Web Page Design Programs – Five That Cover the Gamut

If you’ve decided to design your own web pages, good for you! You’ll develop a fountain of knowledge that will likely come in handy for years to come. Even better … there are so many web page design programs on the market today, covering all ranges of prices and sophistication, that your website design job is easier than it’s even been.

So let’s take a look at some of the more common website design programs.

Adobe Dreamweaver is considered a top-of-the-line HTML editor and is used by most professional web designers. It was built for web designers, web developers, and visual designers. You can easily view both the HTML code as well as the web page as it’ll appear in a browser. There’s nothing it can’t do. It supports most web development technologies, including HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, JavaScript, Ajax, PHP, Adobe ColdFusion┬« software, and ASP. It allows you to incorporate CSS best practices without writing code. It’s a very sophisticated program. Its drawbacks? It costs around $400 out of the box if you aren’t upgrading, and it has a steep learning curve that might require more time than you want to spend in getting up and running.

Microsoft Expression Web 2 (which replaced their Frontpage program) is working hard to keep up with Dreamweaver. It has all the tool bars for control of your page layout and formatting, sophisticated CSS design features, and can build a web site using XHTML, CSS, XML, and XSLT, all the while making certain your pages are web compliant (something that was always lacking in Frontpage). As with Dreamweaver, it can take some time to get used to, especially if you want to take full advantage of all its features, and it runs around $300.

Xsite Pro is a little lower down the scale, providing a solid foundation as a web page design program without some of the flexibility. You can choose from 200 templates in their template selector or you can add templates from other designers or even create your own from scratch. It comes with a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) module gives you the ability to create pages without having to know HTML code (though it helps if you do). The page layout screen lets you customize your color schemes, nagivation menus, headers, footers, etc. And it comes with an audio wizard and a video wizard to help add other media to your website. The program sells for $297, though they occasionally offer a $100 discount.

CoffeeCup is a free HTML editor. It’s a drag and drop system, much like other WYSIWYG editors, with a built-in FTP program for uploading. It has wizards for tables, frames, forms and fonts and comes with all HTML 4.0 and XHTML tags. The Free version also includes wizards for images, links and a Quickstart so you can create web pages fast.

PageBreeze is another free HTML editor. It includes both visual (WYSIWYG) and HTML tag/source modes and is designed for simplicity and ease-of-use. There’s a very small learning curve before you’re ready to go.

As you can see, web page design programs cover the gamut from expensive to free, from a steep learning curve to almost no learning curve. The choice is yours. It’s certainly not necessary to pick up the most expensive program on the market if you’re only going to be doing basic web site design. Though you don’t want to saddle yourself with a program that can’t do everything you need, either.