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All of my designs are created in Photoshop and I utilize a couple of sitebuilding programs. While I used to be limited to only creating sites with these assisted programs, I now collaborate with another local designer, who prefers to create domains and sell them, I am able to do the design and have him convert it into xhtml/html/css/php etc (tbh, I have no clue how all those are different-but am hoping to learn soon).
Photoshop is my best design friend! But then, I do not use a single template. Each and every one of my designs is unique.
Sorry it took a minute for me to respond...been a very busy bee these days.
I use Photoshop and Fireworks at home and at work. Each one does their particular purpose and I have found that for some creations I can do it better in Fireworks and save it as a Photoshop file (PSD). However, Photoshop for me is most used.
When you start the coding yourself, there are two programs I like to use. Ok, actually three. I use regular Notepad for quick and easy changes to something. When I start actually coding a website into HTML or CSS I love Notepad ++, it is free and has some useful tools to help keep your code clean and useful.
When I start getting into the PhP and Web Java I use NetBeans. Until you actually start using those, though, I would stick with Netbeans. It's cross platform and easy to use. If your running an Ubuntu machine, get Bluefish. Its pretty cool, easy, but not updated to be XHTML compliant, but easily editable for compliance!