Web design software and utilities:
I like to look at an "in progress" site in a few different browsers. So between two computers, I have a choice of Netscape 4.7, Netscape 6, Internet Explorer 5, 5.5, and 6, the current Opera, and a couple others in Linux. Opera is worth having - it is the most standards compliant of all of them, and is quick. It comes in a free and paid version. (Opera 6.0 just released- very nice, lots of great features - highly recommended)
There is really only one choice, Macromedia's Dreamweaver is used by at least 75% of professional web designers, and consistently wins various shootouts, and reviews. It is a full featured "what you see is what you get" editor. Fairly easy to use, it also has power and can be extensively customized. The Full version is about $300, sometimes they have competitive upgrade offers, and as with all Macromedia products you can try it, fully functional, 30 days for free. Adobe GoLive runs in second place, and we won't mention the product out of Redmond, WA.
Graphic Editors and image viewers:
General web editing, I use Macromedia Fireworks. It integrates with dreamweaver, optimizes well, and does simple vector graphic overlays, masks, text etc. Also about $300, or comes in a studio set with Dreamweaver. Adobe Imageready is fairly equivalent to Fireworks. If you are on a tight budget, there are a few other options out there. Both programs are really for web graphics, if you also want to deal with images for print, you need photoshop.
Photoshop. If you need to remove a background from an image, or do some retouching, or carefully adjust color, etc nothing else will do. Expensive, worth it.
A simple viewer, Irfanview is really great, and free. It opens almost any type of graphic, scrolls through directories, even does simple conversions. A must have.
For a full featured and quick image viewer, Compupic 6.0 from www.photodex.com is very nice, reasonably priced (30 day trial). I particularly appreciated that it asks on installation if you want to customize file associations, or not set any - a thoughtful departure from programs that grab all the associations they can. Clean, intuitive interface, 70 file types.
Apple's QuickTime Pro opens different video formats, and can pull out frames, or make short video sequences out of sequential photos. About $30.
The Gimp, the linux photo editor is often held up as a photoshop equivalent, I've never taken the time to get used to it.
Text comes in more flavours than word processing. To start with, the major operating systems save text with different line endings: Mac with a carraige return, Windows with a carraige return and a newline, and unix with a newline. A good text editor will convert between them, will do a variety of search and replace functions, highlight syntax of programming languages, etc. They will also open that 25 mb log file - try that in Word.
The major web authoring packages have built in ftp packages, but most of them seem to leave something to be desired, - and don't allow you to set permissions on remote files, which you need if you are doing any cgi work
I use FTP Voyager from RhinoSoft - good set of features, works well
WSftp and Cuteftp are also popular.
Xenu - checks remote links. Authoring programs will check local links.
Macromedia Freehand and Adobe Illustrator are the main contenders. I like Freehand, perhaps because I haven't used Illustrator.
If you are running in linux, or unix these are probably installed on your system (command line), for windows folks there are online versions- just type it in as a search term and you will find a few. Whosis - tells you domain info. Tracert - tells you the network path between here and there. A nice collection of utilities is at Sam Spade.org
Oregon web site design and promotion guide
May 24, 2002