Webmaster Software Guide for Beginners
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Except for the most Spartan web site design, you will need special webmaster software and tools for your work. You don't need a lot of them, but there are some programs and utilities that every good webmaster needs.
First on the list of webmaster software is an HTML or web page editor. Most free HTML editors are text-based, meaning you have to deal directly with the code. A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, on the other hand, is much like using a word processor where you just select the font type, size and color and so on and let the software do all the coding.
Of course, WYSIWYG is easier. But be warned: Most free (and even paid) WYSIWYG software produce sloppy HTML code behind the scenes. The result is bloated "spaghetti" coding. It may not matter to you for a while, but when the time comes for you to edit the raw code directly (say, to insert a counter or banner code), you're likely to find yourself in a jungle of wild, messy HTML.
Another side-effect of bloated code is it makes your web pages bigger in file size than they need to be. This happens because this type of webmaster software repeats the same code over and over, uses extra spaces, and/or is unable to think of shortcut tags that a human programmer would know. If web space is an issue, you may need an HTML compressor later on to help your pages trim that excess fat.
Some web page editors do come with HTML compressors. A warning before you use them here: Compressing the files is done by removing extra spaces and returns. When these are removed, the raw code will be one huge mass of tags and text. Make backups of your web pages before compressing them, and make sure you're done with them since it'll be harder to re-edit them after compression.
Unfortunately, most quality web authoring tools are expensive. Many developers have to settle with cheap or free webmaster software instead. When choosing a web authoring program, try to find one that at least has a built-in CSS editor and a table-generator. Tables have always been hell to code on your own, and nowadays much of formatting is done with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). These ought to be top features in good webmaster software.
Further, you will need an HTML validation utility to check errors and tidy up your code. An FTP program will be needed too if you prefer FTP to web-based file transfer. Thankfully, these are often included in good HTML editors.
An image editor is also a must. You want to make sure of two things with your graphics: 1) their colors must look right on all monitors, and 2) they must be small in file size. Some free image editors offer excellent JPEG compression and color reduction, so get one of those. You may also want image-slicing, GIF transparency and animation, and text capability. But you shouldn't need expensive graphics software that would cost an arm and a leg.
The right webmaster software will make life easier for you, not harder. We suggest that you start with only a good HTML editor and image editor for starters. These would be able to take you far enough in your budding web authoring career.
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