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Kyle Boe
Kyle Boe

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My macOS Dev Env Tools

In no particular order, listed below are the tools I use on a daily basis to write code and be productive. If you have strong opinions about why X should replace Y on this list, leave them in the comments because I am always looking to make my workflow faster and more efficient.

Terminal Tools

iTerm2 (v3)

iTerm2 Logo

Highly customizable compared to Terminal. I get a lot of mileage out of the natural text navigation configuration (holding option/alt to move between word breaks)


Homebrew Logo

My package manager of choice. I use brew bundle quite a bit to ensure that my Dev Env dependencies can be easily migrated to a new machine if anything happens to my current one.


From their site:

tmux is a terminal multiplexer: it enables a number of terminals to be created, accessed, and controlled from a single screen. tmux may be detached from a screen and continue running in the background, then later reattached.

If you can get past the size of the config file (psst. feel free to use mine), this tool is a must. If you've ever accidentally closed a terminal window where you needed something that was on it, you'll benefit from learning how to use Tmux.

Non-Terminal Tools

I had to group things by functionality because there are some acknowledgements that need to be made. I'll mark the one I use, but know that I have at least tried the others.

Text Editor

I am a Sublime Text convert after seeing how easily extensible VS Code is.

VS Code Logo

Easy Mode:

Hard Mode:

Window Manager

While I only use Spectacle, there is a huge honorable mention due to koekeishiya, the dev behind ChunkWM. He is a legend in terms of writing window managers.

Spectacle Logo

Easy Mode:

Hard Mode:


Notion Logo

I cannot recommend Notion enough. Their feature set blows most everything out of the water. Just check out their product page and see for yourself.

Misc Productivity


Alfred Logo

This Spotlight Replacement (and a whole lot more) is the core of my productivity. Alfred is highly extensible and worth the price for the text snippet functionality alone.


Bartender Logo

With everything having a menu bar icon, Bartender helps clean up the noise and only bring things to your attention on your terms.


Dash Logo

From the site:

Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash stores snippets of code and instantly searches offline documentation sets for 200+ APIs, 100+ cheat sheets and more. You can even generate your own docsets or request docsets to be included.

Solid tool for offline documentation (and integrates with Alfred).

Tools ≠ Practice

The TL;DR of any post like this is that tools do not equal development practice. This toolset has been built out of necessity; spending time refining my workflow to make it more efficient. If you use a different set of tools that works for you, great. The environment tools you use do not make you a better or worse developer.

Top comments (12)

nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor

If you like Dash check out DevDocs. It's in-browser, but works offline. No snippets, but I use VS Code, so snippet support built-in there. 😉

nshoes profile image
Nate Shoemaker

+1 for Notion. It was a game changer for me in how I organize my thoughts, plan for house projects, whiteboard apps, etc etc etc.

hxgf profile image
j youngblood

i was loving notion, then their support engineers reached out to me and told me i was using it wrong (too many blocks) so i moved everything to evernote ¯_(ツ)_/¯

voidjuneau profile image
Juneau Lim • Edited

Another +1 for Notion. In addition to the app itself, they have the best ever CS. I have pushed them around with dozens of feature suggestions. Their dev team must hate me.
Thank you so much for recommending Spectacle. The absent of window move/resize shortcut has been my only complain with macOS, but I didn't think to find an app for that.

nshoes profile image
Nate Shoemaker

I would start with the basics. Just use Notion in the same manner you do other apps. Use a page for notes, a page with checkboxes for a daily todo list. Build and incorporate more advanced features from there.

dumartinetj profile image
Julien Dumartinet

Hey !

First comment on, your article is great ! Just received my 16" MacBookPro, gonna use thoses informations to set up my dev environment (I'm coming from Linux so I'm kinda lost at the moment to be honest :D).

I just love Notion, discovered it a few months back, it's awesome

boneskull profile image
Christopher Hiller

+1 for Bear.

I like that it has webpage content import and syncs across macOS/iOS.

I remember evaluating Notion, but felt it had more stuff than I need; I use Todoist for keeping lists and syncing them w/ my wife.

jai_type profile image
Jai Sandhu

Check out Swish it beats Spectacle

kyleboe profile image
Kyle Boe

Personally, I try and keep my hands on the keyboard as much as possible (without moving to a mouse or trackpad). For that Spectacle gives me all the control I need. Swish’s UI is very clean though.

jai_type profile image
Jai Sandhu

Fair comment! Yes if you're just using the keyboard then Swish isn't for you. Great post, I use mostly identical tools to you, must be a good sign

kyleboe profile image
Kyle Boe

They actually have a tool to directly import from Evernote! Might be worth giving that a try to at least test it out.

rhymes profile image

I plan to switch to Notion as well, but I've recently paid a full year of Evernote so... next year hahaha