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  Stuff to Buy  
I have used all of the products listed here and recommend them highly. See the comments for the individual products to get full information (or contact me for more information). I get a small percentage of each purchase, but the product would not be listed here if I didn't think it was good.
Software    Books
  Software  
Dreamweaver MX 2004 (new window)
When you ready to move up to professional web development, you can't go wrong with Dreamweaver. Yes it costs more (over $350) but there are MANY features which make your coding easier, more efficient, and it will check your code against current standards. Just like HomeSite, you get code-coloring and snippets, but you also get templates (which allow you to quickly update all pages in a site), style editing, shortcuts which allow quick entry of tables, anchors, images, flash buttons and flash text, easily create rollovers and navigation bars, and more!
Fireworks MX 2004 (new window )
I have used Fireworks since 2001 and have never been sorry. Fireworks is vector-based (as opposed to Photoshop which is pixel-based and an excellent tool in its own right) and allows for easy creation as well as allowing you to increase and decrease the size of the objects/graphics with no loss of detail. See all the Fireworks features here
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  Books  
HTML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide (new window )
Do you use Yahoo IM and AOL IM to talk to your friends? Or even ICU IM? Now you can talk to all of them using only one software. Trillian allows you to use your accounts on AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC to talk to your friends on those services. You no longer have to have AOL, YAHOO, and MSN at the same time. An advanced Pro version has more features, but the Basic version will serve nearly all of your needs.
PHP for the World Wide Web Visual Quickstart Guide (new window)
When you want to start adding interactivity to your website, learn PHP. PHP will allow you to dynamically update your page based on many criteria. Unlike JavaScript, which is a client-side language (code and changes are on the users's PC), PHP is a server-side language which means the only thing sent to the users's PC is HTML code and all changes to the look and feel of your page are done before they leave the server. If you know any kind of coding (PERL, C++, even Basic) you can learn to easily integrate PHP into your HTML code. If you don't know coding, this book will step you thru the process of incorporating PHP into your HTML code with clear examples.
PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide (new window)
Once you learn PHP you can add database technology to your website. MySQL is a personal database that allows you to keep information on your website visitors or store information about your products and services, and serve them up in a meaningful fashion. I am a fan of the Visual QuickPro Guides and this one is one of the best. It's a great place to start for anyone new to databases.
Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (new window )
Steve Krug is a usability guru who has worked with many companies on their website User Interface. This book gives the reader a good sense of what does and what doesn't work. But not only from the website side of things; Steve also talks about usability testing with the mantra 'test early, test often.' Even if you have designed many sites in the past, this book makes a good read and may give you a new perspective on what your website should do to keep your users coming back.
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More to come!
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