The Open Source Toolbox For WebDesigners

With other companies providing the same goods or services as you are, the competition to reach a large target audience increases greatly and with it, the need for Web designers who can deliver new ideas on web quickly and efficiently.To do this a Web designer needs the right tools. There are loads of such tools available. Unfortunately, most of them are under copyright law and come with a high price tag.The solution for this dilemma? Open Source. Such tools provide another approach to web design. It becomes easier as Open Source tools give Web designers practical access to the source code, which means you can customize the tools as needed.

Today we take a look at some of these tools which can ease the job of a Web designer immensely. From text editors and templates to websites and communities, these Open Source resources are some of the finest in the field of Web design. Take a look.

Web templates are great for setting up any kind of website. They’re the simplest way to design a website and can be used to quickly make any changes you need. Once these templates are downloaded, users can replace all generic information in the web template with their own.

General Templates

1) Opensource Templates

Free Templates of many kinds
Environmental, Eco Business, Organic, Beauty, Magazine and several other thematic Templates available free under Creative Commons license. Users are free to use the web templates as they like.
Templates sharing Community
A community of Web designers and Site Owners sharing free web design templates and web design information. It includes regular design contests and a sub-category of the most popular designs to optimize your search.
High Quality Templates
This site needs no introduction as Template Monster is one of the most popular template sites containing a huge collection of high quality Free and Premium Templates.
Collection of Free Web Templates
There is a collection of about 4460 templates available on this site with daily additions. The Site contains CSS and WordPress Themes as well as free PHP scripts.
Templates Sharing Site
Open Source Web design is another great site for downloading free web design templates as well as sharing your own with others. Currently there are 2080 free templates available on this site classified as Favorite, Most popular and In Use.
Free Web Templates
Free Templates Online provides free web Templates with the aim of making your website building process totally hassle free. The templates are managed in a number of categories including Business, Beauty, Cars, Education, Family and many more.

CSS/XHTML Templates

Open Source Website Designers Hub
This Open Source community website provides thousands of CSS and XHTML based web templates which can be downloaded for free. The site has a total of 1369 templates available in addition to a handy forum.
Free CSS Templates and Layouts
Free CSS hosts a big collection of Free CSS Templates, Layouts and Tutorials. Free CSS has over 1700 free css templates in its gallery.
CSS and XHTML based Open Source Templates
Myhedspace offers many Free Templates based on CSS and XHTML. The website is in an easy to use design offering all the latest designs.
Free CSS Templates
This Site provides about 397 free CSS based Templates. They are lightweight and Table-Free Templates provided under the Creative Commons License. Templates are W3C compliant and valid.
Free Templates Section.
From Templateworld, you can get templates that are free, tableless and W3C compliant. In addition, the site claims that all templates have been tested with major browsers and operating systems.

Swish and Flash Templates

12) Flash Village
Free Flash Templates
Flash Village is for Flash designers that want to share work, experience and ideas with a Flash design community. The templates are provided freely and can be used for your own private or commercial projects.
13) Template Yes
Flash Website Templates
The Flash Template Section of provides professional looking, yet cool Flash and Swish Templates which are free to download.
Professional Swish Templates
Templates offered by SwishZone are animated and can be quickly and easily customized with speed and ease to provide users with a high quality Flash Website.

Blog Themes and Templates

Free Blogging Themes
Blogging Themes distributes blog theme-templates free of charge. Users can search amongst several Templates sorted in order of release Date.
16) Free-Template-Design
WordPress Templates.
From Free-Template-Design, you can get eye catching, clean looking Blogger Templates for WordPress, Joomla and Mambo. All can be easily modified and adjusted.
Blogger Templates.
This website also offers several funky Free Blogger Templates more suited for your personal blog. Templates are offered in both “Classic” and “HTML” modes.
Web Templates for Blogging Community.
Although eBlog collects web designs submitted by the staff and blogging community, anyone can download them for free. The owners claim that “Currently eBlog is the only one stop shop for WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad blogging platform users.

Web templates are great for setting up any kind of website. They’re the simplest way to design a website and can be used to quickly make any changes you need. Once these templates are downloaded, users can replace all generic information in the web template with their own.

Markup and Coding Tools

19) NVU
Web Authoring system.
NVU is a Web Authoring System that lets you create and manage web pages easily without any technical expertise or knowledge of HTML. Compatible with Linux Desktop, Microsoft Windows and Macintosh.
20) CakePHP
Rapid Development Framework
With CakePHP, you get a PHP framework that serves as an extensible architecture for developing, maintaining, and deploying applications for free.
PHP Framework
CodeIgniter is another PHP Framework. Simple yet powerful, Code Igniter can be described as an elegant framework with a very small footprint. It helps PHP coders to create full-featured web applications.
W3C Markup Validator
This webpage contains source code for the W3C HTML Validator. This free service helps check web documents in languages such as HTML, XHTML, SVG, MathML, etc. Relatively easy to install on a number of platforms.
23) Gennit
Online Code Generator
This free online tool allows you to generate your project in a couple of minutes using code generation. Create and manage your projects through the GENNIT Dashboard and the online GENNIT Designer.

Website Planning / Authoring Tools

24) MaxQ
Testing Tool
MaxQ is a free web functional testing tool. Use it to test the use and functioning of your website. It includes an HTTP proxy that records your test script, and a command line utility that can be used to playback tests.
Automated Code Testing
“What if you want to test a web application? Or what if you simply want to use a web-site as part of a distributed application?” HttpUnit can help by emulating browser behavior: form submission, JavaScript, Basic Http Authentication, and Automatic Page Redirection.
Application Framework
Here’s an Ajax application framework which helps you build cross-browser applications without knowing any HTML, CSS or DOM. Features include: major browser support, client-side JavaScript, support for event-based programming and more.
27) Fiddler
Web Debugging Proxy
A freeware Web Debugging Proxy that logs, inspects and debugs all HTTP(S) traffic between the Internet and your computer.
Web Authoring Tool
As the site says, “KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing”. No knowledge of HTML or web coding needed.

Website Maintenance Tools

29) Firebug
Web Page Debugger
Firebug is a useful and versatile web page debugging tool. Being integrated with Firefox gives you the ability to edit, debug, and monitor your code live in any web page.
Web Page Quality Enhancer
Log Validator is a simple tool that can improve the quality of your website. How? Find the invalid documents, broken links, etc., on your site in order to get them fixed.
31) Jtrac
Issue Tracking Tool
JTrac is a Java based Open source and highly customizable issue-tracking web-application. It’s features include easy installation, custom fields and drop-downs for each project, field-level permissions and many more.
Website Viewer
AnyBrowser helps you to check your Web site against a variety of browsers and to validate your site for compatibility levels. It allows you to view your own site as your visitors see it.
Websites Statistics Tool
Analyze how your site is doing. PhpMyVisites is a free and open source tool for measuring website statistics such as geographical statistics, visitor frequency, visited pages, software/hardware utilization and more.
FTP Client
FileZilla is a free, open source, cross-platform FTP client. Its main features include Site Manager, Message Log, File/Folder View and Transfer Queue.

Browser Tools

All-in-One Internet Application Suit.
Here’s an all-in-one internet solution which comes with Web-browser, advanced e-mail and newsgroup client, IRC chat client, and HTML editing made simple. Provides you with all of your Internet developer needs in one single place.
36) ShiftSpace
Browser Plugin
ShiftSpace is an interesting open source plugin for browsers which helps you in collaboratively annotating, editing and “shifting” the web. It works as an open source layer above any Web page which you can manipulate with different tools.
Browser Extension
User Agent Switcher is an Extension for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and Songbird and supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It essentially adds a menu and a toolbar button to your browser to switch the user agent.
Website Performance Analyzer
A simple and powerful free tool to check if your website is down everywhere or if it’s just the user. Handy to have bookmarked at all times.
Internet Explorer Plugin.
The DebugBar is a free plugin for Internet Explorer that brings features such as DOM Inspector, HTTP Inspector, JavaScript Inspector, JavaScript Console and HTML Validator, etc to your browser.

Text Editors

Website Editor
One of the most popular text editors in Open Source. Bluefish is a powerful editor with many options for writing websites, scripts and programming code.
Source Code Editor
Notepad++ is another free source code editor and supports several languages. It works with Microsoft Windows environment and includes features like auto-completion, zoom in, drag and drop, WYSIWYG and more.
42) jEdit
Text Editor
jEdit is a programmer’s text editor written in Java, meaning you can use it in Mac OS X, OS/2, Unix, VMS and Windows operating systems. It has built-in macro language, extensible plugin architecture, and dozens of macros and plugins available online.

Online Source Code Editor

Web templates are great for setting up any kind of website. They’re the simplest way to design a website and can be used to quickly make any changes you need. Once these templates are downloaded, users can replace all generic information in the web template with their own.


44) GIMP
Image Manipulation Tool
GIMP is a GNU based Image Manipulation Program. Versatile and free, GIMP can be used for all your photo editing tasks. It comes with a full set of painting tools, manipulation capabilities and works with most Operating Systems.
Vector Graphics Editor
Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor that uses the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. It comes with many advanced SVG features like markers, clones, alpha blending, and more. Check it out.
Photo Editor
A free image and photo editing software compatible with Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools.
Diagram Creator
Dia is a free GTK+ based diagram creation program for Linux, Unix and Windows released under the GPL license. According to the site, with Dia you can “draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams”.
48) Blender
3D Studio
Yes, 3D Open Source applications do exist. Blender is one of them. Available for all major operating systems, it contains a wide range of modeling, rendering, animating, shading, and realtime 3D/game creation features.
Desktop Capturing Tool
Here’s your chance to record all screen and audio activity on your computer. Create high quality AVI video files by using CamStudio’s built-in SWF producer that can turn AVIs into Flash videos (SWFs).

Fonts, Colors, Images and Icons

Screenshot Tool.
Here’s a screenshot tool perfect for tutorial or product shots. Optimized for productivity, it can save an entire screen or part of the screen, apply text and shapes to the screenshot, and supports several image formats.
51) Free Web design Icon Set>
Icon Pack
This Icon pack is free to download and has 310 icons designed for web designing projects, but can be used for creating system icons.
Fonts Collection
Need to jazz up your site with a font? Luckily, GarageFonts has a wide range of over 750 typeface designs free and available for downloading. Take your pick.
Free Stock Photos
If you’re looking for a resource of stock photos for your web design project, is the site to check out. All images here are free for personal usage.
54) dafont
Free Font Collection<
dafont is a huge collection of Fonts available for Mac and Windows. Choose from a variety of styles that expresses your websites goals the best.
Advanced Color Tools
ColorZilla features include an advanced eyedropper, palette Viewer, history and Favourites palettes, webpage DOM colour analyzer and other goodies you can use directly in Firefox.
Color Picker.
Need help with colour schemes for your design? Then Color Cop is the tool for you. It’s multi-purpose color picker that will generate a palette of colours that work together for any given colour you select.


57) digiKam
Photo Management Tool
digiKam is a digital photo management tool designed for users who want to view, manage, edit, enhance, organize, tag, and share photographs.
Six Revisions can provide practical, inspirational and useful tips for the modern web designer. It claims to present noteworthy tips, tutorials, and graphics resources that the modern web professional will appreciate.
Another popular and useful blog from the Web designer’s point of view. provides a ton of helpful tutorials on everything and anything that has to do with web designing and developing.

Learning ArticlesNeed some pointers? This site provides several informative articles geared towards teaching you how to design a good website by understanding web page layout and design.

With Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), you can easily change and determine how different elements appear on a site. So far, we’ve only given you CSS template sites. Below, we cover CSS in more depth—layouts, websites, tutorials, tools and utilities.


61) Wrapper
HTML/CSS Rendering Engine
Cross-browsing problems? Try Wrapper, a cross-browser compliant HTML/CSS rendering engine. Written in ActionScript, it sits on top of your HTML page, making it possible to integrate ActionScript and HTML/CSS projects without any compiling.
CSS Form Maker
As site says, “Bottom Line: This ‘code maker’ generates CSS layout code to ‘spice up’ those forms”. All you have to do is input your defining properties and you’re all set to go.
Button and Fields Builder
Another simple online tool: CSS Button & Text Field Generator. This tool takes the properties you input to generate the button or text field style you want.
64) CSS Mate
Online CSS Editor
Interact with menus to select the type of parameter you want to change and then enter the values into the attributes area. To get the resulting code, you just simply to cut and paste from the code text area.
65) Web Design Freebies

Tools and Utilities

66) CSSTidy
CSS Parser and Optimizer
CSSTidy is an Open source CSS parser and Optimizer. Compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, it can be controlled by command line and as PHP script. Get faster loading webpages with extensible Open Source Tool.
67) Cypress
Open source Parser
Cypress is a CSS parser that allows you to add CSS style properties to your own XML markup languages.
CSS Editor and Validator
CSSed is an Open Source CSS editor and validator, which makes CSS editing easier. Its major features include syntax highlighting, syntax validation, auto-completion and dialog-based insertion of CSS complex values.
CSS Optimizer
CleanCSS isn’t a validator, but a powerful CSS optimizer and formatter. It takes your CSS code and makes it more concise.
CSS Validation
Here’s a free W3C online service that finds problems in the CSS style sheets used by your HTML pages. It takes the URL of a document containing HTML with CSS and checks it for consistency and validity.
Websites and Forums
CSS Forum
Check out this site if you need some inspiration. CSS Beauty is focused on providing a database of CSS based websites. It showcases a ton of the best work around. Welcome to the CSS design community.
CSS Gallery
Another inspirational site for CSS web designers, collects a wide range of quality design websites (Flash & CSS) that’ll have something for everyone. Submit your own site while you’re there.
CSS Articles
Now here’s a web design site curated by Chris Coyier that puts a special emphasis on CSS. Articles, Forums, Videos and Downloads–they’re all about helping you with your own CSS.
Online CSS Optimizer
CSS Optimiser is an online tool that helps you reduce the file size of cascading style sheets which takes a URL or file as input and gives Optimized CSS via Direct Output
Free CSS Tutorials
If you need to brush up on your CSS, or just need a tip or two, CSS tutorial can help you out. These tutorials makes learning CSS fun and easy.

To manage the work flow needed for collaboratively creating, editing, publishing and archiving various kinds of digital media and electronic text, you need to use a Content Management System. The following are some of the most useful CMS tools you can find online.

Websites and Forums

76) Plone
Open Source CMS
Plone is a Content Management Solution that’s “easy to install, use and extend”. If you’re not too technical, you’ll be glad to hear that Plone lets you manage your content using only a web browser.
Enterprise CMS
As the world’s largest CMS software company, eZ Publish has everything you need to build up corporate websites, intranets, webshops and media portals.
78) OpenCMS
This is a popular, professional and easy to use CMS. Its features include internal link management, context menus, undelete operation, XML content auto correction, and more.
79) Joomla
Award Winning CMS
Joomla is an award-winning CMS that can help you build web sites of all sizes. From corporate websites and small businesses to community-based portals and personal homepages, Joomla’s ease-of-use and extensibility have made it one of the most popular CMS’s online.
Open Source CMS
Equipped with a powerful blend of features, Drupal supports a variety of websites ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven websites.
81) Xoops
Dynamic Web CMS
Xoops didn’t win numerous international awards and recognitions for nothing. As a an easy to use dynamic web framework written in PHP, Xoops contains a number of great features that can be used to create small to large dynamic websites, intra company portals, corporate portals and weblogs.
82) Magnolia
Enterprise CMS
Magnolia’s page editing interface enables its users to lay out content exactly as it would appear to the website visitor.

General Websites

83) b2evolution
Blog Tool
b2evolution is a blog tool which can be installed on your website. It includes all the features of traditional blog tools, and extends them with evolved features such as file & photo management, advanced skinning, multiple blogs support as well as detailed user permissions.
Web Based Tool
This is an Open Source web-based tool which allows users to maintain dynamic sites, like weblogs or online journals. It is written in PHP, and does not require additional libraries or databases to function.
Web Community Service
CMS Matrix provides a community service to visitors interested in looking for a mean to manage web site content. Here visitors can discuss, rate, and compare the various systems available on the market today.
Demo Site
This site contains Demos for open source and freeware Content Management Systems and e-Commerce Systems based on PHP and MySQL.

In the end, websites, blogs and communities will serve as the best resources available. They’re aimed at learning and sharing ideas and knowledge about Open Source Web Development and Designing.


Open Source Conference
Looking to interact with others in person? Then this is the site to follow. Open Source Bridge is a new conference where anyone interested in working with open source can network. Get involved today..
88) Open JDK Community
Open Source Community for Java
This is a community where Java SE platform developers and researchers gather to collaborate on the core reference implementation of Open Source Java Technology.
Open Source Software Engineering Community. is a mid-sized open source community focused on building better tools for collaborative software development.
Forum for Web Developers.
This is another forum of Web designers and Developers where members can interact about different development tools and can share code among themselves as well.

Tutorial Sites for Open Source

Open Source Tutorials
OpenSource Tutorials contains articles and tutorials about different templating techniques in PHP, optimizing MySQL, Server and Client Side Coding etc.


Open Source Applications Index
freshmeat maintains index of Unix and cross-platform software, themes and related “eye-candy”, and Palm OS software. Thousands of applications, which are preferably released under an open source license, are cataloged in the freshmeat database, while links to new applications are added daily.
93) HowtoForge
Linux Tutorials
HowtoForge provides user-friendly Linux tutorials about almost every topic. The site has a huge compilation of tutorial on different technologies and applications.
Free Technical eBooks
This website Offers Free Online Computer Science and Programming Books, Textbooks, and Lecture Notes. Books related to almost all of Computer science related topics are available here.
Code Sharing and Discussion.
Code Project shares Free Software Development and Design Articles, Code Snippets, discussions, and news – all provided free by the best bunch of developers on the net.

General Websites

Open Source Definition Stewards
The OSI are the stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving licenses as OSD-conformant. The OSI is actively involved in Open Source community-building and the importance of non-proprietary software.
Java Development Resources
Here Java based technologies, resources, articles and popular downloads are shared. Visitors can choose from 70+ sessions on free and open source technologies and tools.
Apache Development Community
The Apache Software Foundation provides support for the Apache community of open-source software projects.
– Community Dedicated to Open source Softwares.
The Open Source Community attempts to provide the visitors with a road map of the names and relationships of current Open Source technologies and projects..
100) SWiK
Open Source Information Community. is a project of SourceLabs to help people collaboratively document open-source software SWiK contains information and news about thousands of open source projects, making SWiK your number one resource for open source project information.