Intro to Web Development: The Tools

It’s no secret that the Mac has been designed to incorporate the internet into its daily life.  Just think of the “i”Mac and how Apple advertised how quickly you could get online compared to PCs.  Did you ever think about how people develop the sites you visit every day?  If so, read on to figure out how to get your idea and products out there using tools and app available on a dock near you.

To start off this series, I’ve decided to talk about some of the many popular tools web developers use every day to create their own websites.  This post is divided into two parts because there are two kinds of web development apps out there: W.Y.S.I.W.Y.Gs and Text Based apps.

W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G Apps

In case you’re puzzled on what that means, here’s an explanation.  WYSIWYG is an abbreviation for “what you see is what you get”.  It basically means that whatever you see on the screen, is what your web page will look like when you publish it.

Let’s take a look at some of today’s popular WYSIWYG apps for designing websites.

RapidWeavers Icon


Created by Realmac Software, RapidWeaver is one of the most popular 3rd party apps designed to create beautiful webpages with just a couple clicks.  With 40 themes included, all you have to do is enter in your content whether it’s text, images or both, and RapidWeaver will format it so that it fits with your selected theme.  To find out more, check out our review here at MacApper.


iWeb is Apple’s take on a WYSIWYG web app.  Literally, what you see on the screen is what you’re going to see when you hit the big “Publish” button.  Insert and drag around text boxes and images to make your web page exactly the way you want it without having to type a single line of code.  iWeb is part of Apple’s iLife Suite of sofware apps including iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and GarageBand.  You can find out more via iWeb’s product page.

All of the apps have a price tag but also have a demo in which you can download and see which one you like best.  If you’re looking for a little more control over the design and content of your web page, try the other type of web development app:  Text Based apps.

Text Based Apps

These apps are exactly what the title suggests – Text based meaning that in order to achieve your goal of the perfect web page, you’re going to have to stretch your fingers.  The plus side is that with these apps, every element of your page is customizable making the result exactly like the image in your head.

Here’s a small list of popular text based apps out of the countless selections available today.


From Panic inc. comes a one-windowed web development app designed to have all the tools you need at your fingertips.  Coda takes a bunch of separate apps and incorporates them and their features into one nicely designed package.  Top feautres include a text editor with auto-complete for most of the many popular coding languages, a built in FTP engine which is used to transfer your files onto your web server making your page accessible to the world wide web, and a CSS editor.  If you don’t understand a bunch of these terms, stay tuned.  Everything will be explained in time.


Some of you might have not expected to see this app in the list.  Dashcode is Apple’s way of making the development process of creating “widgets” a lot easier.  But did you ever think of Dashcode’s code editing features?  Auto-complete, text coloring, and what’s more?  It’s Free!



This one’s a biggie.  This text editing giant is from a company known as MacroMates.  You name it, Textmate’s got it.  Besides the standard ability of editing and creating files for the web, Textmate’s expandability in terms of plugins makes it truly a universal text editor for the Mac.  To find out more, check out their site or look at our review here at MacApper.

These are just some of the many amazing Text Based web developing apps available.  Be sure to check out’s downloads page for a larger list.

There you have it!  If you have any more quetions about the apps, feel free to look them up and find a review here at MacApper.  Stay tuned for our next installment which will talk about using Dashcode to start developing your first webpage.


30 Responses to “Intro to Web Development: The Tools”

  1. Mark on February 20th, 2009 12:49 pm

    I think you forgot a big one: BBEdit.

  2. Kiro on February 20th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Like I said, there’s a bunch. BBEdit is also a great web dev editor however, I wanted to keep this post small. If anyone wants to check out BBEdit, Joe Turner just wrote an excellent review on it available here:

  3. Izmet Fekali on February 20th, 2009 2:38 pm

    What about Sandvox (

  4. David on February 20th, 2009 5:19 pm

    I really like Smultron [and it's free].

  5. Israel Chauca F on February 20th, 2009 5:29 pm

    MacVim is not less than those up there ;)

  6. natis on February 20th, 2009 7:25 pm

    I’m curious as to what the intended audience of this article is.

  7. Beachball on February 20th, 2009 8:04 pm

    …and what about Freeway?

  8. All About iWeb on February 20th, 2009 8:16 pm

    All the other commentators are right, there are so many more but this post would have to sooo much longer to incorporate all of the others. I would have liked to have seen more WYSIWYG apps though, the idea behind using a Mac is to make our lives easier. And what about a section on apps that do both, Dreamweaver for example….. Its a big subject to be covered in such a short post. Nice though, can’t wait for the next installment.

  9. Jasper Tandy on February 22nd, 2009 5:35 pm

    You don’t need anything but Macvim. Much larger range of plugins and gives you far more customisation. I switched from TextMate a couple of months ago and haven’t looked back.

  10. Loweded Wookie on February 22nd, 2009 8:21 pm

    Just so you know, iWeb does not have a demo that you can download.

  11. vicent on February 26th, 2009 9:49 am

    icant open files alphanumericals ?

    for exemple :

    andantino Op. 52 n°2

    thanks for your help

    Francisco from FRANCE

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