Essential Mac OS X programs

Several friends and colleagues have asked me what tools they need to use Mac OS X at work, so I’m going to post a list here. Please post your own essential OS X tools in the comments. I’ll update the list as more programs come to mind.
###Web browsers
Safari: Very fast, ships with OS X.
Firefox: Just like the Windows version. Recommended.
Camino and OmniWeb are also very good. Opera is not, don’t use it.
###Text editors
TextWrangler: Very good and free.
TextEdit: Ships with OS X. Much better than Notepad, but not as good as TextWrangler.
TextMate: Not free, but very good progammer features such as code-folding, bookmarks, and code auto-completion.
Aquamacs: Mac-ified interface for Emacs. If you like Emacs, I recommend Aquamacs.
From the UNIX Terminal: vi, emacs, pico.
BBEdit. Byron reminds me to mention one of the oldest, most comprehensive, and most expensive Mac text editors. If you need its advanced features, BBEdit is worth the money. If you can get by without the HTML tools and snippet libraries, go with the free TextWrangler. How on earth did I forget BBEdit?
###FTP clients
Transmit: Limited features, but a very nice interface, very easy to use. I use this one the most.
Interarchy: Much more powerful than Transmit, but more complex as well.
Of course, you can always go command line if you like.
###Finder enhancements
The OS X Finder is generally lacking, so here are some add-ons I can’t live without:
FinderPop: A very old extension to OS 8/9, finally available for OS X. A very handy pop-up menu and file launcher. My favorite OS X enhancement.
LaunchBar: Fast, unobtrusive file launcher. This is my second favorite OS X add-on. I literally could not work without this tool.
Open Terminal Here: A Toolbar Script from Marc Liyanage that adds a button to open the current Finder directory in the Terminal.
InVisibles: A Toolbar button to toggle invisible files on and off.
PathSnagger: Contextual menu that copies the full path of a file or directory. Very handy.


  1. Add bbEdit, the text editor I spend most of my time in. I also run MT localhost and use it all the time for client meetings and my own knowledge management.

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