When starting out on your programming and design career, you need to get a reliable set of tools that you can use for years to come. How can you do that without spending a fortune? It’s easy — look for alternative software.
There are lots of alternative software programs available, but some of them are just so bad they make people think that free software is just a gimmick. The truth is, you just need to look for reliable sources that other programmers use. Professional software and web developers use alternative software all the time because it saves them money and some of the free software has surpassed its costly counterparts.
First off, you will want an all around program to manage everything in one place. Like Microsoft Word is to a writer, you need a basic but specialized program. You need an “Integrated Development Environment” or an IDE. Microsoft Visual Studio is the most popular choice, but it can be a little pricey for new developers. An alternative program is NetBeans. NetBeans is a full IDE, supporting application design and programming for the web, mobiles and computer software. It’s a free software download and has grown in popularity rapidly. It uses Java, PHP, C, C++, Groovy and Ruby.
Another popular IDE is Microsoft Visual Studio Express. It’s simply a lighter version of Microsoft Visual Studio without all the bells and whistles. It may not be as fancy, but it does the job. It includes Visual Basic, Visual C# and Visual C++.
Last but not least is KompoZer. KompoZer helps people with less knowledge of coding, working almost exclusively with the visual half of web design. It has a similar feel to Front Page and includes FTP, a CSS editor and even a color picker. If you just want to do design, this is the program of choice because it’s professional and easy to learn.