The Web Development Arsenal

Although I am still a newbie among most web developers, I have many basic skills in designing and coding websites. Many of my skills can be attributed to the intuitiveness of the software I use. At this point, I am much stronger when I use a WYSIWYG editor than if I am writing plain css code.

Why am I even writing this article? To motivate you to make some money online, of course! I have written a few articles covering two small streams of income I generate, and a common response is “it’s not detailed enough.”

Well, I am not going to hold your hand through the developer’s learning curve, I’m sorry. I don’t know people that have progressed in their skill-sets by just reading step-by-step articles. The best I am willing to offer here are some ideas that will motivate, maybe even enlighten, you to give some of these ideas a try.

I can write all the time telling you about how I make money online, but if you aren’t utilizing the development tools that are readily available, you will be left in the dust. Here are a few tools that I use on a regular basis:

  • Adobe GoLive 9 – GoLive is a must if you are doing any kind of work on a server or if you are coding for the web. I recommend this over any other editor, mainly for its ease of use. The other mainstream WYSIWYG option is Dreamweaver. It has its strengths, but I prefer the user interface of GoLive. I went from knowing almost nothing about coding to having a strong competency in CSS fairly quickly due to the ease of use that this program provides. It is extremely easy to make errors when you are coding, so having a really easy way to test and re-test makes the entire process less stressful.

    This program is pricey, so I suggest you either use your student discount, or find a student who is willing to get you a copy under their name. ^_^

  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended – This is a must have for ANY web developer. Being able to manipulate images, construct design layouts, superimpose the NERDIEST FACE you have ever seen into a banner image… the list goes on. Get this program, you absolutely need it. In fact, I would say you need it more than your second kidney.

    This program is pricey, so I suggest you either use your student discount, or find a student who is willing to get you a copy under their name. ^_^

  • Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 6 and 7 – If you are coding for the web, you obviously need browsers to check your work. There is no “or” in this title because you need all of them. These four browsers comprise most internet surfers, and each has their own style of reading your code. If you check out the article I wrote previously about our bootstrapping activities, you can see that Nate sits across the room from Josh and I. We will load up the windows xp machine, connect it to Josh’s monitor, and swivel it towards Nate’s desk. We will generally create a style sheet for each browser, and use PHP to detect each user’s browser so it can properly allocate the style sheets. We could run parallels (allows running XP and MacOS simultaneously) to accomplish the testing, but we already have the tower that I custom-built.

There are some great resources on the web that get into detailed instructions for web dev, and I will be reviewing some in posts to come. I will also talk about some of the other tools I use in later posts. What kind of tools are you using for web development?

15 thoughts on “The Web Development Arsenal

  1. I’m still on an windows machine so I use Dreaweaver CS3 and Photoshop LE, i don’t have a mac so i can’t test safari but i have all the other browsers.

  2. I picked up the Adobe CS2 suite for $AUD220 from Student Discounts and it was a great deal.

    Any Web developer really need Dreamweaver, Fireworks is also really useful as it is so much easier to use than Photoshop. Photoshop just purposely makes life difficult for web design. Hence when Macromedia and Adobe joined Adobe knew that they had to replace Image Ready. ^_^

  3. I like Dreamweaver, 30 day trial ran out though. Abobe products are definitly the way to go for web developing tools. They are just so darn expensive.

  4. I use Visual Studio .NET 2005 for my coding. I actually really like it, maybe because I am so used to it.

    I use GIMP for my designing as I do not have the money for Photoshop. I was going to use the money I made from my websites to buy Photoshop, but that may take a few years …

  5. I was using ImageReady CS2, but when we bumped up to CS3 I really didn’t like Fireworks. I guess I didn’t want to backtrack and learn the ropes of Fireworks… it can be said that Fireworks is an awesome program though. I can’t say that Photoshop is bad for web design, as long as you know what you are doing.

  6. You can go to browsershots.org to test your website in other browsers and on mac’s and linux machines too. Its free, cost nothing. I only test in firefox, ie6, ie7 and my sites tend to work in the rest without any issues. I’m old school here, I use a plain text editor, EditPad for coding.

  7. The best web development editors are either Aptana IDE or E-texteditor (a windows port ot TextMate for the Mac).

    Also Safari 3 is available for Windows now, and Firefox 3 will be released in a week or so. So I’d suggest you guys get that one too. At the moment I think it’s only FF3 and Safari3 that passes the acid standards test 100%.

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