Microsoft and Apple computers are no doubt the web designers choice when it comes to creating websites. Adobe software has become the niche and the creative professionals favourite for many years. Linux on the other hand has improved considerably over the past few years and now it is possible to create beautiful websites with the plethora of tools available. Here are a few of those tools to get your creative juices flowing.
Graphics and Web Design
I am sure by now you have probably heard of GIMP and Inkscape. Gimp is similar to Adobe Photoshop is excellent for touching up photos and creating pixel based designs. MyPaint is a paint program which is designed for pressure sensitive graphics tablets. Inkscape on the other hand is similar to Adobe Illustrator and is extremely useful for drawing and creating scalable graphics such as logos and icons. Xara Xtreme is also another popular tool for vector drawings. Shutter is a screenshot tool that is useful for capturing and editing screenshots for your blog or website. For resizing images with speed you could use Shrink O’Matic which is a drag and drop Adobe Air application. Trimage is a small utility to compress images and Gloobus-Preview is an excellent tool for displaying images quickly without the need to open them in GIMP or Inkscape.
Dreamweaver has dominated the web design market for many years for creating WYSIWYG websites. On the other hand coding your own website is always encouraged to be able to learn web design properly. Aptana Studio is a very powerful piece of software as is Eclipse, Komode Edit and Netbeans. Hardcore enthusiasts use Emacs and Vim. If you want a lightweight editor then Gedit, Bluefish and Geany are extremely popular.
If you are designing logos then you may have lots of fonts installed in your system. Fonty Python is a font manager and organiser where you can browse and install fonts. Fonty python lets you create groups of fonts, known as pogs, which you can install/uninstall with one click. Another great feature also is having the ability to compress your pog or pogs into a zip file for easy transportation if you change to a different Linux distribution and require a quick install.
The majority of browsers now are extensible and have tools for checking your websites for errors and tweaking code etc. Firebug and Web Developer Toolbar both come at the top of the list. Xampp for Linux is a web server and is excellent for testing your PHP/MYSQL powered websites.
Other Useful Tools
One of the most used pieces of software on my Linux desktop is actually a very simple piece of software. Clipit is a an excellent clipboard manager. If you copy and paste a lot this is the tool for you. I highly recommend a clipboard manager regardless of whether you do web deign or not. Meld is a extremely useful 2/3 way file and directory comparison tool. Getting Things Gnome is a excellent piece of software to organise your tasks which also synchronises with Remember The Milk and also makes use of the Hamster Time tracking applet. VirtualBox is great for testing your websites in alternative Operating systems without having to restart in your computer. Web Developer Tools (WDT) is like a swiss army knife of web tools including image processors, editors, decoders, compressors and server side tools.
Do you develop or design using Linux? Have I missed anything that you think warrants a mention? I am quite surprised that with all the Linux distributions out there no one has developed a web/graphic design based distribution. Who knows maybe in next few years we might be seeing one!