From softwares, scripting languages to CMS’s, every web designer has his own set of tools. With so many choices out there, I find that focusing on a certain skill set is more valuable than trying to learn everything. With that said, I would like to share some of my preferred tools in designing and developing web sites.
Graphic software: Photoshop is still my choice even though I am still not sure how much I know about the software. All I know is that Photoshop helps me accomplish the tasks I want to do when creating photos for the web or making mock-ups. Even when I have the opportunity to create print materials such as business cards, flyers and book covers, I never even bothered to use InDesign. I just ask the print designers for the specs and I do everything in Photoshop. Firework is probably a better choice for making web graphics, but I never spend enough time to get to know the software.
Web editor: Yes, I am still using Dreamweaver and I am not ashamed to admit it. Many hardcore programmers seem to look down on Dreamweaver, but I find it to be quick and easy to use, especially when I have to maintain many pages. The copy-and-paste into the design view has improved tremendously in CS5. Dreamweaver no longer pulls in crazy codes from Words like it used to. Before CS5, I had to use an HTML cleaner my friend and former colleague had made to strip out tags and replaces quotes with unicode characters. It’s a great tool and I still use it from time to time.
Web technologies: I used to be a Flash fanatic, but I moved away from it and concentrated on HTML and CSS. I am glad I did. Flash is still a fantastic tool and I am still using it to create simple motion graphic projects, but I cringe whenever I come across a full Flash web site.
Scripting languages: I am not a hardcore programmer and PHP doesn’t seem so daunting to me. I can write simple codes and modify existing scripts to get what I need. Whatever I need to accomplish something using PHP chances are I can find something similar out there.
CMS: WordPress is the system I am most comfortable with. In addition, its flexibility and ease of use, specially the admin interface, are perfect for running small web sites. I experimented with Drupal in the past, but didn’t get into it far enough to see how easy I could create a theme. I will revisit version 7 in the near future, but for now, WordPress could handle most of the things I would like to do.