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Cactus for Mac Review: Powerful and clean web development tools

Bring all of your favourite web development tools together under one beautifully clean roof


Compatibility • OS X 10.9 or later • 64-bit processor • iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air

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Available from… Mac App Store

Price: £20.99/$29.99

The proliferation of services like Squarespace, which enable anyone to create a website, offer many advantages, but there are still many people who like to hand- code their online web presence. The ability to design every pixel and manage the entirety of a site can only be done by hand, but problems can arise because it inevitably leads to a cumbersome and at times confused workflow.

notannotatedCactus is designed to offer the best of both worlds by letting developers hand-code their work using tools they are already familiar with, but with the ability to let the software deal with some of the workflow for them. Amazon S3 is used as a real-time online store and to also allow testers to work with the site,and the entire design has been created to get out of the way and let the work be done.

Indeed, there is very little to see in Cactus because the varied panels that pop up all contain content that the developer will be working on; one to show the saved file structure, one large coding window and a minimalist panel showing every current project. There is never anything on display that does not need to be there, and this makes working within its environment so obvious and quick when the work becomes complex and difficult to push through. We tested Cactus with code that we had already built and with a ‘start from scratch’ site, and the results were even better than we expected.

MainThe use of Amazon S3 ensures a very smooth online testing environment that takes away all of the fiddly settings, while the default templates will be of use to those who are starting off in the world of coding. The target audience for this app will likely choose the default template. With this we found ourselves able to create in a similar way to doing everything by hand.

Overall, it is hard to criticise the ethos behind this software and the way it works because it achieves its aims exactly as intended, but we recognise that the target market is small. There is also a slight concern that some of those who like to hand-code their work may also like to do ‘everything’ manually to have complete control.

Buy now?

Pros Excellent integration of existing tools; fast, stable and clean

Cons Some may prefer their tried and tested workflows

Orange 4 Stars