Tag Archives: Web Tools

Essential Free PHP Web Development Tools

As a PHP web developer I’ve tried many different tools to aid my work. There are many tools out there to try and I encourage you to do so, but I have complied a list of what consider essential to make your job as easy as possible. If anyone has any useful tools/sites I haven’t listed let me know.


xampp - A cross platform web server including PHP and MySQL along with other tools such as Perl. Easily installs on a Windows machine (though it is cross platform), I recommend the lite version and install it on USB pen for portability.

phpMyAdmin - A web based tool for administrating MySQL databases, makes setting them up easy. The new version even includes a query builder. This is included with xampp just go to  http://localhost/phpmyadmin.

Zend Framework – A open source object oriented PHP5 framework. Contains easy to use classes to create a modern web app. Has support for many web services such as flickr and Google.

phpclasses – This a web site with a massive database of PHP classes. Always look her first as its probably already been done to a high standard.

Web browsers

FireFox 3.0 - An open source web broswer that supports loads of useful plugins for web developers. Not to mention generally how much better it is then any other.

Web Developer – One of the best FireFox plugins ever made. Contains a massive array of tools to help you develop your web site. From window resizing to editing CSS on the fly. Just try it!

IE Tab (Windows only) - A plugin for FireFox that allows you easily to switch your browser window to the Explorer rendering engine. As this is the most widely used browser you have to check your app works in it.

Multiple IE (Windows XP only) – A great little download that gives you old Internet Explorers (6.0, 5.5, 5, 4, 3) to try your site in. If you like me and upgraded to IE7, how do you check your site in IE6, many people still use it. Pity it doesn’t work on Vista.

Safari - Some people use this as a web browser, I guess now its available on windows you could check your site works in it

Text Editors

notepad++ – A free cross platform text editor with useful add-ons such as code highlighting for every language imaginable.

Other web tools

X Ray - Just add it to your bookmarks and you ready to go, click it, it loads then you can click any element on a page and it will show you the ‘CSS box model’. Very useful when your having pixel problems.

Browser Shots - Check you new web site in every browser known to man on any platform in one go. Warning: it doesn’t always return everything you ask for and it can take a while.

FireFtp – A FireFox plugin, a simple and realiable FTP program, can manage multiple accounts.

JavaScript & Ajax

Firebug – A plugin for FireFox, before this you would go mad debugging your JavaScript with nothing to go on. This provides full details on all errors and detailed information on Ajax requests. I also use it to be nosey on other web sites to see how they work.

JQuery - A fast lightweight JavaScript framework. Makes Ajax and HTML manlipation very easy for a modern 2.0 app.

Interface for jQuery – An additional set of jQuery plugins that provide a mass of additioal functionality for jQuery.

UI for jQuery – More plugins for jQuery that provide more for jQuery. I believe that interface and UI are being merged.

Visual jQuery – The doucmentation for jQuery can be a little rubbish, this web site lays it out in a simple format to effectivly use it.

Firefox 3 – The best bits

Firefox logoThe latest version of Mozilla Firefox is due to be released later early next week on the 17th June 2008. I’ve been participating in the pre-release testing and cant say enough good points about it. If it wasn’t for incompatibility for certain addons I use (namely firebug) I would of switched to it weeks ago. Now RC3 has been released compatibility for popular addons such as foxmarks and firebug are now available.

So why should I bother downloading (7 Mb) and installing FF3?

As you’ve all probably already read on the web site FF3 has major security, performance, improved password management, anti virus integration & a download manager just to name a few.

What interest me is features that ultimately change the way we surf the web and interact with our web browser. FF3 takes two classic old web browsing features; bookmarks (favourites) and history and gives them a new lease of life. If you like me i’ve really used the history because its always been pretty inaccessible to search. I use bookmarks but can never find anything in them and normally just re-search it on Google.

FF3 provides loads of new tools and features to sort, search and tag bookmarks. The best feature is what they call ‘Location bar & auto-complete’. This is a Google suggest inspired search tool that help you to quickly locate that missing bookmark or that pages you know you were once on.


As you can see its clear and indicates if its a current bookmark or not by the star on the right. It has a sort of Facebook search look about it that highlights the matched letter(s) in bold.

There are massive improvements that make upgrading more then worth you while. Firefox RC3.