i m quite a newbie with magento 1.x.
may i seek your help for a pointer to some tutorials (or whatever) so i can understand the correct way for customizing the home page (e.g. for layout, content, css, etc)? and which IDE (or however) should i use to customize for easier handling the complicated structure of magento?
You can refer a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bDEQNbKYYs
Magento design Guide for CSS, HTML changes http://info2.magento.com/rs/magentosoftware/images/magentodesignguide.pdf
For IDE you can use PHPStorm and Netbeans are good for Magento but you can also use Eclipse and Zend Studio.