In this first post I want to introduce you how to set up a workspace to design and manage your web projects using Dreamweaver (for coding), MySql (database) and PHP (server-side language).
Before you begin you need a software to edit web pages, a software to manipulate image, a local web server to test PHP pages, and a database where to store all data.
I think Dreamweaver is the best solution to design and edit code for your website. The current version, CS3, is easier to use, and more powerful than the previous version, but it has a rather elevated price ($399). You can download a trial copy from the Adobe website.
Photoshop / The GIMP
To create graphical elements for your pages I suggest to use Photoshop or The GIMP. The GIMP is a open source software to manipulate images, it's free and available for Win, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Server and Database
To manage you server locally and to test your website written with PHP, you can download and install Apache. To store data install MySQL database and phpMyAdmin to create and manage MySQL database.
If you are a Mac user, I suggest to use MAMP to configure your local webserver, MySQL and phpMyAdmin. It's simple, fast and free.