Free Tech Resources Essential to the Freelancer

As a tech freelancer, designing a website (yours or a client’s), keeping your projects straight, creating APIs, or starting to develop that new app can be costly and frustrating. The developers here at Moonlighting have gone  through those struggles and have browsed the internet world for tools and resources that cut down on stress, time, and most importantly money. So read on from the Moonlighting Developers to learn some of the best free tech tools out there!

GUI Tools & MetaData

Jugal Shah is a Software Engineer for Moonlighting. Knowing that these days most developers spend a good amount of time querying the database records for production support, feature development, or data analysis, he recommends a tool that goes a long way in streamlining those tasks.

Robomongo is a very manageable GUI tool for those using MongoDB for their application. It’s easy to use and very simple to query documents. It offers a full-featured text editor with multiple view modes for the user’s convenience. In addition, you can run multiple MongoDB shell instances at the same time on the same dashboard.

Also, here are couple of good Chrome extensions which are very helpful for testing metadata.

Microdata.reveal & META SEO Inspector (Chrome extension):  This tool extracts the metadata of your web page and presents it in a readable manner for crawlers. Test microdata for any web pages easily with this tool.

We Stand for Mac Users

Rahul Katare, the Director of Technology’s favorite free tools are for Macs and save a lot of time and improve productivity.

Charles (Web Debugging proxy application): Charles is an HTTP proxy/HTTP monitor/Reverse Proxy that enables a developer to view all of the HTTP and SSL/HTTPS traffic between their machine and the internet. This includes requests, responses and the HTTP headers (which contain the cookies and caching information).

iTerm2 (Terminal emulator): iTerm2 is a replacement for Terminal and the successor to iTerm. Some of its very useful features are split panes, search, autocomplete, mouseless copy, paste history, instant reply.

SourceTree: This is a visual Git and Hg client for Mac. SourceTree simplifies how you interact with your Git and Mercurial repositories so you can focus on coding and visualize and manage your repositories.

To Help You with Android Development

From the cosmic number of tools available for development, Viral Intwala, one of Moonlighting’s Mobile Developers, includes some personal favorites that he uses in his daily Android Development.

Android Studio Plugins:

  • CheckStyle: Checkstyle plugin is a code checking/inspecting tool. It will help keep users in line with the coding standards. It also allows you to define a style guide of your choice and share it among teams so that everyone uses the same coding standards for their development.
  • FindBugs: FindBugs plugin is a must-have plugin for every Java developer as it checks for any misused or incorrect elements in the code.

Chrome Extension/App:

  • Draw IO: Draw IO is a Chrome application that allows easy drawing of UML Diagrams with simple drag and drop. It also allows integration with Google Drive and thus is easy to share and create UML documents with it.

Calling All API-Crafters

Developers in the modern ecosystem more than ever find themselves working on RESTful and increasingly interconnected environments. Jeb Brooks is a Software Engineer who focuses on a few tools that improve the lives of API-crafters everywhere.

  • Postman – Postman is a must-have chrome extension/Mac application for any developer working with REST APIs. In addition to allowing you to make REST calls to any endpoints, with any headers, and read the responses, Postman also has great tools for team collaboration and saving/retrieval of your API endpoints. You can share an entire library with their export feature by sending someone a simple URL. You can also use Postman Runner to create a suite of tests to be run against your API, which can be used as part of a testing suite or for making sequential calls. Postman also allows you to write tests for any API. The paid version allows for simultaneous collaboration on a group of collections by multiple people without the export-sync flow.  As a plus, it’s available on Mac/Chrome App Store.
  • ngrok – An incredibly useful tool that allows you to expose a secure http/s endpoint, accessible through the internet, that can map to any local machine server running on a given port.  This has been useful to me in testing various webhooks integrations, as well as a few other scenarios where you find yourself wanting access to your local machine over network. Available on Windows, Mac, Linux and even FreeBSD.

Make Your Tasks A Little Easier

Brandon McGhee is a Mobile Developer and he says that in the development world there are a multitude of tools that a developer can use. Some are more specific to one task and others are more broad. We all know that time is very important for a project, especially in software development. Below are some links that may help make things a bit easier.

Project Management:

  • Trello: Trello is a great KANBAN style organization system that helps keep track of your personal and work projects.

Chrome Extensions:

  • Eye Dropper: Eye Dropper allows you to pick any color you see on a website and easily find its value.
  • URL Shortener: Simple URL shortener that allows minimal click copying.

Text Editors:

  • Sublime Text: Sublime Text has been around for years and is rather versatile. Most people use it for programming but it is also great for personal notes and such. Sublime Text is free, but it does come with a Nagware feature to ask for a donation. I swear one day I will give money to them and crush my developer guilt.
  • Google Keep: Google Keep is a basic note/list system. It is great for keeping small notes on tasks that need to be completed, or snippets from websites. Plus if you have a Google Account then you already have a Keep account.

Android Libraries:

  • The Android Arsenal: The Android Arsenal is a collection of repository links for Android libraries. You can find almost anything that has simple plug and play implementation. It also helps you connect with other developers and promote your own projects.

We hope these free tools will benefit you in all your tech endeavors. Download and install them, start exploring and find the ones that are a perfect fit for you. Or if you have a favorite yourself, let us know in the comments below!

These developers worked hard to create the Moonlighting app and web platforms, utilizing many of the free resources above. To see their amazing product in action, download the app today and put it to use! Post your services as a tech freelancer (or any kind of freelancer) to get discovered, get hired, and get paid.

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