If you are a beginner web developer or designer working on some online app or website, chances are high that you’re using a Windows machine for your work – even if you are using a Mac, you’d still be wise to use a Windows machine (virtual or physical) to test your work and make sure there are no errors.
A lot of people say that Mac OS X is the best OS for anyone who’s into programming, coding or design, but that’s not really true. If you need to work on a Windows computer, you should know that Windows 7 is an excellent OS that can easily accomplish what you need. Here are just a few of the best and most essential apps for any web developer or designer:
I’ve been using Dreamweaver ever since it was owned by Macromedia, and it’s still the best code editor that you can find for Web pages and scripts. It has support for most of the file formats out there, and with a nice interface and a lot of features to help you do everything faster, having Dreamweaver can really improve your work. It’s pretty expensive though, for a code editor, so if you don’t want to pay for it, you should check out Notepad++ below.
Notepad++ is also a code editor, but unlike its more specialized commercial counterpart above, it is completely free. It can also open any file, even an executable, which is useful when debugging or decompiling an application, for example. Despite it being free, it has all the features of Dreamweaver and even more thanks to the awesome plugins collection. The only thing it’s missing is a nice interface – it’s pretty ascetic and working with it is not very enjoyable if you like some eye candy on your apps, but developers and programmers will be right at home with the practical layout.
Being a web developer or designer, you’ll most likely need an FTP client. If you thought that Filezilla was good (everyone seems to think so), wait until you see Bitkinex. This app is free (it was paid before, though) and can do so much more than any other client for Windows – it supports FTP/SFTP/FTPS/WebDAV, has a nice interface that is easy to use, supports multiple open connections and is really fast thanks to its support for up to 50 concurrent connections per FTP server (compare that to 10 for Filezilla and most other clients out there).
If you have a dedicated server for your work, an SSH client is a must have – it allows you to manage and control the remote machine, and for Windows, Putty is the most popular client. I like it, too, but if you want to get more things done faster, I suggest you try Poderosa. It is a more advanced SSH client, with a lot of features absent in Putty, and a nicer interface that is also more productive. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but it still works fine on Windows 7, so check it out.
Firefox with Firebug and Web Developer Add-Ons
Firefox is a must have for anyone working on anything related to the Web, period. It’s the best browser out there: fast, sleek and with a ton of add-ons that can turn it into a real Swiss army knife, albeit a virtual one. The Firebug and Web Developer add-ons are a must for Web developers and designers – they allow you to practically do anything related to code – view, debug, edit, and more.
Despite what many programmers and designers say, Mac OS X isn’t the single best operating system for web development and design. Windows 7 is definitely up to the task, as well – in the end, it all depends on what apps you’re using for your work. The apps listed above are practically must haves for any self-respecting developer and/or designer, so be sure to try them for yourself.