Main page :: Design :: Tools

Website tools


Keeping a complete and up-to-date list of all the tools I use is not a simple task: things will evolve, and there is the sheer definition of what a "tool" means in this context. However, a list below.


MacBook Pro
A MacBook Pro 17" Late 2012, the final model 17" laptop built by Apple. Since I don't have an up-to-date desktop any more (my old and trusty PowerMac G4 2x450 MHz is not a machine I use on a daily basis any more), this is my daily working computer. I bought it for its large screen: it is still movable, and allows for comfortable working without a docking station. A souvenir of my trip to the US.
Mac Mini Server
Test bed server before online publishing. Another US souvenir.


Sublime Text
Sublime Text is currently the editor of choice, mainly due to the HTML autocompletion. Its major disadvantage is its price tag: free for evaluation, $79 for continued use.
Smultron is a decent and simple editor for Mac OS X, with an intriguing icon. I am not entirely fond of the developer's approach to make a new version for each new Mac OS X upgrade, which does not work on earlier versions, and making it a paid update. Mainly in use for simple editing, and for having a second editor in place when copy-and-paste is needed, not to mix up files.
Byword is an editor that has a Mac OS X version as well as an iOS version. Since iOS lacks a common location for files, you need something like that for easy transmittal of files that you have written on your iPad or iPhone (yes, I write texts on my iPhone) to your Mac. In addition, it doubles also as Markdown editor/viewer, which is a natural companion to HTML for the writing of the texts on the website. Its distraction-free mode (a fancy name for full-screen) is an added value.
TeXShop is the Mac OS X editor for LaTeX. Some parts of this site have been originally written as LaTeX-files, which have been converted to HTML and then inserted in the format of this website.

Code management

I know it is trivial to mention this, but, since Apple did some improvements to the Finder in the last Mac OS X versions, it is worthy to be mentioned.
Code requires version control, and these days, git seems to be popular.

Content generation

Markdown can be easily translated to HTML, and several pages have been initially written in Byword and then exported to HTML and inserted in the website's template file.
Some pages are based on existing or purposely written LaTeX documents. I needed to spend some time on the generation of HTML code to my liking, and this process is documented in its own page.
Swift and Cocoa
Because Apple is promoting Swift as an easy, flexible and fun programming language, I thought to give it a try for writing some command line tools to process text and database files, and generate parts of the website. Of course, one can argue that there better alternatives to a language that is intended for application development, but Apple claims it can also be used as a scripting language. And I have always wanted to find a good reason to write some code against the Cocoa application framework.
For those who are interested in my experience to do work with Swift: at the moment, it is not yet mature enough. Swift is still evolving, and that means, among other things, that the documentation (especially if you want to search for examples on say, Stack Overflow) is often outdated or incomplete. Further on, Swift does not have its own "Standard Library", it relies on the Cocoa frameworks for that, and although that works well, there are issues, especially for the mapping of certain data types. And finally, playgrounds are quirky.


Forklift is currently under evaluation.
CyberDuck was for a long time the only SSH/SFTP client that I used. I never really dug into the subject, but I think it was at the time it appeared on my hard disk the only free graphical client for Mac OS X. I never liked the program, there is something wrong with the interface, but I have never put my finger on it well enough as to formulate what it is. It has always lived in competition with the CLI programs that do the same job.


1Checker is a spin-off of Cambridge, providing spelling and grammar checking. The service is provided online, with front-end programs for Mac OS X and Windows. My experience is that it is working quite decently, hunting down most errors, with a tendency to false positives. Among its disadvantages is that it does not provide any support for ignoring common markup, but that is, of course, not really their task. Many parts of this website's text are run through it.
HTML Validators