Top 10 Developer Software packages…

Today Bob Balfe posted about his top 10 Open Source developer tools, so I thought I would follow suit. Here are my top 10 open source developer tools not in any particular order:

  • Eclipse – This is a great open source programming tool. With it’s many plug-ins you can develop in just about any language. I use it for Java, PHP, HTML, CSS and SQL programming. As Bob mentioned there are several commercial applications built on top of Eclipse and I thought I would mention another such as XMind
  • TextWrangler – This is a feature rich text editor which has formatting capabilities for most web languages. It’s a great tool to just look at something real quick when you don’t need a full on IDE
  • XMind – This is a great Mac OS X mind mapping package. While any mind mapping software is very useful for laying out the goals, requirements and steps needed to produce an application, I showcase XMind because it is for the Mac
  • Ditto – This is an application that runs in the background and captures everything you copy to the clip board. No more need to open a text editor to paste the things you copy so you don’t loose it. I find this tool invaluable and use it daily. Not to mention, it’s great to copy something I’m changing and then if I screw it up I’ve got a backup readily at hand, but this one is Windows only. For Mac the only one I’ve found that’s worth anything is QuickSilver but it’s kind of heavy duty just for the clip board manager, I never could get into all the keyboard shortcuts
  • The Gimp – This is an outstanding image editor. If you don’t want to fork out the cash for Photoshop, the Gimp is the best alternative
  • WinMerge – This is a differencing and merging tool for windows. It allows you to compare the text of 2 different sources. This is an invaluable tool for finding the difference between two Text, PHP, Java or HTML files. However, this one is Windows only. For Mac take a look at DiffMerge
  • Firefox – An outstanding open source browser, combine it with Fire Bug and the Web Developer plugin and you’ve got a very powerful web development tool
  • Balsamiq Mockups – This is a great low fidelity prototyping tool. While this isn’t really open source I’m listing it here because you can use the web based version or the trial. It doesn’t allow you to do some things, but it will work
  • DimDim Web Conferencing – While not really on par with GoToMeeting it will work for screen sharing. You can’t take control of a remote machine with it, but for getting several people together to look at a computer screen it’s hard to beat. You can also setup your own DimDim server, however the support for this is very much lacking, I never could get it to work as I tried just for something to do one rainy weekend
  • Google – This is an invaluable tool for finding solutions to problems, inducing ideas and finding new techniques to try

Some honorable mentions that may/may not be open source:

  • All the Elgugi Software Products – These are great tools for a development shop, driving ideas, features, collaboration and community knowledge
  • W3Schools.com – A very good reference for CSS, HTML and Javascript
  • ColourLovers – A good resource for coming up with appealing color palettes
  • Apple Time Machine – A great backup utility. Can’t say how many times it’s saved an image or PHP file I screwed up

I know some of the things I listed aren’t really open source but may just be free or just great tools that are worth the money. But all of these things I’ve listed get used a lot on all of my computers and are some of the first things I install on a new computer. So, I hope you enjoy these tools and while you’re here, share your “can’t do without” tools.

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