Those of you that regularly read our blog may remember a post last year regarding high priced software called 13 Crazy Expensive Software Products. We put together a list that went over the most ridiculously priced software products all the way from an array of font collections to massive game engines. Now, we figured we could give you a list of a few types of software that are a little more useful, and maybe more in your price range.
Free software, or freeware, is an amenity. Nobody wants to have to pay that full price tag of a product anymore. Luckily, today, there is almost always an alternative to costly software. Here we’ll tell you what our developers think are the most useful and valuable free software out there.
Held by many as the top text editor, Notepad++ is a great tool for Windows developers. Notepad++ has won several awards as being the best developer tool for a handful of years. It has endless useful features and plugins. Alongside that, being a smaller program, Notepad++ puts less strain on your CPU in comparison to Notepad.
One necessary tool for every developer is a debugger. Most agree that the champion of the web and HTTP debugging tools is Fiddler. It acts as a proxy that lets you examine all the steps of the request/response cycle. Along with debugging, Fiddler allows you to do performance tests, manipulate and edit web sessions, and security test your web applications.
Microsoft Sysinternals, also known as Winternals, gives the developer what they need to maintain a Windows environment. Provided are the tools to manage, troubleshoot, and diagnose your Windows systems and applications. These free utilities are always being actively developed by their creators, making this a useful piece of software that is always up to date.
As another free integrated development environment, Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition provides a great platform to develop that program or app that you’ve always wanted to. This edition gives you the power to develop cross-platform solutions all under one roof. Visual Studio 2013 is a great competitor to Eclipse and it may be more appropriate – depending on what you need.
There’s a lot of text editors available to download for free and everyone has their personal preference. If you are looking for an editor that is “meant for the 21st century”, then Atom is for you. Full featured right out of the box, Atom is ready to go immediately after you finish downloading – no need to configure it yourself. You know this is a formidable piece of software because it was developed by the devs of GitHub themselves.
Used by big websites like Microsoft, LinkedIn, and PayPal, Node.js is a very popular platform. Its main use is to build server-side and networking applications that are scalable. This platform is ideal for applications that are exceedingly data-intensive and can run across multiple devices. What separates it from others is its ability to solve the I/O scaling problem.
“I’m a tools enabler, I’m a global silent application installer. I configure stuff. Some people want to call me apt-get for Windows, I just want to get #chocolatey!” – GitHub Wiki
Chocolately is a package manager used as a silent installer for Windows applications and tools. This software will make installing other software automated, so you can go off and do something productive rather than installing manually.
Note taking is made a thousand times easier with Evernote. In Evernote, a “note” can be anything from a portion of text to a voice memo. What makes this application great is its ability to be used on multiple devices, making it a cross-platform app. You can write a note on your phone and then come home to your computer and have it be there, ready to use.
Pandoc will fill your need for a document converter. Said to be the “Swiss-army knife” of converters, Pandoc can convert documents in markdown, DocBook, HTML, and many more. This tool is an open source software, like most other freeware, allowing anyone to help improve it. This document converter is mostly used as a basis for publishing workflows and also as a writing tool.
If what you’re looking for is a free text editor solely for Mac OS X, then TextWrangler is what you need. It includes all the features of a common programming text editor, minus some formatting and style options. As the “little brother” to BBEdit, TextWrangler was originally a commercial product, but then made free after its 2.0 update.
LINQPad is a much more specifically targeting piece of software. It is focused on Microsoft .NET development. With it, you can interactively query databases in a more modern query language. Using this tool will eliminate the need to use SQL Management Studio. This software is self-updating and as a bonus, LINQPad is under 5MB so it doesn’t bog down your computer’s speed whatsoever.
Here are some more freeware picks that we use – a little less related to developing!
TeamViewer is probably one of the niftiest types of free software. One of the main functions of this program is computer support. It lets you share your desktop with another individual, giving that other person control of your computer. This opens up opportunities like technical support without a technician even coming to your residence. It’s also simply amusing (and a bit scary) to watch the total loss of control on your own computer.
If you’ve never heard of it, Avast is a free antivirus software for just about all platforms. There’s no reason to pay the $99.99 price tag for other antivirus software. Keeping your computer clean does not have to cost you anything. Most tech websites agree that Avast is a worthy competitor, if not the best antivirus software on the web.
Since Adobe has decided to make their creative software more expensive in the long run, some people must find alternatives. There are many graphic editor programs that you can find online, but if you want to design your own art free of charge, then Inkscape is the way to go. As an open source software program, it is always being improved and maintained. If you’ve used Illustrator before, the controls really aren’t that much different, making the transition from one to the other not too difficult.
Since we gave you an alternative to Illustrator, it seems then that we are obligated to mention a Photoshop substitute. GIMP perfectly fits the needs of the artist who doesn’t have the funds for that monthly charge. Though it doesn’t contain every little feature a full priced image editor like Photoshop does, it will still satisfy the needs of your project. One advantage GIMP does have is its cross-platform abilities. It can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux. For Photoshop, Linux is not in the picture. Overall, GIMP is the perfect tool for the person that doesn’t feel like forking over a hefty price for this type of software.
Want more? Check out these other freeware lists!