10 Apps for Developers on a Budget

There are many many different areas web developers need to cover. First you need to find the perfect text editor, set up a local environment, find a database management tool and then find a great FTP application. And for many of us out there freelancing, we have less of a budget to work with. So here’s 10 cheap or free web development tools for Windows and OS X.

Code Editing:


TextMate is a text editor but has some essential functionality such as line numbers, code highlighting, bundles for completing repetitive tasks and a neat project draw. The project draw deserves a special mention; when you open a folder or create a project in TextMate you get a neat project draw with all the files and folders listed inside. This has to be my favourite feature of TextMate since it is so easy to see all the files in my projects, I never lose anything. At only €48.75 and 15% off if you’re a student, it’s a tidy sum for a powerful application.


Espresso, the new web development tool for OS X is currently in public beta, but is available for pre-order for €59.95. Espresso has a neat sidebar which shows all files and folders clearly with indenting of folders. There is also a sweet integrated preview, which makes it easier to preview sites as you only need to switch inside the application. The best thing about Espresso though is uploading to a site. There are 3 tools, update, merge and mirror. “Update” uploads all the files you have changed locally to the live server; “Merge” merges the files locally and on the server; and “Mirrors” mirrors everything on the server to your local disk and vice versa. This would be the selling point for me, and when Espresso comes out of Beta I may just buy a license.

Local Server Environment:


If you’re developing for the web on a mac, this application is a must. MAMP is a package which installs Apache, PHP and MySQL on your mac; best of all, it doesn’t mess with the built in Apache configuration that comes with Leopard. I find this an indispensable application for a few reasons. First, it installs PHPMyAdmin which I love for many reasons; and second, it’s quick to install. Just run the installer and you’re done, no messing with the terminal like when you install each separately. The best bit? It’s free. There is a paid version which gets you virtual hosts, dyndns and more.

View the complete list of applications to use on a budget!


Custom Site Search Engine for Your Local Williamsburg Website Using Tapir!

If you’ve switched from a dynamic publishing tool like WordPress to a simpler, static site — whether to take advantage of cheap Amazon S3 hosting, or because you want to publish from flat files, without a database — there’s a few things you may be missing.

Some content is necessarily dynamic. If your site is just flat html files with no database behind them, there’s no easy way to build comments, contact forms or built-in search indexes. Luckily the web has a few solutions. For comments there are JavaScript solutions like Disqus or IntenseDebate, and contact forms can be built with Wufoo, but search is a little more difficult.

You could use Google’s Custom Search Engine tools, but then you’ll need to display things on Google’s terms (including a logo). Yahoo has a similar offering, but its results are often sub-par. The lack of search options for static sites led developer Jeff Kreeftmeijer to create Tapir, a JSON search API that indexes content from your site’s RSS feed.

Designed with static publishing systems in mind (like the popular Ruby on Rails tool, Jekyll), Tapir handles search through RSS and JavaScript without the overhead of a database on your own server. Tapir offers a JSON-based API and relies on Tire behind the scenes (which is powered by Elasticsearch, which in turn is powered by Lucene).

To use Tapir all you need to do is write a simple JavaScript-based search form, query the Tapir index for your site and then parse out the results to display for your visitors.

View complete article.



Web Development from Scratch: The Absolute Basics for Beginners

Lets cover the absolute basics. This series is for those of you who have zero experience with web design. HTML, CSS, AJAX? What the heck are these acronyms?

Six Steps:

As you’ll find, like a pair of shoes, you’ll likely need to experiment with many code editors before settling with your favorite.

Before working with HTML, we must first understand exactly what an HTML element, or tag really is.

Clean, structured HTML is the goal. We’ll learn how to structure every document, and further review the available elements.

In this secton we’ll review the six different HTML heading elements that are available to you.

In this section we’ll discuss the HTML style attribute, and how it can be used to style the element, or tag, that it is applied to.

In this lesson, we’ll review the process of creating and linking to external CSS stylesheets. We’ll discuss why this is preferable to using inline styling.

Click for the complete article on web development from scratch!


How to Choose the Best Marketing Techniques

The Purpose of Marketing

First, let's talk about the purposes of marketing. Knowing which goal you want for your marketing will help you choose the proper technique. There are thousands of books and websites on marketing, and by distilling them down to their core essence, we discover there are four primary purposes for marketing:

  • Brand Awareness - Helping your target audience to become aware of you and want to learn more about your services and products.
  • Lead Generation - Getting your target audience to request information and/or a sales conversation with you; also, for building a pre-sales relationship.
  • Brand Consideration - Your target audience is considering buying from you or at least has included you in their short list of possibilities, along with your competitors.
  • Direct Sales - Getting your target audience to purchase directly from you.

For example, you might use search engine advertising, like Google Adwords, for lead generation purposes, but it may be a poor choice for direct sales, especially if your target audience doesn't purchase that way.

Your Target Audience

That leads to the next thing to consider: Which techniques does your target audience pay attention to and respond to? This all depends on how well you have identified your target audience. Some audiences will not purchase directly from a business without first getting to know them (brand awareness, relationship building). If your audience buys services this way, then use one marketing tactic for brand awareness (such as public speaking), another for lead generation (such as SEO or your free offer), and a third technique for direct sales (like an email marketing).

Read the complete article.


The Only SEO Tools You’ll Ever Need to Boost Your Web Placement

Search Engine Optimization is a rather complex and never ending process. You have to analyze a lot of things including what keywords people are searching for, the density of those keywords in your sites, how many sites link back to you, how popular your links are and so on. Doing all this manually can be a huge pain.

With that in mind, regardless of whether you’re an SEO guru or a beginner, these twenty tools are guaranteed to make your life easier.

Keyword Research

When people – like us – build web sites, they assume they know what keywords people use to get to their sites. For the basic keywords this works but there a lot of untapped keywords that you might be unaware of. Doing the proper research to find out all possible keywords is imperative in this case. The keyword research tools below let you do all that in a jiffy.

Google Search Keyword Search

Google’s tool provides keyword ideas and suggestions siphoned directly from Google’s search data. This is slightly different from the Adwords Keyword tool in that it suggests keywords not already associated with your Adwords account and provides a lot more information.

Just key in your site and normal keywords and let it provide you with a plethora of new ideas.

iWeb Tool Keyword Density Checker

Another tool which looks through your page and creates a tag cloud. If you prefer raw data, it also shows you how many times each keyword occurs on your page.


If you don’t mind a paid solution, Mint is a top-notch analytics suite which a lot of developers swear by. It features a beautiful interface to present all the data.

Check out other SEO tool and read the complete article.



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