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Recommended Design & Development Tools

Dreamweaver

WYSIWYG web development / source code IDE
 
Dreamweaver has great layout features for graphic designers, allowing you to use a tracing image in the background (so you can arrange your layout on top of it), use layers to place images exactly where you want them, convert the layout from layers to tables (to be compatible with more web browsers) or tables to layers (to easily change the layout of the page; just remember to convert back to tables), and view the page at several different screen resolutions.
 
Dreamweaver also has great technical features for web programmers. You can see how long the page will take to download. You can also see the HTML code in one window and the WYSIWYG (graphical) view of the web page in another window at the same time. Each window changes automatically to reflect any changes made in the other window. Also important is that Dreamweaver doesn't change your code, is greatly extendable, has site management features, team development capabilities with check out/in, and great maintenance features such as templates, libraries, and find-and-replace at the file, folder, and site levels. In code view, it can format code, autocomplete, and help out with known functions, tags, and tag attributes for ColdFusion, PHP, JSP and ASP development.
 
For more information, see:
Dreamweaver Product Info
Dreamweaver Developer Center
Documentation and Tutorials
Trial download

 

 
Flash
Animation/movie creation
 
Add appeal and interaction to the Web with optimal file sizes (much smaller than animated GIFs). Flash movies also stream, so they play while they're still downloading.
 
For more information, see:
Flash Product Info
Flash Developer Center
Documentation and Tutorials
Trial download
 


 
Adobe Photoshop
Graphics and photo editor/compositor
 
This is the premiere graphics and photo editor used for print and web design. It has powerful filters and image adjustment capabilities that help get you professional results.
 
For more information, see:
Photoshop Product Info
Tips & Tutorials (login required; membership is free)
Trial download

 

 
Adobe Illustrator
Illustration tool/vector graphics editor
 
Create vector graphics to use in your Flash movies and (possibly) soon for web graphics. Vector graphics are much smaller in file size than raster graphics (bitmap, GIF, JPEG, TIF) and scale without any loss of quality.
 
Vector graphics also print cleaner. So, if you're preparing something for the printshop, Illustrator is great for that too. With its grids, rulers, and crop mark capabilities, you can send your file to the printer exactly as it should be printed. You can also use layers to separate sections that use different inks and convert text to vector outlines so you don't have to worry about the printer having your font.
 
For more information, see:
Illustrator Product Info
Tips & Tutorials (login required; membership is free)
Trial download

 

Web Browsers

Web page viewers

You need to test your pages in multiple browsers (and multiple OSs if possible) when you author for the general public on the Web.
 
Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is recommended for regular design use. It's fast, supports technologies that developers can have fun with, and is the most commonly used browser on the Internet.

Mozilla Firefox is the second most prevalent browser and has a number of good security and privacy features.

Netscape has come a long way from Netscape's earlier days. It is based on Firefox but will use the IE engine on trusted sites.  Older versions of Netscape are also good ones to have for testing purposes since not everyone jumps on the bandwagon to upgrade to the latest and best browsers, and these older versions behave very differently from one version to the next.
 
Ideally, you should also test using older versions of IE, but it is difficult if you don't have multiple test computers and don't already have them installed.
 
You should also be familiar with AOL's browser.
 
 

Development Environments

Tools for back-end programming
 
The best tool to use generally relies on what back-end technology you're using.
 
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