More Than Five Top, Free Tools for Web Developers

by Ostatic Staff - May. 05, 2008

More and more, open source projects are either integrating with the web or are developed entirely for on-demand use. This requires strong web development skills--or at least good enough tools to rescue you if any of your web development skills are weak. The good news is that there are many free open source tools to help you with your web project, and given the costs of web development environments and the like, they can save you a lot of money. Here are more than five good examples.

Most web development environments cater especially to developers who favor certain languages and environments. Kompozer, seen at left, is a huge favorite with developers who are into CSS (cascading style sheets). Kompozer's rendering engine uses Gecko, the same layout engine in Mozilla's Firefox. It stands out for its very easy-to-use CSS editor, and strong WYSIWYG features. You also don't have to be very experienced with HTML or other web development langauges to use Kompozer. Windows, Mac and Linux users can get going with it.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization--you're probably very familiar with it, but there are many new, free tools to help you bring traffic to your web site that you may not know about. I'm a big fan of the list of 10 of these from Not Your Average Geeks. You'll find free, graphical tools from Google, Yahoo, and MSN, among others.

Piwik, at left, is open source web analytics software, and I've written once before about it--highly recommended. When it comes to doing web analytics, it's beneficial to get as many views of your data as possible, so you can use Piwik in conjunction with a tool like Google Analytics or on its own.

Piwik's features are built inside plug-ins, and a community of developers contributes interesting plug-ins. It also has a very customizable interface where you can drag and drop the types of widgets you would like to keep an eye on regarding site metrics.

Quanta Plus is a very rich, open source web development environment, especially popular with those who concentrate on PHP for building sites and applications. It's based on KDE, so it appeals to those in the Linux community most. It does a good job of letting you work with multiple pages at once, and has very complete PHP debugging.

I'm always surprised by how few people doing advertising-driven things on the web don't know about OpenX, a free, open source ad server that serves more than 30,000 customers. OpenX recently secured $15.5 million in second round funding, and stands out for its flexibility. You can use it as a hosted service or you can download it if you want to run it on your own servers, keeping your ad revenue and information in-house. OpenX is ideal for small- to medium-size publishers who may not meet the hefty thresholds for traffic that can be required for big ad revenue dollars through other ad servers.

With OpenX you can deliver ads from multiple advertisers and ad networks, give high priority to higher value ad campaigns, increase overall click-through rates by limiting how often visitors see a campaign, and integrate the service with most popular existing databases.

Finally, many web-based projects are now including video. There are also a lot of good open source tools for creating, editing and working with it. Check out my list of favorites and the many excellent, free tools cited in the reader comments. I happen to work with web-based video intensively, and I was surprised by what the readers came up with there in the comments, including the incredible MediaCoder, and MPEG Streamclip.

Do you know of any good open source tools for web development and growing traffic?