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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    I'm a newbie and I'm about to build my first site. It's going to be business-related. I've been reading a lot on this forum and I've seen where many people are singing the praises of Dreamweaver as a web authoring tool.

    My question: Is Dreamweaver too sophisticated for me? I'll be learning by trial and error, plus I may pick up a book on Dreamweaver. I only ask because it seems as though even though many people give a "thumbs up" to Dreamweaver, most of these people started out with some other tool, usually a less sophisticated (i.e., "easier to work with") one.

    Do I spend $250 on Dreamweaver, or do I go for a simpler and less expensive tool?

    Remember, I'm a first-timer (but I do want my site to look professional, not cheesy).

    Thank you in advance for any comments.

    -Kevin

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Kevin,

    Odds are only you know enough about yourself to know for sure...but I'd give 1stPage 2000 a try. It's available free for download at http://www.evrsoft.com - although you'll basically need to know HTML to use it...and if you don't, you need to before getting involved in this line of work anyway...

    Dreamweaver is well spoken for among people I know...so if you learn HTML and then decide that 1stPage isn't the way to go, Dreamweaver may well be the right editor for you...although at $250 it might only be worth it if you plan to make some money with your skills eventually.



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  3. #3
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    Possibly not a popular response, but, I think its best to use notepad when starting off. Don't use a tool that sheilds you from the html, at least not until you are very comfortable with it. Then use a tool to simply speed up the process. The advantage of this is that you can always edit your code, even if you have to use a clients pc, edit via a palm (!), log into a server via telnet and use pico or whatever.

    BTW, dreamweaver does rock righteously.

  4. #4
    Freelance Web Designer KeithMcL's Avatar
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    Might be even better to use Textpad from www.textpad.com which is a better text editor than notepad. That's what I mainly use even though I also have Dreamweaver.

    If your only new to HTML and Web Design it's a good start.

    Dreamweaver is an excellent app but I think you'll be better off in the end writing the HTML first.

    Regards,

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    Keith McLaughlin
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  5. #5
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    YEP
    Definitely use a text editor. But if you want to test Dreamweaver why not download a 30 day trial first. Also, if you are a student you can get an educational copy pretty cheap.


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    Webmaster of Gib-Online Dot COM (or webmistress for that matter!)
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Definately learn HTML before you touch any WYSIWYG editor. It will help in the long run.

    I highly recommend you download the trial of Dreamweaver (and other programs you are considering to purchase) before you actually buy them. You will then find out if the software is really for you.

    Personally, I love Dreamweaver.

    And another thing: It doesn't matter what HTML editor you use, they will be cheesy if you don't do a good job, and spectacular if you do a good job. Sometimes it is easiest for me to use FrontPage Express when I want to set up a design (I submitted a contest entry using Front Page Express), but I really like Dreamweaver. Your site will not look cheesy in a poor WYSIWYG editor, or even a HTML editor.
    http://www.evrsoft.com/- 1stPage 2000
    http://www.textpad.com/ - TextPad
    http://www.visic.com/ - AceEdit
    http://www.macromedia.com/software/ - Dreamweaver

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    [This message has been edited by trcfreebies (edited June 27, 2000).]

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I totally agree with all the posts above.

    1) Learn how to code with HTML and Javascript through a basic text editor.
    There are various books and webpages that teaches you how to do these.

    2) Make good use of the trial versions of any software you plan on buying. Use them for 30 days, and then decide if you like them. Different people have different preferences. There are people who likes Dreamweaver, there are people who likes FrontPage, there are people who likes HomeSite and others.

    3) In order to look professional and not cheesy, you'll have to be able to implement various tools and techniques. Things like good graphics, layout organization, Cascading Style Sheets(CSS), suitable fonts, attractive colors, dynamic content using Server Side Includes(SSI), CGI and so on.

    The bottom line is that Dreamweaver isn't a miracle or a magic pill, a lot of factors need to be put together effectively in order to look good and function good. User-friendlyness is a major factor too.

  8. #8
    Kat's Meow Senior ******* WebKat's Avatar
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    I can understand where you are coming from. . .Seems overwhelming doesn't it?

    I started with only a free web page Homestead (wysiwyg) to create my first website a couple years ago - with no knowledge of how a website was formatted, let alone did I know HTML. For a year I was would just drag'n'drop with no idea how it worked or how to even make a hyperlink - I took that time to learn HTML, website formats, FTP and more...via resources, tutorials, tips - many gathered here at SitePoint. Those were the building blocks that were influential for me as I learned and to feel confident when I started using Dreamweaver2 - which I love It helps to organize my site visually that I couldn't do with others...

    I don't know how much of HTML that you know but I was lost when I first tried any of the 'straight' HTML editors, even when I tried WYSIWYG programs (I first tried FrontPage Express) because I did not know a thing about HTML. Even setting up the files necessary to FTP my work to the web confused me!

    Any WYSIWYG will build a site for you but you need to know the 'behind the scenes' when the coding just isn't working the way that you want...they will set up your tables great, but if your page doesn't look the way you want them to you need to understand HTML to be able to fix them!

    I have tried all the editors others have posted, 1st Page, TextPad, CoffeeCup, Hot Dog, even tried SiteAid. You should download them all, use the free trials to try them out and get familiar with how they all work. They all are great programs but you must have some understanding of HTML or they will completely overwhelm you.

    ** Don't buy any program until you try them out for free! Most have 30 day trials or are completly free like 1st Page.

    ** Download any WYSIWYG such as Dreamweaver for a trial period and work, work, work on learning how they function via HTML and structure...they can visualize your webpage for you better than any.

    ** Overlap learning a program like TextPad with a WYSIWYG program. They work great together whether you learn one before the other or not!

    ** If you haven't started bookmarking sites on the web for tutorials, tips, and other web design sites, do it now and use them! Start with SitePoint, they have great resource links!

    ** I can't emphasize enough that you need to understand the basics of HTML before you try to create a site!

    ** And keep on your desk - the 'Visual Quickstart Guide-HTML4' and any other 'VQG' that you find that you need...they are great little reference books and I use them often!

    We all have our own opinions on what and how is best to learn first, whether TextPad or WYSIWYG or 'Name that Program' - But we all agree on learning HTML!

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    My PawPrints by WebKat
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  9. #9
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    Wow! Thanks to all... you people are amazing.

    WebKat, you said the following, which I really needed to hear:

    "I have tried all the editors others have posted, 1st Page, TextPad, CoffeeCup, Hot Dog, even tried SiteAid. You should download them all, use the free trials to try them out and get familiar with how they all work. They all are great programs but you must have some understanding of HTML or they will completely overwhelm you."

    My humble and sincere thanks for your guidance.

    -Kevin

  10. #10
    Kat's Meow Senior ******* WebKat's Avatar
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    Kevin, I sure needed to hear a thank you today Good luck, WebKat

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    My PawPrints by WebKat
    "Let's keep Ethics on the Web"

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    Tip: You can do a lot with FrontPage Express which is freely with Internet Explorer. If you like it you could buy FrontPage 2000.

    Christophe

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    http://freesources.net - the ultimate webmaster resources site

  12. #12
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    Thanks freesources, I'll definitely keep that in mind.

  13. #13
    Fluffy Kitten Programmer~ Elledan's Avatar
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    If you're using Netscape Communicator, you could use Composer first. This is a very easy to use WYSIWYG program. I've used it before I begun using Dreamweaver, and I think they've a lot in common.

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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    I've kept my distance from things like that...IE: Netscape Composer, AOLPress...the only HTML Editor (and it's hardly that...it most assists in other aspects of site creation) that's FREE that I've found worth using is 1stPage2000 - http://www.evrsoft.com



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    Chris Bowyer
    MyCoding.com: Join our mailing list for launch notification!
    "I'm not an insomniac, I'm a web designer."

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru CJ's Avatar
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    Yes..ok..1st Page is very good... But I think getting familiar with making websites and html is best achieved with Frontpage express or Netscape Composer. Because you HAVE to go in the code to add pieces of HTML like styles what you don't have to do in professional editors...

    Christophe

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    http://freesources.net - the ultimate webmaster resources site

  16. #16
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    Hi all, i just wanna say something (not much help but just for fun on my first day here)...
    dreamweaver...or...dreamer, haha i guess i'm the dreamer here. i got dreamweaver 3, homesite 4.5, and frontpage 2000. the bad news is i cant take advantage of their unique features. to me they are all the same... i'm a newbie too, so umm... i wish you good luck on your first website. by the way... b4 you buy it, icq me at 77080555, i can send you my copy since it's just wasted in my hands.

    hehe, cya.

    -Mike


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