14 Free Mac Apps for Web Designers on a Budget

By / Nov 19, 2009 / Tools
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We all know that Macs aren’t the most affordable computers on the market. Purchasing one can take a big chunk out of a web designer’s budget and leave little to purchase software. Thankfully, there are alternatives to the expensive software that we need to do our job. Here are 14 Mac applications that will have you doing everything from editing images to writing code, and they won’t cost you a dime.

MAMP

mac apps

The abbreviation “MAMP” stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. With just a few mouse clicks, you can install Apache, PHP and MySQL for Mac OS X. It is a must have for developing and test websites on your local machine.

GIMP

mac apps

GIMP is a versatile graphics manipulation package. It’s considered by many to be an excellent alternative to Photoshop.

Cyberduck

mac apps

Cyberduck is an open source FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Cloud Files and Amazon S3 browser for the Mac. It features an easy to use interface with quickly accessible bookmarks.

svnX

mac apps

SvnX is an open source GUI for most features of the svn client binary. It allows you to browse your working copies, spot changes and operate on them but also to browse logs and revisions of your repositories.

Paparazzi

mac apps

Paparazzi! is a small utility for Mac OS X that makes screenshots of webpages. It’s written in Objective-C using the Cocoa API and the WebKit framework.

FileZilla

mac apps

FileZilla is a free open source ftp application. Both client and server are available.

TextWrangler

mac apps

TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator’s tool. Its great for writing and editing code and features syntax coloring and function navigation for HTML/XHTML, XML, PHP, JavaScript, Perl, Python, Ruby, Lua, Java, ANSI C, C++, Objective-C, and more.

Inkscape

mac apps

Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.

KompoZer

mac apps

KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. Think of it as a Dreamweaver alternative.

Simple CSS

mac apps

Simple CSS allows you to easily create Cascading Style Sheets from scratch, and/or modify existing ones, using a familiar point-and-click interface. With it, you can manage multiple CSS projects and import your existing style sheets.

VirtualBox

mac apps

VirtualBox is a powerful virtualization app that allows mac users to set up a Windows environment on their machine, which makes cross platform/browser testing pretty simple.

MindNode

mac apps

MindNode is an elegant and simple-to-use mindmapping applications. It’s a great little app for brainstorming and managing your projects.

Skitch

mac apps

Skitch is an app that takes screenshots a couple of steps further by giving you the ability to sketch and make notes on the image and then share it through skitch.com. It is a great way to collaborate on projects or to explain ideas to a client.

Pixus

mac apps

Pixus is an Adobe Air app that lets you measure the screen objects in pixels using both mouse and keyboard control.

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

19 Comments

  1. designfollow
    November 19, 2009

    great

    thank you

    Reply
  2. Mike Rundle
    November 19, 2009

    Nice list but I’ve got to disagree with MAMP. It’s unnecessary. Apache & PHP are built into Mac OS X, all you need to do is flip a checkbox to turn web sharing on and make sure that PHP is enabled in httpd.conf. Installing MySQL is a quick jump away, too. It’s better to have it installed within normal *nix directories than to jam the whole thing into a MAMP folder in Applications IMO. There’s just not much of a need since all the tools are already there.

    Reply
    • Vicente Russo
      December 15, 2009

      You are right, Mike, it`s much more simple to have all leopard builtin features like apache and php. BUT, things like GD library is not in the box, and its a mess to recompile php on leopard. Its a lot more fast and easy to download a software like mamp (I use xampp) and start working right away! :)

      Reply
  3. Anthony
    November 19, 2009

    The page that Pixus is linked to is correct (it’s hosted by Adobe), but the download link there doesn’t work.

    Here is the Google Code link:
    http://pixus.googlecode.com/files/pixus.air

    Reply
    • Henry
      November 19, 2009

      Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve corrected the link in the article.

      Reply
  4. Redstage Magento
    November 19, 2009

    These apps are simply fantastic! Thanks for the share!

    Reply
  5. Mads
    November 19, 2009

    Fantastic! Just what I need, now as I own a Mac.

    Reply
  6. Binoid
    November 19, 2009

    I prefer XMind to Mind Mapping instead of MindNode.

    http://www.xmind.net/

    Reply
  7. Alex Grover
    November 20, 2009

    This very helpful post is what I have been searching for for quite some time.
    Thank you so much for compiling this list!

    Reply
  8. Michelle
    November 22, 2009

    these are great thank you :)

    Reply
  9. tom
    November 22, 2009

    Don’t forget Blender!
    http://www.blender.org/

    Reply
  10. Osvaldas
    November 24, 2009

    Free alternative to MAMP – XAMPP.

    Reply
  11. Ashely Adams : Sticker Printing
    November 25, 2009

    For a Mac newbie like me the post was a learning experience…Can’t wait to use Inkscape and the other applications…Surely, they will give an interesting edge to web designing…

    Reply
  12. Sonali Agrawal
    January 6, 2010

    Free alternative to TextWrangler – Komodo Edit…

    Reply
  13. JHG
    February 21, 2010

    Very interesting list! I’m going to try them

    Reply
  14. Emilio Stahly
    August 16, 2010

    Hi, thanks for this very usefull post. I can definitely use this! I’ve bookmarked your blog

    Reply
  15. svnX
    September 22, 2010

    NOTE: svnX moved to some time ago.

    Reply
  16. qwe
    March 25, 2012

    ImageAlpha is a budged version of Adobe Firework’s PNG export — http://pngmini.com (gives small PNGs with full transparency).

    Reply
  17. Nitz
    March 1, 2013

    I LOVE GIMP and FX Photo Studio Pro a lot as they don’t eat up all my pocket, in fact GIMP even ask you for a single penny. But, I truly rest of your suggestions and your reviews about them are quite impressive. Would love to try them out. Thanks Henry for sharing them.

    Reply

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