Remix and MetaMask
Remix and Metamask work together to create a very low-impact smart contract development environment. Though you will have to move to other tools in the future, Remix and Metamask should be able to get you through your first smart contract development and deployment.
MetaMask Introduction - MetaMask YouTube, 2016 [3 min video]
While you can use Geth to create transactions, it is very convenient to have a quick and easy way to interact with the Ethereum blockchain from within your browser. This initial video from Metamask introduces their tool and how you can use it in the Chrome browser.
Debugging a Dapp using Remix - Mist - Geth - Remix Documentation [Exercise]
In this tutorial, you will learn to use the Remix Tool (Browser Solidity). Remix is the easiest tool to get started with application development. It allows rapid prototyping, testing, and helpful debugging when writing your first smart contracts.
Learning Solidity Part 1: Contract Dev with MetaMask - Karl Floresch, 2016 [Exercise]
Following Karl Floresch's tutorial, we will now use Remix and MetaMask together to practice deploying and interacting with an extremely basic Hello World smart contract on a testnet.