Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Tools . . .

I am sure that each of you has your own personal favourite for the categories I mention below. These are mine, and most of them are FREEWARE!

Text Editors

A good text editor is absolutely essential when you're working with the web. Word-processing packages just don't cut it. Honest! I have two in this category. Both are FREE. I use the first one constantly (disclaimer: I use the Pro version), perhaps because I discovered it first. If the first programme can be considered a superb replacement for Notepad, the second is "Notepad on steroids". However, I doubt that many 'first-timers' will want to use the second because of its apparent complexity!

  • EditPad Lite: This is a general-purpose text editor, designed to be small and compact, yet offer all the functionality you expect from a basic text editor. EditPad Lite works with Windows NT4, 98, 2000, ME, XP and Vista. If you are a Notepad user you will wonder how you managed to get things done before you discovered EditPad.
  • ConTEXT: This is a small, fast and powerful freeware text editor, developed mainly to serve as a secondary tool for software developers. The designer says that, after years and years of searching for a suitable Windows text editor, he was unable to find one that completely satisfied his needs, so he wrote his own. I suspect that this little beauty won't remain 'freeware' for much longer, so grab a copy while you can. You may start to use it some time in the future!

FTP Clients

My own personal favourite is WS_FTP Pro, a paid-for tool, that forces me to exclude the link here. The ones I have included are 'freeware' clients, but I have only used the first one and find it a superb tool for the job. I have not actually tried the others although they continue to get rave reviews (for freeware) in the computer press!

  • FileZilla: FileZilla is a free, open source FTP client for Windows. It supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS). The main features are the site manager, message log, file and folder view, and the transfer queue. The site manager allows a user to create a list of FTP sites along with their connection data, such as the port number to use, the protocol to use, and whether to use anonymous or normal logon. For normal logon, the username is saved and optionally the password. The message log is displayed along the top of the window. It displays the console-type output showing the commands sent by FileZilla and the remote server's responses. The file and folder view, displayed under the message log, provides a graphical interface for FTP. Users can navigate folders and view and alter their contents on both the local and remote machines using an Explorer-style tree interface. Users can drag and drop files between the local and remote computers. The transfer queue, displayed along the bottom of the window, shows the real-time status of each queued or active file transfer.
  • AceFTP: 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.
  • FTP Commander: Simple and easy to use. It's really the bare minimum with no extra frills or thrills. It offers a no-nonsense interface consisting of two side-by-side local computer and FTP server panels. It's easy as pie to establish a connection. Pre-configuring a list of most frequently accessed servers will make your life easy. All you have to do is select the server you want on the list and push the Connect button. This FTP program occupies far less space on hard drives and RAM than other similar paid programs. It also allows you to delete, rename and and copy files, create and delete directories in the FTP server and work in command line mode. The program is absolutely free and does not contain any annoying ad banners.
  • SmartFTP: A solid freeware FTP client, SmartFTP offers loads of handy features, including a Windows Explorer-like interface, drag & drop support and resumption of broken transfers. Free for personal, as well as educational and non-profit usage. Unfortunately you also get a nag screen asking you to buy the product, but it is not crippled in any way.

Graphics Manipulators

This is a difficult one. Simply put, you get what you pay for! There aren't many 'freeware' programmes in this category, unless you count 'Paint', Microsoft's bundled graphics programme which is almost as good as useless. I use a combination of Adobe Photoshop (that's an OUCH! in the $$$'s department) and Xara Xtreme (much more affordable - and it can do things you never dreamed of!), but when it comes to 'bang-for-buck' the FREE IrfanView takes a bit of beating. Hunt around and you can get many plug-ins for this 'viewer' that will allow you to 'manipulate' your photographs. And did I mention it is FREE?

  • Irfanview: IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative (FREEWARE - for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista. It tries to simplify things for beginners, and yet it can be a powerful tool for professionals. IrfanView tries to create new or interesting features in its own way, unlike some other graphic viewers. IrfanView was the first Windows graphic viewer WORLDWIDE with Multiple (animated) GIF support, one of the first graphic viewers WORLDWIDE with Multipage TIF support, and the first graphic viewer WORLDWIDE with Multiple ICO support. Some of the feature set for IrfanView are: Extensive list of supported file formats Multi language support Thumbnail/preview option Toolbar skins option Slideshow (save slideshow as EXE/SCR or burn it to CD) Show EXIF/IPTC/Comment text in Slideshow/Fullscreen etc. Support for Adobe Photoshop Filters Fast directory view (moving through directory) Batch conversion (with image processing) Multipage TIF editing File search Email option Multimedia player Print option Change color depth Scan (batch scan) support Cut/crop IPTC editing Effects (Sharpen, Blur, Adobe 8BF, Filter Factory, Filters Unlimited, etc.) Capturing Extract icons from EXE/DLL/ICLs Lossless JPG rotation Many hotkeys Many command line options Many PlugIns Only one EXE-File, no DLLs, no Shareware messages like "I Agree" or "Evaluation expired" No registry changes without user action/permission! and much much more.

Those are just a few to be getting on with. What are you waiting for?

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1 comment:

Ron Starc said...

Try FTP Manager Lite. It is an excellent free FTP and SFTP client software. The clean interface is super easy to use. It will perform your files transfers quickly and efficiently. One of the best freeware FTP clients that also supports FXP.