100% Web-Based Working For Web Designers

Internet Connection IconWeb applications are offering an almost desktop-like functionality parallel to the increase in the connectivity speeds, wider usage of the cloud (easier scalability) & improvements in JavaScript/RIA development.

Also, moving to the cloud is no more a fantasy, it is the "current & future trend" considering the popularity of applications like Google Docs, Adobe Acrobat Online or web-based OSs.

As a web designer/developer, it is possible not to use any desktop softwares & work 100% web-based.

There are several tools that we use daily & has vital importance:

  • IDE (code editor)
  • Image editor
  • Database manager
  • FTP application
  • Storage

Although desktop environment, clearly, has many advantages over web, web has an important one like working from any computer (even it is a weak one) & staying synchronized.

Here are free web applications that you can use to create your own web-based design/development environment:


Code Editing



This web application offers a desktop-like coding environment with features like:

  • multiple projects
  • built-in FTP explorer
  • syntax highlighting
  • undo-redo support
  • & more.

There are also features like tabs, find-replace or auto-completion that we could expect from a desktop IDE.



Bespin, an open source project by Mozillla Labs, is a web-based code editor created with HTML 5 technology.

It has a built-in file browser (not FTP) & a collaboration feature where multiple users can work on the same document.

It is not a complete IDE yet but very promising.

CodeRun Studio


CodeRun Studio is a mature platform for easily developing, debugging & deploying web applications using a browser.

It has support for multiple languages (C#/.NET 3.5, PHP 5.1, JavaScript, HTML and CSS). There is also SQL Server 2005 & Amazon SimpleDB support.

Using the application, multiple projects can be managed.



Kodingen is a full-featured online web development platform that enables individuals or teams to work on projects.

It is possible to define unlimited projects and FTP accounts to connect to any server.

There are also other projects like:


Image Editing

Few weeks ago, a post at WRD was sharing 5 amazing online image editors & why to use them. Let's remember them:

Sumo Paint

Sumo Paint

A very impressive application that looks & functions so similar to Photoshop.

It has support for layers, filters & provides some geometric shapes that you'll be surprised to see what can be created using them.

Some other great online image editors are:

Also, there are other applications that are focused on specific functions like:





phpMyAdmin is probably the most popular MySQL management tool.

It supports most of the MySQL features & database/table/record adding-updating-deleting is a breeze.

It can export/import data using multiple formats like SQL, XML, CSV & can create PDF graphics of your database layout.

Adminer (see WRD post)

Adminer MySQL Management Tool

Adminer is a one-file MYSQL management application that is built with PHP.

Besides standard features, it can display processes & enables you to kill them.

Other web-based MySQL managers include:



A phpMyAdmin-like application for PostgreSQL databases.

It can administer multiple servers, supports almost every database feature & import/export using multiple formats.




Web Based FTP: net2ftp

An open source PHP application which functions as a web-based FTP client.

It can connect to any server, navigate through files, upload-download-copy-move-delete-rename them & view the contents with syntax highlighting.

net2ftp can also copy-move files to a 2nd ftp server or zip/unzip them.

eXtplorer (see WRD post)

PHP FTP Script: eXtplorer

eXtplorer is a PHP file manager script that can optionally connect to FTP servers.

It can accomplish every file/folder function, zip/unzip them & offers a user management system for enabling permission-based access to files.

F->IT (see WRD post)

Online FTP Manager: F->IT

This open source application works very similar to Windows Explorer with drag'n drop support.

It has syntax highlighting & offers multiple file uploads.

Some of the other web-based FTP applications are:



Storage is a little tricky as the services are either paid or limited free versions of the paid ones. However a limited free version is mostly enough to store data for multiple web design/development projects



Dropbox is an amazing service which keeps you synchronized on any computer with the help of a software that functions as a drive or from a web interface.

The service is paid but comes with a full-featured free plan with a 2gb limit.



The service enables you to store data in the cloud and share them when needed.

It offers a 1gb free storage plan where you can reach from web easily.


ADrive Online Storage

ADrive offers a free version where files can only be reached via a web-based interface & has a limit of 50gb.


humyo backup

humyo offers an online storage space of 10gb for free which can be reached from only web.

There are many other services like:

Do you use other web-based services/applications that ease your daily web design/developments tasks?

And, do you think it is efficient for a web designer/developer to work 100& web-based?

Please share your thoughts with the community.

  1. Reply designfollow December 2, 2009 at 5:37 AM

    great list

    thank you

  2. Reply Chandrakant December 2, 2009 at 5:52 AM

    Great list,

    Sumo paint was my best partner when i have to go onsite and do image editing.

    thanks a lot.

  3. Reply Veera December 2, 2009 at 6:59 AM


    Btw, In Bespin production ready?

  4. Reply Umut M. December 2, 2009 at 7:19 AM

    For coding simple websites, it is almost there to work like Notepad++, but for complicated ones, I don’t think it is.

  5. Reply Gjergji Kokushta December 2, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    Nice post 🙂

    I would mention designer-client collaboration tool – http://redmark.com/

    Designer uploads “the design”
    Client marks & notes suggestions, comments etc
    Designer makes changes and uploads the “new design”
    Client comments saying he/she approves

    Also helps clients to find designers 😉

  6. Reply maque December 2, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Wow, it is a really great collection of online things of great value. Thanks, man.

  7. Reply hans December 2, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    today i’ll install linux!

  8. Reply Jacob Rask December 2, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Nice writeup, but vim, ssh and git replaces most of these tools for me.

    I mean, “the cloud” just means someone else’s server, not something magic “out there”.

  9. Reply William Rackley December 2, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Great list, but don’t forget cpanel 🙂

    I can not work on servers that don’t have it on the back end. It covers replacing ftp, ssh, code editor, phpmysql, and a lot more. All it needs is an integrated image editor.

    I know I sound like an ad almost. Its just made my life a lot easier.

  10. Reply Umut M. December 2, 2009 at 12:59 PM


    Thank you and agree with the SSH. I’ve been using my home setup as the server with all the goodies included, the drive pointing to Dropbox and work by connecting remotely when I’m away.

    But my main point is, the web-based apps are improved so much that I almost don’t need such a system anymore. Or do I need? not sure yet and want to hear the thoughts.

    Although the cloud is someone else’s server, it means more to me like the security of the data (replicated storage), uptime (same data on multiple locations) and scalability.

  11. Reply Kent December 2, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    I’ll agree with a lot of these, but I don’t think that we’re at the place where we can completely replace desktop work entirely (though I sure wish we were). I primarily use cloud based apps, especially for “office” type activities like CRM, email, project mgmt, etc., but as a developer the online solutions just don’t cut it. I use Aptana because it’s insanely powerful and works so well. The development apps are great for little projects, but they don’t have the functionality needed for larger projects.

  12. Reply William Rackley December 2, 2009 at 2:08 PM

    @Gjergji Kokushta,

    You are awesome for mentioning redmark.

    We’re switching over to that system today.

  13. Reply t brandis December 2, 2009 at 4:45 PM

    Without an off-line equivalent its not compelling enough..some real world examples… Nice but…

    – I’m on a long plane (train , cruise) trip and need to update some code for a presentation when I get there..

    – The internet goes out in the conference where I’m using wifi, and my code.. is … not accessible..

    – phpanywhere is down (or blocked or hacked) etc… where’s my code..

    Its sooo easy to just setup a local XAMPP and SVN (or git) server.. then post the changes to a shared repository server…

  14. Reply JoeFalk December 2, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    I strongly recommend DropBox, awsome for colab etc.

  15. Reply Alex Flueras December 3, 2009 at 1:40 AM

    Excellent list, thanks for sharing.

  16. Reply Shahid November 22, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    Introducing http://www.Fatpaint.com, a free, full featured, online graphic design software for doing layered painting, vector drawing, photo editing and page layout. It’s the first Flash based painting program with full support for pressure sensitive Pen Tablets.

    Fatpaint has more drawing and painting features than any other online graphics application, and it has built-in thousands of graphical resources.

    We have worked very hard developing Fatpaint and therefore we are interested in your feedback.
    So any suggestions or/and ideas for improving the software would be highly appreciated.


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