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Your choice in open source web design software should be based on your individual needs and web design skill level. If you are an expert designer, the software you choose will be much different than that of someone who knows nothing about website design. There are many distinct characteristics you will want to look for, depending on how much you know about hypertext markup language (HTML) or how easy you need the design software to make things for you. Professionals will look for features that allow advanced scripts and Flash to be used, along with more customization, while lay people will need more graphics-based features and easy-to-use templates.
If you are a professional or experienced website designer, you will probably want to look for more advanced features in your open source web design software. These may include the ability to add customized codes by hand to create more unique websites. You may also want software that allows you to use Flash, CGI scripts, and other sophisticated data base scripts. Having these features will allow you to create a more dynamic site.
Find out if the software you are looking into has these features by either reading the software's website or writing an email to one of the programmers. You should also keep in mind that open source web design software allows users to make changes to the code used to create the program, so if you have any computer programming experience you may be able to alter things to your liking. Most open source software creators also take suggestions, so you may want to send them any improvements you would make to the program.
Beginning designers or non-designers who simply want to create a website for personal or business use will need to find open source web design software that is very straightforward and easy to use. The most user friendly type of software generally uses a graphical interface that allows site builders to see how the site will come together as they are creating it. They do this by using "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) templates.
Templates will look like a mini version of the web page being created. Several sections will appear on the page where users can type graphics, upload photos, or add hyperlinks. Some may even offer tutorials on how to use the software, and they generally have programmers or software engineers available through email or phone to help with any problems.
The main features you will want to look for when choosing a graphics-based open source web design software program is an easy to understand layout and a large variety of templates to choose from. In most cases, you can add your own background colors and pictures to the template. Look more for various web page layouts rather than color themes.