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Web design software

Your Web design studio needs some type of Web design software. You can create pages in a plain, text editor or you can buy what is called a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) Web page editor. WYSIWYG page editors include both the coding environment and a designer mode that shows you what your page will look like. Your other option is to use software that isn't quite full WYSIWYG but is more robust than a text editor (such as BBEdit). Here are some tips on what type of Web design software might work for you:

  • WYSIWYG software:

    • Macromedia Dreamweaver: Dreamweaver, considered to be the industry standard for Web design, works with Contribute and other Macromedia products — Flash, Fireworks, and Adobe Photoshop (via the Edit With command). It comes alone or as part of a package. The Dreamweaver 8 user interface is shown in Figure 1-8 . We cover Dreamweaver in Chapters 5 and 6 of this minibook.

      Figure 1-8: Take a look at Dreamweaver 8.

    • Adobe GoLive: This Web editing software has many of the same features as Dreamweaver, and many professionals use it. Adobe GoLive is available alone or as part of the Creative Suite Premium bundle.

      You can find more information about Dreamweaver and GoLive at www.adobe.com.

    • Microsoft FrontPage: Microsoft's professional Web design and maintenance software features a full set of tools for creating and maintaining sites for individual users and for larger Web teams.

    All, three, WYSIWYG software packages have features that help keep teams on track. Dreamweaver is the most widely used and integrates with Contribute (which is Macromedia's software for nontechnical Web editors). GoLive's interface looks familiar to those Web team members who already use other Adobe products. Choose Microsoft FrontPage if you and your team are more familiar with Office products — and already have the software. Microsoft FrontPage is no longer being made but is still being used by some design/development teams.

  • Bare Bones Software BBEdit: BBEdit is a widely used HTML and text editor (which means that it's good for all sorts of tasks — CSS and JavaScript included). It's available for Macintosh computers only. BBEdit is good for individuals who are more comfortable with a code‐only environment. Some of its features and functions are similar to those of the more robust WYSIWYG editors, but as the name implies, it really is a pretty bare‐bones package. Some developers prefer the stripped‐back interface and the reduced toolset for its less‐cluttered environment.

    Ideally, you'll learn HTML and CSS well enough to be able to create pages in any environment.

  • HomeSite: This is Macromedia software's HTML/text editor for PC computers only. Like BBEdit, the tool is geared toward people who are more comfortable with code than a visual approach to Web site design. HomeSite is a very good package for creating Web page code — HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and others.

The choice of what software you use is really up to you. If you're going to make a career out of creating Web pages, learn HTML and CSS along the way. That will ensure that you're able to handle real‐world Web page creation and maintenance. Remember, the more the software does for you, the more you have to trust a machine to figure things out for you. Software is good, but it's still no match for human judgment.


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