I agree with Peter, VWD is definitely the place to start. If 2008 (haven't got it yet) is like 2005 it comes prepackaged to allow you to choose to install all these critical components that you'll want. The .NET framework (you can't do ASP.NET without it), the MSDN libraries (unlike every other MS product, a useful help and set of walkthroughs for learning how to do ASP.NET), and as Peter said SQL Server. That's probably optional, but a lot of power to play with. :D VWD also includes your all important development server so that you can see your pages in a real web browser and not just in the IDE. This saves you hours of uploading stuff to the server just to see what it looks like (though you always get a nasty surprise or two when you upload, but if you've been developing for 6 years, nothing out of the ordinary).
I'd also recommend installing all the key browsers. It's easy to do cross browser work if you develop that way all the way through. It's functionally impossible to salvage a design after you've developed it for one browser and find out that somewhere along the line, you did something that made IE, or Firefox not like your page. If you keep checking your page in both browsers every few lines of code you can tell exactly where the bugs creep in and undo them. IE (preferably 6.0 as 7.0 renders a lot like Firefox) and Firefox are a must. For now that's probably what you want to stick with. Once the heat is off, here are the others that are very valuable.
Use Safari or you'll screw yourself out of all the Mac users, it's not like anything else (if you don't have access to a Mac, join the club, I can't test it either ) I also like Opera because it has a lot of built in developer tools for checking out your design. Shift+F11 also toggles Opera's mini-browser mode which is the most painless way ever of checking how your design will look on mobile devices. If you're interested in SEO
, you'll also want to download Lynx. It's the text browser that Google recommends if you want to see how your pages look to Google's bots. It's also a good way to test accessibility, as Lynx is the most popular text browser used by the blind and physically handicapped.
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