3 best native web developer tools for Mac OS X

Posted August 7th, 2010 in Mac OS X, MySQL, PHP by Damian

When I switched to the Mac platform (quite recently) I simply took all the web development software I used over to the Mac OS X. Most of it was cross-platform and I was familiar with it so it made perfect sense. To some degree.

As an ex-Windows user I didn’t realise that the UI on the Mac is quite different from the Windows one, both visually and usability-wise. This makes user interfaces of software originally written for Windows really awkward to use. I decided to look for more native and free alternatives to my PHP development apps.

Having tried several packages in each category, here is what I found to be the best.

Best PHP IDE for Mac OS X

I have been a long-standing fan of Eclipse PDT. I always liked how complete the feature set of it was. However, Eclipse really feels sluggish and ugly on a Mac. That’s why I tried Netbeans, which looks native (althouth also Java-based) and is soo much faster than Eclipse. It also has as a more back-to-basics approach to the UI while maintaining quite a rich feature set at the same time.

Best MySQL management tool for Mac OS X

Although I use PHPMyAdmin daily I realised that a good desktop application for managing MySQL is still a better tool for the job. Having tested a few of them I decided to go with Sequel Pro, whose interface is simple and powerful at the same time allowing for inline data editing and simple column creation. It also allows you to connect through an SSH tunnel, which is particularly handy for remote databases.

Best LAMP stack for Mac OS X

MAMP is the king of local LAMP stacks on MacOS, hands down. Although quite a simple app it gives you everything you need to run you local server set up. It’s a bit of a shame that the option to create virtual hosts costs money.

One of the drawbacks of MAMP is that if you want to run Apache on port 80 it will ask you for you password every time you run it (annoying). Fortunately you can avoid that by running this app I wrote, which stores MAMPs password in your Keychain.

These are my favourite applications. What are yours?

2 Responses so far.

  1. I’ve never understood why Mac users go for such sluggish and bloated software like Eclipse or NetBeans.

    What’s wrong with running something native, intuitive and relatively lightweight such as Coda or TextMate?

    I guess it all depends on your needs, but really, these Java apps give me stomach cramps. They feel like apps that belong in the nineties, and on the Windows platform. I respect your preferences, but “best native web developer tools” ? I beg to differ Sir. I suspect that you may have yet to get used to the quality software that is available on the Mac platform.

  2. Damian says:

    @Joris: Well, the reason is simple: features.

    The native editors you mentioned (you can’t really call them IDEs, to be honest) are not nearly as comprehensive as Eclipse or Netbeans. If you work on a large PHP project, such as a Magento Ecommerce website with thousands of classes it’s really useful to have proper code completion. I don’t mean basic PHP functions but class names, methods and properties. Also, a class hierarchy view and project outline are things I use every day and are hard to find in simpler software like Coda.

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