John's Blog: Must Have Apps

August 17, 2017

I've been doing Web, FTP and general Mac work for longer than I'd like to admit, and there are a few tools I couldn't live without. Some of them are pretty long-in-the-tooth, and harken back to earlier, simpler times on the 'net. But they remain incredibly useful, and are worth talking about. (Note that this article is directed at Mac administrators, in particular. Perhaps in the future I'll do a similar post about Windows tools.)

BBEdit

I use BBEdit every day. As a matter of fact, I am writing this blog post right now in BBEdit.

BBEdit is a text editor, and the great thing about it is that it is great at editting text, and doesn't try to be more than that. It doesn't alter formatting, line endings, or character encodings, although it does allow you to convert those elements if you choose. It's great for editing config files, typing up notes, looking at or manually editting HTML/CSS, and more. It also makes it easy to edit text files on remote FTP servers, which is perfect for Web designers.

Every Mac administrator (and probably every Mac user) should have BBEdit, especially since it's free to use. Better yet, spring for the advanced features available in the paid version.

Download BBEdit from Bare Bones Software.

GraphicConverter

What BBEdit does for text, GraphicConverter does for images. It's no PhotoShop, but it does a whole lot more than just convert graphic formats.

GraphicConverter allows you pixel-perfect image editing. I use it all the time for cropping, brightness/contrast/saturation adjustments, resizing, and any number of other graphic manipulations. There are probably better photo handling programs out there, but none that are better at basic image manipulation for on-line content, especially for the price.

Download GraphicConverter from Lemke Software.

Multiple FTP Clients

If your users access your Rumpus server via FTP, then you should absolutely, positively have two or more FTP clients installed on your desktop Mac. I prefer Fetch and Transmit.

Both Fetch and Transmit feature simple, intuitive interfaces. The Fetch interface is simple and old-school, while Transmit feels a bit more modern. But both are rock-solid clients that support FTP, FTPS and SFTP. And most importantly for a Rumpus administrator, both readily display the underlying FTP session transcript in a separate, resizable window. This is a crucial tool for diagnosing potential FTP problems.

Download Fetch from Fetch Softworks.

Download Transmit from Panic, Inc.

Multiple Web Browsers

Everyone has a preferred Web browser that they use every day, and I'm not going to recommend one over another. What I will suggest is that you download, and keep handy, at least two other browsers. And when you create Web content, or when you make changes to your Rumpus WFM interface, you should check your changes in all three.

On the Mac, the most popular browsers are Safari, FireFox and Chrome, and I would suggest that all three are essential. The downloads are easy, and they play well together. That is, you can run all three, even at the same time, and they won't step on each other's toes.

Safari, of course, comes pre-installed on your Mac, but here are links to FireFox and Chrome. Oh, and after you download them, drag the applications into your Menu Bar for easy access.

Download FireFox from Mozilla.

Download Chrome from Google.

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