Required Course Tools

You will absolutely need:

The following will also be necessary in this class' sequels and perhaps may be useful to you now as well:


Use a device that's a "real computer" (as opposed to a tablet) first. Web development and programming is about text, and tablets are generally bad at text. I believe the Microsoft Surface should be fine; I'm pretty skeptical of everything else.

Web Browser

I highly recommend Firefox over all other browsers. It's free to be the best browser it can be. While many of the other big ones are "open-source," ultimately, their primary goal is to extract data and information from you, for the company they are made or promoted by.

Terminal Emulator/ Shell

In LIS-5364, you will be required to do a virtuall Linux install; however, you may want to simply do this in this course, and do your development within it; given that many webservers are Linux based, the two will "talk to each other" quite well.

Linux and Mac users have these built in.

Windows users have a slightly confusing range of issues to deal with, since most of the web is a "Unix/Linux/*nix" type of environment, and Microsoft was ill-prepared for the internet generally. Very very recently, Windows has added the use of GNU shell tools (incorrectly named "Ubuntu on Windows") so you may want to check that out.

PuTTY (and PSCP/PSFTP) is a good choice for basic command-line work,
Cygwin is another interesting option for users who want a more complete option.

Text Editor

The key here is that it should handle (programming type) text well, but it should NOT be an advanced IDE (Integrated Development Environment) just yet. A good rule of thumb; if it writes anything FOR YOU (auto-complete), it should not be used. But "syntax highlighting" is okay. Some examples:


(Some of the following have plug-ins or add-ons that will enable auto-complete. Please do not activate those features, yet.)

Probably built in to your machine, the following are fine:
Gedit for Linux
Notepad for Windows
Notepad for Macs

jEdit - this is the one I will likely use the most; cross platform and runs on everything.

Linux (Graphical User Interface)

Linux (Command Line)


Mac (wow, it was hard finding free ones, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised)
TextWrangler (I think)


No full IDES/supereditors, for now.
(these are great tools for advanced users, but they do too much of the early work for you, as a result you won't learn)
Sublime Text

(Ditto, except for the "great tools" part. They're easy, but they tend to lock you in to a particular work-flow)

No "In-browser" editors (e.g. Cloud9) for now. This is very much putting the cart before the horse.


These are OBJECTIVELY the wrong tool for this job. They will almost certainly break and screw up your code because they're not at all designed for this. Don't even think about using them for this class. Seriously. Do. Not.

Microsoft Word

File Transfer (FTP/SFTP)

You will need a program or other method of copying the html files that you create to a webserver. One option is to use the command line; I imagine Linux users will already be somewhat familiar with this approach, so I won't include that here; but the following link about iSpace will give you information on Command Line clients for Windows and Macs: Go Here.

Most of you will likely prefer a Graphical User Interface approach. I'm going to assume you're all somewhat comfortable with standard GUI File Managers, such as the Explorer in Windows and the Finder in Macs. Most file transfer programs have similar approaches (copy/paste, drag and drop, etc.) Additionally, some more advanced file managers have file transfer capabilities built in. (Nautilus/Nemo in Linux is good for this)

Details on Filezilla, a cross-platform program, are available here.

Backlinks: FSU Courses:LIS5362:LIS5362