Switching to Mac
For about three months now I'm working with a MacBook Pro. Before I've been a Linux and Windows user for a long time. The first thing that I noticed when switching to Mac is that since OS X is a UNIX-based operating system, I was familiar with the terminal and most of its commands right away.
In that three months I learned about lots of new, great and productivity-boosting applications, many recommended by friends and colleagues. In this post I want to share these applications with you. Maybe there's something new and interesting for you too? Mabye you can recommend other applications and better alternatives? iTerm 2
The first thing that I always do on any operating system is installing a terminal emulator that can be configured to behave like the famous Quake console. You know, displaying a terminal window from the top of the screen on the press of a global hotkey.
Under OS X the solution that works best for me is iTerm 2. iTerm 2 is a normal terminal emulator which can be configured to behave like a Quake console. See apple.stackexchange.com/a/48805
Prezto is a "configuration framework" for Zsh and a fork of oh-my-zsh
. Prezto is very powerful and makes the Zsh even more awesome. For instance does it offer syntax-highlighting, themes and auto-completion for many commands. Prezto is not strictly OS X-only. Since it's basically "just" configuration files for Zsh it should work with any OS that runs Zsh.
Using Linux since approximately 1997 I appreciate the benefits of a package manager like apt
for many years and don't want to miss them. OS X like Windows unfortunately doesn't have an official, build-in package manager. But there's Homebrew, the "missing package manager for OS X". Now before installing any application on OS X I check whether it's available via Homebrew.
Price: FreeFunction Pilot
By default the function keys (F1-F12) on the MacBook keyboard behave like the special keys (volume up/down etc.). I want to keep this behaviour but for certain applications the keys should behave like the function keys without pressing Fn. For instance many of the refactoring features of Android Studio are placed on the F-keys. I don't want to press Fn additionally to Shift, Ctrl, Alt and/or Cmd. With Function Pilot the behaviour of the F-keys can be switched per application which is very handy!
I don't know why this simple yet useful feature is still not in OS X (10.10 as of writing) but I want to be able to make a window fullscreen by dragging it to the top of the screen or position it to the left or right with half the screen's width by dragging it there. You may know this feature from Windows (I think starting with Windows 7). BetterTouchTool offers this feature. Actually the main purpose of this application is to specify custom gestures for the Magic Mouse and MacBook/Magic Trackpad. However I don't use this feature (yet).
Keka is a file archiver that supports more file formats (like 7zip) than Finder.
Alfred is a very powerful Spotlight replacement. It's free. By buying the Powerpack for £17 Alfred can be customized even more with Workflows. Just check out the website to get an idea of what Alfred can do.
Price: Free / £17
That's it for now. Of course there are more applications that I use on a daily basis. I will likely extend this article or create a new one in the future.
What are your favourite Mac applications? Do you have recommendations for me? Let's here them!