Mac OS X Productivity Tips for Developers by Tim Berglund and Matthew McCullough


Summary:If you are new to Mac, buy it, if you are veteran – google

Mac OS X Productivity is all about these little things that are not exposed to user right after they boot into the OS X. Typically, people are not aware of that behind nice GUI there is actually a fully functional BSD system. If you are new to OS X, and you plan to use it as your development platform, it might be worth considering to take a look at this one. There are few things that might be of your interest.

Keyboard hacks is all about how to improve your keyboard experience. In my opinion both authors are a little bit too crazy about the shortcuts etc. Well, let me put that different way. OK, that’s true shortcuts are good as they speed up your work, but let be honest. Working as IT engineer is not as working at factory line. You don’t type 8h straight. So, I don’t think that working with keyboard only is that much speedup gain. Maybe in short run. Anyway, there are few interesting tips related to keyboard and I like them.

When it comes to terminal, you will learn why iTerm 2 is way better than standard terminal installed by default in OSX. I, personally, use iTerm 2 for more then year and I don’t remember the last time when I have started Terminal. What was missing here is the way to share the same terminal session. This would be something nice to watch. As for prompt modifications, I suggest to google for nice shell prompts. There is not that much here, in the video. In fact, what is shown is very git oriented.

I was slightly disappointed with the source control as well. Git only, again. Contrary, notes on markdown and Mou application is a plus. But again, GitHub pops up from middle of nowhere :)

mdfind is yet another interesting tool shown in the tutorial. To be honest, I had no idea that it exists. I always use find to locate the files (typically with grep on the other side of pipe), however it turned out that mdfind is nice, content based, search tool available straight from the command line.

There are few nice tricks related to the Finder as well. One of my favourite is Command-Option-V while copying files.

When it comes to web service helpers, Tim points out that many developers don’t know curl or wget. Well, it’s a surprise to me as for me these two apps are simply part of the basic toolset. Anyway, you will learn here few things regarding curl. If you haven’t known them, it’s definitely worth watching.

In addition to above you will get some notes on Automator – which might make your life easier in case you do some repetitive tasks. I, personally, prefer to do all the automation via scripts in the shell. Anyway, if you have the toolset of apps that register as Automator actions it might be interesting to play with it a little.

Overall, I have really, really mixed felling about this particular video. I am huge fan of Matthew and Tim (I have really enjoyed their Git related series and Grails 101). Here, however, it is different story. I think that whether this video is worth a shot really depends on your experience with OS X. If you use OS X a lot. If you don’t hesitate to use keyboard and shell, let’s be honest, you probably know, like 70%-90% of the content. On the other hand, if you have just moved to OS X and you just start to get familiar with it, I think you might benefit from this one. Anyway, like the authors say in the video by themselves – lots of the information shown here you can find using google.

Choice is yours.

O’Reilly (e-book): Mac OSX Productivity Tips for Developers
Safari Books Online: Mac OSX Productivity Tips for Developers