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Miscellaneous Software
The Net has led to the development of some amazing software, and the future looks very exciting (and for webmasters, very demanding).

The software reviewed here doesn't fit neatly into any of our other categories. But we've found value in all these products at various times and perhaps you might do the same.

3 MISCELLANEOUS SOFTWARE RESOURCES

What Else?

The array of web software that can be downloaded off the Net these days is remarkable.

While the number of purely freeware and/or shareware programs has tended to decline with each passing year (bandwidth isn't free!), the number of trialware programs has expanded as compensation - and overall prices for web and graphics software have dropped as a result of the reduced marketing costs (and wider market) the Net provides.

Our Resources Directory is a very good place to look for additional software. And if you have a favourite manufacturer or two, you might like to look through their sites as well.

Many now hold delightful surprises! All you need is the patience to download the (often quite large) programs.
 

Xara Web Products
Xara are a web graphics software company who make three very useful products that many webmasters have fallen in love with the last few years: Xara 3D (which generates 3D images in a snap), Xara Webstyle (which allows you to generate many common graphics like buttons, bullets etc quickly and easily without any particular skills or background in graphic design) and Xara Webster (which will allow you to generate small, optimised web graphics and some interesting special effects with just a few mouse-clicks). All three products are available for downloading off Xara's site as 15-day trialware, and all of them retail for less than $US40. We've always been impressed with these nifty little programs - which are now in their 2nd and 3rd versions - and you may be too.

Alien Skin Eye Candy
Alien Skin Software formerly produced the Black Box filter set for Adobe Photoshop. This product contained 10 bolt-on filters that greatly extended the power of the filters supplied with Adobe's program, allowing users to achieve effects in a few mouse clicks that would be tedious, time-consuming or (in some cases) completely impossible otherwise. Black Box then matured into Eye Candy, and the Skins added a further 11 filters to the range. The software is available for both Macintosh and Windows platforms and has now been extended to work with many, many other graphics programs, including MacroMedia's Fireworks. A free download is available so you can preview the effects that this product can create (two filters are supplied free - but if you want to unlock the other 19 you'll need to buy it).

TextPad ASCII Editor
If you do any work with Perl scripts, you'll probably need a pure ASCII text editor sooner or later - especially if you introduce a carriage return or some other "invisible" character into the script (and you only need one of these in a file to make your script fall over!). While most Windows users have access to NotePad or WordPad, neither of these is really very helpful when it comes to tracking down these sort of high-bit character errors - but TextPad (a shareware editor from the UK) most certainly is! This marvellous editor will allow you to see all the "invisible" characters in a text file or script with a single mouse-click so that you can remove them - and it's saved our bacon on several occasions when a script has accidentally become corrupted. TextPad is also a remarkably powerful editor with a wide array of other features that well repay its small registration fee, and one we can highly recommend. Don't touch a Perl script without it!

Search for more web-related software in our Resources directory!
 

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