Favorite Apps for 2021

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Last year, I attempted to list my favourite Mac Apps. Of course, this list changes; new apps arrive, and old favourites have dropped off the list. So what has changed so far in 2021?

What’s New?

I’m writing a lot of Kotlin code.

It’s become my primary programming language, since switching CS 349 from Java to Kotlin. It’s also going to be the primary language for CS 346 1.

This has led to 3 major changes in my toolchain:

  1. I’m using IntelliJ IDEA 2021 for 99% of my coding activities. It’s just so incredibly great for Kotlin and the Java ecosystem that you would be a little crazy for not using it full-time.
  2. I’ve replaced VS Code with Sublime Text 4. It’s very, very fast, and when I’m making quick edits that’s exactly what I want 2.
  3. I’m using Tower for Git. I’ve used Git on the command-line for what-feels-like forever, but I was convinced to try Tower by their generous offer of a free academic license. I’m hooked. Tasks that are annoying to do from the command-line are easily handled in Tower, and it’s a lovely way to scroll through commit and branch history. I highly recommend checking it out.

I’m writing a lot of Markdown.

This website is written in markdown, and converted to static HTML by Hugo.

All CS 346 notes are 100% written in markdown, and new CS 349 notes are also written in markdown. Pandoc can convert them to static HTML, PDF or any other format as needed.

I use Typora as my main editor. Sure you can use a code editor, but Typora lets you choose between editing in a rich text window, or as a plain-text editor. I’ve written (literally) hundreds of pages of notes with it. I’m writing this post in Typora.

Just look at this. Outstanding. Here’s a lovely demo.

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What’s Old?

So what am I doing less of these days? I spend less time testing on alternate platforms, so VMware has been uninstalled. I’m enjoying the consistency of my Kotlin/Gradle projects working cleanly across Mac and Windows.


  1. Only ask me about Kotlin if you have 20 mins to listen to me gush excitedly about it. It’s an amazing language and ecosystem… ↩︎

  2. VS Code is an excellent editor in many ways, but it’s strength IMO is the plugin ecosystem. Since I only use a text editor for quick edits, speed (Sublime) is far more important to me than plugins (VS Code). ↩︎