The Best Free Web Design and Development Software for Webmasters

HTML Editors
HTML editors come in many shapes and form. Some of simple and have only a few features, while others are complex and have many advanced features. All web designers and developers need a good HTML editor to help them create and update Web pages. Here are some of the top free HTML editors for web designers and developers.

Komodo Edit – A free open-source code editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. You can use it for PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Perl, Tcl, XML, HTML, and CSS. Features include: syntax coloring, IME support, background syntax checking, code formatting, and smart auto-indenting.

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor – A full-featured HTML editor with real-time preview and wizards for tables, frames, fonts, forms, lists, and more. Features include: HTML tag highlighting, spell checker and thesaurus, unlimited Undo, built-in FTP client, image and link insertion tools, split-screen preview, and free Web graphics.

Aptana Studio – The world’s leading IDE (integrated development environment) for building Web apps. This can be used as a standalone tool or as a plugin for Eclipse tools. Features include: Code Assist for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, JavaScript debugging, JavaScript libraries, DOM outline view, file transfer and synchronization (FTP, SFTP, FTPS), and live preview.

HTML-Kit – A full-featured HTML editor with modern comforts and hundreds of plugins for customization. You can even edit a file in HTML-Kit and automatically preview it on your iPad. Features include: color themes, preview as you type, Windows 7 jump lists, quick upload, file versioning, translations, image picker, HTML list wizard, and profiles.

Image Editors
All web designers need some type of image editor at one time or another to edit images. Sometimes you may only need to resize an image or change the file type, while other times you may have to do more advanced things like remove a background or improve the overall quality. Many designers and developers opt to use Photoshop, which unfortunately is not free. If you don’t have the money to dish out for Photoshop, here are some of the top image editors that can help you out.

Lightbox – This is a light version of the paid program Sagelight and provides easy, powerful, and fast image editing. This program was written by scratch and has a unique look; it’s also portable and can be run from any portable drive. It’s best used as a way to quickly adjust and edit images since there aren’t many advanced features.

GIMP – The name stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and it’s a freely distributed software that is best used for photo retouching and image authoring. It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It includes a full suite of painting tools, the ability to have a virtually unlimited number of images open at once, layers and channels, foreground extraction tool, over 100 plugins, support for creating animations, and much more.

Photoscape – A fun and easy-to-use photo editor with advanced features that are great for fixing and enhancing photos. With Photoscape you can create slideshows, resize images, adjust colors and brightness, batch edit multiple photos, merge multiple photos, create animated GIF images, slice photos, create screen captures, change file types in batch mode, and much more. – A free image and photo editor for Windows only. It supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, plugins, and more. This program has been compared to Photoshop, Paint SHop Pro, and GIMP since it provides many of the same advanced features. also has a growing online community where you will find tutorials and can ask for help.

FTP Clients
Unless your web host includes an FTP client or a powerful file manager, you’ll need to find one on your own. FTP clients help you transfer files (images, videos, audio, documents) from your computer to your Web server so that you can use them on your website. If you use an HTML editor to create Web pages, you’ll also need an FTP client in order to get your pages live to your website. Here are some of the top FTP clients for transferring files.

FileZilla – This is an open-source program that can be downloaded as a client or server. If you’re only looking to transfer files, then the client will work. If you want to make files available for others, then you’ll need the server. FileZilla supports FTP, FTPS, and SFTP and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It includes a tabbed user interface, drag-and-drop support, and remote file editing.

Cyberduck – With this software you can connect to FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and various cloud storage programs (like Amazon S3 and Google Docs). It works on Windows and Mac operating systems and includes an integrated file editor. Cyberduck supports drag-and-drop, synchronization with remote directories, and Growl (for notifications).

SmartFTP – An FTP, FTPS, SFTP, SSH, and terminal client that includes many basic and advanced features. You can use it to upload files to your Web server and also to share files with your friends and coworkers. If you’re looking for more features, you can upgrade to the Professional or Ultimate Editions. Features include: modern GUI, file and folder synchronization, drag-and-drop support, remote editing, and more.

CoffeeCup Free FTP – If you’re looking for a simple and reliable tool for transferring files, checkout CoffeeCup’s free FTP client. You can set up multiple server profiles, connect to your server with a single click, drag-and-drop files, view all your activity in a separate pane, save your place with bookmarks, and more. If you’re looking for advanced features, you can purchase the full version.

What free tools do you use? Which are your favorites?