The best modern smartphones enable you to access the majority of online services via a browser, and sites often provide a mobile-optimised layout for doing so. However, some apps provide an opportunity for you to do a little more work while you're on the movie, especially if you own an iPhone or a device running Android.

For Android, AndFTP provides the means for managing FTP servers on the go. You can download and upload, create folders, open documents and amend permissions.

The same developer, Lysesoft, has also released S3Anywhere, an Amazon S3 file manager.

On the iPhone, web designers and developers are well catered for. There are excellent clients for Dropbox and Evernote, sketching app Brushes for scribbling ideas down on the go, and Air Sharing, which turns your device into a wireless hard drive and document viewer.

The standout app for web designers, though, is FTP On The Go. This enables you to rummage around FTP servers, download files, view and edit them, and upload changes, saving the original document as a backup.

In effect, it's Notepad and a Safari instance welded to a workmanlike FTP client – but it hints at the future of mobile apps for web designers. When you're on the train and hear that something's 'gone wrong' with a client's site, it's an essential app to have.

Designer top fives: Which apps can't they live without?

James Whittaker - UI/UX architect, TweetDeck

Flash Builder 4: "The IDE and RIA creation goodness of Flex and AIR projects."
Fireworks CS4: "The undisputed king of graphics preparation for the web and apps."
Firefox: "You can't beat Firefox with web developer add-ons."
TextMate: "The best text editor for Mac."
Google Quick Search Box: "App launcher and search – saves me valuable time every day."

Brendan Dawes - Creative director, magneticNorth

Coda: "Elegantly fuses a hand-coded approach with FTP, site management and a lovely CSS GUI."
Evernote: "For storing code snippets I can later quickly grab from the web."
Dropbox: "Changed the way I work."
Fresh: "Shows recently-modified Mac files, so you needn't search – simple, but effective."
COLOURlovers: "My colour API of choice. Enables me to integrate human-chosen colours into projects easily."

Leisa Reichelt - Freelance user experie nce consultant

Tweetie: "News, inspiration, occasional distraction, and connection to my design and UX community."
Spotify: "Can't work without music!"
OmniGraffle: "Complete with the 960 grid template and Konigi's sketch stencils, a great wireframing toolkit."
Colloquy: "I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed IRC until I jumped back when I was working with Drupal."
Google Documents: "A great, universally available, free set of collaboration tools."

Dan Mall - Senior designer, Big Spaces hip

Photoshop: "The best tool to communicate visual ideas quickly and effectively."
Flash: "For animation, but also for quickly prototyping ideas that need to be expressed over time."
Mail: "My favourite writing tool – through drafts and IMAP, my writing is synced and available on my iPhone."
TextMate: "My code editor of choice."
TextWrangler: "The most powerful 'find and replace' around."

Jon Wiley - Senior user experience designer, Google

Photoshop: "I've been using it for 15 years – fits like a glove."
xScope: "An array of simple tools that never fails to elicit oohs and aahs from people peering over my shoulder."
Firebug: "Before Firebug, web development was drudgery, misery, darkness."
TextMate: "Essential for making quick work of complex markup."
Google Reader: "For efficiently keeping up with the rapidly evolving field of web design."

Guy Moorhouse - Interaction designer, Airside

Dropbox: "Perfect for picking up work to finish after you've had to dash home."
CSSEdit: "The best CSS editor around. Great mode for overriding live sites with local code."
Firebug: "For tracking down JavaScript and DOM problems, as well as checking site latency and overheads."
Tweetie: "Useful for working with personal/work Twitter accounts."
Spotify: "The future of music – it's genius."

And the .net top five (as recommended by everyone)

Dropbox (cross-platform)
TextMate (Mac)
Photoshop (cross-platform)
Firebug (cross-platform)
Coda (Mac)

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First published in .net Issue 199

Liked this? Then check out Secrets from the world's top 20 web designers

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