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Free Apps, Tools, and Software News: Web Design

Free Web Design E-Books

HTML and Design

For Web Designers: Basic to Advanced Coders

Aptana Studio: A user interface similar to that of Adobe's Dreamweaver, the editor is designed for both standard HTML coding as well as CSS and Javascript. With support for the latest browser technology specs such as HTML5, CSS3. For Windows XP and higher.

NetObjects Fusion Essentials is free web design software - a lite version of the NetObjects Fusion Suite. Some of the features in this free package include: rollover images, easy to design drag and drop layouts, a form builder tool and e-commerce capabilities. A free user guide is available for download in PDF format from the web site. For Windows and Mac users.

Joomla is an open source application with tons of user support forums online. It serves as a content management system designed to be easy to install and set up and offers a quick maintenance tool for webmasters with little technical knowledge.

SeaMonkey: An "all-in-one Internet application suite, this Mozilla-backed project (same group behind Firefox browser) includes an HTML editor with built in browser for viewing code. Also includes a Javascript debugger for more advanced coders. For Windows and Mac users.

Visual Web Developer Express: A free web development tool that has capabilities for basic HTML coding as well as support for more complex scripting to include capability for database development and deployment. (Microsoft product for Windows users) Browse hundreds of Flash-based site templates for free. Chose one you like and you can easily personalize it with simple drag-and-drop of the mouse.

WordPress: The company calls its software 'free and priceless at the same time.' Installation should take about 5 minutes and the software can be used as a full web site or a blog.

Major Web Browsers

Interoperability? Cross-Browser Consistency?

Your site design may look beautiful in Internet Explorer, but what about Chrome or Firefox? Here's a list of commonly used browsers designers may want to download for test purposes.

Chrome: When Google released its first-ever browser in late 2008, it was and remains to be designed like the search engine - clean and easy to use. Some of its features include built-in malware and phishing protection. Like IE 8, it includes a tabbed browsing mode and its "Incognito mode" which keeps web pages from being recorded in your browsing history to ensure extra privacy.

FireFox: Firefox resembles the Chrome interface (or should I say the reverse). Firefox, like Chrome has anti-phishing and malware protection built into the browser tool. Includes auto-updates for security fixes within the browser software itself, tabbed browsing, the ability to clear recent history and fun stuff like the ability to embed RSS feeds from your favorite sites and skins to match your mood. Also offers a mobile browser.

Opera: This Oslo-based company offers a web browser compatible with Linux, PC, and Mac, and a separate browser designed for the mobile environment. Opera has other features such as mobile widgets for phone and mail. Prides itself on security.

Safari: The Apple Safari browser is the native browser on Mac machines, (as well as iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), but is compatible with PCs as well. If you like the Mac design, this browser has a similar look/feel. Tons of features and extensions to include HTML5 code validation.

Master as Web Master

Introducing HTML5 - by Bruce Lawson

Written by Web developers with experience coding in HTML5, this book provides ample code designed to "play nice" with today's browsers to include Safari, Opera, Chrome, and more. Also touches on mobile applications and new attributes to create better web forms for your site.

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CSS3 In Easy Steps - by Mike McGrath

CSS3 in easy steps show how to create web pages using version 3 of the Cascading Style Sheets for presentation and dynamic effect. Color-coded examples demonstrated how CSS3 rules control content position and appearance.

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HTML: Your Visual Blueprint for Designing Web Pages with HTML, CSS, and XHTML - published by Wiley

If a beginner, this may be a good starting place. The book covers the very basics from the relationship between a web page and a server and works up to formatting text and images in HTML code and more advanced tools such as creating an image map and validating code. For those who are ready to move onto CSS and style sheets, a good intro and sample code is given.

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The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World - by Yahoo! Senior Editorial Staff

This book covers how to write compelling copy for the www. Copy to include email messages that catch your site visitors' attention. A great chart to help with shortening sentences as well as keyword structures to help your site remain more visible in search engines (SEO). Of course includes HTML coding to help underscore, bold, and liven copy.

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Learning Web Design, 2nd Edition - by Jennifer Niederst

Graphics bring web pages to life. Learn how to create image rollovers, borders around images, control the position of images on the page and animate gif files. Need to know how to shrink a file size or the difference between jpeg and gif - this book describes both clearly. Covers both HTML and design.

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Teach Yourself Visually Search Engine Optimization - by Rafiq Elmansy

You will learn through this book how to: build an SEO-friendly website; add metadata to your pages; optimize your site's content; create a Google Analytics account; and apply SEO to WordPress blogs.

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