Hi there! Throughout my years of experience as a web developer and designer, I’ve used a fair share of applications, both free and premium, that have helped me with creating graphics, building websites, transferring files, keeping documentation, and more.
If you want to get started in the world of web development, it can be tough finding out what tools to start with. Not to worry, because I have a list of nine free, open-sourced, and essential applications to help kickstart your journey.
One of the most important (if not, THE most important) resources you will need when it comes to web development, especially when working with PHP, MySQL, Perl, etc., is having your own web server. Thankfully, XAMPP is a full package that contains the Apache HTTP Server, MariaDB database, FileZilla Server, Mercury Mail Transport System, Tomcat, and PHP/Perl interpreters to help run websites on your localhost! XAMPP is also cross-platform, so you can use it on any operating system.
If you’re looking to develop websites running on a CMS (content management system), like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, not a problem. XAMPP is also integrated itself with Bitnami, which helps install any CMS on web servers, so be sure to check that out.
Click here to go to the official XAMPP website, by Apache Friends.
2. Microsoft Expression Web 4
Although Expression Web 4 is discontinued by Microsoft, it is still a very useful HTML editor and web design product that is an excellent alternative to the very popular and powerful Adobe Dreamweaver.
Click here to download Microsoft Expression Web 4.
The most efficient way to transfer files from your local computer to a web server is with an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client. FileZilla is labeled as “the free FTP solution”, but proves to be one of the best and most efficient FTP clients out there. The client supports FTP, SSH/SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), and TLS/SSL (Transport Layer Security, Secure Sockets Layer) transfers.
Click here to go to the official FileZilla website.
7-Zip is an open source file archiver, or an application used to compress files. 7-Zip operates with the .7z archive format, but can read and write several other formats, like .zip, .rar, .iso, and .bin.
Click here to go to the official 7-Zip website.
Notepad++ is a free text and source code editor for use with Windows.
Unlike Notepad, it supports tabbed editing, which allows working with multiple open files in a single window. It supports many files and has a wide variety of features, such as drag-and drop, split screen editing, spell checker, auto-completion, syntax highlighting, etc.
Click here to go to the official Notepad++ website.
SkyFonts is a font management program. It is able to let you try, install, and manage fonts upon a few clicks. It works with cloud servicing and integrates itself with Google Fonts, fonts.com, Linotype, Monotype, and MyFonts.
Since the usage of web fonts has increased in popularity over the years, it’s important to keep track of the most useful fonts to work with. SkyFonts is a fast and easy solution to keep track of your fonts.
Click here to go to the official SkyFonts website.
For over twenty years (as of this post), the GNU Image Manipulation program has served graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, and more with sophisticated image editing tools to get the job done.
As an effective and free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, the amount of support, plugins, and feedback for GIMP has been quite overwhelming. It’s a very resourceful and powerful program backed by an equally resourceful and powerful community.
Click here to go to the official GIMP website.
Inkscape is a cross-platform open source vector graphics editor that is a very effective alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It contains flexible drawing tools, broad file format compatibility, a powerful text tool, bezier and spiro curves, and more.
Like GIMP, Inkscape is backed by a thriving community to help with development, and has given a great showcase as to what the application has provided.
Click here to go to the official Inkscape website.
9. KeePass Password Safe
In this day and age, security has gotten tighter over the Internet. It’s best to have a different password for each account you possess. This should go without saying, but for web developers, keeping track of account passwords, especially for CMS’s and email accounts, can be a bit cumbersome. This is why you should have KeePass, which is a free, open source password manager.
KeePass runs its own encrypted database format, which can be password protected using a master key or a key file. The beauty of this is that with one password, you can have access to many other passwords that you don’t have to memorize. Just remember to keep your personal information safe and within the right hands.
Click here to go to the official KeePass website.
Cheers. – S.I.