Web Development Tools

wwwjpeg220A web developer, over time, gathers a suite of tools to make his job easier.  I thought it might be interesting to my readers to go through the current tools I'm using and give you my 50,000 foot view of what the tool is good for, and maybe why I find it better than other tools.

I run a Windows 7 Development environment at work doing open-source development.  I communicate with various Linux servers during the course of the day.  All the utility tools listed here run on Windows 7, are open-source, and thus free, for you to download and use.

Let's start with "WampServer" - I use WampServer as my Apache, PHP and MySQL localhost server.  I prefer WampServer, over XAMPP, because of the toolbar menu in the lower right corner is easy to use and has a lot of functionality, and its easy to set up virtual hosts in the menu.  See my article on  "Multiple Virtual Hosts in WampServer".    A word to the wise on this one.  Beware the 64bit version of WampServer, at this writing, it has bugs.  Go with the 32 bit Version.  It works great.

For an IDE, I use "NetBeans".  I like NetBeans, over Eclipse, because it is a more streamlined and an easier user interface. See my article on "NetBeans 7.1 Review"

I use several different editors, besides NetBeans, depending on what I need to do.  On Linux, I use Vim.  I have Vim loaded in Windows, and use it when I go to the command line. The others don't count, including the elusive EMACS.  I should get some response on this one.  All in good fun :-}

My most used editor is "Notepad++".  I highly recommend this editor, I'm usually back and forth in it all day.  I use it to write and save snippets of code, among other things. What's nice is it keeps all your current tabs open every time you open the editor until you specifically close the file.

My current project has a lot of compressed JavaScript, which is difficult to read.  To uncompress and edit the file, I use the "Free JavaScript Editor".

For version control, I use "Git".  There are now two environments for Git for Windows, Mysysgit and git-scm, each does the job.  I liked and used Mysysgit for years, and am now using git-scm.  It has a nice icon, but I'm finding a couple of quirks.  I will probably go back to Mysysgit next time.  It's a toss up.  This is one where you migrate back and forth.

What about Images:

For viewing images, I use "XnView".  It works great, and allows you to quickly access pictures on your PC.  For years, I used IrfanView and stayed with it, mostly because I liked their panda icon.  I know, dumb.  XnView has a better interface.

Picking Colors from any where on the screen: "ColorCop".  I use to use it to measure screen distances, but I've found that Windows 7 has messed up this feature.  Hopefully, it will be fixed in the future.  It's still the best color picker I've used.  I'm looking for a utility to measure screen distances in pixels.

For editing an image, I like "Gimp 2.6".  I found that 2.8 is not my "cup of tea" with the unified menu.  And I don't like that I have to export the image to save it in another format.  I got use to 2.6.

Taking a snapshot of the screen for this blog, for example, I use "Greenshot".

For reading PDF's or ebooks, I like "MartView".  See my article on "MartView - PDF Reader".

Behind the Scenes Utilities:

My hands down favorite is "AutoHotKey".  If you don't have this yet,  get it.  It will improve your productivity.  This little utility will allow you to bring up web sites, start applications, and enter strings of text to the screen with a couple of key strokes, of your choosing. 5 STARS.  See my article "AutoHotKey for Windows".

As long as we're messing with keys, to remap your keyboard, try "KeyTweak", and turn off that annoying CapsLock key.  I wrote an article on KeyTweek here.

For saving my clipboard contents, I use "Spartan".  It is very configurable, easy to bring up, and you can save past copies, like your favorite web sites in a permanet area.

Working with Files:

For finding lost files on my computer, I use "Everything".  I like the way it eliminates your possible choices as you type, and once it scans your files when I log in, it's lightning fast. See my article on Search Everything.  By the way, Windows 7 Search does not find every file.

For searching for specific text strings inside of files, like in what files do I find the term "<a title="Milestone" in a group of files, and at what line number.  On Linux it's grep, on Windows, I use "AstroGrep," and it too is fast.

For finding the difference in two or three versions of the same file.  I like "P4Merge".  It also integrate well with Git.  See my article on: "P4Merge File Comparison Editor"    I've heard good things about "Beyond Compare," but that's not free.

For extracting compressed zip and tar files, I prefer: "7Zip".

SQL Tools:

Of course, a nod to "phpMyAdmin" which comes with WampServer, a good tool.

For writing queries, I like the older "MySQL Query Browser" over any of the later tools.  Better hurry if you want this tool as Oracle is moving to retire it.

A tool I don't care for, that other developers seem to love, Toad.  It's got bugs, it's not fail safe, and has a crappy database export.

Windows Utilities:

I have to give a nod to Scotty and "WinPatrol"  No one can mess with my Start Up files without my knowing about it.

Clean up the trash - "CCleaner" can't be beat, although I wish they didn't come out with so many new versions.

I use both "Malwarebytes" and "Spybot Search and Destroy" for cleaning out malware.  Malwarebytes takes longer to run, but does a better job.  Both clean up different types of malware.  It's a toss between "AVG" and "Avast" on antivirus, I've used both.  And my firewall, which has now gone to its grave is "PC Tools Firewall Plus".

For killing processes, which the Task Manager can't seem to do, if your running XP, check out "SysTree++".  It's awesome.  Any other Windows, I recommend "Microsoft Process Explorer", its free.

I know I've missed a couple here and there, but these are the tools I use every day.  I'm all ears to any other suggestions you might have for tools you use and love.

The two tools I use and love the most is Notepad++  and AutoHotKey.  So there you have it, what my work environment looks like.  I hope it has given you some new ideas for software to try out.

Comments are closed.