Maybe I should start a series called “Not just a Gist”, as I’m slowly converting gists of mine to blog posts. The last one I converted was all about My Visual Studio Code Setup.
I participated in this week’s #devdiscuss about tooling, and I posted a few links to gists that are my setup on my Mac.
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Tools you absolutely need on your Mac
- The Homebrew duo. These are a must have to simplify installing most things on your Mac. As soon as these are installed, you may proceed.
Homebrew - run
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"from the command line to install it.
Homebrew Cask - run
brew tap caskroom/caskfrom the command line to install it.
- Homebrew - run
Spectacle, the best application I’ve found for managing windows on macOS. This is especially useful for anyone coming from Windows who are used to this out of the box functionality. Run
brew cask install spectaclefrom the command line to install it.
Alfred (buy the Alfred Powerpack to get the full use of Alfred). Run
brew cask install alfredfrom the command line to install it.
Alfred is so awesome, it deserves it’s own section in this post. It’s basically Spotlight on steroids and a bag of chips. It’s more than an application launcher. It allows you to create workflows for repetitive tasks you do everyday and there is also a huge array of existing workflows for it available. I even decided to make some of my own, nickytonline/alfred-workflows: Hopefully useful workflows for Alfred.
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I never used Alfred until this past summer. Why did I not use it sooner?!
The Syntax FM podcast has a great episode on tooling, including Alfred, Our favourite Productivity Hacks 🔥 — Syntax Podcast 011. You should check it out.
Along with workflows, you can also install themes. I like Wes Bos’ Cobalt 2 theme for other things and I guess since Wes is a huge fan of Alfred, he decided to make the theme for Alfred as well. Download the raw Cobalt 2 theme file from the github.com/wesbos/Cobalt2-Alfred-Theme repository. Once downloaded, open the file and it will ask you if you want to import the theme into Alfred.
Click the import button and Alfred has been Cobalted.
At the time of this writing, here’s all the workflows that I currently have installed:
- yannickglt/alfred-devdocs: Alfred workflow for devdocs.io. Grab it from Packal. Search DevDocs straight from the Alfred search bar.
- carlosgaldino/alfred-emoji-workflow: Alfred 2 workflow for searching emoji codes.. Grab it here. I use this to get emojis super ⚡ fast ⚡. I just used it to put those two lightning bolts in this post!
- willfarrell/alfred-encode-decode-workflow: Encoding and decoding a sting into multiple variations.. Grab it here. A super quick way to encode/decode text.
- ruedap/alfred-font-awesome-workflow. Grab it here.
- gharlan/alfred-github-workflow: GitHub Workflow for Alfred 3. Grab it here.
- ngreenstein/alfred-process-killer. Grab it here.
- RunCommand. I only really use this to start Visual Studio Code from the command line.
StackOverflow Search. Search stackoverflow.com right from Alfred. The only tweak I did to this workflow was change the keyword to launch it. I switched
sos. Otherwise it launches the RunCommand workflow and errors out because of the initial
.running an invalid command. I also find it funny that I called it
sos. Send help! 🆘
- TimeZones. Grab it here. A super quick way to get the time in a country or city.
- Packal Updater. It updates any workflows you have that you grabbed via Packal, a popular workflow and themes directory for Alfred.
- These are some workflows I opened sourced that I find handy, nickytonline/alfred-workflows: Hopefully useful workflows for Alfred.
- I have a few others I made, but they’re just simple workflows for opening stuff like my Google Music. It uses an Alfred workflow template to just open a URL. Try making one yourself! I promise it’s not hard.
- Update 2018/01/27: Found the MDN Search workflow. Super handy!
If you use Alfred and have some workflows that are not listed here, please mention them in the comments. I’m always looking for new ones to improve my whole dev workflow.
You can also launch the terminal from Alfred, by typing
> in the Alfred search bar followed by the command you wish to run. Since I use iTerm, I want that to open instead of the default Terminal app. Since Alfred 2.7.2, you can run a custom Applescript to launch another terminal application. Open the Alfred preferences window and click on the Features button in the top of the preferences window then click on the Terminal / Shell button at the bottom. In the Application drop down menu, select Custom and paste in this script from the Custom iTerm Applescripts for Alfred repository.
You're all good to go. To test it out launch Alfred and in the search bar type
> ls and press ENTER. iTerm should open up with a listing of the current directory.
Tools for Web Development
VS Code, here’s my setup. Run
brew cask install visual-studio-codefrom the command line to install it.
n, for installing different versions of node. I’m sure someone is going to suggest using nvm. The problem was though, when I switched from zsh (another great choice for a shell), I was unable to get nvm working with fish, so I just switched to n which works super well. Run
brew install nfrom the command line to install it.
now.sh, great for hosting but also great for knocking out some POCs and deploying it. Run
brew cask install nowfrom the command line to install it.
Docker, containerize all the things! Run
brew cask install dockerfrom the command line to install it.
Fira Code font for my shell and my favourite editor. Run the following only once as it's used for installing any font,
brew tap caskroom/fonts. Once that is installed, you can install Fira Code by running
brew cask install font-fira-code.
- I’ve discovered what the whole commotion is about
npx, so I’ve also added that to my tool belt. Thanks Peter Kühne!
iTerm2, a better terminal than the out of the box macOS terminal app. Run
brew cask install iterm2from the command line to install it.
Fish shell, a better shell experience. Run
brew cask install fishfrom the command line to install it.
Fisherman, for themes and other utilities for the fish shell. Run
curl -Lo ~/.config/fish/functions/fisher.fish --create-dirs https://git.io/fisherfrom the command line to install it.
- edc/bass (to support bash utilities) - Assumes Fisherman is installed. Run
fisher edc/bassfrom the command line to install it.
- I use the git CLI with git aliases. Here’s my list of git aliases.
- fish shell aliases I use because I'm a lazy typer or just can't remember the real command. Feel free to run the script snippet below to add them to your 🐡 🐚 .**
alias cg="eval \"git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:$argv.git\"" # Clones a gist, just pass in the gist ID funcsave cg alias flushdns="sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder" # Because I never remember this command funcsave flushdns alias g="git" funcsave g alias glog="git log --oneline --decorate --all --graph" funcsave glog # Check out a PR alias copr="git fetch origin pull/$argv/head:pr$argv;" funcsave copr alias y="yarn" # Some say I live dangerously aliasing this to 'y'. I say yolo. funcsave y alias nib="node --inspect-brk" # nib path-to-my-file/my-file.js funcsave nib # When you want to just hash out an idea for something web # Automatic page reloading and assets. Requires npx so # ensure your npm is upgraded to the latest and greatest. alias hot="npx browser-sync start --server src/ --files \"src/*.html\" \"src/css/*.css\" \"src/js/*.js\"" funcsave hot
The Unarchiver - run
brew cask install the-unarchiverfrom the command line to install it.
- Amphetamine, sometimes you just want your laptop to stay awake… 💊
VLC - run
brew cask install vlcfrom the command line to install it.
f.lux, so you can be nice to your 👀 in the evening. Run
brew cask install fluxfrom the command line to install it.
Dropbox, I use it to sync my Alfred settings, fish, fisherman etc. via symlinks.Run
brew cask install dropboxfrom the command line to install it.
dark-mode - run
brew install dark-modefrom the command line to install it.
vanilla for OS X menu bar. Hide the clutter. Run
brew cask install vanillafrom the command line to install it.
- Trello, I’m using this less and less though since I discovered Bear. I’ve fallen more in a todo list mode with Bear.
- Bear, this is definitely my favourite new app. It’s the first note taking app that I’m consistently using. I think it’s all due to markdown support and simplicity.
LiceCap, for animated GIF screen captures. I find this tool very easy to use and the animated screen captures are pretty decent. Run
brew cask install licecapfrom the command line to install it.
- Onyx. It's great for general maintenance of your computer. To install it run
brew cask install onyx.
- Prevent Mission control from rearranging Spaces. This drives me nuts, so I remove the setting. I arrange my spaces because I want them to stay like that.
- If you’re on a Mac with a Touchbar, map the function keys to always be used when in browsers, your editors or any other tools you use for dev.
That’s pretty much the round up of what I have on my machine at the moment. I should probably get around to writing a script that installs all this, but for the time being, other priorities.
I’m always looking for new tools to make me more efficient, so feel free to chime in in the comments below.
And here's the link to my mac setup script which I made a little while's after this blog post. It's not perfect, but it's helped me set up a few machines pretty easily.
Top comments (56)
Great list! Thanks for sharing.
I would add Sip which I use for colors and color management
As well as Stay which I use for window management, since I regularly switch between laptop, 4K and various multiple-monitor setups -- one hot key and my windows adapt to whichever setup I'm running at the moment.
Thanks Allan. I'll check them out!
Thanks for the list! Added some really nice utility to my macOS tool belt. 👍
I'd like to give a shoutout to one vital app in my setup: BetterTouchTool (or short, BTT). It really is pure gold.
The app allows you to create custom (global or per-app) gestures for the trackpad or the magic mouse. (It supports changing other devices' behaviour as well, like adding system-wide keyboard shortcuts, but those two are the ones I most commonly use it for.)
Some examples from the gestures I defined for the trackpad on my MacBook Pro:
The following are only enabled for my browsers:
⌘ + Click)
Those are only a few of the gestures I use. They really become muscle memory and you're whole workflow is screwed when BTT is not running for some reason. 🙃
some install snippets are missing
brewon start - it is typed before code section as plain text. You might want to fix that (or not - in any case this is a great post, I've acquired some handy tools/setups from it)
cask install iterm2" (not the only one in whole text)
Thanks Den. I'll update it when I have a chance. Glad you liked the post. Cheers.
I also started a script to automate the install of my tooling. It's not finished, but feel free to take inspiration from it.
Nice. I automated mine a while back, but still need to tweak it a bit still, gist.github.com/nickytonline/729fc...
This blog post inspired me to do a fresh mac setup and try to automize everything that is possible throughout the setup process. Took quit some time but my future me will thank me :) github.com/oncode/mac-setup
Nice. I automated mine a while back, but still need to tweak it a bit still, gist.github.com/nickytonline/729fc...
Late to the party here, but have two small contributions to add:
glogalias looks very similar to something I came up with that I named
git tree --allthat show a nicely styled git graph, tweaked and colorized for the most relevant info.
=> Screenshot of output from git tree
I use this literally 10s of times a day as primary developer, and release manager on a wide array of projects for work.
Also, I'd point out that instead of putting this in a shell-specific aliases file, I place these kinds of git-specific configurations inside ~/.gitconfig and then can easily scp the file to any server environment that has git installed.
When I need something a bit more powerful than
git treeto view the git graph interactively I use gitUp (free and open source). ProTip: this tool is also really useful as a replacement for
git add/checkout -pto interactively stage or discard hunks across a large number of files with mouse-click-n-drag, then
Enterkey to stage or
Deletekey to discard.
To open gitup for the current repository from the command line just type
gitupfrom inside any folder in a repository, which launches via a symlink at
/usr/local/bin/gitupthat points to
Thanks for sharing those tips James. Gonna check gitup out.
Great write-up ... the Mac "tools" (or programs, really) that I love personally are:
uBar: adds a Linux/Windows like taskbar which for me takes away the annoyance of window/task management on OSX (only the Dock and Mission Control is too frustrating for me, drives me crazy ... don't start a discussion with a Mac purist on this!)
DaisyDisk: lets you find out what the heck is eating so much space on your harddrive and reclaim that space. Easy and very powerful tool.
Apptivate: handy tool to define keyboard shortcuts to launch applications
uBar is paid (I believe it costs $10 or something like that), but it's well worth it for me. DaisyDisk is 'semi free' (pay a small amount to get rid of a startup message which makes you wait a bit). Apptivate is free.
All these programs are simple and have a zero learning curve.
Apart from these the 'tool' I use the most is the bash shell (Terminal).
I haven numerous other 'utility' programs installed but I could just as well delete them, never using them.
There's a free alternative for DaisyDisk: Disk Inventory X
Does it work as well as DaisyDisk? I found DaisyDisk to work extremely well, and tbh I'm using it for free ...
Hi Nick. Great list. I’ve got a similar set-up but have also now found some new tools I wasn’t aware of, thanks! Seeing as we have a similar taste in apps, I thought you might like to take a look at an app I’ve been developing called Browserosaurus (shameless plug, I know, but seemed appropriate). It allows you to intercept clicked links and send them to the browser of your choice. I’m currently in the process of a bit of a rewrite that should be released soon, but v1.3 is still fairly solid. The code is open source on GH too, so feel free to have a poke around and send feedback/issues.
As a substitute for Spectacles, it feels a bit outdated compared to VEEER! You should definitely check it out, very similar but it is newly built so that means the developer is constantly updating it!
I've tried VEEER today. Spectacle has more keyboard shortcuts for better controlling and resizing windows. And I can't find a way of moving windows between monitors with VEEER.
Thanks Naseem, I'll check it out.
For those interested, here's the link, veeer.io
@nzraad , I may be a veeer convert. Still trying it out, but very happy so far.
Good explanation there;although i don't have Mac. Hahaha, any chance for Linux or windows setup?
Aside from Alfred, Spectacle, Amphetamine and iTerm2, most of those tools including My Visual Studio Code Setup are available for all OSes. You also might want to check out @brpaz 's post My Linux Development Environment of 2018.
Thx,I'll go check it.
You can also install fonts use brew cask. github.com/caskroom/homebrew-fonts
Nice! Wasn't aware of that. 🔥
Small correction, for me the Cobalt 2 theme had to be downloaded first: github.com/wesbos/Cobalt2-Alfred-T...
You're right. Thanks Don. I must have had it there for so long that I forgot it doesn't ship with it. I'll update the article.
Don, the article has been updated. 💻
Hey! Thanks for sharing!
I have a similar list as a GitHub repo that you might find interesting :)
I personally overuse o from Alex Plutov to go to open my git's remote in the web browser. I find it ridiculously simple and good.
Just came across this great little app for Slack like emoji support on macOS. Thanks Ben Ilegbodu for mentioning this on Twitter.