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Most Useful Tools for Web Designers

A recent vote on has revealed which tools web designers deem to be most useful. Although there were over ten different tools mentioned, there were a few that designers agreed they would not want to do without. The following ranking is the result of said vote:

1. Firebug
First on the list of useful tools is Firebug, a tool developed by Mozilla, the same company that has also given us the immensely popular Firefox internet browser. Originally developed by Joe Hewitt, this open source extension for Mozilla Firefox allows for debugging, monitoring and editing CSS, HTML, and JavaScript in any web page. Firebug can be enabled for any site and can be opened as a separate window or as a bar in a browser. Firebug is a tool mainly used for finding errors in a website, which is a very important task for anyone whose work involves building or designing websites. It has become so integral to many people that they could not imagine getting their tasks accomplished without it.

2. Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop has been voted the runner-up for most useful web designing tool. Developed by Adobe Systems it allows users to edit graphics and it works on PC as well as on Mac. Photoshop is so popular that it has become Adobe Systems’ most well known software. It has also become a word in modern language; people refer to “photoshopping” when they speak about graphically altering pictures. This kind of absorption into everyday language is always a great measure of success. Photoshop enables users to manipulate and create web graphics with great tools such as filters and brushes. Photoshop also allows designers to save layer comps, instead of saving different versions of an image a layer comp can be saved as part of a file and easily turned into a pdf file if necessary. This is a great way to make various versions of an image more suitable for client presentations.

3. Panic Coda
Third place on the list of most useful web designing tools goes to Panic Coda. This particular application was developed for Mac computers and strives to make the process of writing code easier by eliminating a number of other applications that are necessary in order to produce and constantly preview the freshly written code. Panic Coda features a built in CSS editor to make the creation of layouts a lot easier, there is a visual as well as a text mode that lets designers work on their style sheets. In order to be able to visualize the code that has been written users can employ Apple’s WebKit, which shows designers exactly how things are going to look in Safari. Updates occur simultaneously to the typing or whenever the “save” button is hit. Panic Coda’s text editing is really a force to be reckoned with. It has all the common features like syntax coloring, line numbering, auto completing, block editing, and international support but a few other special features are what really makes this tool so great. Designers are able to communicate with co-workers by virtue of a live collaboration feature which allows users to share whatever they are producing with their co-workers no matter where in the world they currently are. In order to make coding easier, Panic Coda allows for frequently used text fragments to be inserted by dragging them from a floating window. Another newly developed feature is the option to download plug-ins in order to add new tricks to coda. No matter if users are able to write them or know of plug-ins that others have written this feature is truly extraordinary.

4. Dreamweaver
Adobe Dreamweaver is the second Adobe tool that has found its way into this list. Although originally developed by Macromedia it became part of the many Adobe products when Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia in 2005. Dreamweaver was made for Mac as well as Windows operating systems and offers support for an array of web technologies, scripting languages and frameworks. Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 is the tenth version of the original applications and is available in many different languages including Chinese, Korean and Russian as well as most European languages. A major advantage of Adobe products is that they are built to integrate neatly with each other meaning Dreamweaver will work nicely in conjunction with other programs such as Photoshop.

5. Fireworks
Adobe Fireworks is another Adobe Systems application, however, unlike Photoshop it has been developed specifically for web designers. Like most Adobe products it works on Mac as well as on Windows operating systems and integrates easily with other Adobe applications such as Dreamweaver and Flash. This application is a bitmap and vector graphics editor, but places more emphasis on vector graphics as opposed to Photoshop which is mainly a bitmap graphics editor. It features the great ability to convert elements into symbols. When these symbols are edited later on the changes are applied to all instances in which that symbol is used.

Design fans who voted on which tools they would not want to live without also mentioned others apart from these five most popular applications. Among the notable mentions are tools such as Adobe Flash, Aptana, Notepad++ and GIMP.

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