OS X Utilities To Aid Any Developer

Apple’s OS X operating system offers a great platform for software, web or other developers. Combining an intuitive user interface (UI) with a BSD-based underlying architecture, Mac OS X is a pleasure to develop on.

Though as a child, I grew up around various computers, such as old Apple Macintoshes and IBM PCs, my Information Technology career started off predominantly supporting Windows computers. I love computers, no matter what the platform, and a lot of my troubleshooting and development skills were first honed on initial versions of MS Windows. When I first started using Apples though, I got hooked on their intuitive desktop operating system. From OS 7 on pre-PowerPC CPUs, through to the current OS X on Intel hardware, Apple has had a very different approach to the desktop environment and user interface design than their competitors. I find it enables me to be more productive and be less stressed while developing, designing, writing or being entertained. Here, I will present to the reader some lesser-known utilities built-into the OS X operating system which can especially help web developers in their daily tasks.

Locking the screen quickly from the menu bar

As a developer or any professional working on clients’ files very often, I like being able to quickly protect my screen from prying eyes. When I get up to grab a snack, go to the bathroom, etc, I am able to lock my screen quite quickly. While you can assign an applescript to do the same thing and assign it a shortcut key, I am happy to use the following method:

  1. Open the Keychain Access application ( This is inside the Utilities folder which resides inside your main Applications folder ).
  2. Open the Preferences panel via the Application menu.
  3. Set the “Show Status in Menu Bar” to enabled.
  4. Done. Now you may close both the Preferences panel and Keychain Access application.

Now at the top right hand side of your screen, you should see a tiny padlock icon. Click once on this to open the menu, then choose “Lock Screen” to ensure your privacy before stepping away from your machine. This is not the same as logging you out, so when you come back to your computer, simply press a key or move the mouse to prompt for your password and resume work as you left it.

Applescript for web developers

On Apple’s OS X operating system, there are, of course, many ways to do one task. But, there is also one way to do many tasks – it is called AppleScript. AppleScript has been made available by Apple since it’s legacy operating systems were sold. It allows for creating automated workflows between the OS X system and Apple software, and also 3rd party software, which has opened up scriptable control for some parts. An example workflow would be that every time you turn your MacBook on, it would automatically open your favorite news website and read you the first 3 headlines. While this may sound a little gimmicky, many daily tasks for web or software developers can be automated using AppleScript and save you hours of time and energy over the course of a week.

A great example AppleScript which my team and I use very often is a custom dialog which allows us to bring up a list of all our clients’ domain names ( 400 and counting! ). Once a domain name is selected from the list, we are presented with a myriad of options, including:

  • Open in browser
  • Copy URL
  • Copy IP
  • Copy user
  • Copy password
  • Display all info
  • Login to SSH
  • Login to SFTP
  • Login to FTP
  • Download SQL
  • Connect to SQL
  • Connect to MAMP SQL

These commands and more are a huge time saver and negate the need to input each domain’s information into FTP clients or lookup login information in a text file each time we need to connect to a remote server via the Terminal application. For SSH logins via the Terminal, we simply click the button to connect and AppleScript enters the appropriate commands sequentially, waiting for the required delay before inputting passwords, etc. This also eliminates the need for us to maintain security keys for each domain for each user in the company – a great time saver! For high latency servers, we can simply click the button to connect and go back to working on other things while AppleScript handles the slow, boring login process for us.

Eight Solid Reasons to Develop Your Own Website

The mystery of developing your own website has been removed with web building technology, but there are some who do not see the value in assuming the responsibility of personal web design. You may find it’s not remarkably different than setting up a social media page.

Here are some reasons to consider the personal development of your own site.

No one knows your vision better than you. You can explain what you have in mind to a Webmaster, but it will still be tainted with their personal vision of what you are seeking to accomplish. You might just be paying them significant cash to misunderstand.

You like to save money. The cost of personal web design may be 10% of the cost of hiring an outside firm to provide a site for you. You can probably find something better to do with the 90% you save.

You are willing to try new technology. If you don’t have a significant fear of technology you may find that developing the site can actually be a fun experience and the access to multiple tools can create a site that is more comprehensive than you ever expected.

You don’t like waiting for a Webmaster to update your site. Face it many webmasters are there for you until the site is finished then they venture off to assist new clients develop their dream. The difficulty you might experience is making future changes in a timely manner once you say the words, “It’s perfect, you did a great job.”

Radical alterations can take place quickly. If you make a decision to start a sale today you can adjust your site to reflect the immediacy of that decision. If you want to ad new content there is no waiting. You simply enter the user panel and revise as needed.

You like your site to be as current as possible. Customers like sites that are kept up to date so unless you have an in-house developer that can make those changes it might make sense to pursue options that allow you to take responsibility for how current your site is.

You hate waiting days, weeks or even months for a complete design. Some people who use this technology have a fully functional ecommerce site available within 24 hours of the first time they look at the software. Some have reported a website to their liking within 2 hours. How much money can be made in those days, weeks of months that you would have waited?

The satisfaction and pride of a job well done. There is a boost of confidence in those who personally complete the design. It can create an interest in developing secondary money making opportunities when the consumer knows they can create the platform for cash creation on their own. This provides the best sense of personal empowerment.

Web building is not the only method you can use to create a website, but it can be one that makes the most sense from a financial standpoint. It is less expensive to develop and maintain – and it is allows you to begin selling your product and service faster.

4 Critical Web Design Elements For the Success of a Website

Web design is perhaps the most important aspect of a website. It has a direct effect on the appeal and popularity, and actually determines how successful the site is going to be. A site that is poorly designed will most likely be a failure, no matter how much marketing you do to promote it. Even if your site attracts visitors, it must have the appeal to make them stay. Site owners should learn as much as possible about web design, so that they can create pleasing designs that are a pleasure for the visitor and a financial success for the owner.

Basically, web design refers to the development of web pages to make up a website. Each web page should present information that is relevant to the subject of the site. In the past, web design only involved the development of the content and appearance of a site, but as the Internet has become more popular and the competition has become more intense, web developers have begun to expand into other design concepts to create a more effective formula for online success. The design concerns of a non-commercial site are varied, and are mostly dependent on the objectives of its owner. On the other hand, commercial sites have a fixed set of design concerns and issues that are paramount to having online success.

Content refers to the information (text, graphics, videos, pictures, audio, etc.) that is presented in a website. Having engaging and useful content will make your site more enjoyable and worthwhile to visit. You should make sure that your content is relevant to the subject of your site. If you’re selling car wash products, you should only provide information about car washing, car washing products and how your car wash products benefit the visitor. Going off topic from the main subject is definitely detrimental and will drive your visitors away in disgust. It is important that the information is well-written and interesting, so that it can compel your visitors to take the action you want.

Usability of a website determines how easy it is for your visitors to find information and navigate about the site. If your site has an easy-to-use interface and a convenient navigation system, your visitors will actually enjoy going through your site. Internet users do not like to spend excessive time trying to figure out how to get the information they want. Ideally, they wish to get the information they are looking for in just one or two clicks. You have to make the information on your site easily accessible with good navigation in oder to not drive away visitors.

Appearance of your website is important. The graphics and the written content on your site should complement each other, so that there will be a certain sense of consistency throughout. If your site has a consistent theme, it will look more professional and appealing to the visitors. The layout of graphics and text on a web page is somewhat of a science. There have been many studies on what works and what will cause visitors to leave. For example, there are specific areas on a web page that people naturally look within the first moments of visiting a site. If these key areas are appealing then a visitor has a much higher probability of staying. If these areas are trashy then the visitor is likely to make a quick exit.

Visibility of a website is required in order to draw adequate visitor traffic from the world wide web. In order to be successful you will have to improve or boost the visibility of your website to gain the traffic you need. This can be achieved through online marketing strategies, such as paid advertising and search engine optimization. You can actually improve your search engine visibility by using keywords and key phrases relevant to your topic in your design and content. Submitting articles to article directories and creating back links (links from other websites) to your site is another way to promote site visibility.

Having a good web design will not only bring more traffic to your site, it will also ensure visitors will stay for a longer time to explore. If the visitors feel comfortable and compelled, they may just buy something from you, use your service or perhaps recommend your site to others. You will only stand to gain if you spend more time and effort to create a well-designed site.