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Heads Up to Designers: Firebug FTW!
A designer friend of mine recently recommended Firebug to me, for Firefox. Designers do not know that we developers have been using and abusing this tool for years. Apparently, nobody told the designers about it. Whether that was done in vengeance for inflicting us with the need to learn Photoshop, who knows. The point, though, is that too many web designers are not aware of the gnifty little tools that are available for simplifying their education about HTML/CSS.
Regardless, the issue needs to be corrected. Designers? You know who you are: you've gotten good enough at making digital newsletters (you call them websites) that you are beginning to finally learn how it works underneath the browser. You are beginning to grasp that, perhaps, you have not actually been a web designer all this time, just a designer. Actual web design requires you to understand how the tools work in a more technical aspect. And Firebug is one of the best tools for helping you do just that.
Firebug allows you to review what is actually on a web page; see the exact CSS that is applied to each element on the page and where it comes from, how it is trumped by which other style declarations, etc. When combined with an HTML editor and the page you are working on, it allows you to instantly identify and rapidly modify specific parts of the design.
After all, web pages don't get built using image editors; that's just brainstorming the design.
Real web design requires a balanced approach. It isn't just about the page appearance and whether or not it visually appeals to your client. In fact, there are a large number of factors involved (see image). Before you set about impressing the client with your mad l33t Photoshop skillz, you should first consider what information needs to be presented on the site and what the best way to present an interface for that information is.
In fact, by making use of such tools as Firebug, you can avoid spending your time in the traditional fashion (see pie chart). Firebug should be able to cut down on more than half of the time normally spent designing a page.
Download it now; you won't be sorry.