My Web Development Toolchain

Recently I was asked about some of my favourite Mac OSX apps for web development, I mainly develop in PHP but the all these tools can be used for Python, Ruby etc development with the exception for PHPUnit.


Different projects have different dependences, some use Beanstalkd while others prefer RabbitMQ, rather than installing all these on my machine Vagrant allows me to easily manage them all on a project basis by creating a virtual development environment. Previously I used MAMP Pro to run PHP applications on my development machine until discovering Vagrant and its advantages. Protobox makes generating Vagrant boxes a breeze.

####Google Chrome

Has good support for modern standards and top class developer tools. I also found Safari to be quite slow on occasions especially with dealing with Javascript, don’t forget ⌘ + [Tab Number] to quicky jump to a specific tab.

Alternative: Safari - offers the best integration for OSX although somewhat lacking in terms of developer tools compared with Chrome or Firefox.

####Sublime Text

Using the Spacegray theme with Source Code Pro font. I absolutely love how easy it is to customise while retaining its simplicity, not to forget its killer feature: Multiple Selections. In terms of plugins I have the following:

Alternative: PHPStorm- If you want a full blown PHP IDE this is your best option.
Free Alternative: Light Table


I live by the GTD approach - Things make managing tasks on a project-to-project basis. Things is very pricey, although I personally think it’s worthwhile for my workflow.

Free Alternative: Wunderlist


I use iTerm for its customizability, it is really easy to theme - my favorite being is Zenburn from iTerm 2 Color Themes - Github. I also changed my shell to fish for auto complete!

####Sequel Pro

Such an amazing free MySQL client for the OSX, native Cocoa app so fits beautifully into Mavericks. Works really well remotely over SSH also.


While I know a lot of developers prefer to work with VC’s through the command line I much prefer a visual element to it, Sourcetree is a free Mercurial and Git Client with built-in support for HG/Git-Flow.


Alfred saves me a lot of time opening apps and searching for files. I have disabled spotlight and changed alfreds key combo to ⌘ + space


Removes the need to constantly refresh my web browser everytime I make a change to the source code. Livereload constantly monitors a selected folder for changes, also has the ability to compile SASS, LESS, Stylus, CoffeeScript etc. Comes with browser extensions so no need to inject Javascript into your sites.


Essential for using the Test-driven Development process when developing your web applications. I recently wrote a guide on Installing PHPUnit on OSX Mavericks


A remote multi-server automation tool primary used for deploying web applications to remote servers. It really helps when deploying to more than one web server, including supporting database migrations.

Misc Apps

  • 1Password - essential for proper password storage and generation
  • Ember - for storing design inspiration
  • Evernote - keeping notes in sync on my iPhone, iPad and Mac
  • Flux - for reducing eye strain when using your computer at night
  • Bartender - let’s me tidy my menu bar to the bare minimum
  • Mailcatcher - let’s me simulate a SMTP server and catches any message sent to it to display in a web interface