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Outstanding Free And Open-Source Software For Web Developers

Copyright Musl1m


If you are a web developer and you are looking for some alternative to those expensive tools, you are in the right place. In this article I have collected some of the best applications that are free and easy to use. Most people think that if it’s free, it’s not so good or it can’t be compared with a paid alternative. Well…not quite, or at least not in all the situations. Take a look at this list and you will be surprised.

This article is divided into 8 categories:

1. Text and code editors (css, html, javascript)

2. Visual Editors (WYSIWYG)

3. FTP/SFTP/SSH Clients

4. Image editors

5. Modelling Tools

6. Servers

7. Databases

8. Database Administration

As always, if you have a suggestion, share it with us.

Text and code editors (css, html, javascript)

Bluefish Bluefish is a powerful editor targeted towards programmers and webdesigners, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages, and it focuses on editing dynamic and interactive websites. Works on Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Mac OSX, AltLinux, OpenSolaris and Windows.

Notepad++Notepad++ is a free (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License. Based on the powerful editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. Works on Windows.

Cssed Cssed is a small developer editor and validator, that tries to ease the CSS editing. It is an Open Source project, it means that you can download the program but also its source. Being a CSS editor, it’s not limited to this language. cssed had some support for HTML (with embedded Javascript), XML, Javascript, Java, PHP, JSP, C, C++, Apache configuration files, .htaccess, Python, Perl, SQL, SH and other languages so it can serve quite well as multi-purpose editor. Works on Gentoo, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OsX, Windows.

Aptana – The Aptana IDE is a free, open-source, cross-platform, JavaScript-focused development environment for building Ajax applications. It features code assist on HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Ruby, Rails, PHP and Python. It also has  FTP/SFTP support and a JavaScript debugger to troubleshoot your code. Works on Windows and Mac OS X.

Eclipse – Eclipse is an open-source software framework written primarily in Java. In its default form it is a Java IDE, consisting of the Java Development Tools (JDT) and compiler (ECJ). Users can extend its capabilities by installing plug-ins written for the Eclipse software framework, such as development toolkits for other programming languages, and can write and contribute their own plug-in modules. Language packs are available for over a dozen languages.

jEdit – jEdit is a mature programmer’s text editor with hundreds (counting the time developing plugins) of person-years of development behind it. Being a Java based solution it runs across multiple operating systems including; Mac OS X, OS/2, Unix, VMS and Windows.

NetBeans – Develop desktop, mobile and web applications with Java, PHP, C/C++ and more. Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris. NetBeans IDE is open-source and free.

Visual Editors (WYSIWYG)

Amaya – Amaya is a Web editor, i.e. a tool used to create and update documents directly on the Web. Browsing features are seamlessly integrated with the editing and remote access features in a uniform environment. This follows the original vision of the Web as a space for collaboration and not just a one-way publishing medium. Works on Windows, Debian, Ubuntu, Redhat, MacOS X.

KompoZer – KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding. Works on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.


FileZilla – FileZilla Client is a fast and reliable cross-platform FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with lots of useful features and an intuitive graphical user interface. Works on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.

FireFTP – FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP/SFTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP/SFTP servers.

WinSCP – WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client, SCP client, FTPS client and FTP client for Windows. Its main function is file transfer between a local and a remote computer. Beyond this, WinSCP offers scripting and basic file manager functionality. Works on Windows.

PuTTY – PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Windows and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. Works on Windows and Unix platforms.

Image editors

Gimp – GIMP is a versatile graphics manipulation package. It is a very powerful and very easy to use tool. Works on Windows and Unix.

Inkscape Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development. Works on Windows and Mac OS  X. – A really good, lightweight alternative to Photoshop. It offers layers, unlimited undo, special effects and a wide variety of useful tools. The download is around 2mb too so absolutely worth a look – I use this when Photoshop is playing up. Works on Windows.

Modelling Tools

Dia – Dia is inspired by the commercial Windows program ‘Visio’, though more geared towards informal diagrams for casual use. It can be used to draw many different kinds of diagrams. It currently has special objects to help draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams. It is also possible to add support for new shapes by writing simple XML files, using a subset of SVG to draw the shape. Works on Linux, MacOS X, and Windows.

ArgoUML – ArgoUML is the leading open source UML modeling tool and includes support for all standard UML 1.4 diagrams. It runs on any Java platform and is available in ten languages. Works on Windows.

OpenOffice Draw – DRAW – from a quick sketch to a complex plan, DRAW gives you the tools to communicate with graphics and diagrams.


Apache – The Apache HTTP Server is an open-source HTTP server for modern operating systems including UNIX and Windows NT. It provides a secure, efficient and extensible server that offers HTTP services in sync with the current HTTP standards. Works on Windows and Unix Distributions.

Apache Tomcat – Apache Tomcat is the servlet container that is used in the official Reference Implementation for the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies. The Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages specifications are developed by Sun under the Java Community Process. Works on Windows and Unix Distributions.

XAMPP – XAMPP is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is really very easy to install and to use – just download, extract and start. Works on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Solaris.


MySQL – MySQL is the world’s most popular open source database software, with over 100 million copies of its software downloaded or distributed throughout its history. With superior speed, reliability, and ease of use, MySQL has become the preferred choice of corporate IT Managers because it eliminates the major problems associated with downtime, maintenance, administration and support.

PostgreSQLPostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system. It has more than 15 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, data integrity, and correctness. It runs on all major operating systems, including Linux, UNIX (AIX, BSD, HP-UX, SGI IRIX, Mac OS X, Solaris, Tru64), and Windows.

Database Administration

pgAdmin – pgAdmin III is the most popular and feature rich Open Source administration and development platform for PostgreSQL, the most advanced Open Source database in the world. The application may be used on Linux, FreeBSD, OpenSUSE, Solaris, Mac OSX and Windows platforms to manage PostgreSQL 7.3 and above running on any platform, as well as commercial versions of PostgreSQL such as EnterpriseDB and Mammoth PostgreSQL.

phpMyAdmin – phpMyAdmin is a tool written in PHP intended to handle the administration of MySQL over the Web. Currently it can create and drop databases, create/drop/alter tables, delete/edit/add fields, execute any SQL statement, manage keys on fields.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.