Must-Have Tools for the Beginning Web Designer

webdesignmusthaves
There are great many software products, which can make the work of a web designer much easier and dramatically increase his or her productivity. However, some of them cost hundreds of dollars, which not every beginner web designer can afford and they could take months to master as well.

There are great many software products, which can make the work of a web designer much easier and dramatically increase his or her productivity. However, some of them cost hundreds of dollars, which not every beginner web designer can afford and they could take months to master as well.

What are the most essential tools for a web designer?

When it comes to commercial applications, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe DreamWeaver are probably the two most widely used and popular tools. They are both powerful, come with solid and useful features, and have in fact become an industry standard in the world of Web designing and Web Development.

Photoshop is the application, which a designer could use to edit graphics and its latest CS5 version comes in two editions: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Extended, where the latter has a few additional features. This professional tool is excellent for the experienced designers and for the novices alike and allows them to resize, crop, and modify images, as well as work with colors, layers, effects, gradients, and text. It is also a flexible application, which works with other Adobe products, has great performance since it supports unlimited RAM, works with both 32-bit and 64-bit processors, and utilizes the power of the graphic cards’ GPU as well.

GIMP and Paint.NET are two free Photoshop alternatives, which many new designers love. GIMP works on many software platforms, supports number of file formats and is excellent for photo retouching and enhancements. It has highly customizable interface, which allows the users to rearrange their work area in the most efficient way. Paint.NET has very easy to use interface, works with layers, supports number of special effects, and is one of the fastest image editors that are available today.

When it comes to coding the website templates, the already mentioned Adobe DreamWeaver is the software tool that the seasoned developers swear by. It comes with Text and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors, intelligent coding assistant, CSS and HTML validators, and support for a number of leading technologies such as Ajax, PHP, XML, XHTML, JavaScript, ASP, ColdFusion, and many others. The software is integrated with other Adobe products such as Flash Professional, Photoshop Extended, and Fireworks, which significantly reduces the time that it takes to develop all components of a web site.

Kompozer is a free, cross-platform (works on Windows, Linux, and Mac) tool, which is based on the infamous Gecko engine and is, therefore, speedy and reliable. Similar to DreamWeaver, it comes with a WYSIWYG and HTML editor, but also supports tabbed editing, templates, tables, and forms. It has customizable toolbars, powerful FTP site manager that facilitates editing sites on the fly, CSS editor, spellchecker, and even extended color-picker. Kompozer is tiny, but extremely powerful and very easy to use, which makes it ideal for the new designer.

Firebug is another free tool, which integrates with Firefox and allows live monitoring and editing of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. It helps the user easily find HTML elements, correct CSS code, debug and execute JavaScript, and find errors in the code easily.

Two other great editors are Notepad++ and PSPad – both are free and have great many features such as tabbed document support, drag and drop, International characters support, split screens, advanced ‘Find and Replace’ functions, and many others. Both editors are perfect for web development, support plug-ins that could have their functionality further extended, and are ideal for working with HTML, PHP, XML, CSS, and even Flash action script.

If you consider becoming a web designer, apart from all the above-mention and other software tools, you would need to have an above-average computer as well. Purchasing a new machine with more RAM, faster CPU, and better video card will speed up your productivity immensely, especially if you work with flash, videos, or animated graphics. If you use many online tools and upload great number of large files daily, faster Internet connection will definitely accelerate your work and in many instances, using dual monitor setup can be beneficial as well.

 
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Comments (4)

  1. Adhi P Thursday - 27 / 01 / 2011 Reply
    I recommend Komodo Edit as code editor. IMHO I think it's more powerful than KompoZer, PSPad, and Notepad++. I have tried all of them, and I choose Komodo Edit for my code editor.
    • rafael armstrong Friday - 28 / 01 / 2011 Reply
      I agree-- I have DW on my machine (and it's usually my go-to program), but I also have Komodo and I find that it's robust enough to go toe-to-toe with DW.
  2. DTX Studios Friday - 28 / 01 / 2011 Reply
    Great post indeed. Much helpful.
  3. Ryan Smith Wednesday - 02 / 02 / 2011 Reply
    I have been using the free trial for DW cause I can't afford them, me being a Junior in high school and all, only got 26 days left on it, I have to find a job so I can get it... And Photoshop is definitely my best friend hahaha.

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