New to Web Design and looking for ways to be more efficient? I work with a small Web firm, and these are the main tools that I use in my job.
Hands down, my most prized “web possession” is my collection of notes & scripts. In this career, its impossible to remember EVERYTHING. Once I find something I like, I store the script (or webpage) somewhere to reference again later. Now I USE to use dropbox (see below) to store a folder of all my scripts. But once I started getting a couple hundred of them, I quickly got to the point where I couldn’t find anything! Either I forgot what I named the file, or I just plain forgot that I had stuff already referenced, and would re-write the note again.
Now my notes are stored in a database, and synced across any computer that I have Evernote installed on. Each note can be tagged with keywords, searched, sorted by categories, have embedded pictures, and can even attach scripts to the note (that was the selling point for me). I’ve also taken to keeping all my “project notes and to-do lists” within here as well. I have to juggle between so many projects, that it’s easy to forget where I last left off.
This program is free, unless you want the advanced features, which is $5/month or $45/year.
Dropbox is a fantastic tool for syncing all my current projects on other machines (since I work on 4 different computers!). Basically Dropbox is a collection of folders. Whenever you add anything to them, or edit them, they are uploaded onto the Dropbox server. Any computer that you install your Dropbox on, will then sync to show the new files. Pretty nifty! You can get 2gb of online space for free, and 250mb of space added for every friend you get to join (up to 8gb). Pay plans are also available if you need more space.
Firebug (Firefox extension)
I don’t know how the hell I ever use to troubleshoot code, before this extension came along (this extension didn’t exist when I was in school). Firebug shows you in a popup window all the html on your page, and all the CSS that corresponds with it. Not only can you see what styles are affecting what, but you can also change them as well and see the results in your browser. Such a time saver! IE8, chrome and safari have a “inspect element” built into their browsers… but I don’t find them nearly as easy to work with.
My preferred FTP program and HTML editor. You won’t catch me using Dreamweaver at my desk, I just need something accesses a server and color codes my syntax.
This is the only part of the Adobe suite that I use on a consistent basis. When I receive website designs from designers, Photoshop is what is generally used. You can pretty much consider it the “Industry standard”. NOTE: No you don’t need Photoshop to get started in Web Design, there are plenty of free image editors that would work for creating design mockups (like gimp, paint.net). But if you are serious about your profession, start saving your pennys for Photoshop.