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Dreamweaver hits the best selling list again this year with its newest release Dreamweaver 8. Touted as a terrific web site development tool, it is ideal for designers who are looking for a rapid, yet professional tool to build their sites. A bit on the pricey side – but "you get what you pay for" and Dreamweaver will pay for itself.

The best thing about this software is that is does not generate funky code you do not know what to do with. Hurray! It actually gives you good HTML code. And no, you don't have to be an HTML coding whiz to design a web site or use this software. Sure, there is a learning curve, but once you have mastered this tool – look out – you are going to be on a roll.

This baby also generates code for forms (and don't you all know what a PITA these are to develop the long, old fashioned, hand coded way) and to link with a database using most of the currently popular technologies. That would include PHP, ASP, XHTML and .NET.

Wait for it! Want to know what design things it can do for you? Well rollovers for one thing, and again this is really hard to code by hand. So short cuts are wonderful. There is also CSS styles (cascading style sheets), server side includes (SSI) and templates. Gotta love those templates for design on the fly! Server side includes means a type of HTML comment that directs the web server to generate data for your web page whenever it is requested. The basic format for SSIs are: <!--#command tag="value"-->

Here is another plus point for Dreamweaver 8. It also supports both inbuilt and downloaded extensions. Imagine how much time this is going to save you when you are under a tight deadline and do not want to start from scratch.

Your next best choice would be Fireworks 8 by Adobe. This is a specialized tool for web designers and can do site layouts, logos, graphic designs and a whole pile of other neat stuff.

Fireworks is terrific for optimizing images and exporting them (gif or jpeg format). But you have other goodies to play with – like animated gifs, swap images, rollovers, horizontal and vertical drop down menus or fly outs. You want to be kind of careful about how you use these, but they do make for a nice design touch to kick up your pages.

Another great web design tool is Flash 8 Professional – hands down the best tool for web site animations. Now normally you would think animations would increase the file size to an unmanageable size. This tool keeps the file size low and lets the site load fast. Not bad hey? Of course, you would still not want to overdo the animations or you will put people off your site.

This particular software is really for advanced actionscript programmers. So if that's not your cup of tea, then you can try out Flash 8 Basic.

Great selection of tools for website development are easy to find by doing a little bit of Internet research. You can also compare programs and ask questions and even check out online tutorials before you take the developing plunge.

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