For the Love of Free: Web Development Tools

Web DevelopmentIf you know me, you know I love free. Since part of my job is doing web development, I thought I would share some of the tools I use that are FREE to everyone interested in website design, development, coding, etc. Obviously, everyone prefers different tools to use, and these are just the ones I use, but I would like to hear what you use as well so please share in the comments below. Ok, let’s get started:

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
For starters, there are a lot of IDEs out there. But if you want a good, free IDE, then you have to look around a little. For those that aren’t familiar with the terminology, an IDE is a “software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. An IDE normally consists of a source code editor, build automation tools and a debugger. Most modern IDEs offer Intelligent code completion features” (Wikipedia, IDE).

Personally, I use Code::Blocks. Code::Blocks has everything I need in an IDE and more. It handles everything well, and if you need additional functionality for some reason, Code::Blocks can be extended with plug-ins. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Check it out!

Source Code Editor
Although a source code editor is part of an IDE, I don’t always use an IDE for the times I just need to make basic, quick changes to some pages. To each their own, right? In any case, this is probably an area where other web developers have a lot of opinion. Every web dude (or dudette) loves their editor.

So, what’s mine? Well, I love using Sublime Text. There is soooo much power in this little guy. The interface is very clean, and the color schemes are great. Props to Brackets and Notepad++ though. I’ve used them as well and they’re fine editors.

Differencing and Merging Tools (DMTs)
Sooner or later, you’re going to run into a situation where you are going to be glad that a differencing tool even exists. Basically, you are going to need something that compares both folders and files, and presents differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle.

That is where WinMerge comes in. Well, at least it does for me. Honestly, I’ve tried several different DMTs and WinMerge is easy to understand and powerful as well. Give it a shot if you don’t have a favorite yet, I guarentee you’ll find it an incredible value at FREE.

Get More Free… For a Fee!
Sounds ridiculous, right? Nope. Listen, if you read my posts then you might just love “free” as much as I do. But there is a cost… there’s always a cost. Most of these awesome applications are made by people like you and me and they like creating really cool things. But, they have expenses for their hobbies that can be a little price because of hosting and stuff on the WWW. Some have a lot more they do, and let’s face it, if Corporate America were creating these awesome little apps, then we’d be paying through the nose for them. Whenever you decide that you like a program and it really makes you happy, pay for it. DONATE!! Give them some dough. Most of the time, you can donate any amount. By doing so, it encourages them to better the program and provide even more functionality and support. You see, you get more free for a fee. :-)

Let me know what you think… until next time, BE FREE!

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