Picking just three favorite Mac applications was harder than I thought it would be. I decided to forgo anything that was either built-in or part of a major productivity or creative suite and just focus on applications that make my Mac computing experience unique and complete.
Even before this week's 1.5 update, Coda had a permanent spot on my "favorite app" list. For me, when it comes to developing or maintaining a web project, Coda is just the best. Sure, TextMate (which I'm using to type this post) might be superior if you're looking for just a source-code editor. CSSEdit might be a better CSS editor, Panic's own Transmit is a more robust FTP client. Coda is still the best all-around web development app for my workflow. It lets me access all the files for a project, locally or on a server, make the changes or additions I want to make, preview how it will look in Safari (or with one click, open it in Firefox, Opera, Camino or OmniWeb) and immediately execute any changes. And now I can use it as a Subversion client too. Even better, it is a distinctly "Mac" application. Every UI detail reminds me why I love the Mac and why OS X is the best platform for software around.
While Lightroom 2 is really, really nice (and I prefer it for some types of retouches), Aperture 2 is simply my favorite photo editing and photo management tool. I'm not a professional photographer, I don't even have a high-end DSLR -- just a tiny 8 megapixel Nikon that fits in my purse or the back-pocket of my jeans -- but I still want my photographs to look their best. iPhoto is great, but I need more precision. Aperture 2 lets me fine-tune my images, whether from my digital camera or scanned in from some of my older SLRs, crop them, adjust noise levels and color and just generally make everything prettier. The Photo Book I made for my mom for Mother's Day this year, using Aperture 2, was amazing and brought tears and smiles to both of my parents' faces. Their reaction was worth far more than the price of the software.
Although I can't really use it for most of my WIN blogging, MarsEdit is the tool I use to publish to any of my other sites. My personal site runs on WordPress, and while I love the software, I detest its write interface. I know plenty of people like it, I just don't like composing everything in a web form. MarsEdit's Preview mode is a great way to see how something will look before it's published, whether I use HTML or Markdown or Textile. If I need to edit an old entry, I don't have to worry about sifting through the "visual" or "code" view, inadvertently breaking something if I change a URL. Integrating media from Flickr or uploading new images is seamless. MarsEdit just makes my life easier.