Saturday, January 15

Web development Tools i prefer on a windows machine

Windows is my primary web development environment. I have been using windows since i got my computer around 7 yrs back. Though windows is very easy to use, some of the open source projects are difficult to use. And linux is the best OS for web development. At least that is what i have been reading in some blogs and some of the nice guys on IRC have told me.I have decided to shift my working environment to linux now and already have ubuntu ready. But before i switch, here is the list of tools i have been using so far.

1) Notepad++
This is the best text editor i feel so far. Before shifting to notepad++ i was using dreamweaver and found it a little slow. It has lots of features but would crash most of the time. I then switched to netbeans but netbeans was way to slow. The best option was notepad++. It is very fast and easy to use, of course not to forget it is free. I use the macro, and plug-ins like compare and regEx helper a lot. Apart from that, i also like its style configuration and zenburn is my favorite.
2) SQLyog
SQLyog MySQL GUI is the most powerful MySQL manager and admin tool, combining the features of MySQL Administrator, phpMyAdmin and other MySQL Front Ends and MySQL GUI tools.
 Yes, SQLyog is a desktop based software for your mysql needs. It is fast and user friendly,  and the best part is its query window. Most of the time, when writing a query in php, i prefer verifying it beforehand. So i use sqlyog. We can also use phpmyadmin, but since it is browser based, it takes a lot of time and sometimes its frustrating to work with it.

I also prefer to echo the query and run it in sqlyog to check the out. Had to do this when customizing drupal and some other projects like vtiger.


3) FireFox
Firefox is the best browser ever. And the best thing about it is its plugins. I have been using firefox for a long time now and will continue to use. Following are the plugins i use on a daily basis.
a) Firebug: It is the best thing a web developer could ever ask for. For debugging css, testing javascript and even ajax, firebug is what you need.

b) Yslow: This plug-in helps better your web development, by providing numbers about the http requests, the number of css files/JavaScript files etc. Click here to learn more about it.

c) Colorzilla: Colorzilla is yet another tool i prefer. It has a eyedropper which selects any color in the browser providing the hex code for your css.

d) MeasureIt : This is a very handy tool, provides the pixel size of any area you wish on the browser. Just drag it to the width and height you want and you get the pixel values.

e) Web developer toolbar: Another tool for quick web development. I have used its css window to write the css and get the output in real time. A very nice and handy feature. I am yet to explore its features.

f) Dummy image generator: I use this tool a lot, to get some dummy images.Just enter the width and height and generate the image.

g) Lorem ipsum generator : Like the dummy image generator, this plugin helps generate text. Very quick.

This is a great desktop application for prototyping, wire-framing etc. Easy to use. We normally use this for documentation and creating wire-frames so that it becomes easy to start coding. We have the entire flow of the project with us. This makes life very easy. I have also tried using Axure RP, balsamiq but finally settled with serena.

5) Filezilla
I have been using this for about 8 months now. I sure need a new ftp client. Before that i was using winSCP. I am still on hunt to get a good ftp client. I tried getting a ftp plugin for notepad++ but it would crash everytime. :( Anyways, if you have any better suggestions do drop in a comment.

Of Course, this should top in the list. Have been using it from past one year, Before that i was using Xampp. However i don't find any difference. Yeah WAMP had crashed once, and i had to waste an entire day on it to backup my projects, database and re-install it. I hope it does not happen again.

7) Tortoise SVN
SVN is the best thing. Helps keep track of your projects, each files and maintains a log. I have a post on how to configure XAMPP with SVN. We have a dedicated linux machine now for storing all our repositories. And we get the files using Tortoise svn client on windows machine.

I now plan to start developing on linux. I have already got ubuntu 10.10 installed on my machine with LAMP configured. Configuring LAMP was very easy, just one command and it does the trick for you. Also i plan to start developing in Ruby on rails, and i think linux is the best environment for ruby. 

Conclusion :
Windows is a good operating system, but since all our servers are linux, it is better to get a taste of it too. I remember one of the problems in my early years of career i faced was that linux considers JPG and jpg as different files. I had a hard time figuring this out. :)

What tools/operating system you prefer for web development. Do post it in comments and if you have any suggestions, i'd love to hear...Thanks

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