beanz Magazine

Tools to Create and Develop Software

zzpza on Flickr

These tools make it easy to create and develop software with the ability to validate code, connect to web servers, store code snippets, and other useful features.

The software programming tools coders use to create software and websites are either hand picked or decided by the shop they work in. However, if you get the choice, or the choice is up for grabs, picking the ideal tool is both wonderful and daunting.

Software coding tools come in two flavors, simple and complete.

The complete tools are integrated development environments, or IDEs for short. They include lots of functionality beyond the ability to code. For example, they typically include the ability to FTP (send and receive) files to a remote server and the ability to check files in and out of version control repositories, for example, GitHub and Subversion. Typically they also include code checking, unit testing, snippets, code folding, and other neat features to save time and reduce the complexity involved in programming.

Simple software programming tools like TextWrangler and Notepad++ include a useful subset of all the functionality provided by complete tools. Notepad++ also has a healthy plugin development community to provide functionality not often found in basic programming tools.

Whether the software programming tool is an IDE or more simple, for example, Notepad++ or TextWrangler, there are important small differences to note. For example, the ability to search and replace multiple lines of code across multiple files can be really useful the few times you need it. However, not every tool includes this ability: TextWrangler does but the more polished Coda does not. These subtleties are learned by experience or by downloading tools and trying them out. And what annoys one coder may not be noticed by others.

Here are a few software programming tools to check out, whether or not you already have a favorite tool for coding:

Text Wrangler

This free software, made by the makers of BBEdit, another excellent paid editing tool, offers a lot of useful features. For example, you can search and replace multiple lines of data across files within one or more folders. Text Wrangler works on Macs only.


This free software programming tool is for Windows and has a strong community of developers who provide additional features through plugins, or add-on software. It’s as simple to use as Notepad, the ancient Windows text editor, but with lots more features useful to coders.


Created by JetBrains, PhpStorm also tries to provide simple solutions to the process problems coders face. PhpStorm is written in Java to make the software work easily on Windows, Macs, and other operating systems. The company mostly creates language-specific software coding tools. They’re based in the Czech Republic.


This popular coding tool is Mac-only but it has an easy to figure out interface with lots of functionality, for example, the ability to create and use code snippets. It’s also designed by coders for coders.

Light Table

This brain child of Chris Granger started on Kickstarter then evolved into a Y Combinator project. He wants to re-imagine what coding tools should do. For example, the tool integrates testing and documentation inline as you code. It’s worth playing with and watching as the project evolves from alpha to a real product.

What tool you use is a highly personal choice. If you have a favorite tool not on our IDE resources page, be sure to let us know on the Contact Us page.

Learn More

Light Table


Coda (Mac)

Notepad++ (Windows)

TextWrangler (Mac)

Also In The August 2013 Issue

Hello World! in 100 Programming Languages

When you learn a new programming language, one of the first programs you learn is how to code, "Hello World!" Here's the phrase in four programming languages, as well as links to 100 plus examples.

Online Guidelines for Student Blogging, Commenting, and Personal Safety

These guidelines are collected from the internet, with links for more ideas to help teachers and students.

An Interview with Patrice Gans

A university trained programmer, with a masters in computer science and a full professional career, Patrice teaches technology and computer science to kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Codea, Hopscotch, Tynker

These three applications make it fairly easy to learn basic software programming concepts, from block building (Hopscotch and Tynker) to the more sophisticated (but easy to understand) approach for the Codea iPad application.

How to Choose Your First Programming Language

There are so many programming languages, how do you choose one? Here are 18 options for all ages.

Owls and Super Bugs

Here are two programmers who use their coding skills to solve complex problems, from tracking endangered owls in Yosemite to tracking and isolating a deadly virus in a hospital isolation ward.

Computer programming is an art, because it applies accumulated knowledge to the world, because it requires skill and ingenuity, and especially because it produces objects of beauty.

Learn More Links for August 2013

Links from the bottom of all the August 2013 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Website Design Patterns

In the software world, patterns provide a useful way to critique, discuss, and build screens to help people do things online.

News Wire Stories for August 2013

3D game design tech, a guitar that does email, what wi-fi would look like if we could see it, golf ball technology, women in tech, and other stories from the past month or so from around the internet.

HTML Coding for Beginners

Creating content in an online publishing tool often requires zero knowledge of HTML. When hand coded HTML is required, however, you only need to know five tags. Seriously.

How to Teach WordPress Basics to Students

It's easy to teach students how to create and publish content with WordPress because the software rewards clicking links to find what you need to do.

Tools to Create and Develop Software

These tools make it easy to create and develop software with the ability to validate code, connect to web servers, store code snippets, and other useful features.


From a simple website activity application written in the C language in 1994, the PHP programming language has evolved into a robust language optimized for web servers and web applications.