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I'm new to Mac's in general and iOS development. I've used an iPhone and iPad, and I'm looking to write apps for both. I'm a (newly) registered Apple developer and have Xcode downloaded and working my through it.

My question is this: Are there any third party tools that iOS developers with more experience than I (which is everyone) uses?

Example, in the Windows world I use

  • Notepad++ as a extra text editor.
  • Depends for dependency checks (yes, I realize there might not be a corollary to this)
  • Regex Buddy for building/debuggin regular expressions.
  • etc...

Being ignorant of the iOS landscape, any information anyone could supply on tools (and possibly why they are must haves or need to haves) would be great.


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I took the liberty to add some rules so that it won't be chaos. I also asked to make it CW. –  Loïc Wolff Mar 29 '11 at 20:46
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I don't think there's anything wrong with including prices. If they change, anyone can edit the info. It's very useful to know the price beforehand. –  nevan king Sep 21 '11 at 12:16

38 Answers 38

MonoDevelop

A different IDE for working with Mono applications for the Mac (or cross platform). Mono is based on the .NET Framework and you can use it with C#, VB.NET or Delphi Prism (requires 3rd party addition). Possibly other languages too.

Can be used with the MonoMac or MonoTouch frameworks to create native UI on Mac or iOS applications respectively.

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Find Any File

(Available in the App Store)

The Mac's content centric "Spotlight" feature will first drive you mad as you realize it cannot be set to default to file name searches. Its inability to return results from invisible folders, such as usr/bin will then make your life a living hell.

"Find Any File" looks for FILES on the disk or folder you point it at. It doesn't care if Steve Jobs, or anyone else, thinks a file should be hidden from mere mortals. It'll even look inside packages.

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Flux

Not specifically development related, but I love it. This utility automatically adjusts the color temperature of your display based on sun rise & sun set in your specific location. Really makes working late at night more enjoyable. Try it for a few days and then disable it one night and you will not believe you used to be able to work without it.

It doesn't effect screen shots, etc. but you may need to disable it to get a true impression of the colors.

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Fraise

Lightweight text editor with syntax highlighting, etc. My Notepad++ replacement. Development has stopped, but it is open source, so it may take off again.

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Evernote

Not programming related, but invaluable for storing notes, etc. Anything that doesn't go in your source control. Automatically syncs between computers and has great search functionality. I use it to put notes on my iPad.

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Dropbox

Not programming related, but invaluable for everything that doesn't go in source control. While Evernote is document centric, Dropbox is file centric. If you need files on multiple computers with revision control then you need Dropbox.

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SvnX

SvnX is an OS X open source GUI for most features of the svn client binary.

It allows you to browse your working copies, spot changes and operate on them but also to browse logs and revisions of your repositories.

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Cornerstone

IMHO - The best SVN client for Mac OS, but a little pricey.

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Kaleidoscope

A great diff/merge tool. Can compare images. Integrates seamlessly with almost anything.

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MindNode

Great mind mapping utility. There is also an iPad version available ($7 or so)

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Accessorizer

Accessorizer speeds up the creation of all the boilerplate code you need to get your Mac or iOS app running.
I guess the main use it to create @property and @synthesize lines. You simply select all your ivars press some keys and accessorizer will create a block of @property directives. Just paste that into your header and done.

Besides that you can create init, dealloc, viewDidUnload methods. It helps to create NSCoding compliant objects. And much more.

Every Objective-C developer should have it.

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Adobe Photoshop

Yes, it's expensive, but having a good graphics editing program is invaluable when making apps. Imagery is what makes an app stand out and even if you've hired that super expensive graphic designer, you're going to want to be able to make tweaks yourself.

You have several purchasing options, including a trial, or if you qualify, education pricing.

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Terminal

The terminal on your Mac is a very useful tool for managing repositories if you don't want to go the graphical route. Additionally, many useful Objective-C libraries are hosted on Google Code or GitHub. Having Terminal means being able to check out copies of these libraries.

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Why Terminal when there is iTerm2? –  mspasov Apr 1 '11 at 8:36

TestFlight

Indispensable for managing over-the-air beta testing.

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Macports

Not really a Utility or often used tool by itself. But a great way to install all those unix command line tools that some of us need occasionally. For example imagemagick, pngcrush, mercurial, git, vim, wireshark and so on.

Fink is an alternative to Macports which basically does the same thing.

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mogenerator

Generates (and updates) Objective-C code for custom Core Data classes.

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MacVim

More mac-like way to use vim/gVim on the mac.

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Homebrew

A less invasive way to get Unix/Linux utilities than Macports. Nothing necessarily wrong with Macports, but I don't like having 3 copies of Perl on my system, etc.

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SQLiteManager

If you have to work with SQLite databases, or even just poke around the SQLite that Core Data produces, this is a great app. There's an unrelated Firefox add-on called SQLite Manager (notice the space) which has the great advantage of being free, but isn't as easy to use.

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Ingredients

It's been in beta for ages and is very crashy on Lion, but Ingredients is a great alternative for browsing Xcode documentation. It's generally faster for searching the docs, and has Google and StackOverflow searches built in. I wish they'd update it so that it crashes less.

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Unretiner

An automated tool to get the 2 versions of icons, images etc for both Hi and Low resolution screen versions (used on the retina screen and not-retina screen devices)

Usefull for iOS development.

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On The Job

On The Job is a really well done time tracking app. It's useful if you do client work and want to keep track of how much time you spend on a project. You can put in your hourly rate and (I think) generate invoices.
I use it to check how long a task has taken, and as an anti-procrastination device. It's helpful to know that a task you thought would take 4 hours only took 40 minutes. If you forget to stop it when you go on a break, it notices and asks if you really want to bill for the empty time or just reset to where you left off. It's a little expensive, but gets updated pretty frequently.

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BBEdit

BBEdit is a great text editor that has been around for quite a while. The new version 10 not only added a ton of great new features (and continues to do so), but also saw a big reduction in price - about 50%.

BBEdit is very scriptable, including AppleScript and shell scripting. Also easy to create clippings to reduce time.

BBEdit is very similar to TextWrangler (TW is almost the 'lite' version of BBEdit), but includes many extra features that are well worth the money. Some examples are much better HTML tools, context aware auto complete in many different languages, clippings, SVN/CVS integration, and more.

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ClipMenu

A free clipboard manager that is highly customizable and also includes support for snippets. I have it open a list of recently copied items using alt+space and then I can select an item to paste from the list. I recommend spending some time to customize it to your specific workflow.

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StoreSizer

StoreSizer is an easy to use and free Mac OS X application that will allow you to quickly resize your AppStore 512*512 PNG icons to icons that can be used for your application.

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Status Barred

Status Barred crops your iOS screenshots to remove the status bar from them, which is recommended by apple before submitting to iTunes connect.

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