15 best Mac tools for developers

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Whether you build websites, develop apps, or create tools for businesses, Mac is just the right tool for you. Its Unix-based OS, hardware reliability, and quality of the display are just a few reasons for the continued developers’ loyalty.

Another key aspect of why developers prefer using macOS is a wide variety of tools readily available to complete any task.

Top 15 developer tools for Mac

There are literally hundreds of great macOS apps that specifically address problems faced by developers. Whether it’s writing code, managing files, or turning HTML into beautiful animations, there’s a perfect tool for it on the Mac.

So here’s a shortlist of our 15 favorite Mac apps that all developers should try to incorporate in their daily workflow.


1. Create beautiful animations with Hype

Hype is a keyframe animation tool that allows you to create HTML5 projects for use on websites, in digital greetings cards, infographics, or ebooks.

In its simplest form, you can just hit Record and move elements around the canvas. Hype will then watch what you do, create keyframes on the timeline, and turn the whole lot into HTML5. You can trigger animations and transitions with Actions, and if you want to have complete control, the JavaScript editor lets you code custom functions.

2. Easily manage APIs with Paw

Paw allows developers to test and debug APIs. It features full interaction with REST services and the ability to create and test HTTP requests.

API calls can be imported from Postman, cURL, and Advanced REST clients. And when you’re done, you can export them again. You can add descriptions and constraints to APIs, and call on a large set of inbuilt extensions, or create your own from scratch.

3. Master regex with Expressions

Need to write and test regular expressions?

Expressions is the right tool for the job. With syntax highlighting to make the pattern easy to read and modify, and a regex reference sheet in case you need to remind yourself of the syntax it makes playing with regular expressions simple. It has a minimalist interface and a choice of dark or light modes, meaning it keeps out of the way while you get on with the work.

Expressions, regex app

4. Write code faster with TeaCode

TeaCode is a dynamic, intelligent snippet library of expendable code snippets for any programming language. The app features lots of preset expanders and lets you create your own, seamlessly slots into your workflow, and allows for quick entry and browsing on the go. 

Instead of typing everything manually, you can just use the expander, and it will unfold into a full code snippet.

TeaCode, a code expander tool for developers

5. Seamlessly operate servers with Forklift

Moving files between servers, uploading them to web hosts, and editing them online are key tasks for many developers. 

Forklift allows you to do all that and more. Whether the server you need to connect to is FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3 or WebDAV, Forklift makes it easy. And, of course, it connects to SMB and AFP servers too. You can synchronize files between your Mac and a remote server, preview remote files and compare two files in different locations. 

Forklift file manager

6. Swiftly debug your code with CodeRunner

With support for 23 languages out of the box, including Swift, Python, C++, and AppleScript, CodeRunner is an essential tool in any developers’ arsenal. 

Edit and run code with a single click, set breakpoints, and step through code line by line to debug it. CodeRunner also includes IDE-level code completion, including fuzzy search, tab selectable placeholders, and documentation snippets.

CodeRunner

7. Organize multiple databases with SQLPro Studio

If you need to work with multiple different SQL database types, SQLPro Studio is the ideal choice. It has support for MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, and Oracle. 

As a native Mac app, it’s faster and more reliable than Java-based alternatives and allows you to simultaneously select multiple tables, update table content, and compare query results.

SQL tool

8. Manage SQLite databases with Base

For developers with more modest SQL needs, Base should be the go-to solution. It’s an SQLite database manager that makes it easy to create, search, and edit data. With its spreadsheet-like interface, it’s straightforward to get to grips with yet allows you to edit everything from basic default values to complex foreign key constraints.

SQLite database manager

9. Write perfect Markdown with Marked

The right tool for developers who spend their time coding in markup languages, a good preview tool essential; and that’s exactly what Marked is. Whether you write in Markdown, HTML, OPML or any other markup language, Marked allows you to see how the finished version will look before you publish. 

You can carry on writing in your preferred text editor while using Marked to preview the finished document. It also comes with tools like spelling and grammar checking, tips for simplifying sentences, word count, and reading time. 

Markdown with Marked

10. Code like a pro with XCOrganizer

When it comes to coding on the Mac, XCOrganizer finds all your Xcode Projects, Xcode Workspaces, Swift Playgrounds, and Swift Packages in one click. Features include quick search, project groups, bookmark in one click, separate work and personal projects. 

XCOrganizer

11. Create accurate software modeling with StarUML

Working on UML projects is not easy. Not only do you need to describe all parts of your model, you also need to do it in a way that other people can understand completely. 

StarUML is just the right tool for you, making software modeling easy and flexible. The app uses a UML 1 standard meta-model and diagrams, and is packed with all the necessary tools to make your modeling a breeze, such as SysML support, quick shortcuts, Markdown documentation, and third-party extensions.

software modeling app

12. Get rids of app and website bugs with Proxyman

Everyone hates debugging, even though it’s one of the most critical steps in developing any website or app. 

Proxyman makes the debugging process much easier, thanks to its intuitive interface, organized list of sources, consistent performance, and automatic SSL proxying. 

You can also easily view HTTP and HTTPS requests in JSON, and navigate within the website code easily, using built-in search functionality. Even better, Proxyman works just as well across multiple tabs.

debugger

13. Get API documentation insights with Dash

It’s practically impossible to create any self-contained software these days, and why do the work others have done before you? 

Dash is an easily accessible documentation resource with 200+ APIs for anything from macOS to Angular to Android readily available. You can quickly search through all the materials at ones, write your own, and even create new code snippets. With Dash’s shortcuts and cheat sheets, no developing task is too difficult. 

an API documentation browser

14. Organize your code snippets with SnippetsLab 

Coding is not as much about writing as rewriting. Sure, every project brings new ideas, but there’s a lot of repetitive structure that could be quickly reused from a template.

The DRY (don’t repeat yourself) philosophy is central to being a good engineer. Do you really need to reinvent the same component over and over again? 

SnippetsLab is the best time-saving app for every programmer. This code snippet library supports the syntax for over 420 languages and lets you easily copy-paste any of your favorite components to new projects right from the menu bar. You can even export and share your snippets on GitHub, and back up a copy of them all somewhere offline.

code snippet library

15. Access developers tools offline with DevUtils

Coding requires you to use a lot more tools than a simple text editor or even IDE. What do you do if you need to format JSON? Or convert a UNIX timestamp? 

DevUtils is your personal developer toolkit that saves you time by automating all the most popular coding tasks. The app will read your clipboard contents and often do the thing you’re thinking about on its own, thanks to its smart detection. There are also convenient hotkeys available and you can enable DevUtils at any time from the menu bar. The best part? It works even when you’re offline! 

developer's toolkit

As you can see, when it comes to choosing the best developer tools for macOS, the only real way to decide is to try them all for yourself. So it’s good news that many of the tools listed above are available for a free seven-day trial through Setapp, a collection of over 210 life-saving apps for macOS. Try every single one today at no cost and find your new favorites!

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