Just browsing - are we are living in a post Photoshop world?

Adobe Design Web Premium: US $1899.00
Sublime Text 2: US $70.00

The disparity between these numbers should be sending the overcrowded swathe of developers that pop up on the Photoshop load screen into a fit of white-knuckled terror. $70 USD is currently your barrier to entry to the best piece of web design software available. Their terror is real, but there's no need for sympathy. These days there's a little piece of me that weeps when the familiar 400+ interface items spring to life with Photoshop ignition. It's the spaceshuttle dashboard I have to try to bring home in my worst anxiety dreams.

Working through the designs for a complex platform like Wipster, I'm finding no answers for the questions Photoshop just insists on asking. Remember, you cannot create a document in it before first specifying height, width and density. Certainly these details are things that may have been pertinent to a mid-century painter of large abstract canvases, but in the bendy world of omni-device design such things are almost totally meaningless.

To be fair to Adobe, Photoshop is not a piece of software that was ever built for the web. Its core functions largely predate it. It's a programme designed to edit photos that's been the victim of excessive feature-clamping to satisfy the designers who use it for the lack of anything else. No doubt there are a great deal of people who use Photoshop for actual photography who would be less than impressed with the loss of half their trade tools, but a company with a stronger vision (not to name names) might be willing to draw a line under all this baggage and rebuild the old warhorse from the ground up.

Admittedly, Adobe do appear to be taking some steps to remedy the situation. The Edge Tools seem like genuinely promising attempts to create a total workflow set that makes sense for the web. And yet the point remains – all of this is just designers writing banjo solos on a grand piano. The place to build things is in their natural environment, which is where the $70.00 text editor pays dividends. It's true that the process of negotiating the logic of stylesheets can seem fraught and restrictive for beginners used to a totally different mode of thinking. And yet the time needed to invest in a basic understanding of HTML and CSS is still well south of the time it takes to wrestle the controls of Starship Photoshop. This is where any product software giants can throw at web developers will only fall into a spiky pit. With where the technology of web development is now, their products will never be as simple to use as not using them at all.

The design work for Wipster has so far been almost exclusively browser-based. Initially that's because the pressures of iteration were so intense that there simply wasn't time to consider other options, but increasingly it's because it's far more comfortable to work that way (also, Sublime Text 2 does not deign it necessary to put anyone through a load screen). Any basic experiments can be handled by the excellent and exceedingly good value Pixelmator, and nothing that a classically trained Photoshop jockey would consider design happens until all the structural user-experience has been set down into the template.

There is a counter argument that would say the language of web development is too restrictive to make the big choices during the design process, that the complex structure of HTML provides disincentives to make big changes fast. I agree there should always be a stage where the cost of changing your mind needs to be as low as it can possibly be, however I have precisely the right tool to suggest for that task also.