We do not like visual editors, we like hard coding by hand.
Among Microsoft products Expression Studio is too much focused for IE, it has little to offer for WordPress.
Dreamweaver is the King of HTML editors, but there is much chance of getting error full (Invalid for W3C) result and has little to offer for WordPress.
Next is horrible Photoshop PSD file to WordPress template converting softwares. Horrible, because they are for eye candy stuffs, not for creating a powerful theme.
This is the reason Thesis and Genesis is among the best SEO optimized WordPress Theme platforms. They are hand coded. Woo themes is partly hand coded too. Worst themes from SEO point can be found in Theme Forest. Looks great though.
Notepad++ is a free basic open source tool that is our choice for several reasons:
- Code indentation and color markings.
- Has nice auto-completion feature.
- Supports side by side windows and tabs : very helpful for comparison.
- Search and replace using regular expressions.
- FTP-client that allows you to edit files on the fly (a plugin needed to be installed)
The second important tool, that scans our result are the browsers. Most powerful is Opera’s Dragonfly:
See the selection in background. Dragonfly is very light and can show the code for any page element.
For most beloved browser, Firefox the most necessary plugins:
- Page speed
Next is Safari, good but better to use the aboves.
Have we missed any browser? Oh yes. Internet Explorer. It is used to test which CSS codes are not rendering properly (pun intended).
The third indispensable tool – a graphics editor which support layers. There is free tool called GIMP , we love Adobe Photoshop for the headers and a mockup.