If you ever used Mac OS 9 extensively, one of the things you probably miss on Mac OS X, is the old Apple Menu. Mostly because the Apple Menu was sort of an applet launcher. While the OS X Dock now takes over a lot of those duties, it is somewhat lacking as a program launcher, because sometimes a drop down menu is so much more easier to deal with than 20 or so icons. You can however setup a folder and create aliases for all your favorite applications, then drop the folder onto the Dock so that this gives you a menu of programs to choose from in the Dock. A better idea though is to use a program launcher of some sort, of which there are many.
For me, Ranchero Software’s TigerLaunch is my favorite program launcher. It is simple to use, and does only one thing, it gives you a right side menu with a list of programs to launch. There is a simple Configure option which lets you pick any of the programs in your Applications folder and deselect the ones you do not want showing up. If you install new applications, the Refresh option will automatically add any new programs and you will need to open up the Configure option if you need to deselect them.
You can under Accounts in System Preferences add TigerLaunch to your startup list of programs, so that next time you restart your Macintosh, TigerLaunch will automatically startup without you having to manually launch it.
Best of all Ranchero Software does not charge anything for TigerLaunch.
TigerLaunch requires Mac OS X 10.1 or greater and I have personally used it on 10.3 and 10.4 without any problems.
Last month I wrote about how useful I found the Firefox Extention Web Developer, and how even Microsoft had gotten into the act with their own IE Web Developer toolbar, which was still in beta (and which was just updated on 10/31/2005). This time around I’ll point out that Apple’s Safari and Opera have web developer tools of their own.
Web Developer Toolbar & Menu are based loosely on Chris Perderick’s Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox, and adds more features and references. You must install both the Web Developer Toolbar and Web Developer Menu. There is also a Micro Web Developer Toolbar with less features.
In Safari’s case, I can’t find an actual toolbar, but Safari WebAdditions is a plugin which adds a menu. Safari WebAdditions enables disabling (hiding) images, showing table structure, blocking level elements (divs, paragraphs, forms), displaying diverse image properties (size, path) and links. Les Nie has made separate versions for Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4. You can download Safari WebAdditions from Les Nie’s Download Page.
Part 1 of Web Developer Toolbars covered Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
If you are serious about web design and using CSS, then you probably have found Chris Pederick’s Firefox extension, Web Developer indispensible for investigating web rendering issues. However, Web Developer is only for Firefox and Mozilla browsers, when it came to Internet Explorer, we were out of luck, that is until now. Microsoft now has a Web Developer Toolbar for IE6 and IE7. It is still in beta, but definitely something you need to download and start using.
Now all we have to do is get Apple to make something similar for Safari.
You can download either toolbar here:
Most web design requires you to look at html source code, because even if you design your pages in a graphical editor like Nvu or Dreamweaver, you always end up with typos that you have to go back and fix quickly. Perhaps you forgot to close a tag or you misspelled something in your content section, either way, you will need some type of text editor. On Windows most users rely on MS Notepad for this, but there are better editors out there.
Florian Balmer‘s free editor, Notepad2 is not the world’s greatest text editor, but it is simple and has many features over MS Notepad. Best of all you can manually setup Notepad2 as your default in Windows, by renaming notepad.exe. Note, that you have to replace the notepad.exe in multiple locations first and then let Windows know you want to keep the new file.
What I like is that Notepad2 has no nagging ads or spyware.
Most site design happens in an editor of some kind, be it Dreamweaver, Nvu, GoLive, or your text editor like BBEdit, UltraEdit, or Notepad even. However the editing and revisions, the little fixing of syntax only can be done if you double-check your work in the browser itself, and you have to do this constantly! This is where browser tools come in and really make this process easier to do. By default, the easiest of all browsers is of course Firefox and so we will cover some interesting extensions that you simply can not live without if you do any kind of site design, then you need to have these tools at your disposal. If you don’t, then you are just making things harder on yourself.
Web Developer Extension:
Available from ChrisPederick.com is Web Developer. This extension adds a toolbar to Firefox which features all kinds of tools for web design. You can clear the cache of your browser, see the stylesheet for a site, as well as edit it to see the results right away. The only thing that is really missing from WD, is a cool color picker or color lookup tool.
While Web Developer has some nice outline tools, it might be overkill for when all you want to do is figure out what the class id of a div is on the page, or better yet, you want to kill a graphic or an entire section. This is where Aardvark comes in. Once you install it you just go to Tools and choose to start Aardvark and you can then simply glide your mouse over the different page elements to see what their id and class is.
Mouseover DOM Inspector
For figuring out what the color code is of different elements on a page, nothing beats ColorZilla. With the simple activation of the eyedropper on the lower left corner, you can now know what any color code is for any element on the page. This is a must for when trying to work with interesting color palettes.
Web Color Names Extension
I will also mention Web Color Names, because even though it is a simple color chart, it still comes in handy when you want to look up a color really quickly in the standard color palette.
The first Internet program I ever used was Fetch, the classic Macintosh FTP client. But that was back in the days of System 7 and now we have Mac OS X, and though Fetch is still around, I find myself using the often updated Cyberduck for all my FTP needs.
David V. Kocher has put together one of the best FTP clients and since it is released under the GPL license, it is also freely available for personal use. Cyberduck also takes advantage of OS X technologies like Keychain, Rendezvous (now known as Bonjour), and Applescript. Although there are other Mac FTP clients you can buy, Cyberduck is the most updated program I know.