I Am Joe’s Blog:

April 23, 2007 • 9:26 PM

Tools to Make Every Mac User's Life Easier

Last week on Datamation, I wrote about my Top 10 Mac Productivity Enhancements. Of course, Macs are pretty easy to use straight out of the box, but there are a bunch of tools—some free, some inexpensive—that can make a variety of day-to-day tasks vastly more convenient.

My very favorite such add-on of all time is LaunchBar, which has saved me, over the years, countless hours of clicking and searching for things. With just a few keystrokes I can open almost anything I need to use on a regular basis, and I can’t stand using Macs that don’t have it installed. (And yes, I’m well aware of such similar apps as Quicksilver and Butler. I’ve tried them and they’re OK, but I keep coming back to the simple elegance of LaunchBar.)

Many of the tools I mentioned in the article follow a theme: they reduce mousing, keystrokes, or both, in a variety of ways and across many different applictations. Sure, they may take some getting used to, but once you’ve gotten into the habit, you’ll wonder how you lived without them.

Had I written that article today, I might well have mentioned Coda, the new multipurpose Web development tool from Panic. I’ve been a fan of their Transmit FTP client for a long time, and Coda has many of the same elegant touches. It combines an FTP engine with a collaborative text editor (based on SubEthaEdit) and several other tools needed for Web design and testing: a CSS editor, a live preview, and a terminal, plus reference materials on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP—all in one window. Mighty nice. I’m exactly their target audience, too: the kind of guy who usually has three or four different apps open to do that combination of tasks and who would prefer to do them all with less clutter. The price is a bit on the high side, in my opinion—in particular, I wish they offered more of a discount for existing Transmit users. But so far, I’m really digging it.

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