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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Question What to start with OSS or Commercial Software

    Hi

    I am new to sitepoint and this is my first ever post!!

    I want to look at being a web designer and possibly one day go professional at it. I have been researching what sort of things to learn like programming languages but my problem is because of a really low budget should i use open source software like Aptana Studio, Gimp, OpenLaszlo and Inkscape to get started or should i go out and buy the commercial stuff like Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash and Illustrator.
    My worry about going down the open source route is would i need to buy the commercial software eventually to go professional or to look at getting a full time job in web design and have to start the learning curve all over again, but then going down the commercial route it would take me ages to save up the money and feel as though my time waiting to save the money is time wasted.
    Any help and advice will be much appreciated.
    Thank you all in advance.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    The quaility of a web design depends on you and your brain, not the cost of the software you buy.

    I use several free programs, why shouldn't you? Are clients going to hire you based on the software you've bought, or the designs you produce?

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot
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    OSS is fine, especially if you are just getting started. As Dr. John said, it's all about you and your design, not your tools. Another benefit is that OSS allows you to keep your overhead low, so you can offer potential clients lower prices.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot zalucius's Avatar
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    Welcome to SitePoint.

    Aptana studio is a great product, even the free standalone version.

    I used to do all my coding in notepad++, and was reluctant to look at other programs, untill I wanted to peek at Adobe AIR.
    The tutorials here on Sitepoint, is based on the Aptana studio, which have jQuery installed as a plugin, so I installed and began using the studio.

    It didnt take long, before I realised that this studio package really did some helpful things, even for a "used to code everytning by hand" kind of person.

    Lots of customisation, intellisense, buildin validator, debugging, project manager... etc etc.
    It is very good when programming PHP/MySQL, you can manage your database from within the studio, and you can even preview the output directly from the editor window.

    I can only recommend you try out the free programmes... the worst thing that can happen, is that you gain alot of experience, and then it probably would be easier to move to the commercial products, if you ever needed to.

    Like the others say, its your skills that matter. However, the tools are also important, but not the cost of the tools, why not try the free/low cost ones first ?
    zalucius

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard, Andy.

    You can go far on OSS from where you're at; in fact, I would say that for now, Dreamweaver and other such programs might actually be a hindrance (in that you would end up learning the program and not how to code or design for yourself). Instead of buying tons of expensive software, get yourself a free copy of Notepad+ and spend your money on a few books. You might start with this and this. (Not trying to just hawk SitePoint books over other, equally worthy books; these two are very, very good.)

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    I agree with all the above - I've been building sites professionally (well, you know, taking money for it anyway!) for 4 years and I always use freebie software where I can. The two exceptions are Photoshop Elements (too mean to buy the full version!) and Swish Video which I bought in a moment of madness.

    To actually build the sites I always use free HTML editors such as PSPad or HTML-Kit.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Welcome to Sitepoint!

    I agree with the previous sentiments - it's not the tools but what you do with them. There is a huge choice of free and low-cost software that is more than ample to use for all your design/development work. Personally I use a mixture of free and inexpensive ones, but they're what I've chosen after trying out many applications to find the ones I like.


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