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Calgary Software Application and Web Development Articles
3 Free Tools Every Web Developer Should Know About

The great thing about the internet is all the free stuff you can get. Below I've talked about things which have really helped me grow as a developer. All 3 of them are free and I get absolutely nothing if you visit their website, download their product or whatever. This article was written with the intention of making developers aware, who are perhaps new to this business, of tools which will make them more productive.

1. Joomla!

I suppose everybody who starts developing websites goes through this phase. I learnt client-side scripting technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript and moved on to learn PHP and MySQL. After a year and something of programming and developing websites; I realized I kept reinventing the wheel. Everytime I made a website which was linked to a database, I wrote all the code from scratch. And I know why. Most of us, without degrees in programming, develop with absolutely no foresight: none of us write reusable code. It takes careful planning to write code which can be used again and again (e.g., A newsletter system) on different projects. Anyway, I learnt about how big businesses develop their websites: they use a thing called a Content Management System. It's software which makes building, updating and adding forms, newsletters, feeds, etc. to your website simple. There's hardly any 'hand coding' involved. The bad news is most CMSs cost thousands of dollars! The good news is there's a free CMS called Joomla! and, trust me, it will change the way you think about web development if you haven't used a CMS before. Check out their website. Do not give up if you find it complicated at first, because it's not. Read whatever tutorials and books you can get your hands on because once you've mastered Joomla!, you will become a succesful web developer. I cannot stress how important it is for your growth as a web developer to know your way around a CMS. You must get Joomla! and learn it!

2. Evrsoft 1st Page 2000

The last time I used Dreamweaver was in high school, which was a while ago. It was great, it could do everything but once I finished school, I had no access to it. I couldn't develop commercially on it anyway and I couldn't buy it because it was too damn expensive. I knew HTML, CSS and JavaScript; I developed all my websites in notepad. It wasn't that bad, it actually offered me more control than a WYSIWYG editor (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get). But with large websites, it became unpractical. Errors in my code would creep in, the website would mess up on different browsers, all sorts of annoying little issues which took hours to fix. So I started looking for a free alternative to notepad and I found one and it is fantastic! I'm talking about Evrsoft 1st Page 2000 and the features you get for paying $0 are plain awesome. You get a text editor with syntax highlighting which organizes and colours your code. Your code is automatically checked. Although I rarely use JavaScripts, they're used by pretty much everyone else. Evrsoft 1st Page 2000 has a built-in library of scripts to accomplish common tasks. There's a site manager, to manage all the files which relate to your website. You can upload websites with it too. There's even a spell checker!

3. iWebTool

One of the vital stages of the web development cycle is optimizing it for search engines. Under normal circumstances, most of the traffic will arrive through search engines on your website. Again, you can get software to do it for you which will cost you hundreds of dollars. Personally, I don't see how such software can work. For example, if 100 websites about PC repairs are optimized with that software, atleast one of those websites will rank 100th, which is equal to browsing through 5 pages of search results. Anyway, iWebTool offers all sorts of search engine tools to optimize your website. I recommend you read an introductory tutorial on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as you won't really know what do with the tools.

There's one other thing worth mentioning: NVU - a free WYSIWYG editor (Like Macromedia Dreamweaver). I've used it and it's quite user-friendly, but there's something missing. Maybe it's just my dislike for graphical editors in general, you should have a look and see if it works for you. Happy developing!
About the Author

Jon manages - Hundreds of pages full of tips, tricks and how-tos related to money on the internet. Whether you're a web developer looking to optimize your website or are curious about real estate invesment; we have something important to tell you.

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