This will be a 3-part series celebrating some of my favorite apps in 2012: Mac apps, Mac & iOS crossover apps and iOS apps. These are apps that I use regularly. Not all of them are new, and it’s not even close to a comprehensive list; just a few I thought worth mentioning.
Great Mac apps for 2012
Sublime has become my editor of choice. It’s the reason I’m learning Python, and it’s the most flexible and powerful editor I’ve currently come in contact with. Once you get used to the un-Mac-like interface and memorize a few keyboard shortcuts, it’s fast and easy to code with, and even pretty good for writing Markdown.
This year’s update to Curio was pretty amazing. If you want a project management app that works with a less structured way of thinking, Curio is perfect for collecting all kinds of documents, brainstorms, notes and more. It has the ability to add due dates and progress reports and see overviews of projects in a very organized manner.
Simplify is my favorite music controller. It works with both Spotify and iTunes and will detect which is playing at the time. It shows cover art on the desktop (and you can customize it), provides global control hotkeys and a popup music info and control panel.
If you write documentation for screen-based procedures, Clarify is an amazing tool for quickly gathering screenshots, adding instructions and outputting PDF, HTML or even blog-based instructions. Also see ScreenSteps for more in-depth documentation and update management.
By far one of my favorite utilities of the year. It gets your menu bar items on your Mac under control, hiding things that you don’t need to see in a separate menu bar that can be hidden. Menu items that provide notifications can be set to show for a specified period of time before hiding again. It lets you control the position of each icon and can manage system icons as well. Worth every penny.
PopClip brings iOS style selection popups to the Mac. When you select some text, it pops up a contextually-aware, iOS-style hud that allows for copy, cut, paste and a multitude of custom actions. You can even build your own extensions for it.
Trickster offers a menu bar popup that shows you your most recent files and gives you easy access to them. Track downloaded files or files you saved from any application and forgot where you put them. It can sort by type and allows flagging and favorites.
FoldingText is the “sequel” to TaskPaper. It’s a fully-fledged Markdown editor that renders your markup inline. It has task list and timer capabilities, as well as advanced tools for scripting searches and manipulations. A text nerd’s playground.
Shush is my current microphone-muting tool of choice. With a very elegant menu bar interface, you can set it to push-to-talk or push-to-mute, and toggle between modes with a double tap on your Function key. Simple and powerful.
I’m not a big fan of linear outlines, but Tree turned that around for me. If you brainstorm, this is a vital tool that can visualize a standard outline in a more mindmap-like horizontal format. I elaborated a little bit earlier this year.
Slicy is a tool for web and application developers. It makes it possible to name layers in a Photoshop file with image names, mask and size them and then output all of the “sliced” images in one fell swoop. It even has tools for automating the process of generating @2x Retina images, as well as the ability to automatically regenerate images every time the PSD file changes.
LiveReload is another web design tool. It watches for changes in a project folder and updates web browsers as changes are detected. CSS and image changes can be inserted without refreshing the page. You can use a single script line in a page to make it work with any browser without requiring plugins, and you can refresh multiple pages in multiple browsers (including iOS simulators and devices) simultaneously. It also handles compiling SASS, LESS, CoffeeScript and more.
Very honorable mention to CodeKit, which excels in a few different areas. I use both, depending on the project.
Purple is an awesome tool for creating HTML5 animations. I’m using it as part of the development process for an iBookstore book I’m working on and it’s been indispensable. Keyframe animations, masking and all of the major tools you need to pull off advanced animations. It can also turn layered PSD files into layered animation projects.
I put Path Finder on the back burner this year, and TotalFinder has filled in the blanks for me. It extends Finder with a few tweaks, including tabs and dual-pane interface. Combined with Yoink, it makes a great lightweight Path Finder replacement.
Stay tuned for more apps. Next up: some great apps with both Mac and iOS versions for easy sync and data portability.