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[web] What web design software to use?

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I am attempting to start my own web design business, and I am looking into purchasing a web design graphics software program, such as Macromedia Fireworks, Corel, Fireworks CS3 etc. Since there are so many products offered by Adobe, I was wondering what is recommended by other web designers. I know CSS, HTML, and am learning PHP, etc. I should mention that I have windows Vista, so my options are even more limited. Since purchasing these software are so expensive, I wanted to make sure I picked something easy to learn but could last for a while. I could use a trial, but I don't know where to start. Thanks!

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I think those are graphics programs, for making the images, which are not quite the same as web design programs, which allow you to lay out the page, add content, edit CSS, etc. An example of a web design program would be Adobe Dreamweaver - no idea how good it is these days as I've not gone near it in years.

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The software I tend to use just a selection of apps frequently. Currently im using the CS3 versions of

Dreamweaver - for coding, stylesheets etc
Photoshop - For imaging work
Flash - For action scripting

If your looking at getting all of these apps (plus things such as Illustrator, fireworks etc) you would be best looking at the Adobe CS3 Web Premium pack.

If your just starting up though, these can all be pretty costly. Flash aside, theres little you can't do by getting your hands on some cheaper/free apps, which will allow you to replicate features of these programs.

Microsoft frontpage will allow you to produce HTML in a GUI enviroment. While the code it doesnt produce isnt always up to standards, its nothing you cant simply edit.

If your planning on doing all your coding my hand, download "crimson editor", which acts as decent text editor, and can also highlight pretty much any syntax you want once you get ahold of some custom syntax files depending on the language you use. Dreamweavers FTP functionality and site management can pretty much be replicated by filezilla.

In place of photoshop, have a look at the newest versions of Paint Shop Pro.


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I have macromedia studio 8, so I use fireworks, dreamweaver, flash 8 etc. However when it comes down to quickly editing a page you can't beat PSPad imo.
Quote:
Microsoft frontpage will allow you to produce HTML in a GUI enviroment. While the code it doesnt produce isnt always up to standards, its nothing you cant simply edit.

Hasn't microsoft ditched frontpage and split it into two different apps now?
[edit] seems so

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Quote:
Hasn't microsoft ditched frontpage and split it into two different apps now?
[edit] seems so



Yup, but the whole point of suggesting Frontpage is that it is a FREE alternative to Dreamweaver. While cheaper than Dreamweaver, Expression Web still retails at about £200, which could be a large amount depending on circumstances.

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There is Eclipse PDT which is the best free PHP IDE that I've found. Not sure if it has any WYSIWYG controls since I never use them.

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Quote:
Original post by tstrimp
There is Eclipse PDT which is the best free PHP IDE that I've found. Not sure if it has any WYSIWYG controls since I never use them.


I just had a go of that, its pretty cool for a free app.

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I prefer a decent text editor like Kate or Bluefish combined with a good graphics program to a single IDE or suite. Back on Windows I used Chami HTML-Kit + Paint Shop Pro. Nowadays on Linux I use Kate + GIMP.

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Here's my suite of web tools that I use - all supported on Windows, freeware / free software:
> Programmer's Notepad - Simple, lightweight text IDE. No WYSIWYG
> FileZilla - FTP Client
> Firefox - If you don't know, then I don't know what to say

Graphics - I'm not much of a graphics artist, so I don't use these much
> inkscape - SVG drawing program
> Paint.NET - A useful graphics program
> GIMP - Already been mentioned

Server tools - for testing purpose
> XAMPP - Compact installation of Apache web server with latest version of PHP, MySQL with more
> SQLyog - MySQL client for managing databases

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Quote:
Original post by Sonnenblume
Quote:
Hasn't microsoft ditched frontpage and split it into two different apps now?
[edit] seems so



Yup, but the whole point of suggesting Frontpage is that it is a FREE alternative to Dreamweaver. While cheaper than Dreamweaver, Expression Web still retails at about £200, which could be a large amount depending on circumstances.


Last I checked, FrontPage isn't free. If you already own it, however, it looks like an upgrade to Expression Web is only a third the full retail price.

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Hey,

I know you said you're using Vista, so this won't apply, but for those of you using a Mac give TextWrangler a try. It's a free, slightly scaled down version of BBEdit for for the purpose of html/css page coding I really like using it.

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i co-own a web design business, and i always found notepad to be quite enough. :)

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If your serious about this and can put aside a few bills for it, I definitly recommend many times over the Adobe package.

1. Dreamweaver CS3. It's become pretty good at picking up even the most complex CSS in the design view. Its really handy at code complete, and detects embedded languages nicely. It embedded help is par-none. If your inside of a tag and type style=" .. you will get a list of all the css properties, you can either type the propery or choose it and press enter. When you have typed in the properys colon, you get a list of all the possiable CROSS PLATFORM tag options. Im not sudgesting using embedded CSS here, but this also works on CSS files themseleves, and gives a great overview of the process. It supports automatic doctypes, the ability to select them sitewide or per page, and design view reflects most display changes quite nicely. It supports embedded serverscript and javascript code completion. Type <?php and it switches into PHP with very nice embedded help when you type a function. Not to mention, it makes everything easy to read with color coding. The only thing I dislike (and perhaps its because I havent looked far enough) is how it sometimes handles tabbing, I really wish I could make that work more like microsofts products (which are good from that angle)

2. Photoshop. De-faco in the industry. GIMP is a great alternative, but this tends to have better support for wacom tablets (or so I find anyways). May not be important to you, but I wont do without a pressure sensative tablet at my fingertips. Has great file format support. I cant seem to figure out how to link and merge linked layers in this version, so im NOT impressed with the change from CS2 to CS3, but its still a great product nontheless.

3. Microsoft Web Developer Express. You didn't mention what language you wre using, but definitely pick up a copy of this for your ASP.NET work. Jobs in ASP.NET tend to pay a lot nicer. People wanting .NET tend to be more responsible and less tight clients. (probably because it is more expensive to host, so all the penny-pincher's stick with a LAMP setup)

4. Adobe Flash. The only real program for flash development. AS3 is very impressive. Not only will you be able to author nice flash applications and rich media, you can now target adobe air aswell (which makes AS3 a desktop language now aswell).

5. Multi IE Installer. (not sure how this will work with vista though)
http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE
The program is free and will allow you to run multiple different versions of IE simultaniously. Being able to work with IE6/IE7/FF are really important , as the market share is so spread out between the 3

Hmm, that sums it up for my recommendations. Get'r'done.

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I feel a jerk coming into all these threads and pissing in everyone's cheerios, but you guys need a serious education here.

Laura, you mentioned wanting to get a software program for web design. Photoshop is clearly the best for that, but you are not ready for it. Web design isn't what you do if you can barely make a site and barely program, it's a discipline within the larger field of graphic design (a point that some would argue, saying that it's its own discipline given how much more complex it is).

You see, the fact that you have to ask what program to use tells me you're not anywhere near the level necessary to actually run a successful web business. Imagine if you were a carpenter, on a carpentry forum and you asked: "Hey guys, I'm going to start my own carpentry business, what tools do I need?" If you were ready to be a professional carpenter, you'd know what tools you needed!!

Here's what you ACTUALLY need:

http://www.amazon.ca/Systems-Graphic-Systeme-Visuele-Gestaltung/dp/3721201450
http://www.amazon.ca/Graphic-Artists-Handbook-Pricing-Guidelines/dp/0932102123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195397531&sr=1-1

There are other books you could stand to read, but what you need is a background in DESIGN. What programs you know and what languages you can write don't mean shit unless you have the technical foundation to develop quality sites.

It's not ethical to bill yourself as a professional designer or developer, when you and I both know that you are neither, while the client has no idea -- it's like selling snake oil cures. It's bullshit. Just be what you are: a student.

Good luck.

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Quote:
I feel a jerk coming into all these threads and pissing in everyone's cheerios, but you guys need a serious education here.

Laura, you mentioned wanting to get a software program for web design. Photoshop is clearly the best for that, but you are not ready for it. Web design isn't what you do if you can barely make a site and barely program, it's a discipline within the larger field of graphic design (a point that some would argue, saying that it's its own discipline given how much more complex it is).


But she asked what software people used, she didn't go into details about her level of knowledge. I think you should read the post before you wade in with your 'You guys are all wrong here is the right answer'. All people are doing is answering the question being asked, so please, don't talk down to people, I personally find it insulting. I'm no pro, I'm a CS student who does websites on the side but I don't think that you should be allowed to override my opinion (and everyone else's for that matter) just because you are more experienced. My response, just like many other peoples was not the wrong one, it answered her question just fine.

Just my 50p,

Jon

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