Fab freebies

Visual Web Developer

This nice application is really aimed at advanced developers. There are some limitations to this particular package - mainly based around the fact that, unsurprisingly, it's designed for .NET servers - but it is an extremely powerful package. If you download SQL Server Express as well, you can create sophisticated database-driven sites.

The various tool libraries enable you to create the essentials of a number of Web applications. This is a canny move on the part of Microsoft to take on the popular PHP/MySQL combo and is a good indication of how free software does not necessarily mean a compromise on quality (http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/vwd). There are also starter kits like the beta Classifieds kit shown in figure 3.

The Gimp

The Gimp is not a Web design program, but a useful image editor that would be very helpful for anyone who doesn't want to shell out for Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro.

The program is powerful for a cost-free software application, but keep in mind that it is better to use the older, more stable 2.2.1 release rather than more recent iterations. Nonetheless, the Gimp works with a wide variety of formats and includes plenty of useful tools and fi lters. It's just one of many excellent programs on the Web (www.gimp.org or off the Cover Disc of the August 2006 issue of PC World Magazine).

Site of the month

Two of the online resources in this column are available, free of charge, on the Evrsoft Web site for developers.

Here you'll find a whole host of other extremely useful resources, including applets for generating Flashnavigation buttons, sitemaps, Web site rankings and many other useful goodies, as well as articles, tips and tricks for Web design, and scripts and templates for its First Page program. Evrsoft really is an excellent resource, click here to view a screenshot.

Getting started with NVU

Nvu is a fairly sophisticated open-source Web editor, which is highly recommended for those who don't need scripting abilities. As well as a decent site manager, the program includes support for CSS (cascading style sheets). This is now a necessity for any form of modern Web design. When you load Nvu for the first time, it'll launch into default WYSIWYG mode and you can switch between this and source/tag views from the View menu. To insert graphics, links and tables into your page, use the main toolbar at the top of the screen and then the next two bars for more refined formatting.

One feature we highly recommend you use is the built-in CSS editor. To begin setting styles for your site, go to Tools-CSS Editor. Click the Rule button to create a style, enter a name for this style and click the tab you wish to format - for instance, text, backgrounds or borders. In each setting, select a feature - such as a font or colour - and click Close when you've fi nished. The editor will then save any changes you've made automatically.

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Jason Whittaker

PC Advisor (UK)
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