Free and Open Source IM Tools Archives

As Internet marketers, we are faced at some point with not only creating web pages, such as a sales page or opt-in page, but also complete websites either static or on a CMS platform such as WordPress.

This work usually involves time spent in your HTML editor creating the pages, adding images, an opt-in form, ad boxes and other elements that will make up the website. Then you put all this information into folders, log into your webhosting account, and FTP everything up to your server.

A question is, when would be the best time to do this work that someone might not see all this construction when your site is online 24/7.

What if you could create an environment similar to that of your web server on your local computer, do all the work on your site and when completed, FTP to your server as a complete site.

Well, to do that, you need a WAMP! No, it has nothing to do with 'Work At Home Moms' or something you drive your car up on. A WAMP is an application the runs in a Windows Operating System. The acronym is Windows Apache MySQL and PHP or Perl or Python.

This is where the first note comes in: You should be at least an intermediate level computer user to use these types of programs.

EasyPHP logo

EasyPHP is one such program. Actually, it was the very first WAMP, developed in 1999 and licensed under the GPL. EasyPHP is a WAMP package that includes the scripting language PHP, the web server Apache, the SQL server MySQL, as well as the database manager PhpMyAdmin and the debugger Xdebug. There is nothing to configure by the user, it's already done by the application!

EasyPHP package image

EasyPHP is portable as well. You can install it on your system or on a USB drive and develop or present locally your PHP code, projects, websites, scripts, applications, etc.

And yes, that was a tip for those of us doing local business promotion. How powerful would it be for you to be able to not only give a customer a view of their proposed site, but have them locally involved in its creation?

EasyPHP is simple to install and is a very light weight application. Theonly real limits to it are the size of the databases you create. And that, of course,  is subject to your machines capacity. But, this is a development, not a production, application.

EasyPHP has pre-configured modules available for it. It has the CMS platforms WordPress, Joomla and Dupal; Prestashop, an ecommerce storefront that is also free and open source software; SPIP, a CMS oriented toward online collaborative editing. Soon there will also be modules for Phorum and phpBB, the online forum platforms.

EasyPHP modules image

Personally, I have only used EasyPHP for WordPress site building. However, I do not use the WordPress module. I just downloaded the latest version of WordPress and placed the unzipped WordPress folder inside of the 'WWW' folder of the EasyPHP program files and run from that.

You just add your theme and plugins folders to the wp-content folder, just as with your server. Then create your site as you like and when complete, just take all of your theme folders and upload to your server. Hook up and configure the plugins and test your links. That's about it!

I run EasyPHP on Windows XP, however, it will run on Vista and 7. If you have a 64bit system, you will find EasyPHP in your X86 program files.

Like I said earlier, EasyPHP is not a tool for everyone. But, it really is easy to use and a serious time saver in terms of site development. And as Internet marketers, anything that saves us time is a plus.

This brings to a close our series on 'Internet Marketing With Free And Open Source Software'.

I hope that you have found it useful!

Till next time!

Technorati Tags: CMS, Drupal, EasyPHP, free and open source, internet marketing, Joomla, Phorum, phpBB, Prestashop, software, SPIP, WAMP, websites, WordPress

If you have been around computers for very long, especially involved with Internet marketing, you have no doubt had occasion to use the Windows default notepad. Such as when you want to right click on a web page and select 'View Page Source' this opens the HTML source code of the page in notepad.

As handy as notepad is to use, it has very few features built in. Not the least of which it shares with its cousin wordpad. That is that neither has a spell checker. So, for instance, if you create an article or blog post in notepad you will still need to open another utility, like an office word program, and copy and paste your work to check your spelling.

And that means switching back and forth from one to the other as corrections are required. Not to mention some very unusual formatting should you try to copy from the word document. Copy a word document into an HTML editor and view the source to see what I mean, if you have never done that. Wouldn't it just be so much easier to complete the task in a single utility?

Notepad++ Logo

One such utility is Notepad++. Notepad can easily assume the duties of creating your articles and blog posts with no unwanted background coding. As well as open and edit HTML and PHP files; check your edited files through W3C directly; open your edited files in your default browser or another of your choosing; and check your spelling. But, not your grammar.

But, I'm not suggesting Notepad++ simply because it has a built in spell checker. Nor am I suggesting that Notepad++ is a replacement for notepad. It is simply an excellent tool when you need something that is much, much more than notepad or wordpad.

Notepad++ is a free and open source source code editor that supports several programming languages. These include, but are not limited to, C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, SQL, CSS and more, running in the MS Windows environment.

Notepad++  screenshot

It offers a user interface that is much friendlier than some of its competitors. It has a familiar row of icons with their mouse-over labels that sits at the top, and one row of tabs is just below that. All of the coding tools live in the menu bar. It has support for tabs so that you can edit several documents at once.

Notepad++ offers many features, far too many to list here and has support for over 100 plug-ins.  This makes Notepad++ a very versatile tool. Plus, Notepad++ is available in several languages with documentation on translating into your own native language if it is not found on the Binary Translations page.

With all of the built in features and capabilities of Notepad++, it may sound a bit over the top for the average user. Well, the truth is, no! Once you get in there and look around, you will find many familiar tools and features from several different utilities combined into one.

You can open your work in your favorite browser to see how it looks online. It has all of the usual features you would expect from a text editor, such as find and replace, text wrap and word count. Plus, when you have finished your document, you can copy and paste right into your blog editor without a lot of background code or formatting. It will also add up numbers for you.

Since Notepad++ is a source code editing tool, you use it just like an HTML editor. It has numbered lines, just like your HTML editor and can be set to be the default HTML viewer when you pull a page source from your browser or need to edit web pages.

All in all, Notepad++ is a very handy open source software tool to add to your Internet marketing toolbox. Which, by now I suppose, is getting pretty full. But, before we close the lid, I have one more suggestion for you.

And, frankly, it is a tool that many may find a bit too intimidating. However, it is a tool that I feel you should made be aware of, just in case. It's called EasyPHP!

Till next time!

Technorati Tags: free and open source, internet marketing, Notepad++, open source software tool, source code editor

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