10 Must-Have Free macOS Apps For Web Developers

For web developers, applications are important factors to better productivity; without having the right ones, developing a single website could take up a lot of a developer’s time. There are many applications for web development for every platform.

In this post, we will put together the best OS X Applications that you should include in your web development toolbox. The best part is that all these applications are totally free. So, let’s take a look.

100 Free Useful Mac Apps

100 Free Useful Mac Apps

Mac is a powerful machine with a high-performing operating system. If you love working on your Mac, you'll... Read more

1. VirtualHostX

VirtualHostX was started as a “Web Sharing” plugin; a utility that Apple removed from the System Preferences since OS X Mountain Lion. This option lets you turn on and off the built-in macOS Apache Server, where you can host localhost environment for your websites.

Now VirtualHostX has evolved into a quite powerful application to manage a localhost environment. Some of its features include improved modern macOS UI, creating and sharing a public URL to access the localhost site, installing free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, and built-in backups.


2. Keka

Most file packages that we download are compressed either in zip, rar, or tar format, allowing multiple-file delivery. Even though the Mac has a built-in feature to extract these formats, it is rather limited.

Keka is a free open-source OS X application for file compression and extraction. It supports the three formats above and various compression formats including 7z, Gzip, Tar, DMG, and ISO, and it can extract RAR, EXE, CAB, and PAX format as well.


With Keka, you can also apply password restriction to the compressed file, split the compressed file into multiple parts at a specified size threshold, automatically delete the source file after compression or extraction, and choose the compression method for much smaller file output. It also integrates with OS X Notification Center to put failure and success notification.

Compressing files

There are two ways to compress files with Keka. First, you can download and install the Services context menu.

keka menu

Second, you can drag and drop your files onto the Keka application window, as shown below. The files will be compressed as the specified default setting.

keka drag drop

3. Sequel Pro

MySQL could be the most popular open-source database used worldwide. There are many websites including open source projects like WordPress that rely on MySQL for storing its databases. If you are on OS X, and want to manage databases in MySQL, then Sequel Pro is the best option for the job.

Sequel Pro is a native OS X application, built with Cocoa, and it has a nicer GUI compared to similar applications. You can create, remove, export, import, and filter the databases, create MySQL users, as well execute MySQL query through the app.

sequel pro

4. Koala

Koala is a tool to compile LESS, Sass, Compass, and CoffeeScript into browser-compliant format. If you’re using one of these trendy technologies, then Koala is one app to install in your Mac.

koala app

5. iPhone Emulator

If you need to test your websites for the mobile platform, you can either use a physical mobile phone or tablet or simply use a simulator application like iPhone Simulator. However, to get the iPhone Simulator, you first need to install Xcode from the AppStore.

The iPhone Simulator is deeply buried within the Xcode application. So, for easy access, you can run the following command to launch it right from the Application folder.

ln -s /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Applications/Simulator.app  ~/Applications
iphone simulator

6. Icons8

Need lots and lots of icons? Install Icons8. Icons8 adds a new icon at the menu bar where you can search through its 2800 collections of icons. Then, you can place the selected icon on any application like Photoshop, Xcode, or Finder.


7. Browsers

It’s obvious, we need a Browser to view the websites we’ve developed. However, since you are a developer, you may need to go the extra mile, testing your website for various Browser versions including the Nightly Builds and Beta versions.

So apart from the regular Browsers, you may also need Firefox Nightly, Firefox Aurora, Chrome Canary, Chromium, and Opera Next.


8. Devdocs

Memorizing every code and syntax from all languages sounds quite impossible. This is where the Devdocs need to install Dash. Dash collects Documentation for HTML5, CSS3, jQUery, Sass, LESS, and a bunch of other programming languages.

You can search through their documentation, finding codes, syntax, functions, as well as code snippets, all in one place.


9. Automator

Automator has been pre-installed with OS X. This application allows you to automate tasks, for example, you can create a contextual menu for renaming files in batch, change file extensions, creating thumbnail images, crop multiple images at once, and a lot more. Automator could be a great companion tool for streamlining your web development workflow.


10. Poedit

Poedit is an editor for .po file that is widely used for internationalizing websites; translating the website user interface into multiple languages. If you are developing websites or products like WordPress themes and plugins for international audiences, then Poedit is a must-install app.


Bonus: SourceTree & Github

Whether you build a small or a large-scale website, you should incorporate a control version system to keep track of the changes and revisions of the codes in the projects.

Today, with Git being the most popular system for version control, you can install SourceTree or Github application for macOS to use and operate Git in a more convenient way through GUI. Both applications are free.

version control