Continuing my series on upgrading to El Capitan, I thought it would be a good idea to list my essential tools that I use daily for work and personal projects.

The applications listed below are what I always have open on my desktop, so I would categorize them as my

Most Used Tools

  • Command Prompt
    Most software developers will always have this program running on their desktop because some things are just done faster using the keyboard. I’ll list some of my most used command line tools in the Command Line Tools section below.
  • Chrome ( and Safari
    My primary web browser is Google Chrome, there are times when I need to use another browser.  I often need to access the same web site (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Client’s web sites, etc…) as a different user. When you log into a web site, that web site creates a session with your browser that ensures you do not have to login again. That is convenient, but I frequently need to access the same web site as a different user and the only way to do that is to use another web browser. Hopefully, the browser companies will fix this limitation.
  • Mail
    Most people have mail running on this computer all the time. I usually have the window hidden/minimized so that I can get notifications when new messages come in.
  • Messages
    I love the way Apple has integrated my iOS devices with OSX. I communicate via SMS all day and being able to send and receive messages on my iMac, iPad and iPhone is just awesome!
  • Twitter (
    I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but my clients use it and therefore I use it. Nuff said.
  • Notes
    The new Notes in iOS9 and El Capitan is a huge improvement over its limited predecessors. Having all my notes synced with iCloud allows me to access them where ever I am. I use Notes for pretty much everything: scratchpad, to do list, brainstorming, post-its.
  • Skype (
    I’m not a big fan of Skype, but it is pretty much a standard so nuff said.

Command Line Tools

  • Homebrew (
    Homebrew is a package manager that allows you to install, update and remove Unix command line tools. Think of it as an App Store for command line tools. Most people will not have a need for this, but for developers it is essential.
  • vim
    Vim is a command line text editor that comes with OSX. It is pretty much a standard Unix text editor. It is not my primary editor but I use it quite often to make quick code and configuration file changes.
  • git (
    Git is a version control program that is a not only a standard in the development community, but it is also a necessary tool to keep track of code changes and documentation.

General Productivity Tools

  • LibreOffice (
    Microsoft Office is a great tool, but I feel that it is overkill for most users. I rarely use LibreOffice but it does come in handy when someone sends me a MS Word document or Excel Spreadsheet.
  • Google Docs (
    Google Docs is my general office suite. All of my presentations, user manuals, proposals, blog posts, etc are all created in the cloud. I understand that each program is minimally featured but it has what I need and allows me to share and collaborate quickly and easily.
  • Photos
    Wow, Photos has come a long way since iPhoto! Photos allows me to mange all of my photos and edit them quickly and easily. It also supports my camera’s raw format. Professional photographers will probably have Adobe Lightroom on their computer, but Photos does everything I need for now.
  • QuickTime Player
    Most people do not know how powerful the default QuickTime player in OSX can be. I use it to create screencasts and trim my videos.
  • Parallels Desktop (
    Even though OSX is my primary environment, as a software developer, I am also required to work in Windows. Parallels Desktop allows me to seamlessly work between both operating systems without any compromises. I have looked at Oracle’s VirtualBox and feel it is a good choice, but it does not have nearly the same level of integration between your virtual machines and OSX.

These are my essentials that I needed to make sure were up and running after installing El Capitan. I do use other programs which I may cover in another blog post.

Published On: October 9th, 2015 / Categories: Programming / Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , /

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