pixel perfect precision is a must. When you first use CS5 on your next web mockup you may notice that the guides you set up are blurry. They are about 2 pixels wide and pretty much useless for web layouts.
I was recently at Drupal Camp Toronto which is a conference on Drupal. It was a fantastic place to learn about what other modules and strategies people are using with Drupal. Having only created a couple of Drupal sites myself, it was great to be around so many people that build Drupal sites for a living. Out of everything I learned at Drupal Camp the single most amazing tool had to be Drush. I still have a lot other modules to research that I learned about from the conference and Drush isn’t even really a module, but it’s still a lot of awesome.
This may sound obvious for some, but I am still surprised by how many people have underlooked or forgotten a major feature in Twitter, the Twitter search engine. Twitter search is also built into many clients and the search engine has become an invaluable tool for sharing instant news. The great thing is you don’t even need a Twitter account to benefit from social news.
Everyone who works with (X)HTML probably knows how to use CSS to some degree, but not as many know how to write clean CSS. Cascading Style Sheets are probably one of the most powerful tools a web designer/developer can master. It’s hard to find a site today that doesn’t benefit from the capabilities of CSS, and with the slow arrival of CSS3 that is unlikely to change. That said I still constantly come across style sheets that could be cleaner, more optimized, and more elegant.
I had been facing brutally slow Internet speeds lately on my iMac. It’s a 27 inch 2009 iMac9,1 model, but a quick search shows many people are having wifi issues with a range of iMacs made in this time frame. The first year was alright, but then slowly I began losing connectivity and getting degrading speeds followed by exceptionally high ping speeds and major packet loss. The tipping point forcing me into all out research mode to find a fix for this issue was when Star Craft 2 starting lagging. I mean I can handle slow downloads, but slowing down while conquering the Zerg? That’s where I draw the line.