Must Have Software

Like a swiss army knife, every developer has a set of many tools to help get whatever job he has, done. I have multiple computers I do random development on, but all of them have these same tools which make my life so much easier.


My browser of choice? Chrome. Chrome has two things which appeal to me so much I switched from Firefox.

  • Multiprocess Architecture
  • Simplicity in Design

These of course are not the only reasons, but the ones which were most appealing to me. ‘s multiprocess architecture is great for a developer who sometimes has to work on web applications. If there is something wrong with the page, it will most likely not crash the whole browser, such as experienced with Firefox and Internet Explorer. The built in developer tools are also a great addition, and include more functionality compared to the other browsers. Finally the simplicity of the design increases real estate of the pages, improving the web experience not having to spend half your life scrolling.


Thunderbird is my email client of choice. At first Thunderbird appealed to me due to being free. After having to use Outlook at the office, I grew much more fond of the client bringing me tabbed email, full customization, and speed which is unmatched. If you are used to the Outlook, that might still be the best option for you, but Thunderbird has been producing a great alternative and is worth a try.


Probably the most popular and my favorite for FTP, Filezilla. The open source community continually updates the ftp client making great improvements almost every week. My favorite feature, the ability to load different connections in different tabs, which make file organization incredibly easy.

PDF Reader

I currently use foxit reader. This light weight tool makes quick and easy to view a pdf file versus having to wait for random updates three times a week and have a tool which contains way to much bloat.

Photo Editing

With the price of the Photoshop Suite rising and rising, it is impossible now days for a personal home user to obtain the extraordinarily photo manipulation tool. However a great free replacement has been out for a while doing a great job making up the increasing prices, Gimp. Gimp is available for Linux, Windows, and Macs, making it a great alternative.


Like any software engineer, some days I want peace and quite while developing an application, while other days I want to be able to listen to music or watch a movie in the background. Some tools I currently use are :

ITunes for myself still tops the list in music and general media management. Some other popular favorites which are also great at music management include Winamp and MediaMonkey, however doesn’t quite have the IPod and IPhone support which comes with Itunes.

VLC Media Player is what I currently use for watching movies and basic streaming. This open source software contains the ability to both watch most of your movies with its wealth of codecs, or stream audio and video over a network to create a dynamic jukebox.

XBMC, which stands for Xbox Media Center, is a great tool to do what the other two cant do. I currently have a media server PC set up and stream movies and music to any of my ‘s or a Xbox which is converted over to use this software. If you are looking for a cheap media center, this is the route to go. The cost is free, however the quality of work is outstanding.

Text Editor

Notepad++ is what I currently use to do all of my quick html editing and all my PHP scripting. The Notepadd++ has an active community making many improvements all the time. It includes syntax highlighting and multi tab support which makes working on websites very easy.

File Archives

I used to be a big fan of WinRar, which would be great at accessing archives and navigating through different types. However I started using  7-Zip because it not only was great at navigating archives, it integrated into the windows context menu for archive files, making it really easy and quick for both the beginner and advanced user.

Office Applications

I will always be a fan of Microsoft Office because it is pretty much the standard today when handling documents. However on the computers in which I do not have Micrsoft Office, I have Open Office. This great tool is free and includes pretty much everything that is included in Microsoft Word. You can even save in the the Microsoft Office format if you have a certain client or friend who needs it that way.

Chat Tool

Instant messaging has been a hit ever since AIM came out in the 90’s. However the AOL Instant Messenger is not the top messaging tool any more. Due to the increase in the amount of different chat clients and protocols, there has been a need to roll all of them into one convenient chat client. Pidgin does a great job rolling pretty much everything you need into one client. If its not there rest assured its being developed by the many developers due to its open source platform.


Probably the most important section to most people, the security software that everybody should have. I have usually one piece of software for each function so that all the pieces will fit together nicely, and when linked together, give a powerful set of software.

Anti-Spyware :

Firewall :



IP Blocker:

Disk Fragmentation

Auslogics Disk Defrag is probably the best tool for the job. Not only does it do a quick but great job of defragmenting your hard drive, it can even do it while your system is idle. When running the software, you can even see very quickly even if a fragmentation is needed, saving time from doing maintenance.

Please note that companies included in these posts have copyrights and trademarks, and do not allow the duplication of their logos or software. Views reflected in this post are my own and not of my company or any companies included in this post.

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