Much like how carpenters always have their toolbox on hand and Batman always has his utility belt, a developer should always have his programs handy. What programs you ask? Well, lucky for you, not only am I going to pose the question for you, I’m also throwing in some answers as well.
If you’re a developer, heck, if you own a computer and don’t own this piece of software, you should just revert to notepads and pen (actually, that is a very reliable way). Notepad++ is like a beefed up notepad, as the name suggests, but even better. It has syntax highlighting for a multitude of file types, plugin support with a decent community backing it, and most importantly, side by side view (oh, and tabs!).
Sometimes, a demo link isn’t the best option. First time customer? Easily accessible source code? In these cases, taking a video of your screen is the best option – however, what programs are there that easily accomplish this? Thankfully, there is Jing, which not only allows you to take a video and upload it online at a click of a button, but also screenshots as well.
You manage a server, or require root access to the server: there’s no better terminal emulator than PuTTy. Sure, you have the Java ones in your cPanel, but those are prone to crashing and, in all honesty, not as easily accessible as PuTTy.
Mirror link in case the one provided is dead.
I personally dislike the whole idea of WYSIWYG web design as it results in a huge amount of extraneous code that bogs down the site, however, using Dreamweaver for its organizing functions… that’s something different. I personally utilize it for the mass (multi-file) find and replace functions, as well its file organization for projects. Just these functions alone should warrant the purchase of this program.
As of now, there really is no substitute for Firebug, though Chrome’s Developer Tools is a close second. Allowing local, temporary changes of the layout prior to deployment not only ensures a seamless experience for the end user, but also allows for testing of resource usage via addons such as Page Speed and YSlow.
Back up, back up, back up. Your server files may be backed up, but what about your local projects files? Not only should it be on a external hard drive, but also on the cloud, which is where Dropbox comes in (or Google Drive). With the installation of the Dropbox program, you can sync up local folders with Dropbox for your peace of mind. Furthermore, you can generate public links for sharing files as well.
Developing locally is a solution many developers look to to ensure privacy and security, though I myself like to develop on a deployment environment – but again, to each their own. Regardless, XAMPP is a tool that is handy, especially on those long trips where you are without internet access – I can definitely confirm XAMPP’s usefulness in these situations. Essentially, it installs Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin to emulate your servers and creates a work space that you can use offline. Whether you intend to use it or not, keeping it handy will serve you well in the future.
This arsenal of programs should serve you well throughout your web developing career, at least it did for me. I also use Fences for desktop organization, Skype and Google Talk for communication, and DeskPins for multi window management. Be sure to comment below with any further recommendations.
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