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Web design and development primer - Authoring tools ...

For the benefit of the many young or new designers and developers getting started in creating webpages, I would like to share some personal experiences. Historically, I have been dabbling with web projects since as far back as 1994/1995 when the Internet was still in its infant stage. Back then, the easiest and fastest way to get started was to get a Geocities account and set up a simple homepage. As Geocities mature through the months ahead, it was able to accomodate more customization such HTML tags and other scripts. As I grew out of the Geocities sandbox, I began to code webpages using text editors and WYSIWYG tools. One of the earlier tools that I have used was Microsoft Frontpage. It was simple enough to use and was suitable for me at that initial period of learning and experimenting.

Soon after that, I realized that Frontpage was encapsulating(hiding) a lot of the important features that I need in order to have better control over my websites. At that point, I sought out various tools that I could find on the web, downloaded them and used them on a trial basis for a couple of weeks. There were definitely many text editors, WYSIWYG tools and so on out there. I spent a few months time reading about them on forums and bulletins boards, trying them out extensively myself and then uninstalled the majority of them in the end. One of the tools that have continued to work for me up to this day is HTML-Kit.

I am impressed by the quantity and quality of plug-ins available for HTML-Kit. It makes designing and developing websites enjoyable. The features are straight-forward and user-friendly. I do not have to sit through a 3-month long course at a college to use HTML-Kit. I can't say the same for other programs such as Dreamweaver and Frontpage. Granted that I have occasionally worked on Dreamweaver for short amount of times, it is indeed a very robust and powerful piece of software. Chances are, unless your day job and paycheck depends on the web design/development industry, Dreamweaver is slightly overkill for most home-brewed projects. Of course, the price tag itself isn't exactly affordable for the small one-person operation starting out on a bootstrap budget.

HTML-Kit is essentially free, with new value-added options for a low fee. I have been happy with the clean code produced by HTML-Kit. Besides HTML-Kit, I am also happy to recommend other free choices such as Crimson Editor, PSPad, Notepad++ and also TopStyle Lite for CSS layout purposes. All these have stood the test of time for me because they have been reliable, they have been well-maintained and most important of all, they have worked for me with wonderful results time and time again.

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posted by Jeff ,


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