Apple computers that have the Mac OS X installed have long been widely used by those who create digital art and web designers. Therefore, we decided to provide you with a list to the most helpful apps we use when creating our designs. These apps are used for a variety of purposes including image processing, planning, screen recording and apps that assist with coding. Several of these apps are free, but others will need to be purchased. However, they will all improve your productivity and will more than pay for themselves. We will identify 20 of the most helpful applications for Mac designers.
Wunderlist is a great app for keeping track of your “to do” list. It allows you to track all the things you need to do, so you will never forget anything. It will sync with all of your Apple devices so your iPad, iPhone, and MacBook will all access the same information.
Wunderlist is free.
SourceTree is a great app to use with version control that is Mercurial or Git based. It enables you to effortlessly track file changes and changes in multiple repositories. It is the most helpful version control app we’ve found, and it’s free!
Some of the files that a Mac designer will occasionally need to access are hidden. This app will allow you to show all hidden files such as hidden library directories and htaccess files. Just click it, and all your hidden files will show up. Click it again and they will be hidden. This app is free of charge.
This app makes capturing screens quite simple. It also allows you to capture images or videos of any dimension. You can input pixel dimensions directly or simply resize your capture area by clicking and dragging. While you do this you will be given instant feedback on the pixel dimensions of your capture area.
Set up a personal webserver with one-click using MAMP. MAMP is an acronym for Mac, Apache OS, MySQL for DB queries, and PHP. MAMP gives you the ability to run a dynamic web environment on your local PC, rather than simply a static system. It constructs a server that is resident on your Mac. You can run PHP code, access local databases, and run scripts. You can get MAMP for free, but for additional features, there is a fee.
Sublime Text has rapidly become the preferred code editor for designers and developers. This is a very sophisticated editor for editing markup, code, and prose. The user interface is awesome, with great performance, and advanced features. Sublime Text currently costs about $80.
You may be accessing your databases directly via PhyMyAdmin. To do this you have to go through cPanel and log in and take some additional steps. Sequel Pro is a database client that will give you direct access to your databases remotely. You can use it to execute database procedures such as changing data, MYSQL queries, adding tables, and more. It has a great interface and if you have a reliable connection, it will be a big time saver.
An awesome design and ease of use make this a powerful full-featured image editor of choice for use on the Mac OS X. With Pixelmator you will get a powerful and fast editor to create top-quality pictures. It is optimised for use on the MacPro for seamless image editing. Pixelmator makes full use of the dual-GPU architecture and supports 16 bit/channel images. You can purchase Pixelmator for about $30.
GhostLab will allow you to access your site via multiple devices. You can then assess your site for usability and consistency across devices. It creates a local server. You are able to connect to this sever through a local IP. You will then be able to access and control the site via any device and then it will be displayed on all the other devices that are connected.
For example, GhostLab will save you from the tedious task of manually going to a form and testing how if functions on all devices independently. Simply connect all devices to your local site and access the form on one device and see your changes displayed on all the other devices. Even scrolling will be displayed on all devices. GhostLab costs $49 and they have a free trial for 7 days.
Check your site for 404’s, redirects, and broken links using this app. For many large sites that have been in existence for a while, bad links and 404’s tend to get introduced over time. Integrity will crawl the entire site and check all your links. This app can be helpful when you take over a client’s existing site, or if you just want to check your own sites occasionally. You can download Integrity for free.
This app is vital if you do development on iPad, iPhone, or any other iOS devices. Nevertheless, it does incorporate some features that are very helpful for web developers. Xcode has a built-in iOS simulator. This gives you the ability to access apps and sites on an iPhone or iPad that is simulated. You can then test how well your responsive designs display on these devices along with any touch functions you may have implemented.
GuideLiner helps you to optimise layouts for web publishing and screens. You can use it to measure your screen layouts and see how they appear on smaller screens. It provides vertical and horizontal screen guidelines and screen rulers that can be placed on your screen or even as an overlay on other applications. Use it to measure your onscreen layouts to determine if they have the proper sizing.
With Dropbox your files are synchronised across all the devices that you use, and they will remain secure. You can use it for sharing, backup, or simply a secure place for your documents and images that can be accessed from any device. Dropbox works flawlessly, and it is the leader in this industry for very good reason.
Prototypes is a great way to test and share your iPhone app prototypes. You can make your prototypes tappable or clickable in a few minutes in order to identify information and design architecture issues early in your design cycle. You can quickly turn your mock-up images from Fireworks, Illustrator, or Photoshop into a working prototype that will run on IPod Touch and iPhone. You can quickly create various iterations of your design using design tools that are familiar to you.
Chrome Canary is Chrome’s beta version. All new features are released here for early access and test prior to being used in the Chrome app, if they are determined to be useful and stable. Chrome Canary is vital for testing out the most recent web technologies and to find out what is on the horizon.
Chrome Canary is free.
This app makes it easy to select colours. You won’t have to take screen shots and then use Photoshop to open them prior to manually retrieving the colour code. This convenient app can remain on your menu bar and you can use it to magnify a portion of your screen and then select the colour of a pixel. After you click on a pixel, its colour code will be saved on the clipboard. You can select the format of your colour codes from a variety of options.
This little app costs about $1.
Less extends CSS. It is a CSS pre-processor that adds features that will allow operators, nested rules, variables and more. With less you can create CSS that will be more extendable and maintainable. Less is fairly easy to use and it will compile ‘less’ files into normal CSS.
Mixture provides a means for rapid prototyping and static project creation. You can get up and running quickly by selecting one of several popular project templates and boilerplates such as Foundation, Bootstrap, and Sassaprilla. Mixture can get files directly from Git, ensuring that you will always be using the most recent version.
Mixture will automatically take care of pre-processing, concatenation and minification so you can maintain your focus on a project, as opposed to setup.
It even has a built-in server that allows you to perform testing and debugging on multiple devices. All project changes will occur instantaneously across multiple devices.
Mixture is free!
MindNode’s flexibility and focus make it a great brainstorming tool. It simplifies mind mapping. With mind maps you will get a visual representation of all of your design concepts. You can begin with a central concept and expand upon it from there. It allows you to organize your concepts in an intuitive manner, enabling you to focus on your project goals.
MindNode has helped project managers and designers to have greater creativity with reduced effort.
You can easily collect your thoughts on several mind maps as required using the infinite canvas provided with MindNode. Nodes may even be cross-connected from separate maps. Your thoughts may be accompanied by images that are arranged automatically so nothing impedes your progress.
You can view your mind maps across all your devices using Dropbox or iCloud or they can be exported to a text file, open format, or an image.
MindNode costs about $20.
CodeKit helps designers and developers build better sites and do it more quickly. Some of the main features are listed below:
With CodeKit you can compile many types of languages. You can process Sass, Less, Jade, Stylus, Slim, Haml, CoffeeScript, Compass and Javscript files every time they are saved. Options can be set for each of these languages.
Optimise images. You can reduce PNG and JPEG files sizes with no loss with a single click, so you won’t have to do it when you deploy.
Maintain a single copy of a file and use it in numerous projects without being concerned with file paths. You won’t have to copy commonly used files into each new site.
You will be able to instantly view changes within your browser without having to refresh. This is very helpful when adjusting your layouts.
JSLint and JSHint make debugging easy. You can instantly locate an error that makes IE hang and you can enforce best practices and coding styles throughout your organisation.
You can purchase CodeKit for $28.