How I Set Up My Development Mac

by Corey Oordt •  Published 26 Dec 2008

Starting a new job means setting up a new computer. With a clean slate, a blank canvas, a fresh start, if you will, I decided to document what I really need and use.

MacBook Pro I haven’t used a desktop Mac since the late 90’s. My laptop goes everywhere with me. Of course, I have never, ever, used a Windows computer as my primary machine.

Developer Tools The Apple developer tools come on a separate DVD and need to be installed. Don’t much care for XCode, but all the low level compilers are there. If you want to compile something from source, you’ll need them.

Firefox Safari is nice, but for any type of real web development, you need Firefox, and a few extensions. Required extensions:

  • Firebug: I can’t say enough about what this extension can do. Developing web sites would be so frustrating without it. My favorite features are the JavsScript console and CSS editing.

  • Web Developer: My favorite usage of this addon is the ability to view the JavaScript-generated source code of a page. Typically Firefox will only show you the source of a page as it came from the server.

  • Quartz PDF: One thing I miss about Safari is the ability to view PDFs in the browser.

  • Y Slow: When I first saw this demonstrated at the Web 2.0 Expo, I started drooling. It was released soon thereafter and It has only gotten better. Most of the performance tweaks are fairly easy if you know about them. This addon will show you them.

  • Delicious Bookmarks: I use to store anything that I might need to remember. Visit my bookmarks to see what I’ve been looking at. I also find the delicious home page and popular links a great place to find interesting sites.

  • Abduction: Whenever I want to evaluate a web pages’ design, I want to view the entire page, top to bottom, as seen by the browser, not the printer. Abduction allows you to convert all or part of a web page into an image.

TextMate: Textmate just makes coding easier. There are several bundles that I can’t live without:

  • GetBundle: GetBundle is a GUI for browsing and installing the MacroMate’s repository of TextMate Bundles. There is a great shell script for installing it. It can even check for updates to your bundles.
  • Subversion: Press ctrl-shift-a and have GUI access to nearly all the Subversion commands. Nice!
  • Python Django and Python Django Templates: There are some great shortcuts for writing common Django code. Not quite up-to-date with version 1.0, though.
  • JavaScript Tools: If you ever have to edit JavaScript, this bundle does can do a JSLint everytime you save and tell warn you of problems with your code.

Bitstream Vera Sans Mono: I love type, but monospaced fonts are usually not that nice to look at. Bitstream Sans Mono is beautiful in 11 or 12 point and antialiased. Bitstream Vera Sans/Serif/Sans Mono are freely available through the GNOME project. I convert the Terminal and TextMate default fonts to Bitstream Sans Mono 12 pt.

QuickSilver: The idea of “Act without doing” fits this program perfectly. I primarily use it as an Application/document launcher, but it can do so much more. There are several screencasts on how to use it better. To me, being able to ctrl-space, type a few characters, hit return and my application is launched is incredibly satisfying. The latest version for the Mac doesn’t require X11 and is fast. Easy to use and free.

Fluid: Fluid puts the App in WebApp. It is a site-specific browser that utilized the same Gecko rendering engine as Firefox. I use it for Google Reader, but you can use it for any website.

MacPorts: MacPorts is similar to apt-get for Debian/Ubuntu. It is an easy way to get some open source software installed on your Mac, with all the dependencies.

Porticus: A GUI for MacPorts that makes it a bit easier to see all variations of each package and search for available ports.

OmniGraffle Pro: If you want to make any type fo visual diagram, OmniGraffle is the perfect place to start. I diagram networks, web page wireframes, workflows, and hierarchies of any kind with it.

PostgreSQL: My database of choice. It used to be a pain to install in OS X, but this installer makes it a lot easier.

VirtualBox: Having an Intel Mac means you can virtualize other platforms. Instead of shelling out some dough for VMWare Fusion or Parallels, I tried Sun’s open source alternative. It works very well.

Subversion: Subversion was my first source control system and my favorite.

MacFUSE: MacFUSE comes with a built-in SSH-to-filesystem plugin. If you have a SSH account, you can mount it like a server and copy files back and forth.

Adium: We use IM a lot in our office. I happen to be coreyoordt at gmail if anyone is interested.

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