Technology

New Software Roundup

It’s been a busy week in the world of indie Mac developers. Instead of creating several tiny links to these products, here’s a quick look at some of the bigger releases in the past week:

Panic – Coda

From the site:

So, we code web sites by hand. And one day, it hit us: our web workflow was wonky. We’d have our text editor open, with Transmit open to save files to the server. We’d be previewing in Safari, running queries in Terminal, using a CSS editor, and reading references on the web. “This could be easier,” we realized. “And much cooler.”

Coda is simply a one-stop solution for individuals who like to hand code their web sites. Right now, it’s a bit over my head, but I’ll keep revisiting it as my coding skills improve. John Gruber has some interesting thoughts on the product right here, and I was also pointed to this post on Upstart Blogger with thirty tips and tricks for Coda.

Coda is a very accessible application, and the UI is gorgeous. The price is a bit steep, though, at $99. However, Panic is offering Coda for $79 right now.

MacRabbit – CSSEdit 2.5

This is another product aimed at web developers, and it is specifically designed for editing CSS stylesheets. It is a very nice-lloking application. The feature-set is good, and the price of $30 is not bad at all for the functionality it offers.

CSSEdit is especially handy for tracking downs specific elements you might want to change, and you can preview those changes live. This application just keeps continuing to impress me. I’ve had some experience manually tweaking CSS stylesheets, and this product is just fantastic for that.

Peter Borg – Smultron 3.0

Smultron is a free text editor that is aimed at beginning and advanced coders. It supports syntax coloring (for several different programming languages from .ASP to Fortran to Ruby to Lua), split window editing, line numbers, Java compiling, code validation, and may other advanced features. Is it as comprehensive as something like TextMate? I don’t actually know, but it is pretty good, and the price can’t be beat if it meets your needs.

Rogue Amoeba – Fission 1.5

Like many great applications, Fission is a very simple tool. It’s aimed at editing and converting audio files losslessly. You can copy and paste audio files, split long files into shorter segments, cut unwanted sections, or tweak volume levels. The interface is clear and accessible, and, as an added bonus to Rogue Amoeba fans, the applications integrates tightly with Audio Hijack Pro.

Fission costs $32, but owners of Audio Hijack Pro 2 or higher are eligible to buy it for $18.

Freeverse – Periscope

Periscope is a utility from Freeverse software that is intended to make life with your webcam a little simpler and more fun. It allows you to set your webcam to capture images when certain criteria are met. You can add text, logos, or timestamps to the pictures taken, and the application makes it easy to share your photos via .Mac, email, Flickr, iPhoto, etc.

The only bone I have to pick with this application is that it is kind of ugly. It does not use standard OS X widgets, and the window behavior is…odd. It just does not feel like an OS X app, and, for $30, it should. I don’t think it offers enough functionality to justify the price tag, so a little more polish would go a long way in making that price easier to digest.

Acqualia – Picturesque

Picturesque is a very simple image editor aimed at dressing up your pictures for websites. It’s opening interface is very reminiscent of AppZapper with the user dragging an image into the empty application window. Once you open an image, you can add shadow, glow, reflection, curved corners, or edges. A background color can be specified, and the image can be resized using a simple slider.

It’s functionality is pretty limited, but it performs its purpose. I do have one little gripe though. Where can I specify what percentage of the actual size I’m viewing the image at. That seems like a setting I should be able to change. Picturesque is $20.

Acqualia – Soulver

Soulver is, in fact, pretty cool. The concept is simple but unique. Make a calculator that lets you enter equations as plain-English phrases. This allows you to think of math in more practical terms that we usually would using a standard calculator.

The problem is that the language you use has to be pretty specific (as the screenshot above illustrates), and this limits the real-world usefulness of this product. I especially had a hard time getting subtraction to function reliably. Still, it’s a great concept, and I hope the developer keeps working on improvements. Soulver is $18.

I’ve probably missed more great software releases, but these hopefully provide some good highlights. Most of these are probably being overshadowed by the release of Coda, but if you are a Mac user in search of a few good downloads this weekend, there is some good stuff here.

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