SmartFAQ is developed by The SmartFactory (, a division of InBox Solutions (

What applications can you recommend to support my web building?
Requested and Answered by Carnuke on 2005/2/27 13:13:45 (38376 reads)
This is often something not addressed by developers, but is nontheless an important question for the beginner. Obtaining the right tools for the job of web building should be high on your priority list. If you already have editors or image software, etc that you know and are happy with, then stick with it, although a quick review here might give you some new options worth considering.

If you are a beginner and intend to put your website online, that is, on a dedicated web server for internet use, there are some basic 'must have' programs that can help things go smoothly. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but details a few of the best programs available to date. Looking on Google will reveal several other options to add to this list. I have tried and discarded several applications in the past which are simply not up to the job. I personally use Filezilla, Notetab lite, Nvu, Photofiltre, IZArc, and many of the optional utilities at the end. These are all free for personal use. If anyone has other recommendation, please add them to this list.


1- FTP client.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. Its a program that is installed on your local machine and allow you to transfer data, such as files, images and compressed files to and from your online webspace. Your webspace is like a main folder on your machine that you can subdivide into other folders or directories. The difference is that these web directories are on another remote computer, so you need some way to securely transfer that data.

FTP is specially built to do this and is preferable than using the file manager that is sometimes supplied by hosting companies. These are usually very restricted in the way they work and limit the amount of files you can send in any one go. This can be a problem, because you have to manually select small batches of files for transfer all the way through your folder structures. An open invitation for getting things mixed up and forgotten, if ever there was one.

Get an FTP client, you will use it frequently throughout your web building and management.

There are several FTP clients available and many good products are offered totally freeware or Open Source, which means you don't have to pay for them. I personnaly recommend SmartFTP and FileZilla for regular FTP work.

FileZilla Open Source FTP / SFTP Client
FileZilla is a free, open source FTP client for Windows distributed under the GNU General Public License. You can do the usual stuff, upload and download files, as well as resume uploads or downloads, works with firewalls, supports SFTP (Secure FTP) and SSL secured connections, handle queues of files to be uploaded/downloaded, etc.

SmartFTP is possibly one of the best freeware FTP clients. It offers a full range of features .. unlike WS-FTP LE, which is a stripped-down (freeware) version of WS-FTP Pro ($40).

Fugu - Mac OS X SFTP / SCP / SSH FrontEnd
Fugu is a free open source frontend for SFTP (Secure FTP), SCP and SSH. It is released under a BSD license, and supports Mac OS X.

AceFTP 3.61
Visicom Media’s AceFTP 3 Freeware is the easiest-to-use free FTP client software available for transferring files over the Internet.

Its cool, uncluttered drag-and-drop interface, designed in a Windows XP fashion, lets you transfer files quickly and efficiently and navigate with ease between folders, both on Web sites and on your computer.

This robust, free FTP software is a high-speed FTP program. It enables you to perform multiple file transfers simultaneously. Simply put, it beats many paid-for FTP client software products hands down.

WS_FTP (updated)
Windows FTP program with the usual uploading and downloading features. It is no longer free but has a 30 day free trial. Since updating there are several versions of the program available.

Putty: Win32 SSH / Secure FTP (SFTP) Client
Putty is a free open source set of programs. It includes a Secure Shell client (SSH), an SCP client (secure copy), a command line Secure FTP client (SFTP), a Telnet client, etc.


2- Text & programing Editors.

The second most useful program is a plain text editor that you can open files with, view the contents and make any changes required for configurations.

The field is open here because there are so many good free editors available, there is even one supplied with windows OS called notepad. This is a basic tool that has been superceeded by most modern editors.

The important aspects of a plain text editor is that it can open a variety of different file types, not only text documents, but also script files like .php .css .html .htaccess .txt etc. Not only can these various files be opened but they must not be in any way changed or corrupted in the process. This may seem like an odd thing to say, but when we talk about WYSIWYG editors, we will see why. A text editor is an essential tool for opening, editing and saving these different file types.

Some editors boast a range of other features aimed at web builders, such as tag and context highlighting, colour coding for easier identification of sections and other tools for cleaning up and manipulating the code.

One good text editor is worth finding and getting to know well. In addition a good program should be easy to use, not overbloated with unnecessary features and quick to load.

Notetab lite (win)
Popular text editor and Notepad replacement. Tabbed interface provides easy access to all open documents. Offers many time-saving features, including a "Clipbook" tool that can be used to paste frequently-used text clips and playback macros. Can search and replace multi-line criteria across all open documents, with support for regular expressions. The editor can open links and preview documents in any web browser. Can read and write UNIX and Mac files. Other features include support for templates, AutoCorrect mode, strip HTML tags, text to HTML, sort/join/split/indent lines, drag-and-drop editing, and much more. NoteTab Light, is a freeware program, the commercial equivalent, NoteTab Standard, adds a spell checker, thesaurus, outline documents, and more for just $9.95. It's your choice!

jEdit is a mature and well-designed programmer's text editor with 7 years of development behind it. While jEdit beats many expensive development tools for features and ease of use, it is released as free software with full source code, provided under the terms of the GNU General Public License. If you are happy running a program in Java runtime enviroment, this is an eccellent choice. Here are some of the features.
Written in Java, so it runs on Mac OS X, OS/2, Unix, VMS and Windows.
Built-in macro language; extensible plugin architecture. Dozens of macros and plugins available.
Plugins can be downloaded and installed from within jEdit using the "plugin manager" feature.
Auto indent, and syntax highlighting for more than 130 languages.
Supports a large number of character encodings including UTF8 and Unicode.
Folding for selectively hiding regions of text.
Word wrap.
Highly configurable and customizable.
Every other feature, both basic and advanced, you would expect to find in a text editor

Syn is an Open Source Text and Programming Editor with Syntaxhighlight for many Languages, and some IDE Features, like starting a program (e.g. Compiler) and capture the output, support for Projects etc. Syn is written in Delphi (Version 5, Updatepack 1) for maximum performance, stability and filesize , hence it doesn't require any bulky VC++/VB Runtime or MFC libraries!

Syn supports Active Scripting, this means you can extend the functionallity with writing a Script.
It is not a replacement for Notepad, but it's up to you to find it applicable to replace Notepad.
It is not a Word Processor, it is a Programming Editor.
It is not an Editor for large files (over 2 GB), there are special Editors.
There is no support for Unicode.
It has no tips at startup, also no Splash Screen.
The Installer has no Repair function, if you want to repair an installation just run the Installer again.

HTML Kit is a full-featured text editor designed to help HTML, XML, and script authors to edit, format, validate, preview, and publish Web pages. Newcomers to HTML coding can benefit from the program's error-catching abilities. Experts can save time spent on common tasks, using the customizable and extendible editor, while maintaining full control over the code.

Features include syntax highlighting for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSLT, JavaScript, VBScript, PHP, ASP, Java, Perl, Python, C/C++, Visual Basic, Pascal/Delphi, Lisp, SQL, INI/Conf, and more; customizable keyword help and keyboard shortcuts; multiple methods of previewing; a spelling checker and a thesaurus; templates/snippets; multiple validators; and automatic detection of and integration with third-party applications, such as style editors.

The latest version also includes the ability to write plug-ins in C/C++, Delphi, VB, Perl, and Java; TagsReminder; TagsWizard; PrototypePad; and a Workspace window to seamlessly edit files on remote servers, networks, and local drives.

Metatpad. (win)
Metapad is a small and fast text editor that was designed to completely replace the standard Windows Notepad since it includes all of Notepad's features and much, much more. Metapad's additional features include persistent window placement, Intelligent Find and Replace, External viewer support (e.g. web browser) , Usable accelerator keys (Ctrl+S, Ctrl+N, etc.), Dual customizable font support, Auto-indent mode, Recent files list WYSIWYG printing, enhanced status bar & toolbar and more! Unlike the Win 9x notepad, metapad does not impose a file size limit. On top of all, Metapad offers hyperlink support, so any web link you type or read in a text file can be clicked and launched in your browser. Metapad was created (as was Notepad) in pure ANSI C with the Win32 API.

3- WYSIWYG editors/ web builders

These types of editors are often frowned upon by purist developers because they often bypass the user learning the code that builds the web page. Not only that, many wysiwyg editors create dreadful html code due to their compromised automation. Also they can ruin or corrupt existing scripts if they are used to view and edit them.

Nonetheless a true beginner can benefit a lot from using a wysiwyg editor, especially if they determine to learn what is happening in the code. In addition they can provide quick and effective mockups of pages as part of the developemnt process.

Here is a short list of the popular commercial (Payware) WYSIWYG editors

This is probably the best of these editors, but does not come free in any version.

FrontPage also chargeable
Is probably the worst for generating poor html and for adding superfluous overbloated code. In addition it often adds extra 'frontpage generator' metatags when you save your work! Never use it to open a php/css/asp or other scripted file!!!

Adobe's GoLive
Some Mac users prefer Adobe's GoLive, probably because it was originally developed as a Mac-only product .. before Adobe bought it & ported it to Windows.

Out of the Free editors, some more and some less WYSIWYG here are the best so far.

Nvu (pronounced N-view, for a "new view") is an Open Source project started by Linspire, Inc. Linspire is committed exclusively to bringing Desktop Linux to the masses, and realized that an easy-to-use web authoring system was needed for Linux to continue its expansion to the Desktop.

Linspire has contracted with Daniel Glazman from Disruptive Innovations to be the lead developer and maintainer for the Nvu project. Daniel has been the chief architect for Mozilla Composer and brings a tremendous amount of experience and expertise to the Nvu project. Other developers are also encouraged to get involved in this project.

Nvu is designed to be extremely easy to use. This makes 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. Nvu allows you to create web pages as easily as you would type a word processing document, and then publish them to your web site just by saving the document. This makes it ideal for home use, students, marketing professionals, general business use, and so on. Even though it's designed for the novice web designer, Nvu is also ideal for experienced web programmers who want to save time in creating content or web design. Because you can quickly toggle between the WYSIWYG editing mode and the HTML code mode, just by changing tabs, Nvu is also ideal for those wishing to learn HTML programming, as they can easily observe the interaction between the HTML code and what a user will see in their web browser. The bottom line is that Nvu is ideal for anyone who wants to quickly create web pages.

* WYSIWYG editing of pages, making web creation as easy as typing a letter with your word processor.
* Integrated file management via FTP. Simply login to your web site and navigate through your files, editing web pages on the fly, directly from your site.
* Reliable HTML code creation that will work with all of today's most popular browsers.
* Jump between WYSIWYG Editing Mode and HTML using tabs.
* Tabbed editing to make working on multiple pages a snap.
* Powerful support for forms, tables, and templates.
* The easiest-to-use, most powerful Web Authoring System available for Desktop Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh users.
Check for more deatils about this program.

COMMENT: Having just seen this editor I decided to try it and have to say, out of all the rest, this is the one I will now use. It really does offer wysiwyg capability and produces much cleaner code than the others. Big thumbs up new xoopsers!!

TopStyle CSS WYSIWYG editor
Now you can edit your HTML documents and style sheets using one interface. In fact this is a little bit more than a text editor, it also includes specialised functions for CSS coding.

TopStyle Pro's inspector categorizes HTML attributes so you can quickly see which are required and which are deprecated (outdated). Even better, TopStyle generates XHTML-compliant markup with a simple toggle.

Hyperlink Navigation TopStyle Pro's unique hyperlinking greatly simplifies navigating between documents. Click an HTML class attribute to navigate to the definition of that class in an external style sheet, or click an anchor tag or CSS link to open the linked file for editing. You can even click on an tag to open the image file in your favorite image editor.

Tag Insight TopStyle Pro's insight shows valid elements and attributes as you type. Even better, it knows all of the classes defined in your style blocks and external style sheets, so assigning a class to an HTML tag is a very simple task.

Comment... one of the best, most useful programs ever used for web design. With xoops extensive CSS control requires in depth understanding about how CSS works. This editor is a geart learning tool and also makes editing and creating style sheets really easy.

Note: Top Style is not Free but has a 20 day free trial.

The editor that takes advantage of the absolute positioning techniques os CSS 1 (style sheets). It allows you to design web pages by simply dragging elements into place. You can also take advantage of advanced CSS features like overlapping images and other techniques that are not possible with plain HTML. CSS is supported by all major browsers, so your web page will look the same to every visitor. DHE Editor can be used to create HTML, ASP, PHP, CFM, JSP, XML pages and also provides an option to insert code elements if needed. You can import images, associate events to part of labels, pictures, input fields and more. Great for beginners to design a web page, but also very handy for established webmaster that want to generate CSS based page layouts.

1st Page Winner of multiple awards.
Five years and 3,000,000+ downloads since the first release, Evrsoft brings you First Page 2006, the highly anticipated HTML editing software. Evrsoft First Page 2006 gives you unsurpassed freedom to create and edit web documents with absolute code control.

The latest version includes hundreds of new features and bug fixes. First Page 2006 now includes full support for HTML, XHTML, PHP, ASP, Cold Fusion, Javascript, CSS, SSI and Perl.

FirstPage 2006 is designed for professional web development. Create, Edit and deploy websites with absolute ease and precision. The integrated tools empower web developers to develop standards-based web documents, quickly and easily and it has one major advantage -- it's free.

2006 features:
# Tag Insight with SmartHistory™
# CSS Insight with SmartHistory™
# CSS Class Support & Auto Detection
# Advanced Syntax Highlighting
# Tag Document Selection Tool
# Dual Preview Engine
# Online Webmaster Tools
# Tag Property Sheet Inspector with SmartHistory™
# Tag Auto Completion
# Design View Engine, Powered by Microsoft®
# Anti-Intrusive Real-Time Visual Source Rendering Engine™
# Dual Edit System
# One Click Html Reference Guides
# Asset Management
# Extensive Web Language Support
# Tidy HTML Power Tools (updated)
# Document Checking Tools
# iScripts™
# Page color themes
# Popupmaker Deluxe
# Image Mapper
# CSS Style Sheet Designer
# Scrollbar Designer
# Powerful Server Side Includes Support
# Sitetree/ Link Checking Tool
# Analyze Document/Page Estimation Tool
# Extendable Toolbars and Interface
# Interface Designed for All
# File Management Tools
# Image Thumbnails
# Rollover Images
# Internet explorer preview integration
# Netscape® Mozilla preview integration
# Powerful, Enhanced IDE Interface
# Powerful FTP client
# Extended Find & Replace In Files
# Photo Album Gallery Generator

1st Page is designed to be used by just about anyone. It can operate in any of four different modes -- easy, normal, advanced/expert, and hardcore -- which the user can select based on their ability and knowledge. The differences in the levels include interface, automation, and depth of options.

For those with any experience building sites (WYSIWYG doesn't count), "normal" mode is a good place to start. It has icons across the top and under the menu to help you easily find things, with more in-depth options popping down from them. Once you learn where things are, you could easily step up the next mode and save screen clutter.

In Normal mode, you will more easily become acquainted with the "extras" that make the program worth a look for anyone.

PSPad editor
This is a programmers editor with support for multiple syntax highlighting profiles. It comes with a hex editor, CP conversion, text differences, templates, macros, spellcheck option, auto-completion, Code Explorer and much more. The program is pre-configured for the most popular programming languages (VB, C++, SQL, PHP, ASP, Python etc.) and you can further customize the syntax settings. PSPad includes several additional tools that are especially useful for HTML editing (compress, format code) and also integrates TopStyle Lite and TidyHTML. The program can be used as IDE for any compiler. Additional features include support for project, file browsing, custom shortcuts, built-in FTP client to edit files on the server and much more.

2006 update: There is no complex install process, editor PSPad is ready to work immediately, without requiring customization. The editor supports many file types and languages, with syntax highlighting. There are macros, clip files and templates to automate repetitive activities. An integrated HEX Editor, Project support, FTP Client, Macro Recorder, File Search/Replace, Code Explorer, code page conversion, are just some of the many possibilities that PSPad can offer you.

It has multilanguage support and is free!

TSW WebCoder
This is a feature packed HTML editor with integrated project management and built-in FTP client. In addition, it offers libraries with HTML, CSS, JS, VBS and PHP tags, a file explorer, customizable syntax coloring, integrated browser preview and more. WebCoder even features built-in scripting, that allows you to write functions for the program your self, or download others, and extend the way of using it. The editor provides support for PHP and style sheets, as well as spell checking and code validation. Additional features include HTML Tidy, image viewer, customizable toolbar button, meta tags editor, extended search and replace, server mappings and many other useful features. A great editor for novice and professionals alike. Note: free for trial only.


4- Image preparation and manipulation

At some point in your web building experience, you are bound to want to use your own images in web pages. There is already an FAQ about how to prepare images, pointing out the requirements of resizing/ resampling/ cropping/ retouching/ and compression. You may already have a full blown image software like Painshop pro, Adobe Photoshop, or something similar. These are fine if you know how to use them, but they are often very complex to learn and large heavyweight programs that hog computer resources. Here are just a few choice freeware programs that are lightweight to use and offer specific features tailored for preparing web images.

PhotoFiltre Available in French, English, Dutch and Czech as well as offering a range of language files for other languages.
PhotoFiltre is a complete image editing and effects package, that will not only amaze you with features but also the fact that it is free (for personal use). It comes with many features that rival some commercial packages, as well as additional add-on that can be downloaded from the web site. PhotoFiltre offers all the standard editing features (selection, clone brush, paint brush etc.) as well as a large selection of image effects, photo masks, image adjustments, thumbnail browser and much more. The program also supports batch processing to apply filters, sizing, adjustments and transformations to a large number of images at once. PhotoFiltre comes with modern, well designed interface and is well suited for everything from simple resizing to advanced photo editing.
PhotoFiltre is free for a private, non commercial or educational use (including non-profit organizations). In this case, registration is not necessary. But commercial or professional use requires a registration.

The Windows version of a popular Linux graphics editor and image manipulation software. It offers a ton of features, including advanced layer support, masks, filters, effects and many other features found in professional graphics programs. Beware however that the interface needs getting used to, it uses multiple component windows, rather than a uniform interface.

Toolbar Paint
Toolbar paint is a small and powerful paint package that is specifically targeted at developers who wish to design their own toolbar button graphics. It can open BMP images up to 64x64 pixel and allows you to visually design a toolbar, using various editing tools that include shapes, text, drawing, brush, selections and more. It also includes tools to replace colors, apply gradients and more. The toolbar graphics can be saved as 16 color, 256 color and 24 bit graphics. A tiny and powerful editor, written entirely in assembler. Additional plug-ins are available from the website that lets you save as icon file, add additional effects and more.

PicSizer is a utility that resizes images for use on the web and in email. It allows you to resize a batch of images to the same size, which can be selected and previewed from an easy to use slider. Doing this you can reduce the file size of the images, especially digital photos, so that they are more suitable for emailing or web use. The reduced files are saved in a different directory, so your original pictures are not changed. In addition, you can also rotate the images, and also rename them with a prefix or sequential numbers. PicSizer supports .bmp, .jpg, .gif, .png, .tga, and .tif formats.


5- Archive compression tools.

An essential requirement. Nearly all downloads are compressed for compactness of storage on the server, speed of transfer when up/downloading and also for security reasons. You must have a reliable archiving program to open these files and also to create your own. Windows XP comes with a sort of limited archiver while Winzip is the popular commercial favorite. However, the full version costs money and it by no means gives you the best tool for the job! Here are a few alternatives, all free and probably better than winzip or windows xp offereing.

FilZip Available in English and Dutch
FilZip is an archiving utility (zip tool) that can open various archive types including ZIP, ARJ, CAB, RAR, TAR and others, as well as internet encoded files .UUE and .XXE. It offers Windows integration, drag and drop, encryption, multi-extract and more. It also comes with a SFX-Creator (self-extracting archives), optional encryption, add, delete, view, open files from an archive, view the zip comment, password protect zip files, test files while extracting, and automatic installation of archives. You can also convert an archive into another format or email it via the built-in mailer.

IZArc is a full featured archiving tool that you can use to open and create compressed files in many different formats. It offers many advanced features, including repairing of broken archives, searching within archives, password protecting, emailing of archives and much more. The program provides an Explorer style interface with integrated file browser, favorites, customizable toolbar and color coded file listings. IZArc can also be used to create self-extracting or disk-spanning archives and more. Additional features include Windows Explorer integration, anti-virus integration and just about anything else you d would expect to find in a professional archive utility - but this one is free. IZArc support most popular archive formats, including 7-ZIP, ACE,ARC, ARJ,BH, BZ2, CAB, DEB, GZ,HA, JAR, LHA, LZH,PAK, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR,TGZ, TZ, ZIP and ZOO. The program is easy to use, even for beginners, yet powerful enough to provide advanced users with all the tools you need.

gzip (GNU zip) is a compression utility designed to be a replacement for compress. Its main advantages over compress are much better compression and freedom from patented algorithms. It has been adopted by the GNU project and is now relatively popular on the Internet. gzip was written by Jean-loup Gailly (, and Mark Adler for the decompression code.
gzip produces files with a .gz extension. gunzip can decompress files created by gzip, compress or pack. The detection of the input format is automatic.
Gzip and gunzip are popular Unix file compression utilities. SeveralWindows programs will gunzip a gzipped file, but until now the only
Windows program that would gzip a file was a console application.
Win-GZ (pronounced 'wings') is gzip/gunzip with a familiar Windows GUI
front end, and has some features that will prevent common mistakes.
You may keep your original file (pkzip style) or automatically delete
the original (Unix style) or automatically give the gzipped or
gunzipped file the same name as the original (VRML style). Includes C
source. Security update to v1.1.


6- Useful Utilities ... Not must have's but maybe useful.

BK ReplaceEm
The premiere-quality string-replacing utility. At its core, BK ReplaceEm is essentially a text search-and-replace program. However, unlike the search-replace functionality of a standard text editor, BK ReplaceEm is designed to operate on multiple files at once. The program does not limit you to one search-replace operation per file, but you can setup a list of operations to perform in a single run. You can also specify a backup file for each file processed just incase the replace operation didnt do exactly what you wanted. Additional features include support for regular expressions, file filters and more. A very powerfull and fast utility. I use it for changing language defines in a whole language folder. You can simply stack up the list of changed words and the whole job is done in one operation for all the files.

WebSwoon is a unique tool, that allows you to capture thumbnail snapshots of web pages, by using a list of URLs that you provide. It takes a list of web page addresses and automatically captures a JPG image of what the page looks like, then saves it to the capture folder. The program is very useful to enhance directory pages like mylinks or weblinks modules. It is configured with a simple text file, one URL per line, so the generation of the list could be easily automated by advanced users. Additional features include a browser preview, customizable capture delay and thumbnail size. Sure, you can do all this manully with an image capture, then an image resizer, but this is all automated.
WebSwoon is written in Python and uses wxWidgets. Therefore Python stuff must be installed with program.

Very useful to read those 'Readme files' within xoops modules written in a foreign language, as many are! Might even come in handy for rough module translations before proper interpretation.
Xanadu translates words, terms and texts right from your desktop and from/into over 60 languages. In addition, you can find professional translators and specialized glossaries, read regularly updated language news and much more. Xanadu queries several dictionaries at the same time - you can select the ones to be included. Translating text is as easy as highlighting it and pressing a hotkey on your keyboard. The small interface will pop up, ready to translate the selected text - results will be displayed in your browser. Xanadu contains a directory of over 4000 glossaries for many domains and languages. The program works with in you browser, your word processor, email program or any other windows application.

Powerbullet Presenter is a small, simple program for creating presentations in the Flash format. You don't need any experience to create slick animated presentations by typing, clicking and dragging. Powerbullet Presenter is specifically designed for creating multi-page presentations that are commonly used in electronic sales brochures and catalogues, splash screens, slideshows and student projects.

You can also create a self-running show, specifying delays on each page, or you can link the timing to the sound attached to each page.
Your presentations can be exported as an HTML page with an embedded SWF (Flash) file or as an executeable file which you can run on any Windows PC.

Zoomifyer EZ
Zoomifyer EZ makes using high-resolution images in your Web pages easy to do and fast to view! Show the world your photos, maps, scans, diagrams - whatever - with no need to down-res, on any Web server, all right in Flash. As an example; Source image: 30 mb. Average view: less than 15k! This is achieved by breaking the image down into several tiers or layers, each having several compound images creating the whole. However, when you view the image under zoomed conditions, you only need to see a small section of these images, thus reducing the amount of data required to be sent from the server. There's a lot more too it, but the effect is very impressive for fast viewing of very large images, both in data size and physical size. Creating these flash images is very simple and outlined in another FAQ here. The flash code works well in acustom block, or in another content module. You can even load the image files on a totally different server, if you want to conserve space on your xoops site.

Ignite 2 is the essential web graphic tool for any web designer's tool kit!

Make great web graphics fast
Whether you want to produce fast downloading GIFs or JPEGs, make optimized animated GIFs, chop up images for use in tables or use web safe colours and more than 1300 hybrid colours web safe in your images, Ignite will do it all for you and much more.
With Ignite you can do several useful operations from the following;

Optimize your images for the web...Make animations...Split images and create html tables...Use Ignite as a plugin to your graphics application...Use more than 1300 hybrid web safe colours...Use templates to make web images quickly...Make frequently used images quickly in Ignite using templates...Make thumbnail images...Make mouseover images...See how your web images look on a Mac.
Although Ignite is a fairly complex program, is aprticularly well suited for the beginner because it provides context sensitive help throughout most of the oiperations. I quickly got the hang of it. I should point out that the download is free, but only for 30 days. After that you must register, again free, but there is a fairly heavy request to make a contribution, although not obligatory.

This is a small yet powerful Windows program for snapping (capturing) images from selected parts of the screen. Current version is capable of capturing the whole desktop, a highlighted window, an active menu, or a fixed or free rectangular part of the screen. MWSnap handles 5 most popular graphics formats including .png and contains some important graphical tools: a zoom, a ruler, a color picker and a window spy. Supports automatic compression on save and attaching cursors to the image.

I used this software to capture all the images for the helpfile in SmartFAQ xoops module.

WinMerge is helpful for tasks such as determining how a project has changed since a previous release or migrating changes to a previous version. WinMerge can view differences in directory mode, displaying those files which have been changed from one version to the next, and allowing you to individually view and edit files that have been changed. It can also be used as a directory synchronization tool.

WinMerge provides rudimentary VSS integration by checking the read-only status of the file. If VSS integration is enabled, and the file you are changing is marked read-only, WinMerge will display the CheckOut dialog when when you attempt to save the file. Simply enter the SourceSafe path to the file's project (in VSS syntax) and click the Check Out button.

7 - Local host servers

These are programs you can install on your local computer to experiment with your xoops before you put your site up 'live' on the internet:

There are two download packages you can use.
Wamp5 Server The upside is it uses updated versions of mysql and php etc. It is very easy to use, makes no registry changes and also has a link to the WWW directory (where you put your xoops websites) Highly recommended.!!

The Uniform Server Also comes recomended as just as easy to use.
Take a look at both and see which you feel comfortable with.

Ok, its a short list, but too much choice is not always helpful

The comments are owned by the author. We aren't responsible for their content.
  • Home away from home

 Applications for web building

From time to time we see questions about "What program/ application do you use for ...." referring to editors and prep. applications.

I've had a look through some forum threads and done some extensive research myself on this and made an extended FAQ article about web building applications.

Hope you find this useful


  • XOOPS is my life!

 Re: Applications for web building


This will definately help many newcomers. Heck, there's a few useful tools there that I didn't know about.

Many thanks for posting this one!!

  • Home away from home

 Re: Applications for web building

Thanks for the feedback JM and yes, it was quite some work to prepare, but I think it's worth it.

I forgot to mention that in the new Docs site inventory (which is being worked on ATM) we will link to full documentaion and tutorials for all these products so that users can get up to speed quickly.

  • Home away from home

 Re: Applications for web building

If I can add:

FTP Clients: Aceftp freeware - Always had trouble with smartftp myself, it kept disconnecting when uploading large # of files.

HTML Editors: 1st page 2000 by evrsoft : Good editor and free

Excellent work on the list.

  • Home away from home

 Re: Applications for web building

Thanks lance for the input here ... I visited these sites and decided to add both 1st page 2000 and ACE ftp because they look like good pieces of software.

i also tried 1st page 2000 and was pretty impressed by how easy it is to use, in fact a lot more intuitive than some of the others. Good find, and thanks


 Re: Applications for web building

Three cheers for Richard! Just what a new user needs!

  • Just popping in

 More apps...

The two apps I would not be without for developing in Windows are EditPlus and Beyond Compare. Neither are free (although trial versions are available) but they each do what they do so well that I gladly paid for them. Or have Jedit and WinMerge caught up so much that I am now living in the past?

  • Repository Maintainer


Thanks for the Q&A and all the effort you invested in it! I find it particularly useful because it's well researched, not just lumped together for the sake of it. It's definitely got value for more than just newbies. I've been doing sites for years and still learned a few things.

One handy program worthy of being included is w.bloggar. It's a desktop blogging/posting client. You might want to check out the description/review on my site since its own homepage is just a tad barren right now.

  • Friend of XOOPS

 Thanks for taking the time!

This article is a big help. I come from the Mac side of things but I'm now using win 2000 at work and need a little help finding the right tools. I jumped on the aceftp and html kit suggestions which look good. I don't have time right now to put them all to the test but your article was done well and saved me the trouble.

Thank you!

If anyone ever finds themselves on the Mac side of things you should take a look at BBEDIT for a text editor and Transmit for FTP. They are payware however but very solid and efficient programs.

The one thing I miss from bbEdit is the ability to search for text in un-open files and sub-folders. If anyone can point me in the right direction for a windows editor that does that I would greatly appreciate it. I'm trying BK ReplaceEm now but would like to have my editor do this function and would like to be able to just search for text in sub-folders.

  • Friend of XOOPS

 Re: Applications for web building

On a Fedora 4 Linux platform I use following:

Gedit - text editor - free
Gimp - graphics - free
Morphon CSS Editor - free
DBDesigner 4 - free
XMLMind - XML (inc Docbook) editor - free
Zend Studio - PHP integrated dev environment - not free but students can get it very heavily discounted
Subversion - version control - free
Apache - webserver - free
GFTP - Ftp client - free
Open Office - WP/spreadsheet etc - free
Dia - diagramming - free
Firefox - web browser - free
PHPDocumentor - PHP code documentor - free
MySQL - SQL database - free
PHP V4 and 5 - free

If you are not a module developer then you don't need Zend Studio. If you are, I don't know how you develop PHP code without it, it is that good! (After all, Zend invented PHP.)

Just my 2 pennies worth.

  • Just can't stay away

 Re: Applications for web building

If you are not a student and don't want to spend money on a php-editor take Eclipse in combination with phpeclipse in combination with JSeclipse if you want to work with Javascript.

  • Friend of XOOPS

 Re: Applications for web building

My toolkit

metapad - Link Listed Above
Pixie - (free)
ColorCop - (free)
WinSCP3 - (free)
Photoshop CS2 - Ya you wish there was a link (pffft)
GIMP - (free)

and of course (FREEEEE!)

  • Friend of XOOPS

 Re: Applications for web building

Not tried eclipse. When I looked for an IDE for PHP a couple of years ago, it was Zend or (erm, ooh) Zend then.

As for me, I have bought Zend (BTW, my only financial outlay [although to be fair, I've expended several thousand man hours on learning thing Linux] on software in 4.5 years since switching to Linux). Great support from the Zend guys which comes with the purchase price as well as free upgrades, i.e pay once only.

Frank, do you know of any comparative reviews between Zend Studio and Eclipse? Might be useful for newcomers.

Choosing an IDE is a bit like choosing a partner for life (IMHO). I remember the painful wrench many years ago having to move from the Borland Turbo Pascal IDE to Paradox. But it all came right in the end when Borland planted their IDE onto Paradox.


  • Just can't stay away

 Re: Applications for web building

I have tried:

1. Zend Studio
2. NuSphere phpEd
3. Several other PHP Editors etc.

At the moment nothing beats Eclipse + PHPEclipse for me.

Make sure you get Eclipse of the Web Tools Project page :

PHPEclipse :

Eclipse has a superb collection of IDE plugings as well to do various things: SubVersion Integration, RegEx testing, UML diagrams etc...

  • Not too shy to talk

 Page updated in

This page is being update on xoopswiki. Any xooper can help. You are welcome.

  • Home away from home

 HTML editor / ConTEXT / AHK BBCodeWriter (free)

A nice and free HTML editor is Alleycode.


Alleycode is a fast, sleek and highly productive award winning HTML editor with unique features. If you are new to HTML, Alleycode's great tutorial will walk you through your first coding steps... If you are an established coder you will find a refreshing, non-bloated infrastructure with fast and accurate delivery. Beyond HTML, Alleycode's wizardry focuses on PHP and CSS interaction for professional and easy management of your projects. Best of all, Alleycode is FREE! (we do accept donations if you find it useful).

The author of the text editor ConTEXT has stopped the development of this editor and offers it for sale.

People who like to create their BBCODE articles offline can try AHK BBCodeWriter. With this editor you can create your articles offline and after completion you only have to copy/paste it into DHTML editor. This is handy for writing long articles