IRC Software Colloquy (Mac and iPhone) / Trillian (Windows) / Konversation (Linux) Communication is key when you work with a team spread across the globe. None of the Pligg developers have had a chance to meet in person, so it’s even more important that we have a tool that allows you to communicate with the group whenever we need to. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is “used by millions of people, and thousands of organizations, to communicate, share, play and work with each other on IRC networks around the world. Serving the Internet community for over a decade, mIRC has evolved into a powerful, reliable and fun piece of technology” (mirc.com). We have used IRC since we started Pligg two years ago to communicate with the developers and Pligg users, and operate a room (#pligg) on freenode.net’s server. You can join the room without any software by logging in to our java web-based room. FTP Software
Filezilla (Stand Alone) and Fireftp (Firefox Plugin)
Everyone needs a way to publish files to their web server, and my way is always the free way. Filezilla is available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh platforms and is a stand alone client. Fireftp is a Mozilla Firefox plugin that operates within Firefox.
Browsershots.org (Web) and MultipleIE (Windows)
Most designers without a lot of test computers have used Browsershots at one point or another to double check that their work is coming out the same on most browsers. “Browsershots makes screenshots of your web design in different browsers. It is a free open-source online service created by Johann C. Rocholl. When you submit your web address, it will be added to the job queue. A number of distributed computers will open your website in their browser. Then they will make screenshots and upload them to the central server.”
One problem that most web designers have is testing on multiple browsers. Not only do you have to design for the latest browser versions for Internet Explorer, but you have to accommodate the several previous versions of IE that are less friendly to deal with. Unfortunately the world isn’t perfect and a lot of systems are still running IE6 and below, to help test for these older versions of Internet Explorer I use MultipleIE. This software lets me run Internet Explorer 7 all the way back to Internet Explorer 3.0 all on the same operating system. For some reason I never heard of this software until recently, so I’m a bit hesitant to suggest it even though it has been an essential tool that I use almost daily.
HelpDesk Software Hesk (Web)
We use this software over at the Pligg Pro Helpdesk, where we support our shop products. The software gives you an easy way for users to submit support tickets and category administrators will receive email alerts whenever there’s a reply. It’s well organized, easy to install and simple to maintain. Most importantly, it helps us streamline our support system to let us fix problems faster.
The ultimate tool for those who customize Pligg in any way. Winmerge compares files and directories and helps organize the data so that you can merge two documents together in sections or as a whole. One recent example of how I use Winmerge is when I needed to update my Pligg 9.8.5 templates to the latest format for Pligg 9.9. What would normally take me a couple days took me only a few hours.
Not everyone uses Dreamweaver for designing sites. If you are fluent enough that you can write without the assistance of a program like Dreamweaver, you might want to try out Notepad ++. It organizes data well and is a great replacement for the standard windows notepad. I find it to be a cleaner interface with fewer distractions.