Elance Blog

16 Must-Have Online Tools for Freelance Programmers

With the number of free plug-ins, toolbars, applications and other widgets ever increasing, you may wonder which ones are really worth your time.

As a freelance programmer, the last thing you have time to do is research online tools – so Elance did it for you. Check out our list of 16 online tools that may help you save time and increase quality.

Browser Plug-Ins
Reference Sites

Browser Plug-Ins:

1. Firebug
As a web programmer, you absolutely cannot do without this Firefox plug-in that allows for HTML/CSS/Script inspection, JavaScript debugging, real-time style manipulation, AJAX debugging, and much, much more. With this plug-in, you can change CSS, HTML, and JavaScript on the fly for any web page.  Get it »

2. YSlow
Ever wonder why a page is taking so long to load? YSlow will tell you why and give you a solution that positively impacts performance.  Get it »

3. Companion JavaScript
For Internet Explorer, be sure to use Companion JavaScript. Programmers use this plug-in to debug JavaScript errors in Internet Explorer (the most common type of JavaScript error). It’s basically like Firebug for Internet Explorer and will make debugging much easier and save you tons of time.  Get it »

4. Web Developer
This Firefox plug-in puts many useful web-development tasks within quick reach. You can quickly flush cookies, clear the cache, and show rulers and other tools for graphic design.   Get it »

5. IE Developer Toolbar
Internet Explorer also provides a free web-development tool with features similar to the Firefox plug-in. With the IE Developer Toolbar, you can view and validate HTML, display image and file size and information and much more.  Get it »

6. SearchStatus
This is a must-have tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Programmers use this plug-in to display the Google PageRank, Alexa rank and Compete ranking anywhere in your browser – and makes it easier to identify no follow links. With this information at your finger tips, your SEO work will be a breeze.   Get it »


7. Cygwin
If you need to use X Window on a Windows PC to develop in a Linux environment, try Cygwin. This Linux emulator for Windows will make your job easier if you need to access both a Windows and Unix environment on the same hardware.  Get it »

8. Putty
Putty, a Windows SSH client, is a simple alternative to a product like Cygwin. Putty allows for easy access to all SSH client features and is simpler than Cygwin. Load Putty on your Windows machine and tell it to connect to a Linux machine – it’s as simple as that.  Get it »

9. WinSCP
Here’s a Windows FTP, SFTP, and SCP client that acts as a remote editor. The main function of this tool is to safely move files from a local and remote computer – for example, from a Windows environment – to a Linux one. It also functions as a basic file manager.  Get it »

10. Photoshop Express
Wish there was a free version of Photoshop? Well, there is. Logon to Photoshop Express where you can share, store and edit your pictures online – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.   Get it »

11. GIMP
But, if you’re looking for the Photoshop features that Photoshop Express doesn’t offer – then you should check out GIMP, a free alternative to Photoshop. With GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) you can get all your photo and image retouching using many of the tools found in Photoshop – but without the price tag.  Get it »

12. Xplanner
Are you part of an Extreme Programming (XP) team? Then Xplanner is the tool for you. This project planning and tracking tool can help keep you organized and on track when working to get projects completed for your customers.  Get it »

Reference Sites:

13. Google
One of my favorite things to say to people is, “Google it!” This is one of the quickest ways to find an answer to most questions. But there’s a lot about Google that you don’t know. Sure, you probably already have the Google toolbar – but, check out all the features Google offers.   Google it »

14. W3 Schools
If you’re like me and are always writing down common HTML codes to remember – try this handy reference site. At W3 Schools – you can learn HTML, XHTML, CSS, HTML DOM and more. Check out the tutorials, character sets, and examples and when you’re all done – take the quiz to test what you’ve learned and be sure to get your HTML skills certified on Elance.  Get it »

15. PHP.net
If you’re in web development, then PHP is no doubt a big part of your job. You’ll want to be sure to check out PHP.net, a great online reference. Learn about PHP by checking out the introductory tutorial and if you just need a little help, the site offers an online manual as well as examples and links to other reference sites.  Get it »

16. Google Webmaster Central
As stated on the website, Google Webmaster Central is “your one-stop shop for webmaster resources.” Google Webmaster Central is just one more tool in your SEO tool belt and is a place where you can get answers to your crawling and indexing questions and learn how to increase traffic to your site.  Get it »

Have another tool to add to the list? Leave a comment below.


Thanks for sharing 16 online tools which will be useful to everyone.To be honest,before reading your posts iam not familiar with some of 16 online tools listed above. Once again thank you for making me aware of it and i had bookmarked it to share with my online friends.

I think one of the greatest tools that should be in the armour is RSS reader from your interested sources.

I have been extremely benefited by google reader to gather information/blog posts from bloggers of my professional world.

Even elance provides RSS feeds so that you can subscribe for RSS specific searches and when that type of project appears, one can quickly get notified in the reader and post the response to the project. A great tool for elance providers.

Ravi Pathak

Thank you for the list of resources, I would add browsershots.org to this list. If you want to make sure your page displays correctly, submit your website here and within an hour you will have an image of your site on almost every possible browser.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful infomation. It is really helpful.

I have an award ratio of 7%. Is it okay? I read in some of the blogs about somebody having more than 40% award ratio. That means he is being awarded every second project. Is it possible?

What should be the ideal rate of award?

This is a very useful list of tools. Thanks for sharing it with all Elance member.