Once you have a language under your belt and want to use it in the "real world" beyond the course environment, there are additional tools you'll want to explore, starting with a code editor. IDE's or Integrated Development Environments include code editors and other useful tools.
- Code Editors: For beginners, your best bets are to use one of these free editors Notepad++ (for Windows) or TextWrangler (for Macs) Other favorites: GEdit (free for Mac, PC or Linux) or Sublime Text 2 (Mac, PC or Linux, free for 'unlimited' trial period) Review of many code editors.
- Web Inspectors let you see the HTML and CSS used in any website, which is a great way to learn. You can also tweak the code and see what happens, instantly. Most browsers have an integrated web inspector; type the name of your browser and the words "web inspector" into Google for details. The Web X-ray Googles from Hackasaurus are a limited, kid-friendly version.
There are more kinds of tools to help developers: API (Application Programming Interface) , SDK (Software Development Kit) , Plugins, Libraries, etc. Here's an explanation of the differences between each of these. The basic idea is that there are lots of tools out there to help you code, and that it's well worth while to find and use some of these as you learn more about coding.
If you are going to write code as part of a group, there are also SCM (Source Code Management systems) and "version control systems" or collaboration tools like GIT and GIThub.
- GitHub: started as a version control tool for programmers, now a powerful social networking platform for collaborating on anything, and an amazing repository of global "mind meld." GitHub can be befuddling for beginners though. Try this clear introduction by Lauren Orsini.