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Web Designer’s FREElance Toolbox for Windows : Comments

By Brian Reindel

June 20, 2005



June 20, 2005 9:46 PM

I can highly recommend these free apps:
File Extraction: WinRAR
FTP: FileZilla
Messaging: Miranda
Screen Capture: Just hit ALT + Print Screen!

Donna Maurer

June 20, 2005 10:24 PM

Boy oh boy have you just save me a lot of time. I forked for image & pdf software, but have been digging around looking for the others! Yay!



June 20, 2005 11:39 PM

what about an article about Mac Tools?


June 21, 2005 1:08 AM

i would have like to read more about webdesigner specific free tools. There are also some nice helpers, which save you some time.

These tools here in the list read more like a usual software-suggestion on zdnet.

Ian Cheung

June 21, 2005 2:02 AM

I would have to disagree about MySQL being the only choice when it comes to free sql databases. PostgreSQL is also free and in some respects more solid. (I use both).

A couple of recommendations, for a HTML editor TSW Webcoder is great, which although not as polished reminds me of Homesite which doesn’t seem to be available (and wasn’t free). For PHP development I highly recommend PHP Designer 2005 especially when you download the PHP doc help file and the PHP executable (also available free).

For free of a different nature check out my web site. It is a fun, not-for-profit site.

Ian Cheung

June 21, 2005 2:05 AM

Sorry, forgot the leading http://

The link to my web site again. It is a fun, not-for-profit site.


June 21, 2005 2:36 AM

Most of the software mentioned is actually Open Source, rather than freeware (and yes, the distinction is important).

A few additions:

Inkscape is an excellent Open Source vector editor, and it uses the SVG format so will be more and more applicable to web designers as time goes on.

I’m surprised The GIMP wasn’t mentioned. I’ve started using it more and more recently and realised actually how good it is. Photoshop fans will most likely find it confusing at first (I did), especially as all the windows are split up. But give it a fair chance. (As a side note, I use it on Linux — not tried it on Windows and it may not work as well due to windowing differences.)

jEdit is my text editor of choice.

Keith Bell

June 21, 2005 2:51 AM

The link to the AVG Free Edition isn’t that easy to spot on the Grisoft web site. It’s at

Jens Meiert

June 21, 2005 2:53 AM

Har, “huphtur”, you’ve been faster than me ;) While I disagree with the FileZilla recommendation (I always stumbled across nasty bugs), I also definitely recommend Miranda. Meanwhile it works quite stable and there are lots of useful plugins available.

Ah hey,’s Webdev resources collection is also free :D


June 21, 2005 3:10 AM

I would recommend ClamWin over AVG for a free virus scanner. It’s based on the OpenSource ClamAV.


June 21, 2005 3:24 AM

- FTP-Client: SmartFTP – Instant messaging: Miranda – Antivirus: Avast Home Edition – Image viewing and (batch-)conversion: IrfanView – PDF: OpenOffice, PDF printer driver or tools like FreePDF

A good text editor like editplus, ultraedit etc. has to be in the toolbox, too. ;)


June 21, 2005 4:04 AM

I agree with the comment about mysql & postgres … i actually don’t understand why postgres isn’t more popular than mysql.

I’m surprised no colorpicker is mentioned here.

I have in my tools-folder.
If any of you know a better one… let us know :)

(you might want to check for other utilities too, but haven’t tried them yet)

Ryan Cannon

June 21, 2005 5:54 AM

Nvu is an open-sourced WYSIWYG HTML editor based on the Mozilla engine. For high-end CSS design, it is the only editor (including Dreamweaver) that actually delivers WYSIWYG.

One user mentioned Mac OS, and there’s a number of similar projects: Neooffice/J for Word Processing/Spreadsheat/Presentations, Cyberduck for FTP, and Fire for instant messaging. Most of the other programs above have Mac equivalents (like Audacity), work on the server, or are built into the OS (PDF generation, archiver).

Bryan Buchs

June 21, 2005 6:00 AM

I got 4 paragraphs into the article, and had to stop. “malicious PHP scripts”? I’m pretty sure the author meant something else here. Anything that a PHP script does is going to happen on the server side, not to a browser. JavaScript maybe…


June 21, 2005 6:11 AM

Don’t forget browser add-ons:
Web Developer Ext. for Firefox —
Web Accessibility bar for IE —
Color Picker Ext for FF —
Mouseover DOM Inspector Bookmarklet —
MeasureIt Extension for FF —
And I know there are others, but these I use often…


June 21, 2005 6:35 AM

I was going to suggest Nvu and Filezilla but they have been mentioned before. Often, I will go to to browse and search for new software.

Interesting coincidence, I blogged an article entitled Do you send donations? asking people if they donate to free software and, if so, how much?


June 21, 2005 7:37 AM

Database: Postgresql
PDF: PDFCreator
Icons: SnIco Edit


June 21, 2005 7:47 AM

I’ve been using a great screen capture tool that integrates smoothly with Windows. It’s called ScreenPrint32.

It allows you to choose what happens when you use the Print Screen button – full screen, window, or selection – or it gives you the option of choosing what you want through a pop up dialog box. The selection capture option rocks.

Greg Froh

June 21, 2005 9:42 AM

re: Brian’s comment re: “malicious PHP scripts” – I had a similar reaction reading that “Apache also supports cron jobs.”

Overall, a very well-written article.

Some other good resources: – Kerio personal firewall: – Textpad: – Cygwin: – Filezilla (already mentioned by others): – Putty:

Mark Priestap

June 21, 2005 12:31 PM

What a great post. I noticed that the Audacity website is down right now, so if anybody wants to download it, they can do it here.

Charlie Bucket

June 21, 2005 1:01 PM

I found this article very useful. Thanks for doing your research and for the good recommendations.

Brian Reindel

June 21, 2005 1:11 PM

Hey All,

Great responses to the article! I was hoping others here would recommend programs they’ve used. I always take the word of a fellow designer/developer over a site like ZDNet. A few brief comments:

“Malicious PHP scripts”
I did mean PHP... but your right, it is used in conjunction with Javascript.

“Cron jobs”
Did I miss something? Is the term cron job only in reference to Unix? Sorry if I mispoke – my site is hosted on an Apache server, but the host still calls them cron jobs. In other words, automating a PHP script to execute.

PHP Designer 2005”
I used this for a month or so and I had trouble with how it managed line breaks and tabs. Could be a preferences setting, but I would also recommend for simplicity sake.

Okay, I wrote this article quite some time ago, and I have to say I’ve been converted to

Keep the recommendations coming!



June 21, 2005 6:36 PM

Im Currently looking for a job can anyone email me with oppertuniys ?


June 21, 2005 8:55 PM

I found a free video editor that’s much better than the Windows Video Editor. It’s called Jahshaka. I haven’t really learned how to use it because I’ve been too busy, but it definitely has capabilities way beyond any other free video editing software I’ve ever seen.

Mic Antonio

June 21, 2005 10:33 PM

Great article. Another must have for any web designer is basecamp from 37 signals. Yuo get one project for FREE – check it out at baseCamp hq


June 22, 2005 6:53 AM

you should take a look at Typo3 as a CMS. It free it powerful and very easy to setup.

I did a lot of very different stuff with it!!!


Mark Priestap

June 22, 2005 9:00 AM

Anybody know when SourceForge will be back up?

Travis Chillemi

June 22, 2005 12:46 PM

Great list of tools. Does anyone have a good sugestion for font management? I have been using x-fonter and font expert 2004, but niether is freeware (although the 25 clams is well worth the purchase).

Don’t forget CSS tools. My fave is TopStyle Lite.

Sem Kim

June 23, 2005 9:29 AM

great great resources!
thank you. 1st page 2000 should be great


June 23, 2005 11:21 AM

CutePDF is a good free PDF creation tool. It does not insert advertisements.

Piero Fissore

June 23, 2005 12:49 PM

My antivirus yesterday said to me that – while installing 1st Page – he found a Troian virus. Does anybody had the same problem too?


June 24, 2005 4:20 PM

Another tool for screen capturing is Screenshot Pilot. The Capture Object feature is great.


June 25, 2005 10:05 AM

I’m so proud of myself for discovering most of those by myself and sticking with them prior to reading this article.
This means I’m in the right direction don’t you think? :)
Just wanted to add that the FTP thingy called “Filezilla” is pretty rxcellent in itself and I didn’t have to change an FTP prog since discovering it.
And a little question : how come GIMP wasn’t mentioned? Isn’t it a good one?



June 25, 2005 10:06 AM

Sorry, but my correct URL is the added one, and not Gmail as I wrote by mistake :)

Peter Anderson

June 28, 2005 1:31 AM

I like to read articles like this and see what others are using. While I get in a rut over what I use, you never know with these articles, you might stumble upon a gem.

I tend to use a combination of OSS, freeware and shareware for my web work. Software includes:

TextPad – – I have it customised with my own clip libs so that it has become indispensible.
HTMLpad – – a very good shareware HTML/CSS editor
TopStyle – – a free CSS editor (there are shareware versions with more features, but free version is fine.
AlleyCode – – a very good free HTML editor.
Gadwin PrintScreen – – a free screen print utility
W3 Schools – – not software, but a very good reference site
FileZillae and NVU (which I now use as my word processor) already mentioned are very good products.


Renato Carvalho

June 28, 2005 6:53 AM

For who don’t know this nice file extractor program. I advice Filzip.


July 1, 2005 9:53 AM

Perfect tools. What can i say but two simple words: many thanks!


July 8, 2005 8:48 AM

I agree : MS SQL server license is expensive. You may want to have a look on the Desktop Engine SQL Server edition (MSDE) which is free. Just watch out limitations. There are not as heavy as expected.


July 8, 2005 7:57 PM

“Even though CDBurnerXP Pro 3 only works with Windows XP…” Not true. It works with 98 up. I found it when I was looking for a way to burn a DVD ISO.

I used 1st Page for awhile until it became apparent it was never going to be updated at which time I switched to HTML-kit and that’s what I recommend for static HTML work today. It’s programmable and is user supported with a huge number of plugins.

Since I mainly work with Java servers I’ll have to plug a couple of free Java tools. Eclipse is an excellent IDE that happens to be free and like HTML-kit there are literally hundreds of plugins to go with it. There are a few excellent pure Java database managers available, too. IBM’s Cloudscape is now Apache Derby and it’s a very powerful alternative for Java applications.

I’ve tried PDF995 but found it a lot less friendly than the open source PDFCreator. The latter is missing a couple of features like bookmarking and links but it does its job of being a PDF printer driver very well.

IrfanView is a popular image viewing and manipulating (everything but paint) program that has screen capture functionality built in.


July 8, 2005 8:00 PM

Pierro said, “My antivirus yesterday said to me that – while installing 1st Page – he found a Troian virus.” That’s a false positive on one of the little Javascript snippets included with 1st Page.


July 24, 2005 12:26 PM

I use these great programs:

File Extraction: izarc
FTP: Filezilla
HTML Editor: PsPad (very good!)
Screen Capture: MWSnap


July 29, 2005 2:48 AM

I found your article very useful.
I wrote an article about yours (in french), completing your list. (Webdesigner : Boite


July 29, 2005 11:59 PM

Many cannot use Skype as it eats up to 100% resources on some computers, and Skype has shown no inclination to fix the known problem.

Along comes a competitor…. Jajah. Check it out at I believe their prices for their calls to landline and cellphones is cheaper than Skype and the program works like a dream. It is also compatible with the Skype network, so you miss nothing.

All my clients have it now :)



August 9, 2005 4:52 AM

i haven’t installed an FTP app for years. For PC, Explorer will do just fine as will Konqueror will on linux and apparently OSX will FTP through Finder or Safari. Enter your ftp address into the address bar and see what happens.

Scott Motte

September 4, 2005 12:53 AM

I would now recommend voip buster instead of skype. It is much cheaper – even ridiculous cheap.

All it is missing is peer to peer calls, but that is on its way.

Check it out –

Zaur Nagiev

October 19, 2005 5:19 PM

I’m freelance web designer as well, and it was very interesting for me read this article, I expect to see more articles about freelance from you. Thank you.

Sorry, comments are closed.

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