Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Utils/tools to help transition to OSX from Windows

I've developed software under Kubuntu and Windows for years now. I found adapting to Kubuntu from a Windows world to be amazingly easy (ignoring the random Linux driver installation headaches). After a few days mucking around with some keyboard shortcuts and relearning Bash and I was all set. 

These days, the center of gravity in the mobile development world is OSX due to iOS's market share, so it's time I bit the bullet and dive into the Apple world.

I'll admit, transitioning to OSX has been mind numbingly painful at times. (Apple, why do you persist on using such a wonky keyboard layout? Where's my ctrl+left??! No alt+tab?? wtf? ARGH.) I mentioned this to Matt Pritchard, a long time OSX/iOS developer, and he passed along a list of OSX utilities and tools that can help make the transition easier for long-time Windows developers.

Prices are for single user. Multi-user or multi-platform licenses may be more.

Version support - Often it extends back further than listed if you download older versions.

Important Features & Utilities - Must-Haves

USB Overdrive  - Alessandro Levi Montalcini  - http://www.usboverdrive.com/
    "Take full advantage of any USB mouse, trackball, joystick or gamepad."
    Lets you adjust the acceleration curve of your mouse to match windows, prserve your muscle memory
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   Shareware + Boot Reminder,  $20 to Register

KeyRemap4MacBook / Karabiner -  Takayama Fumihiko -  https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/
    "A powerful and stable keyboard customizer for OS X."
    Lets you remap the cursor keys and keypad keys on your favorite keyboard to work the same as Windows
    OSX 10.4-10.10,   Free + Donations Accepted

Trim Enabler - Cindori - http://www.cindori.org/software/trimenabler/
    "The ultimate SSD utility for Mac OSX"
    Adds TRIM suspport to OSX for NON-APPLE SSD drives (I.ee you added an SSD)
    OSX 10.7 - 10.10*,   Free, Pro Version with more features is $10

Asepsis - BinaryAge - http://asepsis.binaryage.com/
    "Asepsis prevents creation of .DS_Store files. It redirects their creation into a special folder."
    Keeps those &@#(*! .DS_Store files out of your project directories (and accidently zipped up) or anywhere else
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   Free, Source Available ( https://github.com/binaryage/asepsis )

Little Snitch -  Objective Development Software GmbH  http://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html  
    "Network Monitoring Redefined."
a firewall for managing outbound traffic - similar to Zone Alarm et al on windows.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  Demo Mode (runs for 3 hours/30 days), Purchase License for for $34.95

Useful Utilities

Witch - Get alt+tab back. http://manytricks.com/witch/

Wine - Guide to installing Wine on OSX (run Windows apps without using a VM) - http://www.davidbaumgold.com/tutorials/wine-mac/

Afloat - infinite labs - https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/22237/afloat
    "It adds always-on-top, transparency, Spaces window management and more. "
    Keep app windows on top as needed (notepad, etc)
    OSX 10.6-10.10,   Free, Source Available ( https://github.com/millenomi/afloat )

TotalFinder - BinaryAge - http://totalfinder.binaryage.com/
    "Brings colored labels back to your Finder and more!"
    Very good finder imporvement - Adds tabs, dual panes, toggle hidden files and a bunch more
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  14-Day Trial, $18 to Register

TotalTerminal - BinaryAge - http://totalterminal.binaryage.com/
    "It provides persistent Visor Window which slides down when you press a hot-key (remember Quake console?)."
    Haven't used it, but seems worth checking out
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   Free

Blue Harvest - zero one twenty -  http://www.zeroonetwenty.com/blueharvest/
    "The most powerful way to keep your disks clean of Mac metadata."
    Keep your USB Thumb Drives, Network Drives, etc clean of .Trashes .FSEvents, etc
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   30-Day Trial, 14.95

SwitchResX  - Stéphane Madrau - http://www.madrau.com/
    "Get Back Control Of Your Screens!"
    Useful to set custom resolutions or if OS X has problems recognizing your (external) monitor
    OSX 10.6-10.10,   10-Day Trial, Nags to Register for Eur 18.40

gfxCardstatus - Cody Kriger -  https://gfx.io/  
    "gfxCardStatus is an unobtrusive menu bar app for OS X that allows MacBook Pro users to see which apps are affecting their battery life by using the more power-hungry graphics. "
    Utility for users of macbook pro's with multiple GPU's to force-select/switch between these.
    OSX 10.7-10.10,  Free, Source Available ( https://github.com/codykrieger/gfxCardStatus )

Quickboot - Buttered Cat Software - https://buttered-cat.com/products/QuickBoot
    "Quickly boot an alternate OS."
    Once click from mewnu to reboot into Bootcamp.  Useful if you switch between OS's often.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   Free, Broken link to donate bitcons

Alfred - Andrew & Vero Pepperrell - http://www.alfredapp.com/  
    "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."
    Essentially a launcher app with some neat extra functionality.
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Free, Powerpack version adds features for UKP £17

Better Touch Tool - Andreas Hegenberg - http://www.bettertouchtool.net/  
    "BetterTouchTool is a great, feature packed FREE app that allows you to configure many gestures for your Magic Mouse, Macbook Trackpad and Magic Trackpad."
    Utility that allows the above but more also enables window snapping (a la windows hot corners).
    OSX 10.7-10.10,  Free

Carbon Copy Cloner - Bombich Software - https://bombich.com/  
    "Make your bootable backup today!"
    Creates (bootable) clones/backups of your hard drives. Older versions are free/ad-sponsored.
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  30-Day Trial,  Buy Personal License for $39.99

The Unarchiver -  Dag Ågren - http://unarchiver.c3.cx/unarchiver  
    "A set of applications for Mac OS X, iOS and other systems that can extract and inspect the contents of archive files in nearly any format."
    Much better in my experience than the standard osx archive manager.
    OSX 10.6-10.10,   Free,  Donations accepted.  Source Available ( https://code.google.com/p/theunarchiver/ )

iStat - bjango - http://bjango.com/mac/istatmenus/  
    "An advanced Mac system monitor for your menubar"
    Mac system stats monitoring in the system bar
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  14-Day Trial, Buy single license for $16

HyperDock - Christian Baumgart -  http://hyperdock.bahoom.com/  
    "HyperDock adds long awaited features to your Dock"
    Does quite a few things, biggest are snapping windows to the edges of your screen like Windows and Dock previews
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Shareware,  Buy Full License for $9.95

Choosy - George Brocklehurst - http://www.choosyosx.com/  
    "Forget the default browser, Choosy opens links in the right browser."
    Offers you an option to which browser a link should be opened in. Really useful with multiple accounts in multiple browsers.
     OSX 10.5-10.10,  Shareware, Register fater 45 days for $12

NameChanger - mrr software - http://mrrsoftware.com/namechanger/  
    "Rename a list of files quickly and easily.  See how the names will change as you type."
    Great batch/mass file renaming tool
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Free,  Donations accepted

Bartender - Surtees Studios - http://www.macbartender.com/  
    "Organize your menu bar apps."
    Hide some of the menu bar clutter (DropBox, Copy, SideKick, Bluetooth etc.)
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   28-Day Trial, Purchase License for $15

Spectacle - Eric Czarny - http://spectacleapp.com/  
    "Move and resize windows with ease."
    That great and useful Win+Arrow shortcut from Windows. Now you can get it on Mac.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  Free, Donations Accepted,  Source Available ( https://github.com/eczarny/spectacle )

Device / Asset Tracking Services

Prey - Fork, ltd -  Prey - Fork, ltd - https://preyproject.com/  
    "Protect your devices from theft."
    Free software that allows you to track the location of your hardware. Open source.
    Windows XP+, OSX 10.6-10.10, iOS 4.3+, Android 2+,  Free w/ Limited Features, Paid plans start @ $5 / Month
    Source Available ( https://github.com/prey )

Hidden app - Hidden - http://hiddenapp.com/   
    "The Anti-Theft Software for your Mac, iPad and iPhone"
    Software + Service to track devices.  Includes Remote access, lock, wipe, keylogging, other features
    OSX 10.6-10.10, iOS (?),  Montly plans tart at $2.50/Month for 3 devices and go up.

Important Applications - General

Firefox  - Mozilla - www.mozilla.org/
    Because Safari doesn't handle sooo many sites correctly 
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Free,  Open Source / Mozlilla Public License
    Recommended Add-ons: Flash,  Ad Block Plus, Ghostery, etc..

Parallels Desktop for Mac - Parallels IP Holdings - http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/
    "Run Windows on Your Mac"
    My Preferred VM for running Windows 7+ under OSX.   Alternatives: VMWare or VirtualBox also.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,   14-Day Trial.  Purchase New for $80 / $50 Upgrade

Vox - Coppertino - http://coppertino.com/  
    "Feature-Rich Music Player for Mac"
    A rather lightweight music player with a very compact interface, not like the itunes behemoth. Best one i have found so far.
    I especially like that when dragging files onto it, it gives you the choice to add to the current playlist or clear it.
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Free

Important Applications - Developer

SourceTree - Altassian - http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/
    "A free Mercurial and Git client for Windows or Mac"
    Really useful compliment to the git command line tools.
    OSX 10.7-10.10, Windows 7+.   Free,  Free Registration (free) after 30 days

Beyond Compare  - Scooter Software - http://www.scootersoftware.com/download.php
    "Reconcile Your Differences" (Great folder/file/soruce diff tool)
    Excellent diff tool for files, folders, and more. Integrates nicely with SourceTree
    OSX 10.6-10.10, Windows XP+, Linux.   30-day Trial, Register for $30, Has Pro Version also

Package Managers

Homebrew - Max Howell / The homebrew community - http://brew.sh/  
    "The missing package manager for OS X"
    One-stop shop which provides a lot of the bits which are inexplicably missing from OSX.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  Free,  Source Available ( https://github.com/Homebrew )

Macports - The MacPorts Project- https://www.macports.org/  
    "An open-source community initiative to design an easy-to-use system for compiling, installing, and upgrading either command-line, X11 or Aqua based open-source software on the OS X operating system"
    Aptitude style package installer.  Super useful when you want a command line version of Mercurial, or ImageMagick, or a bunch of other stuff;
    just run the installer, then it's "port install mercurial" from the Terminal.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  Free, Source Available

Text Editors

Smultron - https://www.peterborgapps.com/smultron/  
    "An elegant and powerful text editor that is easy to use."
    Solid text editor with syntax highlighting, etc - now payware but older 3.x releases should still be free.
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Free Trial (Unlimited?), Buy License for $5

Atom - Atom team - http://atom.io  
    "A hackable text editor for the 21st Century"
Lovely text editor, modular package system that can add features, you can write your own if you like, crazy fast once you get used to it,
    and great for people who float between *nix and Windows environments regularly. I use it every day.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  Free,  Source Available ( https://github.com/atom/atom )

Sublime Text - Sublime HQ Pty Ltd - http://www.sublimetext.com/  
    "Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose."
    Popular text editor.  Very customizable and programmable.
    OSX 10.6-10.10,  Free, but purchase license for continued use for $70

XVim - XVimProject - https://github.com/XVimProject/XVim  
    "Xcode plugin for Vim keybindings "
    Makes XCode's editor behave like vim.
    OSX Whatever with XCode.  Free, Sourve Available ( in fact, the only way to get it )

GameDev Specific Apps

ImageOptim - porneL - https://imageoptim.com/
    "ImageOptim is a free app that makes images take up less disk space and load faster"
    Excellent tool for compressing mobile app assets.  GUI tries all and picks best compression method.
    OSX 10.7-10.10,  Free,  Donations Accepted, Source Available ( https://github.com/pornel/ImageOptim )

ImageAlpha - pornel - http://pngmini.com/
    "ImageAlpha greatly reduces file sizes of 24-bit PNG files (including alpha transparency)"
    Quantizes True-color assets and handles alpha channel.
    OSX 10.7-10.9 (10?),  Free,  Donations Accepted, Source Available ( https://github.com/pornel/ImageAlpha )

TexturePacker - CodeAndWeb GmbH - https://www.codeandweb.com/texturepacker  
    "20 seconds to your optimized sprite sheet"
    Packs textures.   Does the job i needed it to do.
    OSX 10.7-10.10,  Free Mode + 7-Day Trial of Pro Version,  purchase Pro Version license for $39.95

Specialty Developer Applications

ccache - Joel Rosdahl & Andrew Tridgell. - https://ccache.samba.org/  
    "A fast C/C++ compiler cache"
    Will basically cache object files and simply fetch them when it detects you are compiling the same files with the same command line options.
    Very easy to integrate into makefiles and can massively improve clean rebuild times.
    OSX 10.8-10.10,  Free, Source Available ( https://github.com/jrosdahl/ccache )

C++ Builder XE7 (Professional) - Embarcadero - http://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder
    "The C++ solution to build connected apps for Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Gadgets, and Wearables"
    Descended of Borland C++.  Build all C++ console and GUI apps for OSX, Windows, even mobile from same source.
    Windows 7+, plus OSX 10.8-10.10.   30-Day Trial (Full ver), $1039 New User (pro)/ 569 Upgrade


  1. Wal Commander https://github.com/corporateshark/WalCommander/ should be definitely mentioned here.

  2. You should also take a look as Dash (http://kapeli.com/dash). It's a great documentation browser that can be soley operated using the keyboard.

    Also I hope this means that LZHAM will get ported to iOS and OS X soon :)

    1. Dunno about soon, but it's inevitable - OSX is now my everyday work environment. I'm currently using LZMA on 1 iOS product but if perf. isn't good enough I'll be switching to LZHAM.