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Web Developer Economics: One Off Software Costs

Published by Chris Coyier

We kicked this little series off talking about monthly service costs, then started a poll about earnings, now let's keep it going and talk about software again. This time, software that you only buy once. Maybe it has paid upgrades once in a while, but those are optional (e.g. Adobe Creative Suite).

Below I'm going to list my set of one-off software. I'll list the name, why/how I use it, and free or cheaper alternatives if I know of any. This is only paid software, not free software. I'll be listing Mac software because that's what I use and know, but don't feel excluded if you use a different operating system, that's just as relevant and please share that in the comments.

The point of this is to paint a picture of the financial ins and outs of being a web developer today. I think we'll follow this up with one more post about hardware costs, then a wrapup post putting all the numbers together and see what we see.

Sublime Text 2 ($59)

You must have a code editor. This one is fantastic. With once licence you can use it on as many (of your) computers as you want, even cross operating systems. It's cheaper if you're buying for a large team.

Alternatives: TextMate is open source / Brackets is on the web

CodeKit ($25-$35)

I work with preprocessors, and CodeKit handles all the compiling of those languages for me. It also does code hinting, concatenation, style injection, and image compression - making it a pretty damn valuable tool.

Alternatives: One off tools like Image Optim (for image compression) / SoFresh bookmarklet (for style injection) / Just using the preprocessors through the command line

Tower ($59)

I work with Git but not always on GitHub. Just like with preprocessors, I could work with Git through the command line. I find using an app more comfortable (simple button clicks), more useful (nice views for difs), and more efficient (switching between projects and branches trivially easy).

Alternatives: GitHub for Mac (or Windows) if you use all GitHub repos / command line

Coda ($75)

I don't use (and very much discourage) going FTP commando with code editing, but having an FTP client is pretty vital. Perhaps you need to edit some files you intentionally keep out of version control. Those times, I think having the built-in editor is super convenient to have.

Alternatives: Transmit is half the price, but no editor / CyberDuck is free for Mac and Windows.

Creative Suite (Design Standard, $1,299)

I still heavily use Photoshop and Illustrator in design work. Sometimes InDesign as well when I do occasional print work. A very practical choice for those big three is Design Standard which comes with those and a few others you probably won't use.

Alternatives: Acorn / Sketch / Gimp

MAMP Pro ($59)

The first M in MAMP stands for "Mac", but there is also a (W)indows and (L)inux versions of this as well. The other letters are (A)pache, (M)ySQL, and (P)HP. This bundles them all together giving you the dependancies you need to work on websites locally. Well, websites with these exact dependencies anyway, which include pretty much every single popular CMS. The Pro version adds the ability to create new local domain names easily.

Alternatives: MAMP Regular / These are all open source things, so learn to install and manage them yourself.

1Password ($49.99)

Stores and helps me input all my web passwords. Syncs across all browsers and devices. The amount of browser-hopping I do makes this extremely valuable.

Alternatives: LastPass / a piece of paper taped to your wall

Things ($49.99)

To-do list that syncs.

Alternatives: There are 10 billion to-do apps, you won't have trouble finding them. My calendar, email client, and operating system all have to-do list functionality.

ScreenFlow ($99)

This is for recording, editing, and exporting screencasts. Not all developers need this, but this is my wildcard. I think all developers have some apps that are very specific to something they do that isn't super common across all developers.

Alternatives: Record your screen with QuickTime Player


Service Cost
Sublime Text 2 $59.00
CodeKit $30.00
Tower $59.00
Coda $75.00
Creative Suite $1,299.00
MAMP Pro $59.00
1Password $49.99
Things $49.99
ScreenFlow $99.00
Total $1,779.98

This represents what I would consider to be a really premium set of software tools. As in, for love or money, it doesn't get much better.


It will be interesting to hear what one-off software costs you've incurred. Is it much different than mine? If you're a Linux or Windows user, how different is it? Has anyone spend substantially more or substantially less?


  1. Barry Walsh
    Permalink to comment#

    Do you buy a copy of creative suite every month or is that table a bit off?

    • This article is about one-off costs, not monthly costs. There is a post about monthly costs from a week or so ago.

      You can (as you might know) pay for Creative Suite as a monthly fee, but I’ve never done that, I’ve always purchased it outright.

    • Jeremy T
      Permalink to comment#

      Yes, but the header for the costs in your table at the end still says “Monthly Cost”

    • Christopher Siegel
      Permalink to comment#

      I guess Barry wanted to say that the table above is labeled “Monthly Costs” which would be wrong considering that all the Software is “one-time pay”. The “Service” label is sort of wrong too, should be something like “Tools” or “Software”. I guess you copied that table from the article with the services you use monthly ;-)

    • The “Monthly Cost” label is a little misleading. As written in the intro of the article:

      “…now let’s keep it going and talk about software again. This time, software that you only buy once. Maybe it has paid upgrades once in a while, but those are optional.”

      It would probably more accurate if the table just said “Cost”.

    • “This time, software that you only buy once. ”

  2. David Dias
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Google task to manage my to-list and can synchronise with GoTasks app (free) in my Iphone and Ipad ! It’s very useful and totally free ! ;-)

    • I’m going to look into this. I’m currently using a GTD system through Evernote, but I’m always looking for the easiest way to keep track of everything.

  3. Barry Walsh
    Permalink to comment#

    Cool, the table header says monthly cost :) The comment preview is cool btw.

    Wunderkit is to do list app of choice, syncs across everything and has a nice web version too.

    Source Tree is a nice free alternative to Tower. I gave tower a go after watching your screencast and found that Source Tree does just as good of a job.

    CodeKit is great, I played around with some of the alternative but none of them are nearly as good as it.

  4. Permalink to comment#

    (We) Windows users need CodeKit so desperately. any alternative falls way short

    • Permalink to comment#

      Seconded. I can’t wrap my head around command lines, so for compiling SASS I use the [free] app “Scout” ( It’s easy as in you just click the “play” button to poll for changes to your .scss, but it’s not exactly pretty.

    • Permalink to comment#

      I have used Scout and the and I prefer the latest. Less intrusive, less memory use and I have more control over the configuration of the project.

      But Scout reduces the time on the command line that´s for sure.

    • Todd
      Permalink to comment#

      I use less and find that WinLess is okay. I only use it for basic reasons (compling less to stanrads CSS). I have never used Codekit but have seen it being used in tutorials. It looks so much better. I nearly bought a Mac the other day simply for Codekit

    • Chao
      Permalink to comment#

      For LESS users SimpLESS is great, it’s free, monitors your LESS files automatically and has minification built in.

  5. Hi,
    a great free alternative to Tower could be SourceTree . I started using a few days ago and it’s nice.

    • Permalink to comment#

      Came here to post this. Have used both sourcetree and tower (though only demoed tower) a d couldn’t find any glaring differences other than one (sourcetree) is free

  6. forgetfulvet
    Permalink to comment#

    That is it for software, Chris, but I was wondering what hardware do you use? Is it the MacBookPro or something similar? Why not dev on a Windows machine?

  7. Chris, you have inspired me to do a post about task management software for web developers/designers. At Houndstooth we use Trello for the team but personally I use Wunderlist, but I have tried a crap load of others. There are so many and only a few have features that make them actually stand out, for instance Things has the quick note keyboard shortcut that I love. Nice post. Is there a reason you don’t use Coda’s code editor since you’re already using it for other things? What’s the benefit of ST?

    • forgetfulvet
      Permalink to comment#

      Sublime Text 2 is really phenomenal.. Almost as good as a IDE, and with easy to add in add-ons, it is that much better.

    • Permalink to comment#

      Multiple selection is cool enough to sell me on Sublime, though there are tons of other useful features.

      Cmd + click somewhere else
      Be amazed

    • Coda actually does multi-line editing and has a simple version control GUI built in too. Coda is my multi-purpose app of choice for development, FTP and basic version control. I do open up Source Tree from time to time when more difficult merges and conflicts arise, but that’s rare. The thing that really sold me on Coda was the ability to live-preview sites running through MAMP Pro. Most other IDEs will only preview server-side code. Plus, it runs on WebKit!

  8. Brian Oley
    Permalink to comment#

    SourceTree is a fantastic free alternative to Git Tower. While the UI is a bit more cluttered, I find it much more powerful.

  9. Dominic
    Permalink to comment#

    How about:
    TODO-List: Wunderlist, free and available on Mac/Windows and Smartphones
    Editor: Visual Studio Express, free (only Windows), supports CSS3, HTML5, jQuery with help and syntax completion. Includes a development web server (but no PHP, maybe with an extension).
    FTP: FileZilla, free, can edit remote files using your favorite editor

  10. So you recommend both Sublime Text and Coda? Which one do you actually use though? I’ve been a fan of Coda since the beginning, dallied for a while with Espresso (got it as part of a bundle), but jumped back onto Coda with the excellent version 2.

    I keep reading about how great Sublime Text is, but I don’t know if I can justify buying it when I already own Coda—I feel like I’d end up buying a text editor I didn’t use.

  11. Permalink to comment#

    Would like to mention BBEdit as a code editor. Have used it forever, tried switching. Bah! hard to do, muscle memory and all. Sublime Text 2 looks great.

    I like Tower exactly for the reasons you outline, but have you found it slow?

    A couple tools to add:

    ColorSchemer Studio – allows you to pick up the color from any area of your screen and get the hex or RGB values, plus mix related colors. Maybe a color picker on steroids, but I keep going back to it.

    MacRabbit Espresso – mostly for real time preview when editing CSS – I used to use CSSEdit which MacRabbit folded into the current version of Espresso. I think I am switching to CodeKit due to support of SASS, Coffeescript, etc.

    Cheers from Texas, K

    • There are not many of us BBEdit users it seems. I’ve used it for years. I’ve tried just about every editor out there but I keep coming back. It may not have the prettiest UI, but man is it a workhorse! v10 was a nice upgrade.

    • Melanie
      Permalink to comment#

      Another long-time BBEdit user here. I even bought TextMate, but it was similar enough to BBEdit I never felt the need to switch. I do love the Sublime Text interface, though.

      I find browser extensions or utility Web sites are taking over what software used to do for front-end development. I might be able to limp along without SmartGit (Mac), but not without Chrome Inspector, Firebug, or JSLint.

    • Permalink to comment#

      Alright, I think actually I know I am switching to Sublime Text 2. What convinced me is this tutorial on Tuts + Premium:

      Perfect Workflow in Sublime Text

  12. Permalink to comment#

    brilliant read thanks,

    I personally use Dreamweaver and got the package along with photoshop and illustrator expensive but when you worth with them daily its well worth the investment – we jumped from CS3 to CS6 and will probably stay until CS9 comes out lol

    the paying monthly option was introduced with the latest version CS6 and is only worth considering if you upgrade with every new version or its cheaper not to (if you have the funds to pay for it outright)

    also just wanted to say loving the new site & the fact you post full posts to RSS feeds :)

    • Permalink to comment#

      Well it depends, when CS6 first came out if you had a license for Cs3 or newer you could get the monthly for $29/month which makes it cheaper than upgrading every second version so I hopped on that bandwagon. ;) I probably wouldn’t have done the more expensive price though.

  13. Art Lawry
    Permalink to comment#

    I’ll throw my 5 cents behind Evernote for to-do lists and other notes.

    Syncs across devices, more flexible than standard to-do lists, and remarkably free for lightweight use.

  14. You said in the Coda 2 section you don’t recommend going FTP commando…what does this mean exactly? Because I have a feeling I do exactly what you are discouraging and would like to understand why it’s not a good way of going about working on websites.

  15. Jesse
    Permalink to comment#

    For FTP I have been using a plugin for Sublime Text 2 called FTPSync.

    It installs easily using Sublime Package Control.

    FTPSync allows you to automatically upload a file upon save.

  16. Permalink to comment#

    You can use also Compass app itself: Or the they developed that combines powers of all languages (besides SASS) and manages your projects:

  17. Scott
    Permalink to comment#

    I know you mentioned Browserstack in your monthly cost article, but up until now I’ve always worked on a Mac with a Windows install (€whatever Windows costs these days) and VMware Fusion (€44.99) for quick ‘n’ dirty IE testing.

    • Permalink to comment#

      fyi VirtualBox does pretty much whatever Fusion can do with a price tag of $0. :)

    • Scott
      Permalink to comment#

      I’ve never found Virtualbox to have as good performance or stability as Fusion (or Parallels, for that matter). Maybe I’ve just been unlucky, and when the company IT department is picking up the tab anyways, I don’t mind the cost. ;)

  18. Great post. Here’s my druthers:

    Sublime Text 2 ($59) Must have? Strongly disagree: Must have: vim. Free; killer community, pluginapalooza for extensibility. Cross-platform + command line.

    CodeKit/Tower/Coda: iTerm or mintty + open source packages. The learning curve is well worth it.

    Code: lftp. lftp rocks that old and wish-it-would-already-go-extinct-dinosaur ftp.

    Creative Suite (Design Standard, $1,299) : Inkscape, GIMP. Adobe isn’t doing web standards any favors.

    MAMP Pro ($59) Love mamp, but really, just do it right: VirtualBox, free, running Ubuntu Server or CentOS free

    1Password ($49.99) LastPass: $1/month

    Things ($49.99) Web2Project is an open-source LAMP based project manager; free.

    ScreenFlow ($99) I use and love Camtasia; and it’s my only cash outlay. Worth it.

    • Permalink to comment#

      A few interesting options here but I can’t imagine they offer much of a productivity benefit to go along with cost effectiveness.

      vim is ok if you have mastered it but for most front ends who are not command line savvy getting to a point where they are used to using command line text editing is just not worth the effort.

      Same applies to iTerm, but, really i can do any version control easily enough through command line but I generally just use a GUI because it is faster and more efficient.

      No, adobe doesn’t do web standards many favours but in comparison to the open source tools there really is no competition. Gimp really does “gimp” you.

      Why is VirtualBox running an OS any more “right” than MAMP? both are virtualization tools. Personally I just use the built in Apache that OSX ships with and just install PHP and MySql on it. (which is just as free and saves having to run a virtual machine)

      LastPass is cool, but I prefer how I control where my 1password data is stored instead of syncing to LastPass’s own servers. Call me a little paranoid but passwords are a pretty sensitive thing.

      Web2Project is good, but a little more project management oriented, not really designed to be a simple todo list. That said, I use the new reminders app that comes with Mountain Lion for to do functionality now.

  19. Permalink to comment#

    How are you finding Tower these days? has it cleaned up nicely? I remember trying it about a year and a half ago and finding it unusably buggy so haven’t looked back. 99% of my work is done via SVN but for the occasional GIT project it is nice to not require command line.

    A couple other really great tools I use a ton:

    Xscope ($29) <- measuring tools that float above active windows. Unbelievably useful. Couldn't live without this one.
    LittleIpsum ($0) <- Easy access to a lorem ipsum generator, price is right!
    Kaleidoscope ($39) <- The best file comparison tool I have found.
    Transmit ($34) <- By far the best FTP app I have used. I love the automated syncing for backing up webfiles.
    Versions ($59) <- Fantastic SVN client
    Navicat MySql ($129) <- So much nicer than managing databases via command line or phpmyadmin

  20. Alex
    Permalink to comment#

    I use xScope every day. The color sampler is really nice. It serves up colors as hex (with or without #), RGB, NSColor, UIColor, etc. The onscreen measurement tools are very useful.

    TextExpander is outstanding for cross-app snippets. I have sample text at different lengths (for example, 140 characters). I also use it for managing color palettes (hex) across apps.

  21. Douglas III
    Permalink to comment#

    Chris – For all of us mac Geeks out there, we can not forget Textmate. :-)

  22. George Mauer
    Permalink to comment#

    $59 -Sublime Text (Previously I was paying for EditPadPro which is almost but not quite as nice)
    $39 – LINQPad (makes exploring databases sooo much nicer) which is also available in a perfectly useful free version
    Microsoft MSDN – I would get the Action Pack (several hundred dollars) if not for BizSpark (free)

  23. Permalink to comment#

    I don’t understand why you’re paying for a FTP client
    Filezilla is really not bad, and if you have to edit some file on-the-fly, it opens it on your default editor
    And is free ;)

  24. FYI, GitHub for Mac/Windows is also useful for non-GitHub repositories. (The post says, “Alternatives: GitHub for Mac (or Windows) if you use all GitHub repos / command line”).

    I use it for many repos that are not using GitHub. Some are just local repositories. Others are repositories that have non-GitHub remotes. This fact is documented here: GitHub for Mac Help under “Multiple Git remotes & non-GitHub remotes.

  25. Does using Coda “FTP commando” style have any advantages over Sublime Text + FTP clients (like Cyberduck) that let you edit files right on the server?

    • Permalink to comment#

      Nope same thing except coda uploads the file as soon as you press command-s so it is much quicker. I only use Sublime for local files.

  26. Permalink to comment#

    I’m pretty happy to say that I have an almost entirely free software stack (unless you include the OS.) My tools and config move easily between OSX and Linuxes, although most of my time is in OSX.

    Vim plus lots of plugins for html, css, whatever server-side language I’m on; iTerm2 for terminal (OSX), Github free plan for storing my config and open source projects, and I’m lucky enough to have a deploy system using Git so I don’t have to deal with FTP-based deployments. Chrome, Firefox, etc.

    The only thing that I’m still paying for is Photoshop.

  27. I go free, but still with awesome apps:

    TextMate 2 (open-source)
    Filezilla (open-source)
    GIMP (open-source) (used to before, I’ve been using Photoshop CS5 for a year)

    I have also used Coda 1 and 2, CodeKit, LiveReload, Sublime Text 2. However I have to stick with the free stuff now…

  28. Covarr
    Permalink to comment#

    For Windows, I highly recommend Notepad++ for code editing. For some reason, there aren’t as many lightweight competitors on Windows as there are on OS X, but there really don’t need to be, as Notepad++ is a great piece of software.

    Regarding MAMP/LAMP/WAMP: All great solutions, but if you are only doing layout and design, it may be overkill. One fantastic alternative on OSX is Anvil. It’s tough to explain exactly what it does, but essentially it runs a webserver on your machine and resolves .dev addresses to various folders on your computer. This can REALLY streamline the testing process, when you can navigate your browser to http://www.(whatever).dev instead of having to navigate to the file. You can have multiple .dev domains set up, for multiple sites/projects. It is powered by server, which doesn’t natively support PHP or MySQL (lightweight for those who don’t need ‘em), but there is a workaround to use Apache instead, so it really can be the best of both worlds.

    Regarding Adobe’s monthly subscription plan: Creative Cloud, at $50/month is a great deal if you don’t already have any Adobe products outright, and MAY be a great deal depending on what you have. It takes a good two years before you’ve spent as much as an outright purchase of CS Design Standard, and gives you a LOT more for it (basically Master Collection, some cloud features, and even a few exclusives). Factor in lifetime upgrades for as long as you subscribe, and it really holds its own (even if you don’t need Premiere or Audition)

    Another alternative is to get it on a month-by-month basis for $70 with no requirement to continue your subscription for an entire year. For folks who only do contract work as a side job rather than their main income source, this is a great option because you may be able to pass the cost onto whoever is paying you, and don’t have to pay in any month you don’t need it.

    I’m not a huge fan of GIMP, but on a budget crunch it can certainly get the job done. In recent years, many of Photoshop’s more useful features have been implemented in GIMP, albeit not always as well. Some of them require plugins. If you can’t afford Adobe’s prices, it’s definitely a viable alternative, but I’d strongly recommend investing in Photoshop if you can afford it.

    As for Inkscape? I can’t stand it. Though it may be about as powerful, I found the UI to be a huge obstacle; in many cases, they have reinvented the wheel and do things just as well, but completely differently. It was difficult for me to learn before I had ever touched Illustrator, and the differences in UI are so great that it’d probably be even tougher to make the transition between the two. Your milage may vary, some folk seem to love it, but I personally can’t recommend it.

  29. William Malo
    Permalink to comment#

    The only payed app I use is codekit, and it is worth every penny <3 I also use sublime, but I haven’t registered it. (I will soon though, the popups are annoying.

    I almost never use ftp, I try to host all my sites on github.

  30. forgetfulvet
    Permalink to comment#

    for server usage, instead of WAMP, I use WebMatrix. It is so nice and easy to use, it also has available tons of helpful plugins

  31. Bobby Jones
    Permalink to comment#

    Windows user here sooo…

    msysgit (free)

    Used for WYSIWYG Git version control needs.

    FileZilla (free)

    When I need a stand-alone FTP client

    KeePass (free)

    Good secure password storage and managment system.

    WampServer (free)

    Like MAMP but for windows.

    WordPad and Notepad (free)

    Basic text editor comes with windows good for viewing log files, htaccess files, etc…

    Camtasia Studio ($299)

    Good screen recording software for both PC and the Mac

    Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection ($1,299)

    Image editing, et al…


    h1>Microsoft Office Home and Business ($199)
    Not really web design specific but usefull non the less as I often get copy and or graphs to be posted onto a site in word or excel format, also use outlook for email.

  32. Zach
    Permalink to comment#

    A few apps that I like but are not necessary are:

    Fetch for FTP (I know Filezilla is free)
    RazorSQL(Makes going in and editing MySQL easy)
    Sparkbox(Manage my desgin inspiration images)
    DragonDrop (A better copy and paste)

  33. Nashville Geek
    Permalink to comment#

    SFTP ($16) is a great ftp package for Sublime Text 2. You can edit files on the server or locally. Install it via package control.

  34. Edvinas
    Permalink to comment#

    For FTP i use Sublime SFTP plugin. If you use Coda for FTPing, this probably more handy/cheaper way to do it :)

    Plugin homepage:

  35. Marco
    Permalink to comment#

    Ryan: Why you don’t use the php+apache that came with OSX?<br/>
    I use:<br/>
    -VirtualHostX to manage the virtual hosts.<br/>
    -Coda 2 or MacVim<br/>

  36. JC
    Permalink to comment#

    I’ve really tried to switch to Sublime text but I always keep going back to Komodo Edit – it’s really decent for free software. Komodo IDE looks very swish and has built in SASS/Less but costs $300 which I think is a little steep.

    The best alternative to CodeKit for Windows that I’ve found is (or which seems to do a good job. For image compression RIOT seems good (and free).

    Github for Windows can be used for other repo’s too – I use it with BitBucket.

    It’s probably worth considering using Adobe Creative Cloud – the monthly cost is pretty low and if you’re a freelancer then it’s nice to pay monthly for cashflow purposes.

  37. Marco
    Permalink to comment#

    s/Ryan/Chris Coyier

  38. BBEdit
    Creative Suite Standard

  39. Some great suggestions there, though I don’t see why you’d need two editors (Coda and Sublime Text 2). I switched to Sublime Text and never looked back.

    I love using MAMP for local development as well, even though it’s been a bit of a pain to set up at times. For task management I really recommend Asana, I use it at work and it’s really easy to use and powerful! And it’s free for up to about 10 users.

  40. Nick Williams
    Permalink to comment#

    Chris, you should consider checking out GruntJS for all your compilation, minification needs. Grunt is a JS-based build system. It has a vast amount of plugins for everything you’ve listed that CodeKit does, and many more beyond that.

    Grunt has a simple syntax and is really easy to whip up a build script customised exactly how you want. Then if you set up grunt as a build system in ST2, hit cmd+B and you can have everything run, so you can avoid the command line. Grunt even has a watch option so it’ll run your build script every time a file is updated!!

    Yeoman is a system built on top of Grunt, which adds project scaffolding and all sorts of extra plugins, live reload and a simple server.

    I’ve not dug deep into Yeoman yet, but Grunt is certainly part of my regular workflow, I absolutely love it.

  41. Permalink to comment#

    The paid apps I use in my personal projects are Sublime Text 2, a donated-to CyberDuck and XScope. For graphics I use Pixelmator and Illustrator. For learning/trying out code I really like CodeRunner, runs Python, C++, JS like a charm.

    At work I have the full CS, OmniGraffle Pro, Sublime Text 2 and Keynote.

  42. AbbatyKori
    Permalink to comment#

    I’m an intermediate front-end developer (time wise).
    I used DreamWeaver before I dumped it for Sublime 2.
    One question,
    Is there anyway I could use Sublime 2 with SASS?
    (I’m new to preprocessors + I use Windows)

  43. Chris
    Permalink to comment#

    What about all the Adobe products? That would add a few hundred more dollars!

  44. At this stage I’d argue moving Creative Suite to the “monthly” category. Not only is it cheaper, but it comes with money saving bundles like TypeKit which save in the long run as well.

  45. Jason
    Permalink to comment#

    Surprised no one mentioned codebox. It’s a code snippet management tool – where I can grab any piece of code I need and insert it anywhere in a few keyboard shortcuts.

    Plus, I save the library to drop box so I can get to it on whatever computer I’m on.

  46. pentago
    Permalink to comment#

    Did you just compared SublimeText with Brackets FFS?

  47. Madara Uchiha
    Permalink to comment#

    Not entirely related, about the comment preview, shouldn’t you use the input event to make it more responsive (As seen on Stack Overflow post editor)? For older browsers, the current preview would work fine (Modernizr, blah blah blah).

    As for the post itself, I am a huge fan of freeware and open source, so I very rarely pay for my software. One thing I did pay for is PHPStorm Which is a full fledged PHP/HTML/JavaScript/CSS/SCSS/Probably-any-other-web-development-language -you-might-think-of IDE. Fell in love with it during the 30-day trial, bought it after 2 days. $99 for a personal license. Optional yearly upgrades $50 a year.

  48. Frank Spin
    Permalink to comment#

    Just a few tools needed:

    Espresso 2 (Code editor)
    Sparrow (E-mail)
    CodeBox (Snippets)
    Transmit (FTP) Still living in the “not cool” FTP age. Really need to learning git e.t.c.
    LittleSnapper (overpriced screenshot capture / screenshot library)

    I don’t know the price I paid for this software. Most of them I bought in a MAC Bundle.

  49. Permalink to comment#

    I’m surprised Notepad++ isn’t in this list. It’s popular for a basic text editor with a lot of useful plugins and best of all, it’s free. I keep telling myself to switch to Sublime though.. but notepad++ has little as a downside.

    • MaxArt
      Permalink to comment#

      I’m surprised too. The plus part is that it’s free, and keeps improving with every release.

  50. Permalink to comment#

    Being a GNU/Linux guy for several years, I use mostly open source applications, the only payed application I have is SublimeText which is a must have for code editing.

  51. Permalink to comment#

    Great List Chris

    some other tools i use

    Aptana Studio3 – my editor of choice, it’s free and include ftp and supports RTL

    Bean – for word editing and pdf export – free

    domainBrain – to arrange all my site passwords – links, ftp, database etc – 30$

    CodeBox – 10$ all my snippets in one place

    and allways Firefox

  52. cp
    Permalink to comment#

    mamp is amateur hour

  53. Here’s minde:

    Sublime Text 2: I’m not absolutely convinced this is the best for front end development, but it’s pretty good, and I’m happy with it.

    Adobe Creative Suite


    I also work on ebooks, and for those I use:

    Sigil (definitely has some issues related to HTML entities, but it’s free)

    Calibre (for conversion between formats). Again, free.

    I may start using InDesign for these, but right now I code them by hand in Sublime Text 2, convert to epub and add the various meta data etc in Sigil, then convert in Calibre.

    Incidentally, if you’re a front end developer, getting into ebook creation is really very simple.

  54. Miguel Chamorro
    Permalink to comment#

    Great List Chris!

    But you forgot Font Explorer X which has been very useful in your CSS-Tricks redesign.

  55. Frank DeLoupe for $0.99.

  56. You use Coda for FTP? You’re a masochist.

  57. Permalink to comment#

    I’m in the free category. I run my own LAMP stack, use git (BTW – I know the terminal has a learning curve, but so does anything. I guarantee it will make you a better “web guy,” even if you only think of yourself as a “designer”), Inkscape + gimp (I do own Corel, but I don’t use it too much anymore), filezilla, …and the best code editor I’ve ever tried, hands down, is Komodo Edit.

    As for lists, I have a notebook (the paper kind). I suppose it’s not very high-tech-y of me. And I memorize my passwords. : )

  58. Permalink to comment#

    Great to see everyones different toolboxes. I’m using a lot of the same. Most importantly Dropbox to sync across machines and have backups/versioning/redundancy ;)

    Sublime Text 2
    Adobe Creative Suite
    Coda 2

  59. Alex McCabe
    Permalink to comment#

    Nice little list, and it shows how expensive this line of work actually is. It also doesn’t include the computer that can run these all at once. I find that often I’ll need Photoshop, the Sublime and a couple browsers running, and that can really bog a computer down.

    Also, hate to be a grammar Nazi, but under Sublime Text 2 it should be “you’re” not “your”.

  60. Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck.

  61. Permalink to comment#

    Most of those apps you mentioned have their free equivalents, but I guess you – Mac users – are eager to pay big money for everything :)

  62. Permalink to comment#

    I have Adobe’s Creative Cloud rather than buying outright. They update it constantly, and it also means I have quick and LEGAL access to everything I need (Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Photoshop and (sometimes) InDesign) plus some new software that I might want to try out soon (Edge Animate, Light Room).

    The free version of MAMP works for me – I only recently started to use it over uploading to my remote testing server.

  63. Permalink to comment#

    Another Windows user (as not so much responded here). I try to use as much of free or opensource software as possible, but there are some I had to buy and do not regret it.

    NetBeans – IDE for developing (mainly PHP), has a lot of great features a web developer need, free, also for Mac and Linux users
    PSPad – an advanced text editor, used for quick files edit (mainly when only editing HTML or CSS), free
    WAMP – free
    TotalCommander (ca $40, free updates) – FTP client with live file preview, remote file editing, files content comparison (also when remote) with a lot of free plugins (have been using it for free as shareware for years but decided to definitely buy a license)
    WinRAR (ca $50, free updates) – files de/compression tool (no one has mentioned one so no one is using this kind of tools?) Though there are many free alternatives I have found this one to be the best choice for me (I am using it since Windows 1995). There is an RAR alternative for Mac and Linux.
    Microsoft Office 2010 (free as I am a BizSpark partner) – use it everyday for my job (at least Outlook for mailing, calendar and to-do lists)
    Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (free as I am a BizSpark partner) – use it everyday
    Firefox with these plugins: FireBug (must have tool for every web developer), MeasureIt (for measuring of objects), ColorZilla (color picker, magnifying tool, color pallette), FireShot (screen capture, captured image editing, has also paid Pro version), Web Developer (a bunch of good tools), HTML Validator (validates pages on the fly so no need to use W3 validator site and copy-paste the source code)
    and finaly of course Adobe Creative Suite ($1.299)
    Tortoise XYZ for versioning control (where XYZ could be replaced by SVN or Git) – this tool with nice and neet and easy GUI is for free

    Hope I didn’t forget anything…

    So in total my one-time buy software costs are somewhere under $1.400 (thanks to BizSpark because without it my total would raise for costs of Windows OS and Office suite to somewhere under $2.000).

  64. morphosic
    Permalink to comment#

    commenting just to subscribe to the comment feed for this post… is there a way to do that without posting a comment?

  65. Permalink to comment#

    I’ve been looking all over the web for a list of GOOD sites for web dev software and such. Thankfully I finally found this webpage. I LOVE Screenflow and I’m glad to see it’s on the list. I bought Screenflow 6 months ago. I tried using free screen capture programs and nothing came close to what Screenflow could do for the price.

    Adobe Creative Suite is also a must have. Designing sites in Photoshop and exporting is so easy, and with Dreamweaver combined it’s a POWERHOUSE!

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