My Dev Setup, part 2: Web Development Apps for Mac OS X

In the second post of my “set up” series, I’m listing some of the apps I use daily for web development. The first part dealt with utility apps.

There are a multitude of tools available, and the specific ones you need will inevitably vary based on the kind of development you do, the languages you use, size of team etc. I do mostly front-end dev and WordPress theme + plugin development in a small team, so my choice of apps obviously reflects this. Also keep in mind that the industry is moving fast and in 12 months time we might all be using an entirely different set of tools.

Text Editor: Sublime Text 2

Sublime Text 2

I’ve written about Sublime Text in an earlier post, but I’m still going to mention it. It’s one of the best code editors out there at the moment, if not the best. Highly extensible, there are plenty of good additions relating web development and WordPress.

Get Sublime Text 2 here:

CodeKit for Sass & Compass


Sass is a robust CSS preprocessor that runs on Mac, Windows and Linux/Unix, and I’ve used it pretty heavily for the last 2 years. It allows extending CSS with variables, nested rules, logic, inheritance and mixins, among other neat things. It can be installed and run just fine from the command line as a Ruby gem, but recently we’ve started using Codekit, a marvellous app which takes care of compiling Sass (or Less/Stylus/HAML/Coffeescript etc) into final code in a nice, GUI-configurable fashion. It will also refresh your browsers automatically on save, combine + compress JavaScript and even optimise image files.

For an introduction to Sass, go to

Codekit ($29)

Version Control: Tower & GitBox

Tower screenshot

After having used Git for the last couple of years, it’s almost hard to imagine web development without some kind of version control. Learning at least the basics of git on the command line is most certainly recommended, but day-to-day I find a good GUI client is very handy. For many small projects the simple and elegant Gitbox (, 13.99 € on the Mac App store) is quite enough, but for most projects I use Tower (, 49.00 €).

I’ll be expanding on how we use Git in WordPress projects in a later post.

Diff with Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope screenshot

Sometimes (ie. often) you get conflicts when merging somebody else’s code with your own. A good merge tool helps, and for the Mac you can use either the free FileMerge included in the Mac OS X Developer Tools, or the excellent Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope used to be just a really good (and pretty) file comparison tool, but in its latest version 2 beta it includes merging capabilities for text and folders.

Download the trial here:

PHP Error Monitoring: Console


Thanks to my excellent colleague Marco, I’ve discovered how useful the built-in OS X can be for tracking down PHP errors when doing local WordPress development. This allows you to easily view any errors without printing them out using WP_DEBUG and messing up everything.

MySQL Admin: Sequel Pro

Sequel Pro

For both local and remote MySQL administration, there’s nothing better than Sequel Pro. And it’s free.

WP-CLI for command-line WordPress

WP Cli running in a terminal

When developing multiple WordPress sites locally or remotely, activating and deactivating plugins and themes via the admin interface can become tedious. For geeky-minded people, there’s WP-CLI, a simple command-line interface for creating and managing WordPress installations. Quoting from the website:

You can update plugins, set up multisite installs, create posts and much more.

That’s all! In the next post in this series, I’ll look into my browser testing setup.

11 responses to “My Dev Setup, part 2: Web Development Apps for Mac OS X”

  1. […] third part in my “web dev on Mac OS X” series. The first two were about utilities and web development apps. I’ll try to keep this series of posts up to date as the tools of the trade […]


  2. Do you use MAMP or local for development?


    1. Daniel Koskinen Avatar
      Daniel Koskinen

      I use MAMP Pro, setting up vhosts with it is such a breeze.


  3. I’m waiting to see your post about how you use Git and WordPress projects. 😉


    1. Daniel Koskinen Avatar
      Daniel Koskinen

      daily: don’t worry, it’s on its way. Next week!


  4. […] an earlier post, I promised to shed some light on our git workflow for WordPress projects. The above image sums it […]


  5. hi, why did’t you mention Source Tree as a perfect frontend for GIT?


  6. Jarek: I didn’t mention Source Tree because I’ve never used it. After all, this post is only a description of my own setup. 🙂 I’ve been very happy with Tower and GitBox and don’t see a reason to change. Thanks for the tip though! I’d like to hear what their differences are, if there’s anyone out there who’s tried both.


  7. really good post. I prefer SublimeTest 3 with emmet and Browser Reload plugin. And also PHPStorm.

    and is damm sexy.


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