Give us the tools and we will finish the job.

Winston Churchill



Dave Verwer’s most recent issue of iOS Dev Weekly got me thinking about the tools I use in development. Like Dave, I thought this would be a good time to review which are the most helpful to me.


Many apps make development easier, but these these ten are indispensable.


I use Xcode’s built-in git support for basic things like commits. For anything more advanced – branching, merging, remotes – I immediately turn to Tower for the assurance that my version control is bombproof.


The diff tool in Tower is great for most jobs. When I need to parse differences more finely, compare folders, or compare images, nothing beats Kaleidoscope.


Everybody's code crashes sometime, and Hockey App is a rock-solid way to track crashes in your shipping app. It's symbolification is outstanding and identifies the guilty line of code. We’re all hoping that HockeyApp stays solid after its recent purchase by Microsoft.


Pixels matter, and xScope is the best tool out there for making those pixel-perfect measurements. If it's on the screen, you can measure it with xScope.


BBEdit is the Swiss-army knife of text editing and always has been. This is has been favorite of all apps for over fifteen years. It is simply the most powerful tool for any job involving text.


When I need to edit an image, make an icon, or do anything graphical, Acorn is the best tool for the job. The workflow in Acorn is far easier than Photoshop, and the keyboard shortcuts will turn you into an image-editing ninja.


Found that perfect color? Hues lets you zoom in on it and easily convert it to any color space. You can even copy and paste the color as an NSColor. Could it be any easier?


Tracking image assets in Xcode is difficult, and Slender makes it easy. Quickly determine if particular size classes are missing, if assets are no longer used in an app, and more.


I can’t imagine web development without Coda. It combines a text editor, syntax checker, terminal, integrated file transfer, and git integration. Panic software is beautifully designed, and just using their apps makes me think more deeply about the design of mine.


In days of yore, any calculation required launching a spreadsheet. No more. Soulver is the fastest way to make routine calculations, and in a way that lets you easily modify them and check alternatives.

Possible contenders

I’ve just started using these two apps, so I can’t yet say they are critical, but they sure look good.


Viewing documentation xCode has always been a little ... clunky. Dash looks like a much better way to view and search api documentation, and it supports an enormous range of languages.


Promo codes are essential for spreading the word about your app, but they’re complicated to download and nearly impossible to track. I’ve hard great things about Tokens, and it looks like it’s the answer to working with promo codes.

Blogs, Websites, and Podcasts

The Apple community has always been generous with help, and there’s a rich array of blogs, websites, and podcasts to choose from. These are my favorites.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is usually my first stopping point when I’m stumped, and it’s hard to imagine working without it. Helpful answers, demonstrated with code, and voted on by peers. It’s a quick way to find the solution or get pointed in the right direction.

Ray Wenderlich tutorials

Ray has assembled an outstanding team, and their tutorials are just as outstanding. His tutorials are great for understanding issues more broadly than what’s usually on Stack Overflow.

iOS Dev Weekly

At the end of a long week, getting Dave Verwer’s iOS Dev Weekly in my email is always a delight. Dave offers a well-curated list of recent developments in the iOS world. I always find a couple of gems in here.


NSHipster explores the dimly-lit corners of Objective-C, Cocoa, and now Swift. Pithy, lucid writing make these some of the clearest explanations you’ll find. is the deep dive of iOS explanations. It comes out a little less often than other sites, but when it does, settle in for a couple hours of an in-depth exploration of iOS.

Core Intuition

Daniel Jalkut and Manton Reece make my favorite podcast. It’s two regular guys talking about app development and the developer lifestyle.