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Scripts and Software



  • Cusimano.com Scripts — They offer (as of this writing) four easy to use scripts for webmasters to increase their affiliate sales. I use amazon.pl XML and allposters.pl. These are superb scripts, especially amazon.pl, which has really helped my sales. If you are (or are interested in being) an affiliate of Amazon.com, AllPosters.com, GoCollect.com, or Photorazzi.com, you'll definitely want to check out the scripts over at Cusimano.com!

  • Paint Shop Pro — My all-time favorite graphics software. I use this for almost all my image editing. It's affordable (especially compared to its main competitor, Adobe Photoshop), and successfully manages to be both powerful and easy to use.

  • HomeSite — I hand-code everything, and I recommend it. WYSIWYG editors (especially the devil of them all, FrontPage) can muck up your pages. Learn HTML — it's not that hard — and get Macromedia's HomeSite for all your coding. It's easy to use, extremely powerful, and totally customizable. If I had to pick my two favorite features, I'd say... tag completion and HTML validation (it checks your code for errors). I would never take on a website without HomeSite.

  • Dreamweaver MX — The premiere software for those who insist on using WYSIWYG (plus you can also hand-code if you want, which makes it a good compromise and a nice learning tool). The learning curve isn't the easiest ever (you might want to grab a book to help you), but it is very powerful, and it doesn't screw everything up left and right like FrontPage does.

  • phpMyAdmin — Allows you to easily manage your MySQL databases over the web. Couldn't live without it.

  • Links SQL — An excellent script package for managing a links directory, or another type of categorized directory.

  • overLIB — This is the javascript library I use for the navigation pop-ups on the main page (the boxes that pop up when you hover over the navigation links at the top of the page). Free.

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For the love of Joss, don't use FrontPage! As you can guess if you've read my comments above, I — like many other webmasters — am not a fan of FrontPage. It's easy, and that's nice, but it's crap! It produces shockingly bloated, incorrect code, much of which will only work when viewed with Internet Explorer, and some of which just won't work at all. It changes your code, thus breaking things. (I've gotten so many emails from people who pasted the "Rate This Site" code in their page, then edited the page with FrontPage, then wondered why it didn't work anymore.) It's basically just plain stupid. Do yourself a favor — either learn HTML and use a hand-code editor (such as HomeSite), or at least use a better WYSIWYG editor (such as Dreamweaver MX or Namo WebEditor).

But don't just take my word for it — here are some quotes from the reviews at Amazon.com:

  • "Why do so many people have problems with FrontPage? The main complaint is that the output, which tends to be flabby and difficult to parse, can't be edited by the user and is difficult to run on non-Microsoft servers." -- Amazon.com Editorial Review
  • "This program is the industry standard of what NOT TO DO."
  • "The main problem is that is it very difficult to produce markup that conforms to the W3C standards. By using FP exclusively, you are likely to produce pages that look great on your computer, using your browser, set up your way -- but you may never realize that it may look quite different to the rest of the planet."
  • "Frontpage is for people who don't know the difference between a click and a right click."
  • "If you're at all acquainted with web design, then you probably know everything you need to about FrontPage: it writes non-compliant code; it has a horrible interface; and is generally unintuitive and non-industry standard. In short, it's ugly and doesn't play well with others. If you are new to web design, read the above and then avoid FrontPage like the plague."

(In case you're wondering, I'm not a Microsoft-hater. I don't wish Bill Gates any harm, I prefer Internet Explorer to Netscape (though I love Firefox best of all), Windows XP suits me just fine, and I love Outlook. But seriously, FrontPage really sucks, and should be avoided at all costs.)

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