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Software Web Design Dreamweaver First steps
html Domain Names Email Search engines
Security Apache PHP Javascript Perl/CGI Mysql


As this is not the definitive guide to the web, I can only talk about what I know... so, what software do I recommend?

Development Platform

All of my development work is on a PC running the dreaded Microsoft windows. Yes - I suffer the continual crashing, just like everyone else.

Web Design Software

The purists will work with a text editor to develop their web sites... good luck to them. Out of the dark ages there are plenty web design tools. I go for Macromedia Dreamweaver, like many serious designers. Another front-runner is Adobe GoLive. Microsoft Front Page..(let it take over your whole machine) is a good package for instant web sites but as per usual it adds complexity to your pages, takes the control away from you and is slow. More to the point you'll need special extensions on the server to make it work... very Microsoft!


There are two sorts of graphic: Bit map and Vectored. Photographs are usually saved as bit maps, basically a grid of squares and a colour for each. The quality of the photographs depends on the number of squares (pixels) and the number of colours for each pixel.. 3, 4, 8, 256, thousands, millions and more.


Bit map editing software

The industry standard is still Adobe Photoshop. Its truly impressive. Corel Photo paint, Paint shop pro and others are also out there. Normally bit maps are saved in a bit map format (.bmp) but as file sizes are large, compression algorithms can be used. Tiff files use compression which is lossless and sometimes better for vector graphics... jpeg is lossy and ideal for photographs. Lossless or lossy.. means that you can recover the original data or not.. sometimes you want to, sometimes not. My advice is to always work on an image at high resolution and save the file with no loss. Then make a copy for the web site, usually with a jpg format.


Vector graphics

The standard may be Adobe Illustrator, or Coreldraw... discuss. Vector graphics are images that are described... draw a line this thick, this long, this colour etc. Graphic artists tend to draw vectored graphics.. I am not clever enough, so I take an original photograph and edit it with Photoshop.

Web server

Apache. You could go for Microsoft if you like, but I can't afford to get it and tell you how to use it. A web server is the utility that will send data to your/their browser. It is the link (or one of them) that talks to the user. It is possible, and I'd recommend it, to set up your local machine to have Apache server software installed. That way you can test your web site as realistically as possible before publishing your web to the real server.

Script languages

Three varieties: Javascript, PHP and PERL. Useful for loads of stuff.. See later.

Data Bases

MySql is probably the most used, mainly because its public domain again. Others are Microsoft Access, dbase and many more.

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Last modified: August 14, 2006