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Developer Tools for OS X

Written by: Ryan Renna

Web developers have been embracing Macs as development boxes for many years, but with the recent prevalence of mobile development there has been a big influx of OS X development machines in development shops.

Whether you are a long time Mac addict, or are just now using a Mac for pragmatic reasons, such as  iOS development, here are some development tools you may find you can’t live or at least work without:

Code Runner is a neat application which allows you to quickly run snippets of code in various programming languages, including but not limited to, AppleScript C, C++, C# , Objective-C, Java, JavaScript (Node.js), Lua, Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby. Code Runner is wonderful if you want to simply evaluate a snippet of code, which can be as simple as pasting code into a pre-generated, language specific, entry point.

Want to write some C?

Or maybe you want to evaluate a snippet of PHP?


Code Runner isn’t going to replace Eclipse or Xcode, nor is it trying to be, give it a try and see if it finds a place in your workflow.

Rested allows you to quickly create mock HTTP requests and view the returned response. Designed for testing REST based web-services, this tool can be a great sanity-check to ensure you’re application is actually getting the data it should be.


Rested supports authentication using HTTP Basic Auth or OAuth, and can set custom headers, parameters or an entire HTTP body. Even better, the requests you create with Rested (along with their responses) can be saved, to be logged or re-used.

If you’re like most developers, you don’t work exclusively in a single programming language, or platform. Dash is designed for the jack-of-all-trades developer in all of us, by providing quick access to the API documentation to almost every API under the sun. Mobile platforms, JavaScript libraries, server technologies and even game engines are all represented in Dash’s impressive list of available documentation.


One of the best reasons to have all your documentation in one place is language-agnostic searching. I know printf() is a function in some language, but which is it again? Dash will tell you.


Dash also can be used to build up a universal collection of code snippets, and even directly integrate into Xcode.

SQLite is the embedded database of choice for most mobile platforms. BlackBerry developers may also be familiar with SQLite as both WebWorks (BlackBerry 7+) and Cascades (Blackberry 10) can take advantage of it.  iOS developers who’ve implemented Core Data will know that underneath (by default) is an SQLite database powering all your app’s data.  Ever want to peek inside? Take Base for a spin.


Base is a simple SQLite database browser, just open a file and start digging.


Along with visually observing the table makeup of the database, Base allows you to view and edit table data, and even run your own SQL queries.

Go2Shell is a very simple Finder extension that does one thing, and one thing well : opens the terminal at your current Finder location.


Go2Shell can be added as a shortcut in the Finder window, jump to the directory you need, press your handy new Go2Shell button and enjoy the 15 seconds of typing you just saved as an OSX Terminal is opened and directed to the above directory’s location.

BetterSnapTool is a simple utility which adds the window 7 “snap” effect to OS X. The window “snap” is the ability to resize and re-position a window by dragging it into one of the screen’s sides or corners. BetterSnapTool takes the basic “window snapping” concept introduced in Windows 7 and adds a whole bucket of customizability

With the customizability options you can add Keyboard shortcuts, a right-click menu to every finder window, add padding, or even create custom “snap areas”. Is BetterSnapTool interfering with the window management of your IDE? No problem, you can enable snapping on a per-application basis.

Sip is one of many tools I’ve found to combat a very common situation when implementing a user interface: dealing with colours. Maybe you are dealing with a series of designs from a designer, or trying to get a custom button to have *just the right* tone to nicely fit in with a toolbar, the first step is probably going to involve you becoming a colour detective. This is where you use all sorts of tricks to extract some sort of RGB value from what you’re looking at.


Sip provides a system wide colour picker, and maintains a stack of previously “pick”ed colours.


The final (and most important) feature of Sip is that a colour will be copied to Clipboard to be pasted into the appropriate piece of code. This is where Sip really becomes powerful as it can generate the appropriate code or colour string for numerous formats.

Working in CSS? Sip can output in one of five valid CSS colour syntaxes, like CSS3 HSL :
HSL(145.54, 73.72%, 26.86%)


Working in the Apple-world? Sip can output CoreGraphics, Cocoa or Cocoa Touch based Colours:
[UIColor colorWithRed:0.07f green:0.47f blue:0.24f alpha:1.00f];

Sip can also output in platform agnostic formats like comma delimited RGB:
18.00, 119.00, 61.00

or Decimal:
0.07, 0.47, 0.24

Take Sip for a test-drive, it’s just one of many solutions in the tool belt of an experienced colour detective.