100 Essential Web Resources for Freelance Programmers

Between mountains of code, demanding clients, and long hours, freelance programmers have a challenging life. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones that realize this. In fact, there are loads of resources out there designed to make a freelance programmer’s life just a little bit easier, and we’ve highlighted 100 of them here. Cheat Sheets & Tutorials If you just can’t seem to remember a specific piece of code, or if you need a crash course in a new language, these resources are here to lend a hand.

  1. A Field Guide to Scriptaculous Combination Effects [PDF]: Use this resource to learn about Scriptaculous combination effects, from options to toggling and more.
  2. JavaScript Cheat Sheet: Get the lowdown on JavaScript expressions, functions, and more with this cheat sheet.
  3. AJAX Programming Online: Take this ed2go AJAX course, or just check out the site for loads of information.
  4. The Ultimate Quick CSS Guide: Don’t panic! This guide is here to guide you in the right direction with CSS.
  5. ASPFAQs: Get all of your ASP questions answered in this repository.
  6. CSS Cheat Sheet: Use this cheat sheet for a shortcut on CSS syntax and more.
  7. CSS Property Index: With this index, you should have no trouble figuring out properties.
  8. ASP/VBScript Cheat Sheet: This cheat sheet will help you cover expressions, methods, and more in ASP and VBScript.
  9. A Simple Guide to HTML: For super simple HTML, use this cheat sheet for formatting and more.
  10. Ruby QuickRef: Keep this reference handy for help with the Ruby language.
  11. PHP Cheat Sheet: PHP cheaters can take advantage of the references to SuperGlobals and more on this cheat sheet.
  12. PHP Code Snippets: This exchange site is home to loads of searchable PHP code.
  13. Max Kiesler: Round-up of 30 AJAX Tutorials: Get access to loads of AJAX tutorials with this list.
  14. Python 101 Cheat Sheet: Get a Python intro with this cheat sheet.

Business Tools & Advice

If you rock at writing code, but can’t seem to keep your books straight, these resources are for you.

  1. Tax Tips for Freelancers: Learn about tracking expenses as well as Schedule C in this article from About.com.
  2. Less Accounting: Manage your invoices and stay on top of clients with this accounting and CRM hybrid.
  3. Self-Employed Individuals Tax Center: Go through this IRS guide to find out what you need to know about deductions and other important tax items in the United States.
  4. Web Site Development Agreement: Check out this real-life development agreement for contract guidance.
  5. Creative Commons: Use Creative Commons to license and protect your work as much or as little as you want.
  6. Intellectual Property Law Blog: : Read this blog to consider the aspects of intellectual property.
  7. Escrow: Don’t let non-paying clients flake out on you. With Escrow, you can require that they put money up in advance, and you’ll get paid once you’ve completed the job.
  8. Can You Take a Home Office Deduction?: If you do programming work from home, read this article to get the lowdown on claiming a home office deduction.
  9. Is it Time to Upgrade Your Accounting Software?: Consider the effectiveness of your accounting software with this resource.
  10. Hello Sign: If you’d like to completely let go of the paperwork, use a service like Hello Sign for fast, secure, and legally binding
    eSignatures for business.
  11. Website Design and Maintenance Agreement: Spell out the arrangement of design and maintenance with this fill-in-the-blank agreement.
  12. Starting a Business? Learn How to Easily Create Your Business Plan: Make sure you cover these important bases when starting your programming business.
  13. Quickbooks: Use Quickbooks to keep easy tabs on your accounting tasks and generate helpful reports.
  14. Journal of Consumer Research: Better understand your market through the consumer research highlighted in this journal.
  15. Top 10 Ways to Fire the Client From Hell: Keep your sanity and business intact by following the advice in this article.
  16. How to Find a Good Accountant: If you’ve decided to bring in a financial professional, check out these tips to get one that’s right for you.
  17. What Kind of Records Should I Keep?: Get an understanding of keeping documents for taxes with these guidelines from the IRS.
  18. Subcontract Agreement: Protect yourself from unscrupulous subcontractors by using this contract.
  19. 8 Reasons to Ditch Your Shoebox Accounting System: Learn why you need to step up your accounting methods with this article.
  20. 10 Free Contract Templates for Web Designers: For an all-encompassing contract discussing non-competition, compensation, and more, check out these documents.
  21. June Walker: This experienced financial advisor to the self employed has lots of information for freelancers and is always willing to field specific questions.
  22. Tax Tools and Calculators for Small Business: Learn all about useful calculators for running your business.

Find Work

Locate projects and new clients using these job sites that cater to freelance programmers.

  1. Guru: Guru’s one of the biggest freelance sites out there, so you’re bound to find some programming work here.
  2. JibberJobber: Use JibberJobber to find work, manage relationships, and more.
  3. Flex Jobs: Programmers can find lots of work on this job site designed especially for web workers.
  4. Professional On The Web: Put your portfolio up on this site, and it will serve as a living resume for any prospective clients.
  5. Freelancer: This freelance advice site’s job board focuses primarily on web workers.
  6. We Work Remotely: Through We Work Remotely, you can find programming projects and get paid easily.
  7. Craigslist: Craigslist is an old favorite for programmers, but be sure to watch out for idiots who want something for nothing.

Usability

Stay on top of accessibility, information architecture, and usability with these resources.

  1. Information Architecture Basics: Get informed about the basics of information architecture here.
  2. Accessibility Tools: Get lots of tools and resources to make accessibility easier with this resource.
  3. List of questions to ask website usability testers: Is your site usable? Find out with these questionairres.
  4. Information Architecture 101: Techniques and Best Practices: This guide offers an explanation of web site architecture.
  5. Information Architecture of the Shopping Cart: If you’re developing an e-commerce site, this guide to best practices in information architecture is essential.
  6. Usability First: Make usability a priority with advice from Usability First.
  7. Readability Score: This tool makes it easy to write more readable language.
  8. Designing Web Usability: Usability guru Jakob Nielson discusses building sites for search engines and users at the same time.
  9. Information Architecture Tutorial: Take these 5 lessons for a better understanding of information architecture.
  10. Creating Accessible Forms: Make your forms more accessible with this resource.

Organization & Communication

Use these tools to stay on top of your work, sanity, and client contacts with ease.

  1. YesWare: Sending out responses to yet another client who doesn’t understand your support policy can be taxing. Among many other features, YesWare allows you to create templates that you can send out instead.
  2. Spongecell: This online calendar works to help you schedule your time.
  3. TimeXchange: Use TimeXchange to stay on top of how much time you’re devoting to specific projects so that you can bill clients accordingly.
  4. eFax: If you’re working with corporate clients, a fax machine-even a virtual one-is essential. This one does the job.
  5. MailTags 2.0: This Mail.app plugin makes it easy to track communication using tags and notes.
  6. Zapier: An integration app that works with Gmail, Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange, and includes an IMAP integration so you can connect it to almost any other email service.
  7. TodoBot: Set up a TodoBot, and adding items to your todo list will never be further than your IM client.
  8. WordFast: Get easy translation using WordFast so that you can communicate with international clients.
  9. ClearContext: Get through the junk in your inbox by using ClearContext, a program that organizes and prioritizes email.
  10. CoreBlox: Use CoreBlox to provide support to clients with case management and more.
  11. Free Summarizer: This tool helps you get to the point by summarizing any text automatically.

Productivity

If you’re busy and successful, then you’re certainly always on the hunt for a better, faster way to do things. Hunt no more-these productivity tools will help you get the job done faster.

  1. Ninja Freelance: You’re a programming ninja-now master the domain of freelancing with Ninja Freelance.
  2. O’Reilly Network: These guys wrote the book on programming-several, actually. They cover nearly every aspect of development you could hope to learn about.
  3. Lifehacker: Check out this blog for tips & downloads on getting things done.
  4. Envato Tuts+: This freelance advice site has tutorials, inspiration and videos to help you learn.
  5. W3Schools: Get tutorials to help you with scripts, languages and more, then test yourself with their quizzes.
  6. DZone: A Digg for developers, DZone is home to some of the best current news, tutorials and advice in programming.
  7. Notes on Design: This blog discusses design from the perspective of professionals and academics.
  8. A List Apart: A List Apart covers loads of issues in web design.
  9. Vitamin: Vitamin’s mix of resources for developers and entrepreneurs makes it a perfect publication for freelance programmers.
  10. JavaWorld Blogs: Stay on top of what bloggers are discussing with JavaWorld’s community for Java technology learners and pros.
  11. W3C: Get loads of advice about the Web from standards to accessibility from the authority on the Internet.
  12. Ajaxian: Ajax developers can’t miss this resource.
  13. Unclutterer: Learn how to get and stay organized, physically and virtually.
  14. Tweako: Freelance programmers can get access to advice and more through Tweako.
  15. Speckyboy Design Magazine: Get reviews, news, and features from Speckyboy.
  16. Slashdot: Slashdot covers interesting news for programmers and beyond.
  17. Smashing Magazine: Check out Smashing for loads of tools, tutorials, and advice for developers.
  18. Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association: Stay up to date on the latest in open access with this blog.
  19. TechCrunch: Find out about the latest new developments in the world of tech and programming with TechCrunch.
  20. UX Magazine: Get the latest and greatest in user experience with this magazine.
  21. Virtual Vocations: Stay up to date on the latest in telecommuting jobs with this blog and job board.

Industry News & Resources

Read these blogs, magazines, and news sites to stay on top of the latest in freelancing, programming and technology.

  1. Saved Searches: If you’re constantly looking up a specific topic, you can benefit greatly from this Greasemonkey script that saves searches.
  2. 10 annoying Word features (and how to turn them off): If you’re using Word, but not all of its features, use this to turn off the ones you don’t need.
  3. Compare File Versions: Stay on top of changes to your documents by using this program.
  4. Advanced PDF to HTML Converter: Make it super simple for your clients to view documents online with all links, bookmarks, and formatting intact.
  5. HTML to ASP Converter: Don’t spend lots of time converting from HTML to ASP-use this tool instead.
  6. ASAP Utilities: If you’re frequently doing the same thing over and over again in Excel, use ASAP Utilities to set up an automated system.
  7. Skim: Use Skim to take notes directly on a PDF file.
  8. SitePoint Freelancing: Check out these articles on freelancing and entrepreneurship from Sitepoint.
  9. Zamzar: If your client has upgraded to Word 2007, but doesn’t quite yet know how to send you regular doc files, convert their docx to something readable with Zamzar.
  10. Netvibes: Get all of your important stuff like emails, jobs, news, and more all in one place using Netvibes.
  11. XML Converter Standard Edition: Create XML documents out of MySQL databases and servers.
  12. Fake-A-Call Free Gets You Out of Awkward Situations with Realistic Rings: Excuse yourself from a client meeting gone way too long with an “important phone call” from Fake-a-Call.
  13. Turn Any Action Into a Keyboard Shortcut: A Beginner’s Guide to AutoHotkey: This program lets you create your own hotkeys, assigning specific text or keystrokes to a task.
  14. Ditto: If you’re copying and pasting lots of different lines of code, get it all organized with Ditto.
  15. Basecamp: Use this superpowered productivity tool to stay on top of your to-dos, keep everything in one place, and send yourself reminders.
 

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