Other Tools - HTML

Tools to create HTML are only half of the equation when creating online documents. You must also have tools available to do graphic editing and supply any multimedia content you use. This section covers a handful of additional tools necessary to create rich, online content.

Graphic editors
Year’s ago text-only Web pages were the norm. However, today’s Web is a visual feast, and your documents must incorporate as much imagery as possible to get noticed.

At the site level, NetObjects Fusion gives you complete control over your site’s organization while behind the scenes it adjusts links between pages automatically.

At the site level, NetObjects Fusion gives you complete control over your site’s organization while behind the scenes it adjusts links between pages automatically.

Almost every operating system comes with at least one graphic editor. However, the capabilities of the included editors are quite limited and should not be relied upon for much—the same goes for graphics programs bundled with many scanners, printers, and other graphics peripherals.

In a perfect world you should consider using both a vector-based and a raster-based editing program. Vector-based editors use shapes and lines to create images, while raster-based editors use individual dots (pixels) to create images. Vector-based images are traditionally more exact and clear, but raster-based images allow for more visually striking effects. The best results can be obtained using both—use the vector tools to create solid imagery and raster tools for special effects and finishing work. Note Only raster-based images (specifically JPEG, GIF, and PNG images) are supported by common user agents.
Vector-based editing tools include the following:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Macromedia Freehand
  • Dreamweaver’s main editing window can show the code view, the design (visual) view, or both.

    Dreamweaver’s main editing window can show the code view, the design (visual) view, or both.

    The Target Browser Check feature checks your code against the compatibilityof specific browsers.

    The Target Browser Check feature checks your code against the compatibility of specific browsers

    Raster-based editing tools include the following:

  • Paint Shop Pro
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Macromedia Fireworks
  • The GIMP

Note Paint Shop Pro actually supports both raster and vector editing. Note that these tools can be quite expensive—the latest version of Photoshop is several hundred dollars. Of course, Photoshop is without equal for raster editing; no other tool provides as much power and extensibility. Paint Shop Pro is quite capable at a hundred dollars, and The GIMP provides suitable editing without a price tag (it’s Open Source).

Flash can be used for simple or complex animations.

Flash can be used for simple or complex animations.
Tip Fledgling Web designers needing a handful of tools should look into Macromedia’s Studio product line. The Studio series provides Dreamweaver, Flash, Freehand, and Fireworks in one comprehensive package.

Macromedia Flash
Macromedia Flash is the latest staple for simple multimedia on the Web. Flash provides an animation platform with plenty of power via ActionScript, a flexible scripting language, and can be used for simple buttons or full-blown product demos. Although the interface is a bit idiosyncratic, Flash is an indispensable tool for online animation. Figure shows a Flash document in development. The main draw of Flash is two-fold:

  • It has become a standard on the Web that users expect.
  • Flash can provide even complex animations in a small package (small file size).

As such, Flash is another tool you should consider adding to your collection. You can learn more about Flash at www.macromedia.com/software/flash/.


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