My developer toolkit 2017 (Mac)

Back in December 2010 I had blogged about the powertools I was using with windows. Soon I will do a revamp of the Windows powertools which I am using on my Windows 10 PC.This post is about the list of tools that I use for my day today activities on my Mac.

Terminal Utilities

Compared to the default terminal, I prefer to use iTem2. iTerm also integrates with Oh My Zsh which makes life lot more easier while working with terminal.Refer to the Oh my Zsh cheatsheet for more details. I love all the aliases related to Git like gst for git status, gcmsg for git commit –m and many other git commands. I use the Avit theme with Oh My Zsh which gives nice look and feel to the different commands and their outputs on the terminal.

While working with tabbed windows on the terminal it can be quite confusing and hard to remember what you were doing with which terminal window. Tabset helps to name the tabs and also give different colors to them. Display of the tab name on the right hand corner is quite helpful for me.

Code Editors

The more I use VS Code, more I am liking the features of it. It is very elegant and has a nice Themes and Plugins based ecosystem for enhancing its capabilities. No wonder more and more people (even those who hated Microsoft) are using VS Code. If you don’t want the full featured IDE of Visual Studio 2015 / 2017 but still need the better part of code editing go for VS Code.

Before I started using VS Code, I was a fan of Atom. I like its simplicity. It also integrates very well with the GitHub (it is actually created by Github). They call it the hacakble text editor for 21st century. Many people complain about slowness of Atom editor. I did not face any issues so far. May be the files I was dealing with were within the bounds of Atom.

When I moved from Windows 10 to Mac, I started using Sublime Text 3. I find it similar to Atom in many ways. Sublime is the oldest editor among VS Code, Atom & Sublime. As a result it has more features, themes and plugins.

When working with Java, I use IntelliJ Idea from Jetbrains. It is one of the best IDE I have come across (obviously after Visual Studio). I find IntelliJ much more easier to adapt coming from .Net world as compared to Eclipse.  The dark theme of IntelliJ makes me feel at home.

One of the plugin which I find very helpful in IntelliJ is the Key Promoter. It tells you how many times you have used mouse when there is a keyboard shortcut available for a command. I feel this is really needed for all the developers if you want to get better at keyboard shortcuts.

Although I prefer to work with terminal while using Git & Github repositories, I find the GitHub desktop tool handy when I want to do some GUI related work.

All the 3 text editors seem to have quite a few things in common. Especially plugins and themes are mostly ported from one editor to the other. I like the Material Theme and Monokai. Best part is all 3 editors are cross platform and work with Windows and Mac. That definitely reduces the learning curve.

Virtualization software

Docker allows to spin up lightweight containers as compared to full blown virtual images. If you don’t want to mess around with your laptop but want to try out some new tool, Docker is a good way to test it.

Not all things can be done via Docker containers.Sometimes you still need to use a virtual image. I tend to use VirtualBox for such cases.

Vagrant allows to configure virtual machines in a declarative manner. It uses VirtualBox as the provider for creating virtual machines.

General utilities

I use Ansible to automate the installation of software as much as possible on my Mac Book Pro. Refer to my post on Setup Mackbook almost at  the speed of light to know about it in more details

This is my favorite notes taking app. Works across all my devices including iPhone, iPad Pro, Mac book and windows PC. I like the simplicity of the tool. It resembles the physical notebook. The organization of notes into workbooks and pages is something I like very much when it comes to notes taking. I tried other alternatives like Evernote.

I use KeePass on Windows 10. There is a nice port of it available on Mac called MacPass. Use it if you want to store all your passwords in one place.

Todoist is one of my favourite task organizer. It works cross platform and has support for mobile devices as well. it is very simple to use and has a minimalistic UI. I have tried others like Evernote but prefer Todoist for its simplicity.

Dropbox is my preferred way for synching documents across devices. I also use Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive for different documents.

On Windows, I am a big fan of Open Live Writer for writing blog. Unfortunately it works only with Windows. On Mac I found Blogo. Although it is not as feature rich as Live Writer it solves the purpose.

I mostly read ebooks in PDF format. Acrobat reader allows synching of ebooks across devices using Adobe Cloud.

CheatSheet is one of the best free utility I have ever come across. It displays all the keyboard shortcuts for any application that you are currently running. You don’t need to remember each and every shortcut. Just hold the hotkey (by default the command key) for CheatSheet and you will see all the relevant keyboard shortcuts. I have started holding the Alt key on windows keyboard hoping to see keyboard shortcuts when I work on Windows 10 nowadays Smile

Spectacle is another nice little utility which allows you to resize & position the application windows with keyboard shortcuts. I also have a secondary monitor attached to my laptop. Spectacle is very helpful in moving windows across screens. Even if you don’t have multiple screens, you can still use spectacle to great effect to resize and position the windows.

f.lux is a utility which works with both Windows and Mac. It automatically adjusts the brightness of screen based on the time of the day.

Battery Related utilities

Has a very simplistic UI. Provides notifications on the battery levels. I find it useful to be notified when the battery is fully charged.

There are couple of other battery related apps that I am testing currently before picking up the one for my needs. These include coconut battery, Battery Heath, Battery Guardian.


The tolls that we use keep changing every year. I am sure there will be many more tools and utilities out there which would help to make our life more simpler and easier to work with machines. I would be interested in knowing such tools.


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