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October 25 2013

15:36

Setting Up a Mac Dev Machine From Zero to Hero With Dotfiles

Setting up a new machine can often be an exciting prospect. However, as developers, there are a lot of tools we need that don’t come as standard.

In this post, I’d like to go through some of the techniques I use to help set up my machine quickly, efficiently and with added super powers.


Introduction

After reading this article, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Quickly set up a new machine
  2. Enhance SSH’ing into a Linux box
  3. Easily absorb smart configs from other developers on GitHub
  4. Optionally share your setup with other developers and participate
  5. This is how all professional developers maintain their configurations

Before we begin, you’ll need some understanding of Git and using the command line. If you’re not sure what these are, I’d recommend looking over the following first:


Superhero Dotfiles

What if you could style Terminal, make the speed of Mission Control faster, run g instead of git, have tab autocomplete regardless of filename case, check for software updates daily, not just once per week? What if you could automate setting up all these features with a single script? Sound good? Then this post is for you.

In many respects setting up a new machine is very much down to personal taste. I’m always refactoring and re-evaluating and I’d advise you to do the same. Find out what works best for you and share your knowledge.

TL;DR: Invest time learning to configure your machine and automate processes, you’ll get that time back ten fold.

Dotfiles, so called because the filename begins with a . are found in the user’s home directory. These files are created as you install and configure your machine. I think of each dotfile as a superhero each containing its own super powers. I’m going to go over each superhero dotfile and the powers that lie within. But first…

There’s a lot to be said for the awesomeness of dotfiles, setting up configurations automatically and speeding up processes. It may be tempting to clone a repository and run dotfiles straight away, but I’d advise against this as the outcome may have undesired results.

Baby Steps

First of all I’d recommend cloning some existing dotfiles repositories. Doing so will allow you to start to understand the file structure and get an overview of the code. The following are GitHub repos of from some top developers who have shared their dotfiles:

It may seem daunting at first glance, but don’t panic, I’ll be going over each dotfile that I use when I setup a new machine. After reading this post, when you’ve got a better understanding of each file and what they can do I’d recommend creating your own repository and taking advantage of existing dotfiles to build it up. You can then add the files and code in that’s best going to suit your requirements.

As people generally name their dotfiles repo dotfiles I set the folder structure up like so:

└── dotfiles
    ├── mathias
    │   └── dotfiles
    │       ├── LICENSE-MIT.txt
    │       ├── README.md
    │       ├── bin
    │       │   ├── bash -> /usr/local/Cellar/bash/4.2.45/bin/bash
    │       │   ├── httpcompression
    │       │   └── subl -> /Applications/Sublime\ Text\ 3.app/Contents/SharedSupport/bin/subl
    │       ├── bootstrap.sh
    │       └── init
    │           └── Mathias.terminal
    ├── paulirish
    │   └── dotfiles
    │       ├── README.md
    │       ├── bin
    │       │   ├── github-email
    │       │   └── spot
    │       ├── install-deps.sh
    │       └── sync.sh
    └── simonowendesign
        └── dotfiles
            ├── bootstrap.sh
            ├── init
            │   ├── Mathias.terminal
            │   └── SolarizedDark.terminal
            ├── install-deps.sh
            └── readme.md

Here, I’m setting up a main folder called dotfiles, then a folder with the username and then the repo. The reason I recommend setting it up like this is to avoid confusion. Some of the code is fairly similar, so I find it useful to easily see whose code I’m looking at. For example if I had 4 or more repos all named ‘dotfiles’ this process would be much more difficult.

(Want to know how I output the folder structure like that? I used this awesome thing called tree, installed in the .brew file.)

Let’s break each file down and look at what’s going on.


Superhero Dotfiles and Their Super Powers

Dotfiles are split into two main types. Those that contain a set of commands and only run once, .osx for example runs a list of commands and gives OS X super powers. Other files such as .bash_profile and .bashrc run each time you open a new Terminal session and gives your Terminal super powers.

Here’s a run down of the dotfiles in my repo and a description of what they can do.

.brew

It’s best to run this first. Once it checks that Homebrew is up to date, it will be used to install useful tools such as tree.

brew install tree

Instead of having to go to a site and download an app, it’s also possible to automate the installation of some apps using brew-cask, such as:

brew cask install dropbox
brew cask install google-chrome

bootstrap.sh

This file is like turning the key in a car to start the engine.

When ran it will sync the local repo and the one on GitHub, then copy those files to your home folder, overriding any existing files if they exist.

Therefore, before running bootstrap.sh it’s a good idea to backup your existing dotfiles and save them somewhere else. A handy shortcut to get to your dotfiles in the Finder:

Finder > Cmd + Shift + g > ~

I use an app called TotalFinder, this adds some nice features to the Finder. Tabbed windows and a shortcut to show and hide hidden files for example I find very useful.

In bootstrap.sh you’ll notice source ~/.bash_profile. This means that if you run bootstrap.sh and have any Terminal windows open, your new settings will be applied without the need of a restart.

.bash_profile / .bashrc

When you open a new Terminal session, this file is loaded by Bash. It loads in the other dotfiles path,bash_prompt,exports,aliases,functions,extra and configures some useful settings such as auto correcting typos when using cd completion.

In some instances .bashrc can be loaded, so this file makes sure that .bash_profile is called.

I like my Terminal clean and clutter free, so I opt not to display the username / computer name at the top by default with this file.

Clean Terminal

.path

This file speeds up the process of running executable files. Rather than having to cd back and forth across various paths to executable files, you can set the file paths in your .path dotilfe and then run executable files directly.

Generally this file isn’t held in the public repo as it can contain sensitive information.

Here’s an example ~/.path file that adds ~/utils to the $PATH:
export PATH="$HOME/utils:$PATH"

.bash_prompt

Using this file you can customise and set the various colours of your Bash prompt.

.exports

Sets environment variables, such as setting Vim as the default editor using export EDITOR="vim". It also increases the amount of history saved, useful for backtracking over previous commands you’ve used.

.aliases

This file contains useful aliases to help you write less. For example instead of typing ‘cd ..‘ you can set it here to be ‘..‘. Starting to like these files yet? :)

.functions

Similar to aliases, except functions can take arguments.

Before when I mentioned I was looking over different dotfile repos, I did mkdir to create a directory. After that I’d then need to cd into that directory.

One example of a function I find useful is:

# Create a new directory and enter it
function mkd() {
    mkdir -p "$@" && cd "$@"
}

Now you can simply do mkd. Now, not only have you made the directory, you’re in the directory as well.

.extra

This file is used for adding your personal information and isn’t added to your repository in order to make sure someone doesn’t accidentally fork your project and then start committing using your details. Something nice to add in here would be your Git credentials.

.gitconfig

This file is only used by Git, i.e. only when a git command is invoked. So although there’s an .aliases file, those aliases are run directly.

In .aliases I have g set to git and in .gitconfig, s set to status -s.

Now instead of running:

git status -s

I can simply run:

g s

.gitignore

Set files that you’d like Git to ignore on the entire system. Yay, no more .DS_Store being accidentally committed!

.gvimrc

A small file that adds improves readability for gvim.

.hgignore

Simliar to .gitignore for Mercurial.

.hushlogin

In some instances, for example, when you ssh into a machine, you may be presented with a message. E.g.

                                    _
                                   | |
  _ __ ___  _   _    ___ ___   ___ | |  ___  ___ _ ____   _____ _ __
 | '_ ` _ \| | | |  / __/ _ \ / _ \| | / __|/ _ \ '__\ \ / / _ \ '__|
 | | | | | | |_| | | (_| (_) | (_) | | \__ \  __/ |   \ V /  __/ |
 |_| |_| |_|\__, |  \___\___/ \___/|_| |___/\___|_|    \_/ \___|_|
             __/ |
            |___/
 Welcome to my cool server.
 Any malicious and/or unauthorized activity is strictly forbidden.
 All activity may be logged.

This file prevents this from being shown.

.inputrc

Configures the ‘Readline environment’. This controls the way keys work when you’re entering a command into your shell.

An example of how I find this useful is to make tab autocomplete regardless of filename case:

set completion-ignore-case on

.osx

My favourite of all the dotfiles. It is run once manually for the commands to run and take effect. Depending on what you’ve added to this file, you may need to restart your machine.

Some of the awesome things I love:

  • Disable the “Are you sure you want to open this application?” dialog
  • Check for software updates daily, not just once per week
  • Disable Notification Center and remove the menu bar icon
  • Enable access for assistive devices
  • Set a blazingly fast keyboard repeat rate
  • Finder: allow quitting via ⌘ + Q; doing so will also hide desktop icons
  • When performing a search, search the current folder by default
  • Speed up Mission Control animations

.screenrc

If you use screen http://kb.iu.edu/data/acuy.html this removes the startup message.

.vimrc

I’m not that familiar with vim. However some of the things you can do with this file include Enabling line numbers and adding syntax highlighting.

Sounds like a good idea to me :)

.wgetrc

If you use wget http://www.gnu.org/software/wget/ this adds additional settings such as changing the timeout to 60 seconds rather than the default 15 minutes. It also sets the retry to 3, rather than the default 20!


Dotfiles Are Go!

At this point, I’ve gone over all the files and I’m at a stage where I’m happy with everything in my repo. Anything I wasn’t sure about has been commented out.

Now the exciting part! As it stands we have the dotfiles in a repo but we need to put them in the correct place so they can be found and used.

Think of it like this, we have Thor’s Hammer, Batman’s Utility Belt, Captain America’s Shield, Iron Man’s Suit. All of our heroes know how to use these, but without them they’re lost! We need to give our superheros their weapons so they can use them.

To do this (with my existing dotfiles backed up and my repo all up to date), open Terminal, cd to the repo and run

source bootstrap.sh

Next, cd to ~ and run:

source .osx

Quick restart and… Awesome, super powers are now available!!!


Additional Super Powers

Rupa Z

Do you spend lots of time doing things like this?

cd this/is/the/path/that/i/want/so/i/type/it/all/out/to/get/whereiwant

What if instead you could just do this:

z whereiwant

Yes please. Thank you https://github.com/rupa/z.

To add this, in .bash_profile I added:

# init z https://github.com/rupa/z
. ~/z/z.sh

And also in install-deps.sh:

cd
git clone https://github.com/rupa/z.git
chmod +x ~/z/z.sh

Reverting Things

When you run your dotfiles for the first time, you may find you don’t like a piece of code that has been ran.

For example in the .osx file, I wasn’t too keen with what the following code did:

defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool true

This code changed the opacity on hidden apps in the dock.

To simply revert this behavior to its default state I simply ran the command again, this time changing true to false, as so:

defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool false

This set it back to default.

With most commands it’s quite obvious to revert the command by simply changing true to false or vice versa. With others it’s possible to set back to default using defaults delete e.g. defaults delete NSGlobalDomain AppleHighlightColor. In some instances you may also need to restart the machine.

Custom .osx Commands

For the more advanced dotfile master.

As you gain more knowledge and confidence using dotfiles, you may want to include your own code.

On a new machine if you find you’re manually changing settings, these would be best automated.

To add your own .osx commands can get a bit tricky!

But generally this is a good place to start:

https://github.com/mathiasbynens/dotfiles/issues/5#issuecomment-4117712

  • defaults read > a
  • Change the setting
  • defaults read > b
  • diff a b

Doing this creates a file called a and b then displays the difference between them, with this knowledge you can then open up the file b in Sublime Text 2, search for the bit that changed and try and work out the command to change it. If you try out this method, good luck!


Conclusion

So, there you have it! Go forth, have fun with dotfiles, look forward to giving your machine super powers and the next time you need to set up a machine from scratch, you can smile to yourself as the whole process is automated.

Thanks very much for stopping by, please comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.

I’m especially interested to see your own .dotfiles repos and any new additions you make, so feel free to add a link to your dotfiles repo in the comments below.

Special Thanks

This blog post wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful help from the community, special thanks to @mathias, @paul_irish, @reybango and @AndrewPerkins.

August 26 2013

14:37

13 Awesome And Useful Mac Apps For Developer

With this collection, we aim to showcase some of the awesome and truly helpful Mac apps that will help developers a lot. Developers constantly need a lot of apps and tools in order to organize their work and hence increase their productivity. With the use of helpful and time saving apps, developers can design different types of applications for our use. In this collection, we have collected 13 awesome and great Mac apps that every developer must check out.

Do not forget to share your opinions, comments and suggestions with us via comment section below. Also, feel free to share this post with your friends as well as on social networking websites. Enjoy!

Mobdis

Now you can expand into mobile marketing with our tool that lets you create impressive mobile sites easily.

Alfred

Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords and file actions at your fingertips.

Net Beans

Quickly and easily develop desktop, mobile and web applications with Java, HTML5, PHP, C/C++ and more. NetBeans IDE is FREE, open source, and has a worldwide community of users and developers.

Little Ipsum

The best Latin text generator for OS X. Incredibly quick and lightweight.And it’s completely free!

D Term

Command line work isn’t a separate task that should live on its own—it’s an integrated part of your natural workflow. DTerm provides a context-sensitive command line that makes it fast and easy to run commands on the files you’re working with and then use the results of those commands.

Css Hat

SS Hat is a simple and highly useful Photoshop plugin that generates CSS3 based on your Photoshop layer styles.

Coda

You code the web. We revolutionized that process in Coda, putting everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. But we knew we could do better.

Code Kit

CodeKit helps you build websites faster and better. Its flagship features are listed below and the one-minute teaser video to the right is a good place to start.

Flow

Flow is an award-winning, beautiful, fast, and reliable FTP + SFTP client. With URL Copying, Droplets, a built-in editor, and QuickLook, it’s no wonder why Flow is the go-to choice for those who want the best.

X Scope

Created specifically for designers & developers, xScope is a powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting & testing on-screen graphics and layouts.

Spark 2

Spark is a powerful, and easy Shortcuts manager. With Spark you can create Hot Keys to launch applications and documents, execute AppleScript, control iTunes, and more. You can also export and import your Hot Keys library, or save it in HTML format to print it.

Clipboard History

Clipboard History is a very simple and straightforward application that keeps your history of copied items, and provides a configurable hotkey so you can paste them inside of any app. These items can be images, text or a mix of them (rich text, like PDFs and HTML).

Fluid App

Web applications like Gmail, Facebook, Campfire and Pandora are becoming more and more like desktop applications every day. Running each of these web apps in a separate tab in your browser can be a real pain.

December 17 2011

19:35

Introducing Nettuts+ Builder – Version 2

We’re pleased to announce the release of Version 2 of Nettuts+ Builder, a Mac app that handles the process of concatenating and compressing your assets, optimizing your CSS by running it through Prefixr.com, and uploading to your FTP server.


What Exactly Does it Do?

Intended for small projects and demos, all you need to do is drag your project folder onto Builder’s icon in the menu bar. Once you do so, it will:

  • Concatenate all scripts that are contained within <!-- js --> .. <!-- end js --> comments.
  • Concatenate all stylesheets that are contained within <!-- css --> .. <!-- end css --> comments.
  • Compress all CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files.
  • Run your CSS through Prefixr.com
  • Organize folder structures, if necessary
  • Optionally upload to a directory on your server.

See it in Action


Availability

Nettuts+ Builder V2 is currently available free to all Tuts+ Premium members.


December 04 2011

10:00

Are We Ready For The Cloud?

Now we can’t imagine life without computers in our bags and smartphones in our pockets. Humans have now become ‘obsessed’ with connectivity. But how do we keep our gadgets and devices organized? How do we manage both our business and personal data across devices?

This is when today’s ‘hottest’ service in technology comes in. Cloud computing is a service whereby shared resources, data, and software are provided to computers and other devices over a network, usually via the internet. Apple’s version is the iCloud, which upon its introduction has replaced Apple’s MobileMe. Apple iCloud was introduced by Steve Jobs during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June of 2011–an event that announced the OS X Lion and the iOS 5 for the iPod, iPhone and the iPad.

iCloud in a Nutshell


iCloud, simply put, is a hard drive in the sky. It allows you to quickly access your data from your devices: Macbook, PC, iPhone, iPod and iPad. This data can be anything and everything you can think of: your music, applications, contacts and photos across all your devices. As long as you are connected, you can access your important images and documents when you’re on the go.

Image from Lets Go Ditigal

Cloud storage is not a new concept. It has been around for a while, but since iCloud’s introduction it has become a growing tech trend. Through cloud computing, cloud storage provides password-protected access to your online storage space. Cloud storage can be used as additional space and a back up copy of your hard drive. Moreover, it is an effective way to make the files available to your other gadgets and devices.

iCloud is not the first online storage service by Apple. MobileMe preceded iCloud, and offered synchronization services at an annual fee. MobileMe was created to ensure synchronization of data between all devices–including e-mails, calendars, contacts, photos, and iWeb and iDisk services. Apple then revamped MobileMe, merging its features with their newly offered Apple iCloud service. Since then iCloud has replaced MobileMe, with more features and more flexibility.

Like MobileMe, the biggest advantage of iCloud is its Apple software integration. This makes the iCloud the most practical cloud storage choice, especially if you own mostly Apple products: Macbook, iPod, iPad, iTouch, the like. It ensures that all data is continuously synchronized while connected to the internet. The iCloud can even include Apple devices owned by your family members and household, too.

The iCloud is now available to all Mac devices in the iOS 5 operating system, and Macs with the OS X Lion operating system. iCloud is free and comes with all the new devices. After getting an account for iCloud, you get 5 gigabytes worth of storage, for free. iCloud backups happen when you’re not using the device.

But, is iCloud Ready for Us?


iCloud does not offer the option to stream your music and videos from the cloud (as of writing). It would’ve been great if users could have the option to play the media content directly instead of the need to download it first. Partial backups are made while you are sleeping, and changes include personal device settings, text messages, ring tones, app data, e-books, videos and apps you bought from iTunes. In addition, backups are done automatically in case you upgrade your OS or new hardware.

iCloud still isn’t perfect, though. One example: iCloud users are limited to the software designed to access that particular cloud. iCloud service is available as long as you have internet access, but still requires an application to manage and synchronize the connection to your data.

The Photo Stream still has many flaws. iCloud only syncs and spreads photos taken during the past 30 days. Which is annoying especially if you want to look at pictures from more than the past 30 days–maybe you want to show off your daughter’s graduation months ago or remember last year’s family reunion. It can be an inconvenience that Photo Stream doesn’t have this option. Aside from that, you can’t delete anything off the Photo Stream–just hope you do not sync any embarrassing or scandalous photos accidentally.

The first 5 GB is free, but if the free storage space is no longer sufficient, you can get iCloud storage plans at $20 a year (15 GB), $40 a year (25 GB) and $100 a year (55 GB).

There are still some flaws and gaps here and there. it’s limited in features, but still quite convenient to use. It’s useful, fantastic as a free back up service but not yet worth the money for a storage plan. The big ‘boom’ moment for Apple didn’t come with the iCloud yet.

Other iCloud Alternatives


Box.com

One of its most promising features is its recent availability to the iOS; making it a good contender as Apple’s main competitor. While iCloud boasts in keeping your apps, photos, music and videos in place, it is certainly flawed in sharing documents with others. Box on the other hand, is a champ and it even comes with the Google Docs integration.Upon downloading and signing up, you get a whooping 50 GB of free storage space–now compare that to iCloud’s meager 5 GB. Moreover, Box allows you to stream photos and music from the cloud to the AppleTv via Airplay. It cannot accept bigger uploads more than 100 mb– but at a staggering 50 GB of free storage, we’re not complaining at all.

Amazon Cloud Driver

The Amazon Cloud Driver is similar to the iCloud in terms of services and purchasing content. However, the former is more indiscriminate in a particular OS, so it does well on both Mac and PC but it doesn’t have the deep OS integration iCloud offers on the Mac and iOS systems. After sign up you get 5 GB of free storage. If you need more space, Amazon offers storage plans at 20 GB to 1000 GB. Now, you don’t have to worry about losing your files if your hard drive crashes, or gets lost or stolen.


Dropbox

Dropbox does not offer iCloud’s deep Mac OS integration, but is compatible with the Mac, Windows, Linux and all major devices the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android phones. Dropbox offers 2 GB free storage space upon signing up. It offers storage plans up to 100 GB for subscriptions. Unlike the iCloud, all types of stored files will be counted against your total storage space limit.

SkyDrive

This is Microsoft’s version of the iCloud, but designed more to sharing documents, photos and videos between multiple users.SkyDrive offers free storage for up to 25 GB. SkyDrive offers integration with Microsoft products, just as iCloud is with Apple.

November 28 2011

10:00

How The Smartphone Invasion Changed The Way We Live

Have you ever went out and realized that you left your smartphone at home? You may feel panicked, maybe even a separation anxiety though you’ve only gone an hour without your phones. These reactions are common, and clear evidence that phones have taken over our lives.

Smartphones have secured a strong place in our lives. We take them everywhere with us, 24/7–even to bed. Smartphones are already an extension of us, an important limb to our body. If phones are taken away from us even for a day, we feel naked, like we can’t function as well without it.

Smartphones have made us more sociable. Or, is it the other way around?

In the workplace, on dates, on parties, even during religious meetings, we bring our phones with us. ‘Mind if I take this?’ is a common phrase we hear everywhere. It seems like now, calls can’t wait until later. Are smartphones merely a fad? Or will it influence humankind’s way of living and communicating?

Analyzing the Numbers

Take a look at today’s teenagers: they sit in front of the TV, texting with their friends or posting a status update on Facebook with their smart phone. During commercials, they pass time by playing Angry Birds on their iPad. This is the life of today’s teenagers. It’s found that the age group consumes 10.5 hours of media in a day, according to Credit Suisse. If this research is really true, the statistics can be a bit worrying.

A telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, from the UK did research about smartphone usage:

  • 37% adults and 60% teenagers admit to being addicted to smartphones.
  • 51% adults and 65% teenagers say they use their smartphones to socialize with others.
  • Many smartphone users use their phones during mealtimes, in bed, and even in the bathroom.
  • 58% males own a smartphone, compared to 42% females.
  • Majority of adults prefer the Apple iPhone, while majority of teenagers prefer the BlackBerry.
Today’s generation is simultaneously consuming various media using things like the iPad, TV, laptop and smartphones. Essentially, today’s youth are now better at multi-tasking, doing many things at the same time. On the down side, we are also very easily distracted. Our lack of concentration can be attributed to the many stimuli in our environment.

Around the world, smartphones now represent 24% of all mobile phone sold around the world, which is up from 15% last year. In the next year, we could expect the numbers to go up to 50% and in a few years, every phone will be a smartphone.

Addiction to smartphones and the internet isn’t uncommon. There are even clinics for internet addicts 0n the other side of the world, South Korea. What is the root of our new found dependability on a tiny gadget?

How the iPhone Revolutionized Smartphones

Phones, for more or less a decade, have been the chosen method of communication. But now, their scope has increased by leaps and bounds, thanks to the iPhone. Smartphones now allow us to stay connected to the internet 24/7, we can connect through social networking sites and blogs wherever and whenever. This phenomenon is fairly new, having started 4 years ago with the introduction of the first iPhone.

The iPhone 4 is currently the bestselling smartphone in the market, but few people know how the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry. It has changed our behavior. We no longer need a calculator to do our math–the iPhone can do that for you. We don’t need the weatherman for our weather forecasts–iPhone does a better job at that.

The App Store, particularly, has been a game changer in the industry. This feature allows users to get free or paid applications for gaming, productivity, literature, music, entertainment and more. Users have the option to update their software and applications, so the iPhone doesn’t get obsolete very fast. Other mobile companies such as Google, Microsoft and Palm have their own App Store versions to emulate the success found by Apple.

The Apple iPhone is quite a unique case such that it has kept its selling price constant since its first release in June 2007. Apple has sold more than 100 million iPhone’s in the past four years. Growth in other countries such as China has reached to 600%.

Apple seems very intent on destroying the PC for good, and is so far doing a great job. The Cloud allows you to keep all your data on the internet, to be readily available for your PCs, tablets, smartphones, etc. There will come a time when you no longer need those bulky hard drives, as Apple’s iCloud makes local storage less important.

Will Smartphones Replace the PC?

In a few years’ time, many of the gadgets will be obsolete because of the smartphone: the calculator, telephone, voice recorder, alarm clock, video camera and even the flashlight. In a few years time it may also replace the PC.

There are already apps for anything and everything you need. Need help with your diet? There’s an app for that. Need to make graphs and tables? Yup, they have it. To-do lists for your daily tasks? Of course. As Apple always says: ‘I have an app for that!’

There are a few weaknesses with smartphones, however. For one, they cannot compare with the PC when it comes to gaming. Limited storage equals limited features, and thus they lose when it comes to hardcore gaming, photo manipulation, 3D animation, video editing, and such. So while smartphones rule in convenience and instant connectivity, they cannot yet compete with PC’s extensive gaming, editing, and others.

Smartphones can do the most necessary tasks that you can do with your PC. It can connect to the internet, use social networking sites, and organize our lives. Thus they’re fast replacing the PC, which used to be the most irreplaceable piece of technology in our lives. But now we see that smartphones are now quickly catching up. PCs have always sold more than smartphones. At the start of 2010, 85 million computers were sold as compared to 55 million smartphones. Many analysts predict that a crossover will happen by 2012–instead, by the end of 2010, 94 million PCs as compared to 100 million smartphones. Where PC sales have gone stagnant, smartphones continue to grow rapidly in sales. Smartphones have come a long way, and many believe that this trend won’t ever reverse.

Despite the growth of smartphones, manufacturers put little emphasis on security. Teenagers make up the largest demographic of smartphone users, and have little concern about hackers and identity thieves. There are still some features that need to be improved (battery life, most specifically). Maybe in the future we can see features to make the smartphone more powerful such as solar battery charging, built-in projectors, 3D imaging, even fingerprint scanners for online buying.

Smartphones are still a fairly young technology with plenty of room to grow. In a few years time, they could be obsolete–or they could make us even more dependent on them than before. For now, it’s a waiting game, and nothing is ever predictable in this world. Right now smartphones are in and PCs are out–a trend that might or might not change. Overall, smartphones are a huge contender in becoming the most influential invention of the decade; and they show no signs of slowing down.

November 09 2011

10:00

Three Great Decades: The Interesting History Of Apple

Apple is the brainchild of one of the greatest innovators of history, Steve Jobs. His passing was unexpected and early; but he has left us with enough wealth in knowledge. Steve Jobs changed the way we listen to music, communicate with people and interact with our gadgets. Apple created a new way of thinking… no, Apple created a whole new way of living.

Humble Beginnings

Apple was founded by the ‘two Steves: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They were two very different teenagers, but both are geniuses in their own way. Both Steve’s grew up in San Jose, California– now better known as Silicon Valley.

Before they became billionaires and founders of the coolest company in the world, they were teenage outcasts. Three decades ago the two Steve’s were mere college dropouts, Jobs from Reeds and Wozniak from Berkeley. The two Steve’s met at Hewlett-Packard, while Jobs was working as a summer employee and Wozniak as a calculator manufacturer.

The Woz was an especially gifted engineer of his time, making and selling illegal devices that he made. One particular device allowed users to make free long distance calls (which was a big deal in the 1970s  when long distance calls were expensive). Wozniak had done so by hacking into AT&T’s long distance network. An ironic beginning if you think of it, since AT&T is now perhaps one of Apple’s most important business partners.

Later on, Jobs convinced Wozniak to make self-made computers with him. While Steve Wozniak merely enjoyed creating machines, Jobs had always seen the marketability of personal computers. To start their own company, they sold their most precious possessions. Jobs sold his Volkswagen Bus and Wozniak sold his programmable HP calculator. They gathered $1,250 and started their business in Jobs’ basement.

Start of the Great Company

It was in Steve Jobs’ tiny basement that they invented the first personal computer. On April Fool’s Day, 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak released the first Apple I computer and started the company Apple Computers.

The first Apple machine made use of a TV as a display system–a great addition since most machines of the time had no display at all. Text was faster than teleprinter at that time, typing at 60 characters per second. It also had a bootstrap code on ROM for easy start-up. Like a car, the Apple I computer had a hood that the owner could open up and tinker with the machine. Users were encouraged to open and tinker with the computer; to make it better, to make it faster and to add some features.

Byte Shop, a local computer shop, offered to buy 50 of the computers if it came fully assembled, paying US $500 each. The two couldn’t afford to pay for the components, so Jobs approached Cramer Electronics to get components on 30 day terms. With that, the two Steve’s spent days on end building the computers, delivered it on time and paid his supplier with a neat profit for their efforts and for the next order.

Steve Jobs invited Ronald Wayne, a 41-year-old former colleague from Atari to join in their Apple start-up. Jobs offered Wayne 10% of the company, although he kept his job at Atari and worked for Apple at night. The partnership with Ronald Wayne didn’t last long, though. Twelve days after Apple’s release, Ronald Wayne sold his 10% share for US $800. A meager sum if you consider the fact that Wayne’s 10% share would’ve been worth US $35.3 billion today.

1977 – 1980s: Fast Growth

After Apple I, Wozniak now thought about making a bigger and better machine. Since they now had the money from the sales on their first computer, Wozniak moved on and made an improved version, the Apple II. The computer was presented on April 16, 1977 during the West Coast Computer Fair. A Japanese chemist named Toshio Mizushima became interested in the Apple II prototype, and later on became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan.

Image from Old Computers

The Apple II, also known as the Apple ][, became known as the most popular computer of all time. The TV interface was completely redesigned. It could handle text, graphics, and later on, color. It became more ready-to-use than its predecessor, since the Apple I required you to plug parts together & type the code to run the program.

Image from Tony Olsen

By this time Apple needed more money to grow as a company. The solution came from an angel investor named Mike Markkula, who was referred to him by Don Valentine and in turn was referred to by Regis McKenna. Valentine, after first meeting the young and unkempt Jobs, told McKenna: ‘Why did you send me this renegade from the human race?’ He was uninterested in funding Apple, but recommended Markula. Jobs visited him and convinced the would-be investor the market potentials of personal computers. Markkula invested $92,000 in Apple and a bank loan of US $250,000.

Markkula held a huge influence particularly in the formative years of Apple. Wozniak even credits Markkula for Apple’s success more than himself. He provided the adult supervision to the young Jobs and Wozniak. He served as a mentor to Jobs teaching him the the ins and outs of business and management. Aside from helping the company obtain credit and capital, he brought in Michael Scott to be the first president and CEO of Apple. He promised his wife to stay at the venture for four years, he eventually stayed for two decades. Markkula is responsible for recommending the floppy disk drive, after Markkula discovered that the checkbook balancing program he had written was too slow on the data cassette.

Apple’s most famous success is the famed Macintosh. It was the first computer to successfully use a graphic user interface and mouse. The series was thought of by Jef Raskin, an Apple employee who envisioned a low-cost, user-friendly computer for the everyday customer. Macintosh was named after Raskin’s favorite type of apple. Jobs was working on his own Lisa computer during this time, but immediately took over the Macintosh project when the failure of Lisa was clear and the future of Macintosh was bright. See the 1984 Macintosh ad here.

Image from Quality in Print

By 1980s Jobs was still young and unexperienced. He made many marketing mistakes that greatly affected Apple sales. Jobs still lacked the discipline to run the company . Thus Jobs lured Sculley away with the pitch: ‘Do you want to sell sugar-water for the rest of your life or come with me & change the world?’

Jobs and Sculley during their 'friendlier' days

 Sculley was believed to be the perfect choice into bringing business success, stability and management know-how into the company. He raised the Macintosh price from US $1,995 to US $2,495, to use the extra money for advertising campaigns.

There was an internal power struggle in Apple–Sculley and Jobs regularly clashed. Sculley was traditional, but Jobs was more non-linear: he held meetings after midnight, and called new meetings early in the morning. In the end, the board of directors including Mike Markkula sided with Sculley. Jobs left Apple consequently, his pride in tatters.

The Era of Apple without Jobs

Come 1990s, the IBM PC was now dominating the operating system industry. Apple tried to battle the PC threat by introducing Quadra, Centris and Performa. The new Macintosh computers failed miserably, partly due to poor marketing, plus too many models introduced with minor differences in the tech specs. Aside from the computers, Apple released an early personal digital assistant or PDA (they coined that term, in fact) called the Newton. The venture failed, but it would later be the inspiration for future handheld devices such as the Pocket PC and Palm Pilot.

Image from Tony Olsen

By this time, Apple was considered ‘one of the worst managed companies in the industry’. John Sculley was then replaced by  Michael Spindler, and in turn by Gil Amelio. Stock value was low, and the company was losing billions of dollars. There was no visionary to lead them. How could Apple survive when the founders are no longer active?

Meanwhile, Jobs acquired Pixar, a visual effects and animation company. Soon afterwards he founded another company called NeXT. The computer venture did not succeed because of its high price, but it later became the basis for the Mac OS X. It also became the initial platform for Tim Berners-Lee with inventing the World Wide Web concept.

Apple’s Renaissance

Since Steve Jobs’ comeback, Apple regained its former enthusiastic spirit. From 1998 to 2000, their sales were slowly but surely rising. One of Jobs’ first moves as CEO was to develop the iMac, with the integrated CRT display and CPU in a clean, streamlined design. The computer was a huge success, selling one million units a year. There was a resurgence of Apple products and the company started to focus on the design and aesthetics of its products.

Advertisement for the Apple iMac. (Image from Tony Olsen)

Later on, the company would introduce other innovative products like the iBook and the Power Mac G4. It also introduced the new operating system Mac OS X, which had been based on NeXT.

But the boom of Apple’s success today can be traced back to one gadget: the iPod. It was released on October 23, 2001 The iPod can store ’1,000 songs in your pocket’. It was Apple’s first venture in digital music players, a gamble that paid off so well that it led to other innovative products: the iPod Mini, Shuffle, Classic, Nano, and later the iPod Touch, iPhone and the iPad.

In fact, Apple revolutionized the music industry. It created a new music download service, the iTunes Store, with music downloads of only $0.99 per song or $9.99 per album. The iTunes Store was launched in 2003, and garnered 2,000,000 downloads in 2 weeks, all purchased on Mac computers. Apple later released a Windows version for iTunes, further expanding their market base.

The iTunes Store did not stop at that. They later provided free and paid videos and applications for downloads for the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Today’s Apple products are simple, clean and minimalist. Everything is simplified: all the unnecessary features are taken out and only the essentials remain. And because of its style and simplicity, Apple created a huge fan following and has grown exponentially over the decade.

On May 26, 2010, the stock market of value of Apple overtook that of Microsoft. It was the only time in 20 years that Microsoft was lower than Apple, which would’ve seem ‘unimaginable’ 10 years ago.

On August 25, 2011, news went out that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO of Apple, and would be succeeded by Tim Cook. On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer.

The Bright Future of Apple

What are Apple’s most recent plans? The iPhone 4S, the Mac OS 5 and the iCloud, for starters. The iPhone 4S is quite exciting, especially the Siri feature. Siri lets you use your voice to command various functions: send messages, make calls, schedule meetings and more. Siri can recognize your voice, understand what you say, and can even talk back. If you don’t believe us, you can see the video here.

Before Jobs’ death, he recently unveiled Apple’s plans for their new headquarters in Cupertino. The modern and futuristic building allows room for 12,000 employees. It is environmentally friendly and will use renewable energy sources and trees will be abundant in the area. The company hopes to move to the new headquarters by 2015.

Indeed, the passing away of Jobs was too early and too unexpected. But the timing couldn’t have been more right–the iPhone and iPad were a huge success that it surpassed the company’s expectations in revenue and profit. Apple can finally stand on its own, ready to conquer the future without the help of Jobs’ regular involvement. After Jobs, Cook is now the CEO as design genius Jonathan Ive and marketing mastermind Phil Schiller, and they will continue to surprise and inspire us.

September 16 2011

10:00

Top 20 Widgets for Your Macbook

When it comes to the age old Mac-vs-PC argument, among the most innovative features that sets the Macbook apart is the Dashboard. The Dashboard a virtual toolbox where every Mac user can place their tools or weapons of choice. Whatever type of user you are – a designer, writer, businessman or a student – you can benefit greatly from the Dashboard. The Dashboard is essentially a semi-transparent layer that hosts mini-applications called ‘Widgets’.

Widgets are small applications in the Dashboard designed to perform a single task. Widgets can be useful, productive, necessary or just plain fun. Here are the top  free widgets we collected for every kind. They can be rearranged, deleted and added according to the user’s preference. Aside from the Dashboard, you can also place widgets on your Apple Desktop.

For the Web Designer

Dashboard widgets are a great help to web designers and web developers for they greatly increase time efficiency and productivity. They make things faster and easier, a kind of ‘cheat sheet’ for the designers.

SiteStatus

This widget is handy for all web developers to check if the server or the site is currently online or not.

CSS Cheat Sheet

displays the essentials of CSS coding from the CSS Cheat Sheet.

Loremify

A sleek Lorem Ipsum generator that instantly copies to your clipboard in one click. It has an HTML mode and toggle HTML tags.

HSLider

Awesome widget for the CSS web designer, the HSLider generates the selected color into a CSS–hex, RGB and HSL.

Symbol Caddy

The Symbol Caddy is a useful tool for getting common special characters and HTML codes in a flash. The Keyboard mode copies characters to your clipboard while the HTML mode copies the HTML code. This makes the work process a lot faster.

HTML Tidy Widget

The widget cleans up your HTML code right from your dashboard. Simply enter your HTML code on the space provided, click, and your HTML is tidied up, getting rid of the errors and warnings and turning it into a valid HTML, XHTML or XML code. Pretty awesome tool if you ask me.

For the Businessman

Businessmen are always moving and on the go, thus their Dashboard should be matched by equally fast and informational widgets to aid them in their business.

iStocks

A great widget for businessmen, investors, even speculators, who want to see instant quotes on international stocks, indices and currencies.

The Wall Street Journal Online

Always be in the know of the latest business financial news through Wall Street Journal Online.

RevenuSense


RevenuSense is especially useful to the entrepreneurs and businessmen engaged in online marketing and e-commerce. It keeps track of your Adsense reports for the day and for the whole month.

Currency Converter

Provides quick calculation of over 200 currencies in the world, even the old currencies like the Italian Lira or the French franc. Very necessary widget especially when doing international business transactions. The widget automatically updates the exchange rate every time the computer connects online.

For the Everyday User

The Weather Channel Widget

Checking the weather before planning on that family fishing trip this weekend. Aside from relying on the local weather news, you can download this handy widget. The widget displays the weather conditions on your selected area.

Happy Birthdays!


This widget shows all the birthdays of your contacts in your address book, their birthday, the number of days to go, and their age. There’s no excuse for you to forget a birthday ever again.

Twidget

The Twidget is everybody’s favorite widget, since everybody now has a Twitter account. It’s fast, it’s reliable and it’s awesome. Plus, it’s free.

Delivery Status


Delivery Status is an all-in-one delivery tracker. Simply key in your tracking number and it will automatically update where your package is and when it’s arriving. Now you’ll never have to check the various websites to track your package again and again. Being an avid online shopper, this is one of my most necessary widgets on my dashboard.

Milk The Cow

Everyone needs to-do lists. Everyone. So, the ‘Milk the Cow’ widget is perfect for adding your tasks and to-dos in one simple Mac widget.

For the Constantly Bored

Warning: These fun widgets can be addicting, resulting in decreased productivity and time.

Xbox Live Friends

Xbox displays your online Xbox friends even while you’re at work doing something else. It displays the online status, game score and the game they’re playing.

Tigergotchi

Wouldn’t it be cool to have your own pet tiger? Now you can have a tiger as a virtual pet in your Mac.  Feed them with food, water and love and they will happily live in your Dashboard.

Sudoku

Sudoku is a logic puzzle, commonly a 9×9 grid divided into 9 3×3 sub-grids. Just like a Crossword, it’s a great way to pass time if you’re bored and have nothing to do, which might come in handy during long waits, flight delays, etc.

Pirate Translator

Translate boring English into Pirate language. It’s a totally nonsense and silly widget, but it’s hilarious.

Scenario Poker


Simply a Texas Hold ‘em Poker widget with three rounds and 27 simulated opponents. If you win, you advance to the next round. If you run out of chips, you lose. A great way to keep yourself entertained during lunch breaks.

June 23 2011

17:12

New Initiative: Nettuts+ Apps

Advertise here

Have you ever been working on a coding project, and thought to yourself, “There must be an easy way to automate this repetitive task.”? I know I have! That’s why, here at Nettuts+, we’ve begun an initiative to release desktop apps that are tailor-made for web developers.


Nettuts+ Structurer Pro

Structurer allows you to rapidly create directory structures with ease.

  • Always find yourself manually creating the same files and directories? Not anymore.
  • Need to download the latest version of the CodeIgniter framework? Or how about WordPress? With Structurer, it can be done in two seconds!
  • Need to assign custom text to new files – for example, adding a base plugin snippet to a JavaScript file? That’s a cinch in Structurer!

Windows User Instead?

In that case, Nettuts+ author, Jeremy McPeak, created a Windows version!

Blueprinter makes creating file system structures simple less time consuming.


Nettuts+ Builder

Nettuts+ Builder turns the process of compressing scripts and stylesheets, and uploading a project to your server into as simple a process as possible.

Let’s say that you finished a coding project or demo. Simply drag the folder onto the Builder menu icon, and it will:

  • Create a new “Publish” directory
  • Compress all JavaScript files
  • Compress all Stylesheets
  • Optionally upload them, via FTP, to a designated folder on your server.

If you’ve found yourself manually compressing your files and uploading them to your server, this automates the entire process!


But We’re Just Getting Started…

This is only the first step. In addition to some exciting updates to the two apps above, we’ll also working on new apps for the community. I can’t wait to show you them when they’re ready! More importantly, though, I’d like to know what you would like us to build! What would save you time when coding?

I’m currently searching for a Windows app developer to create the counter-part to Nettuts+ Builder (and presumably future apps). If you’re an independent developer, and have some samples, let me know in the comments, and I might hire you!

Tags: News apps mac

April 08 2011

18:15

“Structurer Pro” for Premium Members


Today, exclusive to our Premium members, we’re pleased to released the best version yet of Structurer: Structurer Pro. Not only have we implemented commonly requested features, such as export and import options, but we’ve also added a new “menu” option, which will allow you to create your directory and file structures with maximum speed and efficiency.


What’s New in Structurer Pro

New Features in Structurer Premium

  • Added Structurer Menu app.
  • Importing & Exporting System – Implemented in XML, easy to edit.
  • New Preferences
  • Ask before deleting database entries
  • Structurer Premium and Menu share the same database – Both apps are always synced.
Structurer Menu

While the base version of Structurer will continue to remain free to all, this turbo-charged version is exclusive to our Premium Tuts+ members who afford us with the ability to continue releasing free content across our sites day after day. Thank you and enjoy!

Tags: News mac Premium

March 16 2011

22:16

Speed up your Workflow in the Terminal: New Premium Tutorial


The terminal is great, especially for web development, but typing out long, obscure commands and directories deep in the filesystem can get tedious. Aliases and functions allow you to create short, memorable names for commands you type all the time. In this Premium video tutorial, we will learn how to create and use both of these to speed up your command line workflow.

Sign up for Tuts Premium to view this tutorial, as well as hundreds of other advanced tutorials and screencasts.


Join Net Premium

NETTUTS+ Screencasts and Bonus Tutorials

For those unfamiliar, the family of Tuts+ sites runs a premium membership service. For $9 per month, you gain access to exclusive premium tutorials, screencasts, and freebies from Nettuts+, Psdtuts+, Aetuts+, Audiotuts+, Vectortuts+, and CgTuts+ For the price of a pizza, you’ll learn from some of the best minds in the business. Become a Premium member to read this tutorial, as well as hundreds of other advanced tutorials and screencasts.

15:59

ColorSnapper: The missing color picker for the Mac

Finally! I’ve been waiting for something like this for a while now. ColorSnapper is a tool for quickly finding out the color of any pixel on the screen. Activate it with a hot key and it automatically saves the color value to your clipboard.

January 10 2011

07:00

January 07 2011

07:11

The Hotlist – Edition 2

It’s that time again: Friday. This week has been an interesting week. With some heavy hitters being ‘fresh’ into the world and some other just plain awesomeness.

NEWS

Mac Appstore Launches

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 11.31.03 PM

You guessed it. The MacApp Store put it all under one roof. Now, you can buy, install, update apps all from one little place in the mac. If you don’t have a mac the iTunes 10 icon everyone complained about is the same for the Mac App Store Icon except it’s replaced with the nice little app symbol. Did we also mention Angry Birds can now be played on your mac? As if we didn’t need more distractions

MUSIC

Tron Legacy Soundtrack – Daft Punk

daft-punk-tron-album
It’s not ‘new’ as Tron has been out for several weeks. However, this album has some of the best beats and rhythms to design and create to it’s definitely worth a look for people looking to get in the zone and crank out some work.

WEB SERVICE / APP

Twitter / Tweetie 2 for Mac Available

Screen shot 2011-01-06 at 11.49.59 PMThere once was a little app that was beloved by mac users. It was clean, simple and it worked. Then the creator Loren made Tweetie for iPhone one some awards created Tweetie 2 for iPhone and then went to work with Twitter. The app is now Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for iPad and the rest is history. Twitter / Tweetie 2 for mac was like a rainbow unicorn, that is until this week. Now, it’s here. Fanboys rejoice.

WORKSPACE

OfficePod

Screen shot 2011-01-07 at 1.55.11 AMIt’s an office! It’s a pod! It’s an OfficePod! Whatever it is, it works. This is a slick office setup for the home office or (you could get creative) and make some slick cubicles. Their efficient and have some pretty neat features. I wonder if they need someone to do a quality control check, if so, we’ll give them our address.

TYPE

Ratatan Font by Giuseppe Salerno
Screen shot 2011-01-07 at 1.39.35 AM

A new font that is extremely light weight and elegant. The site also has a great little flipbook that showcases it in various ‘examples’.

FOLIO

GaksDesigns
Screen shot 2011-01-07 at 2.02.29 AM

Gerrel Saunders has some amazing illustration skills… Enough to make a normal person jealous. Checkout some of his slick new work on his folio site.

LOGO

Starbucks Logo Evolution

d90e4a46265b4a3f949382332ba907d0

There comes a day for some brands when you cross into the big leagues and you’re a powerhouse brand you can just rely on a mark for people to understand who and what you are. Who else has trod this path? Apple, Nike, McDonalds, Shell just to name a few. Starbucks joins the ranks of these other prodigious brands and updates their siren and drops the text. Interestingly enough, the CEO Donald Shultz explains the evolution and states that “it gives them a chance to think beyond coffee”. What will the branch into next?

Supporting Stories:

Starbucks Logo Evolution – Logo Design Love

Starbucks Reveals New Logo – IDSGN

A Quick Word about the Starbucks Logo – Ask Spike

HAVE A TIP?

Feel free to send us a tip if you think you’ve got the hot stuff. ‘hotlist@fuelyourcreativity.com

Sponsored by

Made By Tinder

Advertise on Fuel Brand Network.
Fuel Brand Network 2010 cc (creative commons license)



The Hotlist – Edition 2

December 26 2010

17:23

Free Mac Utility App: Structurer


Unless you have a base folder structure that you copy and paste for each new project, you typically have to spend a couple of moments building your file structure. On the Mac, you can either do this one-at-a-time, from within your code editor, or you can even do it within Terminal. Nettuts+ reader, Cesar Tessarin, built us a utility app to help with (and expedite) this process: Structurer. Even better, it’s 100% free, exclusively through Nettuts+.


Overview of Structurer


Structurer Usage


Download Structurer

Though this is quite a simple utility app, it can be incredibly useful. We hope you enjoy it! After using, be sure to let us know, via the comments, what features you would like to see added! A huge thank you goes out to Cesar Tessarin for building this app for our Mac readers.

November 29 2010

20:07

Quick Tip: First Look at the “Git Tower” GUI


Newly available, in Public Beta (currently), Git Tower is a Mac app, built in Cocoa, that provides a GUI for working with the Git version control system. One of the most frequently asked questions on Nettuts+ is, “What’s the best GUI for working with Git?” It’s no wonder: Git can be incredibly confusing at first. In today’s video quick tip, we’ll take a first look at this new app.

Git Tower

Conclusion

So what do you think? I’m curious to hear how Git newbs view this app, as opposed to seasoned veterans? To the latter, do you see any advantages to using a GUI? Thanks for watching!

September 27 2010

20:52

20 Excellent Coda Tips

I’ve been using Coda for a while now, and it’s become my web development application of choice. There are quite a few great web development applications out there (read “18 Wonderful IDEs for Windows, Mac, and Linux“) but if you’re a Mac user, Coda is easily one of the best.

Here are 20 excellent Coda tips to increase productivity that I’ve gathered during my use of Coda so far.


1. Set Your Preferences

There are a few things I had to change right away when I first started using Coda. These are all found in Coda’s preferences.

I never use a GUI CSS editor so I set Coda to always open CSS files with the text editor.

Coda Preferences General Tab

Under the Editor tab I’ve check-marked “Show line numbers” and “Use tabs” for indenting. You can hide/show line numbers by pushing Command + Option + L as well.

Coda Preferences Editor Tab

Under the Colors tab I’ve check-marked “Highlight Current line” to make it easier to see where the cursor is when switching back and fourth between applications.

Under the files tab I set files to open when double clicked instead of a single click. You may also need to setup your external editors. Coda automatically used Photoshop for the image formats I use.

Coda Preferences Files Tab

This is how Coda’s navigation bar at the top is by default. This is just a waste of space in my opinion although it is pretty.

Coda Nav Bar Big

I’ve changed mine to display only text titles and as small as possible. Since I don’t use the buttons I have that section minimized most of the time anyway. Instead I use the shortcut keys which I’ll cover next.

Coda Nav Bar Small

Aside from these changes, I’ve left everything else at the default settings. I’ve played around with the color schemes a little but I didn’t find anything I was really happy with so I’ve kept the default color scheme.


2. Switching Modes

If you aren’t using shortcut keys to change modes, now is a good time to learn. Pushing Command + 1-6 changes the mode you’re in. You can switch between your sites, editor, preview, etc. modes very quickly this way.


3. Navigating Open Documents

Pushing Command + Shift + Left or Right Bracket will navigate through your open documents.


4. Line Indenting

Coda automatically indents certain markup for you by default but you’ll still find yourself using the Tab button pretty frequently. Instead of jumping to the front of a line to indent it you can push Command + Left or Right Bracket to indent the line the cursor is currently in.


5. Clips and Text Inserts

Pushing Command + Control + C will open up Coda’s clips. Clips is a place to store snippets of code for quickly inserting into documents. You can save snippets for use in all documents or just site specific clips.

Coda Clips General

You can assign tags to quickly insert clips. For example, I’ve set “htmltemp” to insert an HTML 4.01 Template when I start a new document. I would type “htmltemp” into the blank document and push Tab to insert the clip. You can also insert a selection placeholder if the cursor needs to go somewhere specific in the clip after being inserted.

Coda Clips General

6. Inline HTML Validation

Validate your HTML while you’re working. Okay, if you’re experienced with HTML you might only want to use the validation feature when you’re ready to validate, otherwise you’ll have errors popup as you’re typing which can be pretty annoying.

Coda Inline Validation

Coda will tell you what needs to be fixed. Sometimes there is a little orange “snapback” button in the balloon that will take you to the beginning of the error when clicked.

Coda Inline Validation Example

7. Use Coda’s Hints

If you aren’t quite comfortable with HTML or CSS yet you can use Coda’s Hints feature to give you a little extra guidance.

Coda Hints

8. Use Coda Books

Highlighting something and pushing Command + ‘ will search the books you have available in Coda for the highlighted text. You can also just hold Command and double click a word you want to search for.

Coda's Books

9. Setup More Coda Books

Add more books to reference more information. You can read more about adding more Coda books here.

Coda Books

10. Block Edit Text

If you need to edit multiple lines you can do a block edit to do them all at once. You can highlight the text you want to edit and push Command + Shift + B or you can hold down Option and select the lines you want to block edit that way.

Block Edit Text

11. Shift Text

Highlighting text and pushing Command + Left or Right Bracket will shift the highlighted text left or right. This is great for shifting a whole section of markup for good looking markup formatting.


12. Preview in a Browser

You can preview files in Coda’s built in Preview mode (which uses the same engine as Safari) and while in that mode you can click the Preview in Browser button in the top right to open the file in the browser of your choice.

You can also push Command + Option + B while in any mode to open and preview the file in the default browser (Safari). When you make changes to the document you can use this shortcut to refresh the preview in the browser a little faster.

Coda Browser Preview

13. Use the Preview Tools

There are three tools included with Coda’s preview mode. These can be helpful for quick development issues (although I still find myself using Firebug :-P ).

Preview Tools

The left button lets you preview the source code. Kind of strange since you’re just in the preview mode and you could just switch back to the edit mode. However, this lets you edit the source code and preview the changes without actually editing the document. A great feature for testing and debugging.

The center button is the JavaScript log and the right button is the DOM hierarchy inspector. You can quickly find and see elements with this which is helpful if you aren’t sure what’s going on.

DOM Inspector

14. Split Windows

You can split windows using the icon in the top right of the window (the plus with lines). Pushing Option will change the direction of the lines meaning the split will change from horizontal to vertical (or the opposite if changed in preferences). You can also push Command + Control + L to split the window using shortcut keys (hold option to split the other direction).

Coda Split Windows

Within each window you can independently change modes.

Coda Window Previews

15. Open Separate Files in Split Window

You can also open separate files in split windows by right clicking files in the File Browser and selecting “Open in Split” or by dragging the file into an already open split. Now you can edit two separate files in a split window.


16. Hide/Show File Browser

Coda’s file browser is great but you won’t be using it the majority of the time so you can quickly hide/show it by pushing Command + Control + B.


17. Hide/Show Code Navigator

If you need a little help jumping around a document you can pop open the code navigator.

Code Navigator

A little hidden feature with Coda and the code navigator is that you can create “bookmarks” within your code to jump around your document faster using the code navigator. For example.

<!-- !THIS IS AN HTML BOOKMARK -->

This would create a bookmark in the code navigator that looks like this.

Bookmarks

Basically the bookmark is created with markup comments that use an exclamation point before the bookmark text. You can do this for HTML, CSS, PHP, etc.


18. Use the Find Features

Instead of using the code navigator to find things, I use the find features. Pushing Command + F opens the bar to search. Then just type in what you’re looking for and push enter. Coda will scroll the document to the first matching text and highlight it. There are several more shortcut keys for searching and several options you can change if needed. Using the find feature is much faster for me than using the code navigator since my hands never have to leave the keyboard.

Find

19. Quick Close Tag Shortcut

By default Coda will automatically close a tag once you’ve opened one. However, that doesn’t always work and I still find myself needing to close HTML tags manually all the time. Pushing Command + Option + . (period) will automatically close the current HTML tag (wherever the cursor is).


20. Get Plugins

While Coda has a lot of great features, there are many features developers still want. There are a few plugins available from third party developers that you can install to give Coda extra functionality. Here is a list of third-party plugins available.


Final Thoughts

These are some great tips for using Coda but like any great web development application, there are plenty more, so take some time to explore. With some practice, you can pick up tons of keyboard shortcuts that will keep your hands on the keyboard instead of wasting time mousing around. ;-)

For video tutorials, tips, guides and other information, visit Panic’s Coda Developer Zone.

If you have some great tips, feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment below.

This article was originally posted on the ThemeForest blog late last year. We are currently porting over some of the more popular articles to Nettuts+.

September 21 2010

17:29

LittleIpsum: A Lorem Ipsum Generator for your Mac’s menubar

Here’s a handy little Mac menubar app: LittleIpsum. A quick and lightweight app that allows you to copy words, sentences or paragraphs right from your Mac’s* menubar.

*Requires OS X 10.6+

September 04 2010

10:00

50 Insanely Awesome Apple and Mac Icons

Everyone loves free resources so does we, that’s why we keep on posting high-quality resources for you on regular basis. Today we have collected 50 awesome icon sets for your Mac. Beautiful icons make sure you have pleasing and joyful visual interface experience and offer you elegant means of interaction with your Mac. You can renew look of your mac by just changing basic icons with new creative and beauteous icons we have listed in this roundup. Give your Mac a new appearance today.

1. The MacBook In Black

The MacBook In Black

2. Aluminium MacBook Pro OSX

Aluminium MacBook Pro OSX

3. HydroPRO -HP- Mac Edition

HydroPRO -HP- Mac Edition

4. Stainless mac

Stainless mac

5. The Mini. Mac Mini

The Mini

6. Concave Mac Icons

Concave Mac Icons

7. Capital Icon Suite

Capital Icon Suite For Mac

8. Apple mac mini icons

Apple mac mini icons

9. Slick Drives

Slick Drives

10. Mac mini Icon

Mac mini Icon

11. Mac Pro Psd + Png + Ico

Mac Pro Psd   Png   Ico

12. Mac Box Icons

Mac Box Icons

13. iMac

iMac

14. Apple iMac icons

Apple iMac icns for Mac OSX

15. iMac 2008

iMac 2008

16. G5 System

G5 System

17. Float

Float

18. TiSystem

TiSystem

19. Agua

Agua

20. iMac icon

iMac icon

21. New iMac 07

New iMac 07

22. Icons 2 by Lecoupdulapin

Icons 2

23. Refresh Snow Leopard

Refresh Snow Leopard

24. Macbook and remote iKons

Macbook and remote iKons

25. Nimble Folders

Nimble Folders

26. The Pro. MacBook Pro

The Pro. MacBook Pro

27. Slick Drives Remake

Slick Drives Remake

28. Apple Mug Icons

Apple Mug Icons and Extras

29. Black Leopard Icon Set

Black Leopard Icon Set UPDATE

30. Onibari Leopard Made

Onibari Leopard Made

31. PoleStack

PoleStack

32. W R E N

W R E N

33. Wooden Slick Drives

Wooden Slick Drives

34. Ive Drives

Ive Drives

35. HD StorageBox

HD StorageBox - add on

36. Platinum Drives

Platinum Drives

37. Exempli Gratia

Exempli Gratia

38. Lacunae

Lacunae

39. XIII

XIII

40. DA ID

DA ID

41. 27″ iMac Icon OS X

27 iMac Icon OS X

42. The MacBook In White

The MacBook In White

43. The Anodized Behemoth

The Anodized Behemoth

44. Carbon Light Folders

Carbon Light Folders

45. Mac USB Icons

Mac USB Icons

46. Wireless Mighty Mouse

Wireless Mighty Mouse

47. Smoothicons 14

Smoothicons 14

48. eWorld X: eHardware

eWorld X eHardware

49. Totem Pole

Totem Pole

50. Nano icon set

Nano icon set - Dock icon

August 23 2010

07:00

August 05 2010

10:00

50 Must Have Open Source Application for Mac

Although there is the huge amount of free softwares available online but open-source softwares have numerous advantages, apart from their price (i.e. free), they provide you the right to modify and redistribute the software with modifications. The right to modify is important, it enables you to change the software the way you like, also there are plenty of softwares developed but never updated, in this case if you have the right to modify then they can be very handy for needy people as anybody can update it. So looking at their importance, in this article we will feature 50 essential “open-source” applications for your Mac; those which will help in performing your daily life task easily.

1. Firefox

Each and every computer user knows about Firefox which is the most used open source web browser having huge amount of extensions and add-ons, there is no need of detailed description for Firefox.

firefox-for-mac

2. Camino.

Camino is another open-source web browser which ensures to provide the best possible browsing experience for Mac OS.

main-back1

3. OmniWeb

OmniWeb is an other open source browser for Mac OS providing very powerful interface to enhance your browsing experience in as many ways as possible like built-in web shortcuts and unique drag-and-drop tabbed windows.

Omniweb

4. Thunderbird

Thunderbird glorifies your emailing experience with high level of security and privacy.

thunderbird

5. OpenProj

OpenProj is an open source project management solution which can be used in replacement of Microsoft Project.

OpenProj

6. Adium

Adium is specially developed for people who love instant messaging. It supports all major chatting platform including AIM, MSN, Yahoo and Gmail.

adium

7. NeoOffice

NeoOffice is a complete set of office applications mainly including word processing, presentation, drawing and spreadsheet for Mac OS X. It can import, edit and exchange files with other office programs like MS Office.

neooffice

8. OpenOffice

OpenOffice is an open source office software for Mac OS X offering word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and much more.

openoffice

9. Disk Inventory X

Disk Inventory X is a disk usage ability which shows the sizes of files and folders in a graphical way.

disk inventory x

10 jEdit

jEdit is an open source and extensively used text editor for programmers for Mac OS X, which is written in Java.

jedit

11. Celestia

Celestia provides you a great experience of exploring the universe in three dimensions.

celestia

12. Stellarium

Stellarium is a free planetarium which shows realistic sky in 3D, exactly same what you see with your eye or any telescope.

stellarium

13. Jomic

Jomic is an open source application distributed under GPL, which is a strong comic book viewer, stored in PDF, CBZ or CBR. It support various image format like JGP and PNG, it also features two page mode for better reading experience.

jomic

14. Stepmania

Stepmania is a rhythm game and dance revolution clone which can be connected to external dance pads.

15. Cocoalicious

Cocoalicious is an excellent open source del.icio.us client for Mac OS X, by using which you can manage your del.icio.us bookmarks from desktop.

cocoalicious

16. Plex Media Center

This application reduces the gap between you Home Theater and Mac using a very awesome user interface which links you to your media files. By using Plex you can play diverse audio and video media formats and you can also stream online media.

plex

17. Seashore

Seashore is an open source image editor of Mac OS which features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for text as well as brushes. It also supports multiple layering and alpha channeling.

seashore

18. SMARTReporter

SMARTReporter reports about any hard disk failure before it actually happens. It will use Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology to do so; one warning will be enough for you to think about backing up data right then.

smarrtreporter

19. RSSOwl

RSSOwl is an easy to use and extremely flexible RSS, RDF and Atom news feed reader for Mac OS X.

rssowl

20. Pixen

Pixen is an advance graphic editor specially designed to facilitate pixel-artists.

pixen

21. FreeWRL/FreeX3D

FreeWRL is an open source VRML/X3D browser which fulfils your OS X 3D graphics needs.

wrl

22. Scaletron!

Scaletron is an electronic scaling calculator specially designed for graphic and web designers to calculate enlargements and reductions of artwork.

scaletron

23. ffmpegX

ffmpegX is an open source and powerful Video Transcoder for Mac OS X, which supports huge number of formats for encoding like DVD, SVCD, VOB and more.

ffmpeg

24. OpenSong

OpenSong is an open source application developed to manage lyrics, chords, lead sheets, computer projection of your music.

oensong

25. iStumbler

You can use iStumbler on your Mac to discover WiFi routers, Bluetooth devices, Airport networks and more.

istumbler

26. BibDesk

BibDesk is an open source bibliography manager for Mac, which will keep track of your bibliographic information and the associated files or web links.

bibdesk

27. GnuCash

GnuCash is easy to use and free financial accounting software for your personal or small-business use. It includes all major features which any accounting software should have.

gnucash

28. SimplyBurns

SimplyBurns is an open source and simple CD / DVD burner for Mac OS X.

SimplyBurns-rev390_-_data_project

29. Juice

Juice is developed for a person who wants to listen online audio programs but cannot, due to, whatever may the reason be. Juice allows you to capture and listen to missed podcasts anytime in future.

juice

30.HandBrake

HandBrake is a multi platform and multi threaded video transcoder specially designed of Mac OS X providing excellent output quality.

handbrake

31. Inkscape

Inkscape is an awesome replacement of Adobe Illustrator which is a vector graphic editor. Features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones and other important features.

inkscape

32. Cyberduck

Want to browse FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Cloud Files, Google Docs and Amazon S3? Try Cyberduck which is a splendid open source tool for browsing.

cyberduck

33. Gallery

Gallery is a web-based photo album organizer, helping you to blend photo management smoothly into your own online projects. It is very easy to install and use, it includes resizing, rotating, automatic thumbnails and more.

gallery

34. Komodoedit

Komodo Edit is an open source language editor that will help you in writing codes easily. It is a multi-language editor supporting Perl, Python, Tcl, PHP, Ruby and JavaScript. It writes codes faster because of its auto-complete feature, it also provides support for adding third-party libraries.

35. JUnit

JUnit is an extremely useful framework for writing and running automated Java testing.

junit

36. Jext

Jext is an awesome open source code editor written in JAVA. Apart from JAVA, it can edit many other types of source codes for example, source code of XHTML, JSP, PHP, Python Ruby etc.

jext

37. Scintilla

Editing and debugging source codes are basic and fundamental need of any developer, “Scintilla” can help them in doing so. It is a free source code editing application which includes important features like error indicators, syntax styling, code completion and call tips.

scintilla

38. FullSync

FullSync is n extremely expandable and customizable file synchronization and backup tool, especially made for developers but its basic functionality is very simple which can be used by everyone.

fullsync

39. Angry IP Scanner

Scanning IP is very crucial for network administrators and other enterprises like banks and government agencies. For this purpose Angry IP Scanner is best choice as it is open-source and cross-platform network scanner specially deigned to scan IP addresses and ports in a very simple and fast way.

angryip

40. MUTE

mute Mute is a peer-to-peer file sharing network that enables us to search and download easily with privacy. It is a fast and native application with no java or python.

41. Apcupsd UPS control software

Apcupsd is software for monitoring power management and controlling most of the APC UPSes. During an event of power failure, this program will inform the user about power failure; hence giving a warning to save important data before system gets shutdown.

apcupsd

42. TV-Browser

TV-Browser is a digital and java-based TV guide which collects daily TV programs from internet and arranges them in a form of a TV guide. It supports a huge amount of skins and plugins, making customization comfortable. Its only purpose is no make TV guides; you cannot watch TV using TV-Browser.

tv-browser

43. MacLibre

MacLibre provides an excellent collection of free software for Mac OS X from categories of Internet, multimedia, Office and other utilities.

44. Moodle

Moodle is an education course management system which can be used by educators to make informative online learning websites.

45. Synergy

Synergy enables you to share a single mouse or keyboard between multiple computers having different operating systems, without any special hardware.

synergy

46. Blender

Blender is very handy 3D content creation suite, having all major features required in this kind of software including very sleek interface, awesome animation, UV unwrapping, real-time 3D game creation, Imaging and composing, shading, rendering and modeling.

47. Skim

Skim is a powerful PDF reader and note-taker for OS X, which can be used as an alternative of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

skim

48. AppleJack

AppleJack is an effective troubleshooting assistant for Mac OS X which runs in single user mode and it is very user-friendly and easy to use. With this you can troubleshoot your computer even without GUI.

49. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a Linux New Media Award winning and powerful object-relational database system.

postgresql

50. MAMP

MAMP is an easy to use program which is used to start and stop the servers. It is a powerful completion of Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X, it is very easy to remove as it do not modify any part of normal Mac OS X.

51. NetBeans

NetBeans is a free and open source program which provides, software developers, an integrated development environment. You will get every needed tool to create website, applications, professional desktop, it also supports C/C++, PHP, JavaScript, Groovy, and Ruby.

52. WineHQ

Windows OS has much bigger library of applications than Mac OS, so if you want to run any Windows applications on your Mac OS X then WineHQ can help you in doing so with ease and flexibility.

In the end we would like to hear your recommendations and suggestions about open-source applications. :)

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