There are countless different ways to design a website, and a variety of different tools to make the job easier. These range from writing the raw code in an app such as TextWrangler to using an integrated environment such as Coda. There is a more visual route available as well, commonly called “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG), which aims to make designing a website a remarkably simple process.
An application called iWeb, part of the iLife suite, is probably already sitting on your Mac. If it doesn’t meet your needs, another popular tool is RapidWeaver – a long standing visual web editor with a decent range of features. This review will showcase the main capabilities of RapidWeaver and explain how easy it can be to have a website up and running in no time.
Suffering from data loss and crashing applications is, thankfully, a fairly uncommon occurrence on a Mac – but it still happens. There’s nothing more aggravating than losing a few hours of work, simply because you forgot to hit the save button. It happens to even the most proficient computer – we all suffer from “Untitled Document Syndrome” from time to time.
One new application aiming to combat our reluctance to save documents is EverSave, a free menu bar tool which can automatically save your open documents after a set time interval, or when switching between applications. The idea is a simple one, but could save you a real headache when you accidentally close an application without thinking. This review will provide an overview of EverSave, the various options and settings available, and a few areas which need further development.
I feel it’s safe to say that most of us are accustomed to using an application such as Photoshop for image editing. I’ve been using it for years, but have recently started to find that – for tasks such as editing images for the web – it’s far too feature packed and resource consuming for my needs.
I was intruiged to hear about Pixelmator, an OS X only image editing tool designed with speed, simplicity and a great user interface in mind. It lacks the raw power of Photoshop, but provides a great, flexible tool for graphics editing and photo manipulation. It’s a fairly recently launched app, but has already undergone several updates, adding widely requested functionality.
This review will take a look at the features offered by Pixelmator and let you know whether I think it’s a tool worthy of being branded a Photoshop competitor.
With the introduction of Spotlight and system wide smart folders, Apple took a big step forward in making your local files far easier to search and organize. Many complementary tools exist to help tag and label files, and Fresh is a new app which provides a simple way to display and interact with the most recently added/edited files on your Mac.
Fresh takes the form of a floating interface, showing a graphical list of recent files. You’re able to drag and drop a file from Fresh to anywhere in your system, double click a file to continue working with it, or store files in the ‘Cooler’, a virtual space for making regularly edited files easily accessible. This review will outline the main features of Fresh and show you how to download the app for free (usually $9).
I’ve always been a fan of running multiple monitors with my Mac, and firmly believe that extra screen estate can have a huge impact on increased productivity and reduced clutter. Extending your desktop is fairly straight forward with OS X, and providing you own a compatible display it’s easy to connect to a laptop or desktop machine.
However, there are a number of scenarios where adding a new monitor isn’t possible; extending to another machine screen (e.g. an old iMac or laptop), extending to a Windows computer, or running more than one additional monitor from a laptop. ScreenRecycler is a great little app which can extend your desktop over the network to any old computer and monitor, regardless of whether it’s running OS X or Windows. This review will outline the features of ScreenRecycler and explain how it works.
After posting a recent roundup of Mac applications for freelancers, I’ve decided to take a more in depth look at one tool in particular. Billings competes with many other similar apps for tracking the time you spend on a project, managing clients, and sending statements/invoices.
This review will focus on the main features of Billings, investigate how it enables easy time tracking, and outline how it simplifies communication with clients. I’ll also touch upon competing applications and web based software to help with similar tasks.
Web design, traditionally, is a task which requires many different applications. You’ll need some sort of text editor, an FTP client, software for navigating documents (generally Finder), a web browser for previewing your site and often another tool for storing code snippets. This has worked well for several years, and any attempt to re-invent such a traditional workflow is commendably risky.
Coda came on the scene just under two years ago as a piece of software capable of integrating each of these different tools into one monolithic application. It received a great deal of acclaim and has come a long way since its conception. This review is far from an “exclusive” – Coda has been covered many times elsewhere over the past few years – but it will go some way towards outlining the features which make it stand out from using several independent applications. I’ll explain the main workflow process, and give my opinion on what works brilliantly and what I miss from dedicated tools.
There are a number of different screenshot utilities for OS X, but none with the functionality and style offered by LittleSnapper. Produced by the developers behind RapidWeaver, LittleSnapper provides a tool for capturing inspirational websites or any area of your screen. It’s simple to organize hundreds of screenshots, exporting to a variety of different formats for use elsewhere. Innovative vector editing functionality allows you to annotate and edit screenshots through an incredibly simple interface.
If you regularly feel inspired when browsing the web, LittleSnapper is one way to keep track of all the information you come across. This review will delve into the application, outline the different features on offer, and provide a handy tip for keeping your inspiration in sync between multiple computers.
The day to day use of a computer always involves some form of writing. Whilst this may often be a short, snappy task (drafting an email, blog comment or twitter post), there are often times when you find yourself writing a longer piece of work. Plenty of software exists for assisting with word processing, but often creates more distraction than simplicity in its approach.
WriteRoom is an application which takes a completely different approach to writing, stripping away all the distractions you commonly find yourself faced with when using a Mac. It achieves this goal in a bold and novel way – by removing everything else on your screen. When activated, WriteRoom creates a full screen “writing environment”, a concept which has proven to be very well received by many writers:
“Unlike practically everything else in our digital lives, WriteRoom’s minimalist interface implies a truly flattering proposition: It’s you, not the software, that matters.” — Jeffrey MacIntyre, Slate
This review will outline the features and functionality of WriteRoom, explain how it integrates with your Mac, and fill you in on the accompanying iPhone application.
The gradual adoption of ‘cloud computing’ is leading many of us to move our information and data to a virtual space, rather than relying solely on a local disk. This has a whole host of advantages, coupled with the niggling uncertainty of trusting someone else with your files. Several pieces of software for the Mac (Dropbox and Mozy to name a couple) provide excellent integration of remote storage with OS X.
Syncplicity – already a strong player in this area for Windows – have today announced the Mac version of their synchronization and backup software. As a devout Dropbox user, and someone who has seen too many less-than-perfect Windows ports, I approached the Mac client with a level of skepticism. However, after speaking to the people behind Syncplicity and receiving a walkthrough of the app from Ondrej Hrebicek, I’ve had to re-consider my notion that it is very difficult to successfully port an application from Windows. Syncplicity is impressive.
Syncplicity enables easy collaboration and sharing across Macs, PCs, mobile devices, and the cloud. Combined with tools such as versioning and web application integration, Syncplicity provides a great range of features. Through integrating directly with the Finder, it is possible to tell the app to keep any – or every – folder in sync with your online storage space and another computer. I’ll be taking a look at the main features of Syncplicity, the interface, and explaining how it compares to similar applications such as Dropbox.