Writing an article that lists the Best Open Source Software for Web Designers and Developers is really difficult but necessary.

It is not because there to few products to choose from. There are web servers, CMS platforms, vector drawing applications etc. The supply of free open source products is impressive and this article will help you locate the few that really have made impact and will help you day after day.

I’m pretty sure that many readers will agree that the right products where picked for the list while just as many will disagree and suggest their own favorites. All the suggestions from readers will be picked up and added to the list if they are relevant and fit in.

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Joomla is one of the most popular general purpose open source CMS systems ever and millions of websites are served by joomla every day. What makes Joomla stand out is the huge community and the endless amount of free themes and modules. There are endless options for how you can use Joomla and with Virtuemart Joomla is turned into a fully featured shop. When using a good Joomla 1.6 Template your website will be grateful.


Drupal is a very popular CMS platform just as WordPress and Joomla. It may not have as many high quality themes available as the two others but Drupal is unique in it’s own way and preferred by many because of it’s good technical design and focus on maintainability. Drupal take configuration management quite far and allow the community to participate in a unique way.


WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform, used by a staggering 202 million websites. As simple or as complex as you want it to be, WordPress is supported by a wide array of plugins which can be used to transform a standard blog into anything you could possibly desire. Besides blogs, WordPress can be used as a straightforward content management system to power anything from a news portal using a WordPress news theme, or an online magazine using a WordPress magazine theme. Also don’t miss these best wordpress themes if you’re looking for a great theme for your website. Having the best wordpress plugins installed is also your best way to get a powerful website.


MySQL is probably the most popular database ever and it is open source and entirely free. The MySQL Enterprise version isn’t free but compared to other commercial enterprise scale databases servers the price is symbolic and support is still know to be world class. The free version of MySQL is all over the place and serve as the foundation of the popular CMS systems covered above and loads and loads of other systems. Most MySQL users know the database through the famous web client for MySQL phpMyAdmin giving user almost complete web based control. Early last year the database community was shocked and in fear because Oracle had picked up MySQL (as part of taking over SUN) and the future of MySQL was unclear for some time. Oracle was under pressure and answered some of the open questions on a press release December 2009.

Apache webserver

Apache httpd has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April 1996. Apache is free, rock solid, performing very well and at the same time extremely flexible and feature rich. Apache is serving all the famous and popular blogs and websites running on platforms like WordPress, Joomla etc. and many more counting hundreds of millions. Apache is also very popular in enterprise infrastructures where it serves as a software reverse proxy component in front of portals, b2b gateways etc. Apaches strengths really comes from its module system and from awesome modules like mod_rewrite which provides a powerful way to do URL manipulations.

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is an open source software implementation of the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies. Apache Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations. Tomcat should not be confused with the Apache web server, which is a C implementation of an HTTP web server. Tomcat is a free and light weight container that will serve your Java web projects.



Magento, used by 30,000 merchants, including Samsung, Nespresso and The North Face, is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce platform. Magento Community Edition is offered for free under the Open Software License. The Enterprise Edition, for which you have to pay, offers features like multi-store capability, store credits and gift cards, out-of-the-box.


Aptana is built on Eclipse, which is a very mature open-source project. Aptena is very popular and have been downloaded more than 5.000.000 times. It supports html, css and javascript editing natively and features a really useful site manager. It includes Subclipse as a supported plugin, and has plugins for PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, and Adobe Air environments. It even does iPhone-specific development. Aptena comes with tight integration into their own cloud hosting service.


Netbeans is a free, open-source Integrated Development Environment for software developers. It started out as a pure Java IDE but it is now one of the broadest and feature rich around. You get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web, and mobile applications with the Java language, as well as C/C++, PHP, JavaScript, Groovy, and Ruby. Netbeans is know for starting up fast and for great debugging capabilities.



Reliable, customizable, intuitive and free, Notepad++ is the most popular Windows-based CSS editor around. It offers everything: syntax highlighting; folding and auto-completion for CSS, C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, SQL, HTML, XML and PHP; multi-file viewing; tabbed editing; zoom in/out; and bookmarks.


Inkscape is a cross-platform vector-based graphics application, and is probably the best free open source option available. It can be used for creating professional graphics, logos, diagrams, icons, maps and many more. It offers features that can be found in similar commercial software and it aims to be more user friendly, while still supporting advanced SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics ) features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.). The tool also allows the end-user to import many popular formats such as JPEG, BMP, PNG, EPS and TIFF and export PNG file formats.

Mozilla Firefox


Firefox currently accounts for 24.43% of the recorded usage share of web browsers, but this figure is on the rise. Already the browser of choice for most web professionals, Firefox’s popularity is growing thanks to its vast selection of third party add-ons, which let users tailor their browsing environment down to the finest detail.



FileZilla is a hugely successful, cross-platform FTP client. It’s also available as a server, for Windows only. Created in January 2001 by Tim Klosse as a class project, FileZilla has gone on to become the 5th most popular download of all time from SourceForge.net.


Many people know from their own experience that it’s not easy to install an Apache web server and it gets harder if you want to add MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP have changed this and simply is an easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. XAMPP is really essential for setting up a development environment fast locally. XAMPP is supported on multiple operating systems: Windows, Linux, OS/X, Solaris.


BIND is by far the most widely used DNS software on the Internet. It provides a robust and stable platform on top of which organizations can build distributed computing systems with the knowledge that those systems are fully compliant with published DNS standards. It is a reference implementation of the Domain Name System (DNS) protocols, but it is also production-grade software, suitable for use in high-volume and high-reliability applications.

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If you want to continue reading have a look at this review of Envisioned – WordPress Gallery Theme on WordPress Resources.

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