Software Development Software For Mac


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  • Xcode is the primary tool for macOS and iOS development and it is only available on the Mac. It is a free download from the Mac App Store and the current version is 11.5 the time of writing.

A guide to setting up an Apple Mac for DevOps and software development. This is current for macOS 10.14 (Mojave).

Log in once, run Software Update, and ensure that the operating system is at the latestpoint release. After all of the updates have been applied, restart the computer.

MinGW - Minimalist GNU for Windows. A native Windows port of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Development Tools; Displays; E-readers. What used to require months of training and an expensive suite of software can now be accomplished with a single free app. (Mac OS 10.13 Catalina.

Log in again and create an Admin user account for your use. If other people will beusing the machine, create Standard accounts for them. Log out of the initial account,and log in to the Admin account that you have just created.

Always log in with this new Admin account. The benefit of leaving the initial accountuntouched is that it ensures that you always have a working account to login with.

Admin accounts have sudo privileges: All Admin accounts on a Mac may use sudo to runcommand-line utilities with administrative (root) privileges.

You should also find an external hard drive. Begin using Time Machine as soon aspossible, as it provides the most easy method for backing up your system.

Configuring The Trackpad

To make the trackpad behave correctly, ensure that these settings are enabled:

  • System Preferences > Trackpad > Tap to click
  • System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad Options… >Enable dragging

Creating a Private Applications Folder

Once you have logged into your account, create a folder called Applications withinyour home folder. Whenever you are prompted to drag a new applications into the globalApplications folder, put it in this private Applications folder instead. Someapplications have to be installed to global folders, but in most cases you can keep thesystem directories clean by storing third-party products in your private Applicationsfolder.

Securing the Safari Browser

Whether or not you regularly use Safari, you should open it once, and adjust thesettings in case that you use it later.

First, choose Safari > Preferences > General and deselect the option Open “safe” files after downloading.

Second, go to Safari > Preferences > Search. Decide which search engine that you want to use. Ensure that Safari Suggestions is not enabled.

Then, check the plug-in settings. Go to Safari > Preferences > Security > Plug-in Settings… and review the plug-ins and settings.

Apple provide quite secure operating systems, but unfortunately convenience has won outover security in a few places. These can easily be corrected by changing a few settings.If you are using a laptop then you should probably make all of these changes as soon aspossible.

Basic Settings

Select System Preferences > Security & Privacy, and set the following:

  • Under General, set require a password after sleep or screen saver begins toimmediately
  • Click Advanced… and select Require an administrator password to accesssystem-wide preferences
  • Under Firewall, click Turn Firewall On.
  • Under Privacy, select Analytics and ensure that the options are not enabled.

Disable Spotlight

Software Development Software For Machine Learning

By default, Spotlight sends queries to Apple. Unless you want this feature, turn it off.

Select System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results, and ensure that Spotlight Suggestions is not enabled.

Enable File Vault NOW

Current versions of macOS include File Vault 2, a full-disk encryption system that haslittle in common with the much more limited File Vault 1. You should enable File VaultNOW, because it is the only protection against anyone with physical access to yourcomputer. All other security measures will be completely bypassed if someone withphysical access simply restarts the computer with a bootable pen drive.

File Vault really is secure, which means that you can permanently lose access to yourdata if you lose the passwords and the recovery key.

Set a Firmware Password

Set a password to stop access to theRecovery mode. Otherwise, any maliciousindividual can change the firmware settings to boot from a disc or device of theirchoosing. If you did not enable File Vault, then the attacker will have complete accessto all of the files on the system.

Apple Knowledge Base article HT204455provides full details.

Setting Up Time Machine Backups

Time Machine is simple to set up. Just take a suitably large external hard drive, plug itin to your Mac, and agree when prompted. The drive setup process will reformat the harddrive. The only settings that may need to change are the exclusions.

Choose System Preferences > Time Machine, and click Options. Add to the exclusionslist any folders that contain ISO disk images, virtual machines, or database files (suchas Entourage). If the external hard drive is short of space, exclude the Systemfolder.

The first step is to install a compiler. The easiest way to install one is with theXcode Command Line Tools package.

Software Development Software For Macbook Pro

Once you have the compiler that is provided by Xcode, you can useHomebrew to install everything else that you need.

Getting Xcode

Apple now provide the Xcode suite as a free download from the App Store. To installXcode Command Line Tools, install Xcode from the App Store, then open a Terminal windowand enter the following command:

Setting Up Homebrew

Homebrew provides a package management system for macOS, enabling youto quickly install and update the tools and libraries that you need. Follow theinstructions on the site.

You should also amend your PATH, so that the versions of tools that are installed withHomebrew take precedence over others. To do this, edit the file .bashrc inyour home directory to include this line:

You need to close all terminal windows for this change to take effect.

To check that Homebrew is installed correctly, run this command in a terminal window:

To update the index of available packages, run this command in a terminal window:

Once you have set up Homebrew, use the brew install command to add command-line software to your Mac, and brew cask install to add graphical software. For example, this command installs the Slack app:

Installing the Git Version Control System

The Xcode Command Line Tools include a copy of Git, which isnow the standard for Open Source development, but this will be out of date.

To install a newer version of Git than Apple provide, use Homebrew. Enter this command in a terminal window:

If you do not use Homebrew, go to the Web site and follow thelink for Other Download Options to obtain a macOS disk image. Open your downloadedcopy of the disk image and run the enclosed installer in the usual way, then dismountthe disk image.

Always set your details before you create or clone repositories on a new system. Thisrequires two commands in a terminal window:

The global option means that the setting will apply to every repository that you workwith in the current user account.

To enable colors in the output, which can be very helpful, enter this command:

Text Editors

Installations of macOS include older command-line versions of bothEmacs and vim, as well asTextEdit, a desktop text editor. TextEdit is designed for light-weight word processing,and has no support for programming. Add the code editors or IDEs that you would prefer to use.

If you do not have a preferred editor, consider using a version of Visual Studio Code. Read the next section for more details.

To work with a modern Vim editor, install Neovim.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a powerful desktop editor for programming, with built-in support for version control and debugging. The large range of extensions for Visual Studio Code enable it to work with every popular programming language and framework. It is available free of charge.

The Microsoft releases of Visual Studio Code are proprietary software with telemetry enabled by default. To avoid these issues, use the packages that are provided by the vscodium project instead.

Once you have installed Visual Studio Code or VSCodium, read this article for more information about using the editor.


If you would like a modern Vim editor with a good default configuration, set up Neovim.

Setting The EDITOR Environment Variable

Whichever text editor you choose, remember to set the EDITOR environment variable inyour ~/.bashrc file, so that this editor is automatically invoked by command-linetools like your version control system. For example, put this line in your profile tomake Neovim (nvim) the favored text editor:

Setting Up A Directory Structure for Projects

To keep your projects tidy, I would recommend following theGo developer conventions. These guidelines may seemslightly fussy, but they pay off when you have many projects, some of which are ondifferent version control hosts.

First create a top-level directory with a short, generic name like code. By default Gouses a directory called go, but you can change that when you set up a Go installation.

In this directory, create an src sub-directory. For each repository host, create asubdirectory in src that matches your username. Check out projects in the directory.The final directory structure looks like this:

Creating SSH Keys

You will frequently use SSH to access Git repositories or remote UNIX systems. macOSincludes the standard OpenSSH suite of tools.

OpenSSH stores your SSH keys in a .ssh directory. To create this directory, run these commands in a terminal window:

To create an SSH key, run the ssh-keygen command in a terminal window. For example:

Use 4096-bit RSA keys for all systems. The older DSA standard only supports 1024-bitkeys, which are now too small to be considered secure.

JavaScript Development: Node.js

Homebrew provides separate packages for each version of Node.js.To ensure that you are using the version of Node.js that you expect, specify the versionwhen you install it. For example, enter this command in a Terminal window to install theNode.js 12, the current LTS release:

Add the bin/ directory for this Node.js installation to your PATH:

If you need yarn, enter this command in a Terminal window toinstall it:

Go Development

Use Homebrew to install Go:

This provides the standard command-line tools for Go.

The current version of Go includes support for dependency management with modules. Use modules for new projects. Some existing projects still use dep, or an older tool.

Setting a GOPATH

Current versions of Go do not require a GOPATH environment variable, but you should set it to ensure that third-party tools and Terminal auto-completion work correctly.

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Set a GOPATH environment variable in your ~/.bashrc file:

Then, add this to your PATH:

Close the Terminal and open it again for the changes to take effect.

Java Development: AdoptOpenJDK

Which Version of Java?

Many vendors provide a JDK. To avoid potential licensing and support issues, use the JDK that is provided by the AdoptOpenJDK project. The versions of Java on the OpenJDK Website are for testers, and the Oracle JDK is a proprietary product that requires license fees.

Use the LTS version of the OpenJDK, unless you need features that are in the latest releases.

Once you have installed a JDK, get the Apache Maven build tool. This is provided by the Maven project itself, and is not part of the OpenJDK.

Use jEnv if you need to run multiple JDKs, such as different versions of the same JDK.

Setting up Java with Homebrew

Run these commands in a terminal window:

This installs version 11 of the OpenJDK, from the AdoptOpenJDK project.

Run this command in a terminal window to install Maven:

Setting up jEnv

Run this command in a terminal window to install jEnv:

Next, add this to your PATH:

Add this to your ~/.bashrc file:

Open a new terminal window, and run this command:

This enables jEnv to manage the JAVA_HOME environment variable.

To avoid inconsistent behaviour, close all the terminal windows that you currently have open. The jEnv utility will work correctly in new terminal windows.

Lastly, run this command to register your current JDK with jEnv:

To see a list of the available commands, type jenv in a terminal window:

Manual Set up of AdoptOpenJDK

To manually install a copy of the JDK:

  1. Download the version of the JDK that you need from AdoptOpenJDK
  2. Unzip the download
  3. Copy the JDK directory to /usr/local/lib
  4. Edit your ~/.bashrc file to set environment variables. For example, to use jdk-11.0.3+7 as the Java version:

To manually install a copy of Apache Maven:

  1. Download the latest version of Maven
  2. Unzip the download
  3. Copy the Maven directory to /usr/local/lib/
  4. Add /usr/local/lib/MAVEN-DIRECTORY to your PATH environment variable

Replace MAVEN-DIRECTORY with the name of the directory that Maven uses, such as apache-maven-3.6.0.

Maven is written in Java, which means that the project provides one package, which works on any operating system that has a supported version of Java.

Python Development: pipenv

Unfortunately, macOS includes a copy of Python 2, so you will need to install Python 3 yourself.

To maintain current and clean Python environments, you should also use pipenv. This builds on two features of Python: the virtual environments and the pip utility.

Enter this command to install Python 3 and pipenv using Homebrew:

Use pipenv to manage your Python projects. The pipenv tool itself will automatically work with the copy of Python 3 from Homebrew.

To use the Python 3 interpreter outside of projects that are managed by pipenv, specify python3 on the command-line and inyour scripts, rather than python:

If you need to run the pip utility, rather than setting up a development environment with pipenv, always use the command pip3:

The Python Guide tutorialshows you how to work with pipenv.

Rust Development: rustup

The official rustup utility enables you to install the tools for building softwarewith the Rust programming language. Click on the Install button on the front page of theRust Website, and follow the instructions.

By default, the installer adds the correct directory to your path. If this does notwork, add this to your PATH manually:


This process installs all of the tools into your home directory, and does not add anyfiles into system directories.

Ruby Development: RVM

All macOS systems include a copy of Ruby, but it is outdated. To maintain current andclean Ruby environments, use the RVM system.

RVM relies on Git, so you must have a working installation of Git before you can set upRVM.

By default, RVM downloads copies of Ruby that have been compiled for your operatingsystem. If there is no compiled version, RVM then falls back to downloading the sourcecode and then compiling it on your computer. Enter this command to ensure that therequirements for compiling Ruby are on your system, using Homebrew:

Finally, you can speed up installation of gem packages by disabling the generation oflocal documentation. To do this, create a file in your home directory with the name.gemrc and put this line in it:

Minikube sets up and manages Kubernetes on a single system, so that you can develop and test without needing a set of servers.

To install Minikube with Homebrew, run these commands in a terminal window:

By default, Minikube uses a virtual machine manager. If you do not need VirtualBox, install hyperkit, which provides a minimal virtual machine manager.

To install Helm with Homebrew, run this command in a terminal window:

To install Skaffold with Homebrew, run this command in a terminal window:

This article explains Minikube in more detail.

Consider using containers to run the databases that you need. If you prefer to install servicesdirectly on to your workstation, Homebrew provides packages for PostgreSQL, MariaDB and MySQL.

Installing PostgreSQL

To install PostgreSQL using Homebrew, enter this command in a terminal window:

This command installs the server, the command-line tools, and the client libraries thatare needed to compile adapters for programming languages.

Homebrew also provides some commands for managing your PostgreSQL installation. Forexample, to start the server, follow the instructions that are displayed after theinstallation process is completed. If you upgrade your copy of PostgreSQL, you shoulduse the postgresql-upgrade-database command that Homebrew gives you.

Installing MariaDB or MySQL

To install MariaDB using Homebrew, enter this command in a terminal window:

To install MySQL using Homebrew, enter this command in a terminal window:

These commands install the server, the command-line tools, and the client libraries thatare needed to compile adapters for programming languages. To start the server, followthe instructions that are displayed after the installation process is completed.

For compatibility, MariaDB uses the same names for command-line tools as MySQL.

Remember to set a password for the root accounts. First, login with the mysqlcommand-line utility:

The -q Option Disables Command History: By default, the command-line client storesthe full text of every command in a history file. If you know that you are going torun statements that include passwords or other sensitive data, use the -q option.

Run these statements to change the password for root access:

You now need a password to login to the installation as root. To login with root again,use this command:

Enter the password when prompted.

You should also remove the anonymous accounts and test database that MySQL automaticallyincludes:

If you intend to duplicate a production environment for testing, create a configurationfile on your Mac. Production installations of MySQL should be configured withappropriate SQL modes to enable data integrity safeguards. By default, MySQL permitsvarious types of invalid data to be entered.

Database Management Tools

  • Azure Data Studio for Microsoft SQL Server
  • pgAdmin for PostgreSQL

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  • LibreOffice suite: brew cask install libreoffice
  • VirtualBox virtual machine management: brew cask install virtualbox
  • Docker container management: brew cask install docker

Apple offer overviews and task-orientated help on theirsupport Web site for new macOS users.

Every new user should probably readHow to switch to the Mac, by Rui Carmo.

The macOS Privacy and Security Guide by Dr Doh provides extensive information about those topics.


The OS X operating system combines a stable core with advanced technologies to help you deliver world-class products on the Mac platform. Knowing what these technologies are, and how to use them, can help streamline your development process, while giving you access to key OS X features.

At a Glance


This guide introduces you to the range of possibilities for developing Mac software, describes the many technologies you can use for software development, and points you to sources of information about those technologies. It does not describe user-level system features or features that have no impact on software development.

OS X Has a Layered Architecture with Key Technologies in Each Layer

It’s helpful to view the implementation of OS X as a set of layers. The lower layers of the system provide the fundamental services on which all software relies. Subsequent layers contain more sophisticated services and technologies that build on (or complement) the layers below.

The lower the layer a technology is in, the more specialized are the services it provides. Generally, technologies in higher layers incorporate lower-level technologies to provide common app behaviors. A good rule of thumb is to use the highest-level programming interface that meets the goals of your app. Here is a brief summary of the layers of OS X.

  • The Cocoa (Application) layer includes technologies for building an app’s user interface, for responding to user events, and for managing app behavior.

  • The Media layer encompasses specialized technologies for playing, recording, and editing audiovisual media and for rendering and animating 2D and 3D graphics.

  • The Core Services layer contains many fundamental services and technologies that range from Automatic Reference Counting and low-level network communication to string manipulation and data formatting.

  • The Core OS layer defines programming interfaces that are related to hardware and networking, including interfaces for running high-performance computation tasks on a computer’s CPU and GPU.

  • The Kernel and Device Drivers layer consists of the Mach kernel environment, device drivers, BSD library functions (libSystem), and other low-level components. The layer includes support for file systems, networking, security, interprocess communication, programming languages, device drivers, and extensions to the kernel.

Relevant Chapters:Cocoa Application Layer, Media Layer, Core Services Layer, Core OS Layer, Kernel and Device Drivers Layer

You Can Create Many Different Kinds of Software for Mac

Using the developer tools and system frameworks, you can develop a wide variety of software for Mac, including the following:

  • Apps. Apps help users accomplish tasks that range from creating content and managing data to connecting with others and having fun. OS X provides a wealth of system technologies such as app extensions and handoff, that you use to extend the capabilities of your apps and enhance the experience of your users.

  • Frameworks and libraries. Frameworks and libraries enable code sharing among apps.

  • Command-line tools and daemons. Command-line tools allow sophisticated users to manipulate data in the command-line environment of the Terminal app. Daemons typically run continuously and act as servers for processing client requests.

  • App plug-ins and loadable bundles. Plug-ins extend the capabilities of other apps; bundles contain code and resources that apps can dynamically load at runtime.

  • System plug-ins. System plug-ins, such as audio units, kernel extensions, I/O Kit device drivers, preference panes, Spotlight importers, and screen savers, extend the capabilities of the system.

Relevant Chapter:Creating Software Products for the Mac Platform

When Porting a Cocoa Touch App, Be Aware of API Similarities and Differences

The technology stacks on which Cocoa and Cocoa Touch apps are based have many similarities. Some system frameworks are identical (or nearly identical) in each platform, including Foundation, Core Data, and AV Foundation. This commonality of API makes some migration tasks—for example, porting the data model of your Cocoa Touch app—easy.

Other migration tasks are more challenging because they depend on frameworks that reflect the differences between the platforms. For example, porting controller objects and revising the user interface are more demanding tasks because they depend on AppKit and UIKit, which are the primary app frameworks in the Cocoa and CocoaTouch layers, respectively.

See Also

Apple provides developer tools and additional information that support your development efforts.

Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment, helps you design, create, debug, and optimize your software. You can download Xcode from the Mac App Store.

For an overview of the developer tools for OS X, see the Xcode Apple Developer webpage. For an overview Xcode functionality, read Xcode Overview.

The OS X Developer Library contains the documentation, sample code, tutorials, and other information you need to write OS X apps. You can access the OS X Developer Library from the Apple Developer website or from Xcode. In Xcode, choose Help > Documentation and API Reference to view documents and other resources in the Organizer window.

In addition to the OS X Developer Library, there are other sources of information on developing different types of software for Mac:

Free Project Software For Mac

  • Apple Open Source. Apple makes major components of OS X—including the UNIX core—available to the developer community. To learn about Apple’s commitment to Open Source development, visit Open Source Development Resources. To learn more about some specific Open Source projects, such as Bonjour and WebKit, visit Mac OS Forge.

  • BSD. Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) is an essential UNIX-based part of the OS X kernel environment. Several excellent books on BSD and UNIX are available in bookstores. But you can also find additional information on any of the websites that cover BSD variants—for example, The FreeBSD Project.

  • Third-party books. Several excellent books on Mac app development can be found online and in the technical sections of bookstores.

Software Development Software For Mac Os

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