loading...
Cover image for The First 10 macOS Apps I Install in 2019
Microsoft Azure

The First 10 macOS Apps I Install in 2019

john_papa profile image John Papa Updated on ・3 min read

Don't you just love the joy of opening a new MacBook box and setting up your favorite tools? The tools you choose to install really add to the experience. They can be very personal and show a lot about the type of person, and in my case, developer that I am.

Here is a short post about the first 10 tools I installed on my MacBook Pro 16" on Day 1.

I'll be recording a podcast on Real Talk JavaScript this coming week with some guests to share our first look experiences as developers on the new MacBook Pro 16". Be sure to check it out when it releases (by the end of Nov 2019)!

Ten Apps in Day 1

Here are the first things I installed on my new MacBook Pro 16". Your mileage may vary, of course.

0 - Code

VS Code is an essential tool for me. I use it for coding, writing, and as a scratch pad. I'm using it to write this!

I also installed a bunch of extensions (using a single extension called Settings Sync). But that's for another article.

1 - Alfred

Alfred is an extremely powerful spotlight-like app. You can do so much with this ... really. Check it out and explore the workflows. I use it to open apps, search my computer, kill processes, calculate, and more.

2 - Bartender

I hate clutter. When i record my screen I don't like seeing all of the icons in my top bar either. Bartender hides whatever I don't want to see, and makes it easily accessible when I do need them.

3 - Divvy

Divvy is an essential tool for me. I use it to program keyboard shortcuts to move my windows to predefined areas on the screen. I have 10 shortcuts currently that I use every single day.

divvy and peacock

4 - WiFi Signal

Nice app that shows the WiFi signal and a lot of details that the baked in wifi app doesn't show.

5 - SnagIt

I've been using this tool for a decade and haven't found a reason to stop using it. Well worth the money.

6 - Insomnia

  • I used to use PostMan, and it is indeed excellent. But I like Insomnia these days. Maybe because it has a cool name.

  • Insomnia

  • Free tier is all I need

7 - Amphetamine

I use this to keep my laptop screen visible so it does not timeout when I am presenting.

8 - Dropbox

I store many files here that I either need to share across machines or just want off my local machine.

  • Dropbox
  • Cost varies for your usage

9 - Chrome

The Chrome browser by Google.

Bonuses

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
lucasromerodb profile image
Lucas Romero Di Benedetto

Nice post John. Thanks!

What do you think about using Webstorm instead of VS Code? Why i would choose VS Code over Webstorm? (forget the price)

Note: I prefer Magnet (only $ 2,99) instead of Divvy.

Collapse
juristr profile image
Juri Strumpflohner

I use Spectacle (spectacleapp.com/) although I just read on their site that it is no longer actively maintained. Anyhow, does the job 🤷‍♂️ and it is free

Collapse
davidhenley profile image
David Henley

Rectangle is the new Spectacle

Collapse
amadeot profile image
Amadeo

I discovered that the other week, found the spiritual successor is rectangle app - uses same shortcuts as spectacle (and is also free.)

Collapse
nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him)

Same. Maybe there are better ones, but I am so used to it now and it does pretty much all I need for window management.

Thread Thread
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

There are many good window tool options.

Thread Thread
ludamillion profile image
Luke Inglis

Personally I use Hammerspoon. It's a great scripting/automating tool. I has many more uses than window management but that's my prime usage

Collapse
prashant profile image
Prashant Nigam

Totally agree

Collapse
artemis profile image
Diane

Long-time spectacle user, too.

I can't use a macos-based computer without it, it's painful how their desktop environment is so limited.

Collapse
nguyenkien profile image
Collapse
codenutt profile image
Jared

This is sad news!

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Thanks.

Webstorm is great. I used to use it. But VS Code is my go-to the past few years. Love it and it gets better every day (literally with the insiders build). But choose what you like - it's a personal choice we all make

I've tried Hyperdock, Magnet, Spectacle, Divvy, and a few others. They are all okay. I liked how Divvy let me customize several areas with keystrokes. Others do too, but this is where I ended up.

Collapse
heikokanzler profile image
Heiko Kanzler 🇪🇺

I am using IntelliJ IDEA now for over a decade for all of my Java-Projects and while starting with Angular/IONIC, I felt in love with VS Code.

I tried a couple of times some projects in IDEA (which is the ulitmate Edition and contains the features of all other JetBrain IDEs). I love IDEA for it's productivity, but for me, VS Code beats it when it comes to the JavaScript/Node/NPM eco system.

(Running Magnet, but don't use it that often)

My prefered Rest Client is PAW, btw. I use it for almost every web project when I design the service and API layer and then add the web views.

Thread Thread
jaedle profile image
jaedle

I am really missing all this "extrract method/constant/variable" on VSCode, which is amazing for refactoring on all JetBrain IDE's.

Thread Thread
heikokanzler profile image
Heiko Kanzler 🇪🇺

Absolutely, the refactoring tools are outstanding!

Collapse
metalmi profile image
Ivan Almasi

Webstorm is still a lot better than VS Code. What I like more about Code is a lot more different extensions, though.

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

It's a personal choice. How we define "better" defines what is important to us.

I think Webstorm is great. But I choose Code every morning.

We each use the tools we enjoy. I'm glad you enjoy Webstorm

Thread Thread
allanjeremy profile image
Allan N Jeremy

This has got to be the most adult & mature way to handle differing opinions & preferences.

Takes notes

Collapse
toddy86 profile image
Todd de Quincey

I second the vote on magnet. Amazing tool and a fait price.

Collapse
jcmpgit profile image
jcmpgit

Love magnet

Collapse
perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

We used both - and Divvy had many more benefits.

Collapse
svitekpavel profile image
Pavel Svitek

Consider switching Chrome for Brave browser (brave.com/).

I'm using it on my work machine for ±2 years now. All Chrome extensions works smoothly.

Two main added benefits:
a) trackers, 3rd party cookies, fingerprinting blocked automatically ;-)
b) help support Web3 to disrupt the monopoly of Facebook and Google Ads

Brave is growing exponentially. From 4 million monthly active last year, to 8 million this year :-)

Collapse
nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him)

I’ve been using Brave for a few years on mobile now and on Desktop since it became Chromium based.

Having said that, Since Edge moved to Chromium, I gave it a test drive for the past month. It worked pretty much as I expected it would on Desktop. I’m still using it on Desktop for the moment, but back on Brave on mobile.

I wrote up a review for those interested.

Collapse
metruzanca profile image
Samuele Zanca

A few months ago I swapped to firefox after using chrome for so long. I've looked at brave, but from what I can surmise is it's just a chromium browser with built-in security. I tend to stay away from chromium browesers after having tried a fair few of them (chrome, torch, comodo dragon to name a few) I prefer the customization of firefox, its speed and dev tools.

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Brave is cool, indeed

Collapse
p0oker profile image
Pooria A

Great list, two tips from me:

  1. Don't use Chrome, it uses double the amount of Firefox memory and doesn't respect your privacy. BTW, Firefox has now faster CSS renderer.

  2. Use a Firewall to permit all the incoming and outgoing connections to your mac. I use Little Snitch for it and you will be surprised how many times random apps are making HTTP calls from your mac (half of them is from Apple)

Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

I use Chrome because of the excellent and easy-to-use Chrome Dev Tools, so are there options that are as good (or better) in other browsers?

Collapse
p0oker profile image
Pooria A

Yes Firefox Developer is a new nightly version of Firefox with really competitive dev tools. I recommend you to check it out.

Thread Thread
lesha profile image
lesha

The single thing I miss in FF's devtools is Chrome's "emulate focused page". Makes debugging dropdowns (and other focus-related stuff) WAY easier.

On the other hand, Firefox's CSS tools are unmatched.

Thread Thread
p0oker profile image
Pooria A

Yes great point. In the end of the day as a developer I also use most of the browsers. Specially since WS debugging in Firefox wasn't good until recently.

But Firefox is my choice of browser for personal use since it's faster and respect user's privacy IMHO.

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Firefox is awesome. Edge is incredible. and Brave is very promising.

Thread Thread
p0oker profile image
Pooria A

Agree, Brave is definitely next level engineering.

Thread Thread
jcmpgit profile image
jcmpgit

Not tried brave. I recently started using Vivaldi and so far love it. Chromium based. Very customisable, I love that hibernating tabs to save memory is built in.

Collapse
nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him)

I use Vanilla to hide things. I wasn't aware of Bartender. Vanilla is a little more minimal from what I can tell. Maybe I'll check out Bartender.

Vanila toolbar helper

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Thanks. I hadn't seen this one ... I've been using bartender but will take a look at this.

Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

I also use Vanilla. It's simple and gets the job done for around four bucks, I believe.

Thread Thread
kerim profile image
kerim

try dozer it is free

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Today I learned ... Vanilla won't start if you automatically hide the menubar. This makes me sad.

Collapse
nikoheikkila profile image
Niko Heikkilä

Nice list! I began documenting my selection of apps into a public repository with Bash scripts a while ago. It's handy and compatible across different environments.

GitHub logo nikoheikkila / setup

New Computer, Who Dis? – Setup new development box with a single script

New Computer, Who Dis?

This repository contains a set of scripts to bootstrap a new computer for development. Supported platforms are:

  • macOS High Sierra and newer
  • Windows 10 with WSL installed

Standard Linux support will be added when I bother to start coding with one.

As usual with scripts like these, this probably won't work for you but feel free to adapt it to your needs. There's no license nor warranty at all.

Usage

Entrypoint is ./setup.sh. Execute it and let it roll!

Other Apps

Not all applications are bundled here for cross-compatibility reasons. I install the following apps by hand.

  • 1Password
  • Backblaze
  • Docker Desktop
  • Dropbox
  • Fork
  • Grammarly
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Notion
  • Simple Diagrams 4
  • Telegram Desktop
  • Todoist
  • Visual Studio Code Insiders



Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

This is amazing! I LOVE the name of it, "New Computer, Who Dis?" 🤣😍

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

thanks for sharing

Collapse
moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

It sounds like a lot of people's problems would be solved with a tiling window manager.

I used to use Caffeine where you suggest Amphetamine. Caffeine doesn't seem to work on Catalina, so I use the He Man Protocol (open the YouTube video of HeMan singing What's Up for 10 hours an leave it in a tab somewhere). That's tragically inefficient, but, you know, it works.

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

I think Amphetamine replaced Caffeine

Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

Indeed it did. Same developer, but Amphetamine has many more features than Caffeine...as the naming suggests. 😁

Collapse
joemsak profile image
Joe Sak

Pastebot! (or jumpcut for pre-catalina OS)

$12.99
tapbots.com/pastebot/

(jumpcut is free but I don't think it works on Catalina)
Wrong! jumpcut was just updated!
snark.github.io/jumpcut/

Keep your clipboard history (copy / cut multiple items at once and then paste them, stop jumping back and forth between apps just to copy things)

I configured mine to use Shift+CMD+V as the hotkey, that made it super easy to add to my workflow.

Collapse
nscmnto profile image
Bruno Nascimento

Those are great and I can't imagine working without a clipboard manager! Personally I prefer (Paste)[pasteapp.me/]'s navigation and previews over Pastebot.

Collapse
dinsmoredesign profile image
Derek D

Nice! There's a few things on here I haven't even heard of and will definitely have to check out.

However, I'm definitely more interested in knowing about Mac use at Microsoft. Obviously, some people have to have them because they're working on cross-platform apps, but is it common to see people just walking around on the MS campus carrying around a Mac? :P

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

AI see a lot of variety at Microsoft. Azure supports everything

Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

Do you have any recommendations for learning more about using Azure for web development for Mac users? I've been interested in learning more about it, but now that I "officially" graduated from my full stack bootcamp, I have the time to invest in learning it. Thanks, in advance.

Thread Thread
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Hi Sherri. That is a great question. Let me think about this specifically from a mac user perspective and I'll write up a post about it after Thanksgiving. Sound good?

Thanks for reaching out!

Collapse
jmfayard profile image
Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

yes, indeed.

Collapse
codenutt profile image
Jared

Curious if you have an automation pipeline setup? I'm using dotfiles, but always curious to see how other people do it!

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

sorry - to automate what?

Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

I think he means to automate your setup on a new Mac (scripts, dotfiles, etc.)

Thread Thread
codenutt profile image
Jared

I do indeed

Thread Thread
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Ah - no, I don't automate it. I have a list of dotfiles I hang onto but really the list of things I need is pretty short, so I just install them as I need them. And I really don't need to do this that often :)

Thread Thread
codenutt profile image
Jared

Fair enough. I don't either, which makes me wonder if spending like 10 hours fiddling with my dotfiles was worth it, but oh well haha

Collapse
matthutchison profile image
Matt Hutchison

In terms of category, always:
1) browsers
2) enhanced terminal
3) easily toggled sleep blocker
4) IDE or enhanced editor
5) brew (no alternatives here)
6) xcode tools (or here)

Most other tasks that don't require specific software (email, messaging, project planning, file sharing) I just use the browser for.

Collapse
daletman profile image
daletman

Do you know you can hold the option key while clicking on the WiFi Symbol and it’ll give some more options. For sure not as much as WiFi Signal but it’s something

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

yeah, cool. thanks

Collapse
pavelloz profile image
Paweł Kowalski

ImageOptim, Spectacle, Vanilla, Docker, Notion, Numi, RunJS. :)

Collapse
john_papa profile image
Collapse
metalmikester profile image
Michel Renaud

Glad to see Alfred in there! I only use a fraction of its functionality. WONDERFUL app, well worth the little money the ask for it.

Hazel is an essential for me. It’s like Folder Actions on steroids, and it actually works (my Folder Actions use to stop working for no reason and after any OS update... that’s how I found Hazel).

I can’t stand Finder (I’m literally unable to use that thing), so I use Path Finder.

I don’t know some of the stuff in your list, so I’ll definitely be checking them out.

Collapse
savage profile image
Jason A Savage

I haven't used 1 password. Have you used Bitwarden and if so what are the advantages for 1pass?

Collapse
dskaggs profile image
Dan Skaggs

I switched to self-hosted BitWarden a few weeks ago. The basic functionality is good, but it’s not as polished as 1Password. macOS and Windows browser plugins all seem to work okay. The one thing on desktop that I don’t like about BitWarden vs 1Password is when you have more than 1 login for a site, it doesn’t give you a pop up to select which login to use when using the keyboard shortcut.

On mobile (iOS for me), it’s not as integrated into the OS as 1Password and doesn’t use biometric unlock. That I really miss.

Other than a few things like that, I love not being beholden to a company and their subscription model to store my passwords. I’ve been using it myself for a few weeks before introducing it to the rest of the family. I am keen to try out the password sharing capabilities.

Collapse
savage profile image
Jason A Savage

I'm able to use face unlock on iPhone X and above.

Thread Thread
dskaggs profile image
Dan Skaggs

Ah yes! I had somehow missed the settings on the mobile app. FaceID and Autofill passwords were 2 of the things that I really missed after switching from 1Password. Thanks for the tip!

Thread Thread
savage profile image
Jason A Savage

No problem!

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

I have not tried that one. 1Password is excellent tho

Collapse
olierxleben profile image
Oliver Erxleben

Really, no package manager?

Chrome for development or as your main browser?

Collapse
thefern profile image
Fernando B 🚀

homebrew is what I use, are there any others?

Collapse
olierxleben profile image
Oliver Erxleben

at least I am aware of fink finkproject.org/index.php?phpLang=en

But yeah, brew is what I use, either

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

I listed homebrew in the bonus section. Just didn't get installed in the first ten

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

Chrome primarily, though I also use Safari and Brave a little. Experimenting

Collapse
phallstrom profile image
Philip Hallstrom

If you have the Alfred Powerpack, then Dash (for documentation) is amazing and highly recommended.

Collapse
honzasterba profile image
Honza Štěrba

I see that Amphetamine is the new Caffeine.app

Collapse
joemsak profile image
Joe Sak

They give the option to use the old Caffeine icon!

Collapse
jruzafa profile image
Jose Ruzafa

Other app importante for devs kapeli.com/dash documentation for programming languages and others

Collapse
eerk profile image
eerk

Great list! Will try Bartender right away!

I'm curious, what does Alfred do that Spotlight can't?
I find that Quicktime capture and the cmd+shift+F3/F4 options are pretty great for screen capturing.
Magnet is also great for organising windows. It's the one thing that Mac OS just won't implement...

Collapse
jinfoo profile image
Jin Foo

should 0 be homebrew? :-)

Great post, picked up lots of useful bits.

Collapse
thefern profile image
Fernando B 🚀

The first app I install is caffeine. ☕

Collapse
thefern profile image
Fernando B 🚀

Ah nvm that's what amphetamine is for. I guess is stronger lol.

Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

Yep, Amphetamine is most definitely stronger than Caffeine. 😁

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

I think it replaced it on most recent macOS

Collapse
pnaranja profile image
Paul

Thanks for the list!
Instead of Snagit I've been using github.com/wulkano/kap

Collapse
davidhenley profile image
David Henley

Rectangle (free) over Divvy

Collapse
klian profile image
Klian

Nice post!

Thank you very much for your explanations!

Collapse
john_papa profile image
John Papa Author

you're welcome

Collapse
mandaputtra profile image
Manda Putra

Haha, I also choose insomnia because it has cool names 😂

Collapse
john_papa profile image
Collapse
sherribooher profile image
Sherri Booher

Thank you for posting this. I enjoy a good discussion of apps/software and what they are being used for.

Collapse
tvanantwerp profile image
Tom VanAntwerp

I've got some scripts on GitHub that install homebrew first, then everything else via homebrew. I'd share, but it's woefully out of date and I'd be embarrassed. Need to update it.

Collapse
carlosalfarodev profile image
Carlos Alfaro

Love it! Thanks!

Collapse
kerim profile image
kerim

Free alternatives
2 - Dozer
3- Spectacle