Web Design Software
Another battle between functionality and usability
Macromedia DreamWeaver is probably the most roundly acclaimed web design software. Every version and every update to this software is well liked and well reviewed, and this has been the case since Macromedia debuted this software, years ago.
There are other cheaper packages on the market you may even have a free copy of Microsofts Front Page that came with your PC, but these are never as well made and as versatile. In the industry, FrontPage is generally not well respected; it can get the job done but its never really pretty. FrontPage is relatively popular, of course (its included with MS Office packages) but its usual rendering of .htm files and some other aspects (the phrase bloated code is one you might hear in relation to FP) make its use obvious and distinct, for the wrong reasons.
Microsofts other design program, Visual Studio, is a little more complex and well respected, suitable as a developers tool for programming back-end applications.
Adobe GoLive is also well liked. Like DreamWeaver its a WYSIWIG design tool with drag and drop capabilities and more. The latest iteration, CS2 makes important innovations in handling CSS. For places where Adobe products are favored, GoLive is a fine addition to your software suite.
Macromedia Flash is a different program, of course. It can be used to design web pages and entire sites. These are fine if you have a dedicated clientele who bookmark your site. Flash certainly allows you a lot more creativity, including more animations and small movies. Today, Flash is in decline due to the emphasis on search engine optimization.
The fact that Google has no way of reading text from Flash renders enhanced animation and interactivity features unimportant. In some web-based industries, use of Flash has gone the way of the dodo, thanks to Google. It seems likely that very few Flash-based sites will ever register with the search engines. Its too bad, but this is the reality of search-based web culture.
There are also some choices in freeware when it comes to web design software. Some of these are well done. DreamWeaver is the leader in web design, though.