As a Web designer relying heavily on open source software, I have created a list of some of the software I use to complete jobs for clients. This is not an all encompassing list, but a good starting point. I have made sure to list software available on multiple Operating Systems.
No web site is complete without content. OpenOffice.org is a great office suite to use for creating the content which will go on client web sites. It, like Microsoft Office, has much more capabilities and uses. Impress (slideshow program) is useful for creating presentation for sharing with clients or even for the clients themselves.
OpenOffice.org is capable of opening Microsoft Office formats and can even save to them. It is a way of trimming your budget as well as using open source software.
Not willing or able to spend the big bucks for a program like Photoshop? Give GIMP a try. It is available for quite a few different operating system and offers some of the same capabilities Photoshop does. If you get stuck or need some inspiration, search for GIMP tutorials in your favorite search engine. There are quite a few good tutorials out there.
GIMP is an all-around graphic creation and editing program. Coupled with Inkscape (below) you will have graphic software to do just about anything you can imagine.
Even if you are not a graphic designer or have a ton of talent designing logos, Inkscape is an excellent tool to add to your toolkit. I use Inkscape daily as I have some artistic ability but not a graphic designer. You can use various fonts, shapes and even place text on a path. Inkscape even allows for you to import photos and clip them for use in a finished product. I have done this for several logos I have designed.
Inkscape is a Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) program, meaning the “images” you create within Inkscape are fully scalable. Stretch them, resize them. This allows for a create once, export multiple. Meaning you can create an image as a 3″ x 3″ and “save” a copy as 6″ x 6″, without artifacting or blurring the image. Save the original file as a SVG and then you can modify it later using Inkscape.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly pointing you towards a particular program as the selection is partly based on your Operating System. Some of the top browsers to have and test web sites under are: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera. Internet Explorer still seems to be the main browser used, but unfortunately is not open source. Testing the site under various browsers helps ensure the site will appear as intended to the largest audience possible.
Note: While Internet Explorer is not open source, if it is available to you I would recommend using it for testing web sites. I do not recommend using it for anything more.
PDF Creator / Printer
I am sure that you have or will be asked to create a PDF document for a client. These days many programs can save or export document to PDF files natively. If the program you are using does not do so, my recommendation is to locate a free pdf printer program. There are quite a few to choose from.
12 years working in desktop publishing and web design