Open Source and Free Applications

Recently I’ve had to work on production and staging environments (windows server 2012), and I’ve been struggling using notepad to edit config files (which happen to be in XML format) – sometimes tags get misaligned or not closed correctly, and then not having the ability to compare files in a nice graphical display. Basically the simple things; I haven’t started to address performance monitoring etc…

I recalled that there are number of great open source applications nowadays, but I didn’t want to “install” them, just copy them onto the server and run them. Well, the ones I needed can do just that.

I’ve decided to compile my list of open source applications and indicate if they have a no-install required. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, and is only focused on Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Server no-Install

Notepad++ Uncompress the zip file and run the executable. As the name suggests this is a better notepad than notepad. It has tabbed documents, understands various programming languages. However, when not installing you will have to create file associations yourself. I also had to add “config” to the User Ext, for XML in the Style Configurator.
WinMerge Uncompress the zip file and run the executable. The application will compare files and most importantly for me; folders. This is the “modern” replacement for a golden oldie I used to use; windiff.exe for the Windows Resource Kit.

Desktop Applications

Notepad++ Supports a no-install download, but I install fully.
WinMerge Supports a no-install download, but I install fully. Though in reality I don’t use it much on my development laptop.
FileZilla FTP Application. Great for getting up and down from a server.
SoapUI Supports a no-install download. Java based tool for testing web services. Its a little tricky to find the no-install version, here’s the direct link to version 5.0.0;


Fiddler Creates a proxy on the fly to capture incoming and outgoing IP traffic. Great for analyzing what applications are sending out, and what exactly is coming in. I use mainly when testing out my web service development.
Visual Studio Express Microsoft has released free versions of their development IDE. As of Nov 2014 the following versions are available; Express 2013 for Web, Express 2013 for Windows, Express 2013 for Windows Desktop, and Team Foundation Server 2013 Express.

This page is a works in progress…