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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member Newbie Learning's Avatar
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    Newbie Needs Your Recommendations

    I know the least of anyone on this forum, and that's guaranteed! So bear with me.

    I want to start tinkering with building a website. I've read some forum posts here, and from what I've gathered, I need the following:

    (1) A web or text editor.
    I read that this includes software such as Adobe CS4 or 5 or Dreamweaver. I purchased Adobe Contribute CS3 about five or so years ago, but only used it to edit a website that was designed by a web developer.
    1. Is Adobe Contribute the type of software I can use to build a website?
    2. Do you recommend Dreamweaver over Adobe Contribute? Or is there another that you recommend?
    (2) An FTP client.
    I am totally clueless about this. My only experience with an FTP is when I send audio or video to someone via "YouSendIt" or "SendThisFile," etc.
    1. Which FTP client do you recommend?
    2. What is the main difference in the FTPs you purchase and the free FTPs?
    (3) A graphics program
    I'm assuming that everyone would recommend PhotoShop.
    1. Does anyone know where I can buy PhotoShop at a reasonable price?


    TEMPLATE MONSTER:
    I've been Googling, and I found Template Monster templates. Does anyone know anything about Template Monster? Do I simply buy a template and then use Adobe Contribute to edit it? If so, is there a limit to the amount of editing I am permitted to do? In other words, can I change the layout if I so choose, or am I limited to only inserting and editing text, photos, etc.?

    When I am viewing the Template Monster templates, I see notations just below the template samples that read "Full JS Animated Template," "CSS Full Site Flash," PSD Template," "Responsive Web Template." If I'm not mistaken, I believe I saw one on there at some point in time that read something to the effect of "WordPress Template." I don't know anything about WordPress, but I had the impression that it was software designed for blogging. Can WordPress be used to build or edit websites? Also, what is "CSS," "PSD," and "Responsive"?

    Are there free templates, comparable to what Template Monster provides, that I can download and play around with?

    HOSTING:
    If I buy a domain name from GoDaddy, does that mean that GoDaddy is the "host" of my website? Does that mean that GoDaddy is reserving a room for my website to reside, as the hostess? LOL. I apologize for such elementary questions, but, like I said, I know absolutely nothing!

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Hi Newbie Learning. Welcome to SitePoint.

    I can't answer all of your questions, but I'll answer some.

    Regarding text/code editors, there are plenty of free ones. In fact, even the simplest program like WordPad on PC of TextEdit on Mac are fine. They just don't have all the buttons and other functions that make things a bit quicker, but the simpler code editor has the advantage that you have to write the code yourself and thus will better understand how your site works. Fancy editors (especially WYSIWYG—what you see is what you get) gan work against you by inserting a lot of bloated and unnecessary code to get the job done.

    Some examples of free text editors include:

    Aptana Studio
    NetBeans
    CoffeeCup
    Sublime Text 2
    Bluefish
    Amaya

    In terms of FTP, some code/text editors have this built in, such as DreamWeaver, so you may not need one. But there are plenty of good ones out there, like FileZilla, which is free. Perhaps one difference between a free one like this and a commercial one like Transmit (for Mac) is that Transmit look prettier, but other than that, they are the same.

    Photoshop is very handy, but also expensive (there are no reasonable prices!) but there are some free alternatives that are quite good. The best is probably Gimp, but there are some simpler, free ones too.

    As for templates, they can get you moving much faster, but they tend to be overly complex and not well coded. You'd need to check each one to see how much they let you change things, but I would think that's not a problem.

    WordPress is a very popular system that allows you to have a fancy site up and running in minutes. The code can be a bit convoluted and hard to modify, though, so there might be a learning curve. Although it's designed for blogging, plenty of people use it for regular sites, and a lot of themes/templates are pre-designed for that use, too.

    The ideal is probably to learn to code from the bottom up, but it's up to you! Hope that helps a bit.

    EDIT:

    If I buy a domain name from GoDaddy, does that mean that GoDaddy is the "host" of my website? Does that mean that GoDaddy is reserving a room for my website to reside, as the hostess?
    No, domain hosting and web hosting are completely separate. You pay for them separately. You can have them together with the same company, but they are still separate items you pay for, and you can split them apart later if you like. Many people have their domain hosted with GoDaddy but have their site hosted with another (proper) web hosting company.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Member Newbie Learning's Avatar
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    Ralph,

    Thank you for such a quick response! You've given me good information to chew on.

    So what is the best way for learning code?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie Learning View Post
    Ralph,

    Thank you for such a quick response! You've given me good information to chew on.

    So what is the best way for learning code?
    Hey Newbie Learning. I am 46, and in the past 2 months I have learned HTML5, PHP, Python, C (almost) and so much more.

    Many may disagree, but fine nerdom is like fine wine, we all are awesome, just different flavors.

    "http://www.timothytraining .net" Create The Net is his main page. Don't let it intimidate you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMZARc_GdLE I started here: Introduction to Dreamweaver CS5- Part 1

    At sometimes I was impatient, I did a lot of jumping around between all his videos, and I still do. I downloaded the free trial of DreamWeaver and stayed logged in as much as possible and did as many of Timothy's lessons as I could. When my DreamWeaver ran out, I started using Sublime Text 2. Depending on how far along you get with Dreamweaver, you may want to look at a more out of the box IDE until your comfort zone improves. However, learning about Sublime Text 2 has taught me more than I can express in this post. Oh IDE is a design package that takes you from designing to publishing on the web with a user interface and a few clicks. ( there is more to it, but basically that is the important part)


    This may not be for everyone, and it does get extremely slow at times, but I can now take advanced courses on line and realize I don't need them. All because of Timothy. He is also very prompt at responding to questions. Maybe not in detail, but he will direct you to the answer.

    Good Luck.
    Last edited by Paul O'B; Apr 25, 2012 at 11:17. Reason: de-linked

  5. #5
    SitePoint Member Newbie Learning's Avatar
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    Wow. I'm grinning ear to ear at your accomplishment. I've stepped away from it for a while -- been busy at work -- but hope to get back to it. My hat's off to you for persevering! Been there, done that -- with other topics, though -- and it ain't easy You give me hope! I, too, was very impressed with Timothy's desire to help guide and teach. Not too may folks out there like that.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member Newbie Learning's Avatar
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    Would "Beginning Programming for Dummies" work?

  7. #7
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie Learning View Post
    Would "Beginning Programming for Dummies" work?
    I'm not sure programming is what you should get into—at least not at first. Starting off with a good book on HTML and CSS is a good option. HTML and CSS are the 'bread and butter' of web design, or at least front-end design (which is what people see in the browser). One book I recommend is Stylin' with CSS. That's the book I used to get going, and I loved it. But there are some great SitePoint books, too.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member Newbie Learning's Avatar
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    Doh! Goes to show how much I know: I thought that programming and coding were the same thing. See, I'm already learning! LOL.

    Thank you for the book links. I will look into those right now.

    I downloaded GIMP. Looks fun. Can't wait to start playing with it.

  9. #9
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbie Learning View Post
    I thought that programming and coding were the same thing.
    Well, they are, really. Programming involves coding just as writing HTML and CSS involves coding. They are all code. But programming is a bit more heavy-duty, and you can learn all about that without necessarily being able to put up a web page, so that's why I suggest getting HTML and CSS under your belt first. The most common programming for the web is with JavaScript (to make fancy things happen on a web page) and PHP, which makes fancy things happen on the web server.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    I can't speak to the quality of resources on Timothy's training site, but it seems all geared towards Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is NOT necessary for site building or design. It's a nice tool, but it's just that, one of many tools that you may or may not find useful. When you see people insisting that sites must be designed in Photoshop, coded in Dreamweaver, or whatever, be wary. Again, not disparaging anyone or anything, just sounding a cautionary note.

  11. #11
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    some good text editors are Notepad++ and Sublime 2.

    You can use FileZilla for FTP.

    PhotoShop is a rip off ($700 is standard full price I believe). If you're a student you may get it for $200 or so. Maybe use Gimp or something until you actually need PS.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uleesgold View Post
    PhotoShop is a rip off ($700 is standard full price I believe). If you're a student you may get it for $200 or so. Maybe use Gimp or something until you actually need PS.
    I wouldn't call PS a ripoff, just very overpriced and not the Essential Web Design Program that many people call it. My biggest stumbling block as a Web designer is my poor graphic design and creation skills. I have an older copy of PS (CS2), but even this "obsolete" program is well beyond my skill level to create unique and beautiful graphics. I have learned a few minor things to do, and am very glad I have learned that much, but as a part-time freelancer who doesn't work in a company with a graphic design department (or even a single graphic designer), my designs are reliant strictly on what I can produce. PS is a terrific tool for creating Web graphics (though Illustrator is even better, I understand). It is NOT a Web design creation tool. You can create lovely pictures of Web sites in PS, but not the actual sites (at least not well).

  13. #13
    Community Advisor silver trophybronze trophy
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    Let me throw in "CODA" and TextMate as awesome editors, which built in FTP features. I like Photoshop and Illustrator, as they are industry standard. So unles syou are gonna go commando freelance, you might as well LEARN those. but I have been hearing GIMP and Inkscape as alternatives... Tho.. if cost is all that mattered.. why not iWork.

  14. #14
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dresden_phoenix View Post
    Let me throw in "CODA" and TextMate as awesome editors, which built in FTP features. I like Photoshop and Illustrator, as they are industry standard. So unles syou are gonna go commando freelance, you might as well LEARN those. but I have been hearing GIMP and Inkscape as alternatives... Tho.. if cost is all that mattered.. why not iWork.
    Great suggestions. I'd like to add Espresso to the mix. A solid editor for OS X. It's by the same developers who created CSSEdit. It's a robust application.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  15. #15
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    Espresso is a nice product. I didn't end up using it, but it was one of my favorites. CSSEdit is awesome. I have both Mac and PC so I like my tools crossplatform.

  16. #16
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    I tell this to all prospective developers... In the words of a dearly departed friend:

    1) "The only thing you can learn from Dreamweaver is how NOT to build websites." -- This is because the WYSIWYG generates rubbish code, their templating system breaks good code, their demo templates are some of the WORST outdated code out there, and their wizards make the templates look good. As such, everything it comes with are bad examples to try and learn anything from.

    2) "The only thing about Dreamweaver that can be considered professional grade tools are the people promoting it's use." -- if your pages, regardless of the site size, are complex enough to need 'project management' you're probably doing something wrong; like not leveraging a SSI properly or poorly organizing content... the only other thing is a FTP client; and that's only useful if you're DUMB ENOUGH to try and do live edits (instead of maintaining a local copy) or too lazy to hit alt-tab.

    Fat bloated overpriced pile of rubbish that in order to even TRY to make a decent site with it, you have to ignore pretty much everything that makes it any different from a decent free text editor.

    Like Flo's Notepad2
    http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html

    or EditPlus
    http://www.editplus.com/

    or Notepad++
    http://notepad-plus-plus.org/

    or if you're on a Quackintosh, Text Wrangler:
    http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/

    In fact, I've rarely if ever seen a website produced using Dreamweaver that was worth a flying purple fish.

  17. #17
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    I like the simplicity of the google videos "HTML, CSS and Javascript from the ground up"
    http://code.google.com/edu/submissio...ss-javascript/

    The Mozilla docs look good from a glance and go into more detail.
    https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/learn

    The Opera Web Standards Curriculum looks good too.
    http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/1...dards-cur/#toc

    I'd suggest watching the Google videos, then just create your first page.
    Ask for help in the CSS forum when you run into something you don't know how to do.
    There's lots to learn but trial, error and asking for help will get you most of the way.

  18. #18
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    To get an affordable photoshop you must go to adobe's online store.
    The main difference b/w FTPs is security. i prefer Winscp .

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by seoexpertrizwan View Post
    To get an affordable photoshop you must go to adobe's online store.
    No, you need to be a student. Outside of that, PS Elements is a nice product for the normal user.

    I prefer using a PHP version of Eclipse with Komodo Edit being option 1B as my IDEs of choice.

  20. #20
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    Eclips was good enough but I use it for Salesforce Programming.

  21. #21
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    I hate to jump in and only answer the original questions, but I think that it could be useful. I'll just give my own preferences:

    1. A Web or Text Editor
    A: I use Notepad++ as my code editor. I love the features that it has (tag highlighting, auto-indent, keyboard shortcuts for firing up webpages in different browsers, read through the documentation for more) and think it's very useful. I'm still unsure about what exactly Contribute does. All of the Adobe product descriptions are super confusing for me. I know for sure that Dreamweaver is a code editor, so I'll assume that Contribute doesn't have a code editor as that would be somewhat redundant. I think Contribute does back-end stuff. Anyways, Dreamweaver is a good code editor - but not a good WYIWYG (although that's an oxymoron). It's good, but not worth $700 (or whatever it is). I would just stick to a free code editor.

    2. An FTP (File Transport Protocol) is a program that uploads your files to the server that you host your website on. When you register your domain w/ places like GoDaddy.com or Hostgator.com, you're buying space on one of their servers (a big computer that has the website files on it and sends it to people who want to visit your website so that you can see it. The FTP client (program) on your computer sends the files of the website that you've created to the server (GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.) so that people can see your website (b/c the visitors contact the server, not you at home). Filezilla, as mentioned, is a free, fast, and easy FTP client that should fit your needs. For me, Filezilla does what I need (upload stuff to the server), so I don't see any need to pay for an FTP.

    3. I would recommend Photoshop. I think it's a great program (albeit expensive - but I'm a student, so Haha, suckers!) but takes a while to learn (I've been tinkering for maybe 5 months and don't know the entire thing :/ ). It's a super powerful tool that's absolutely packed with features that can help you out. GIMP, as noted, is similar to Photoshop - the main difference being that GIMP won't burn a hole in your pocket. I would buy Photoshop from Adobe - genuine copy that will most likely have no problems. If you're worried about cost, check out a subscription plan. Try it out for a month ($30 USD) or buy it for a year ($240), and then see if you like it. Of course, there's always the trial, which will come out after the release. You can also try the Beta edition, which is absolutely free until the release.

    Good luck!
    ~TehYoyo

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I know Notepad++ gets repeatedly mentioned, but if you use something like PHP, it simply isn't going to compare to other PHP based IDEs. I tried it, and it was uninstalled shortly after.

  23. #23
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    Hi Newbie,

    I am a bit of a newbie (6 month headstart and want to do this for a living, so motivated!) That said, I found that working with a good HTML / CSS tutorial was a good starting point, but I quickly signed up for an online learning site called lynda.com. Lynda.com is well reviewed and kind of expensive (either 25 or 37.50 per month) but they have great classes on all the things you might need to learn including HTML/CSS, PHP, and Javascript (if you need to go beyond HTML / CSS)
    I also really like some of the suggestions about Wordpress. Wordpress is a great way to create an easy to edit website or blog. Wordpress has many "themes" available both for free and purchase that you can use to create a nice looking site fairly easily. Think of them as templates. Note though that if you need to modify a theme yourself you will not only need to know HTML and CSS, but some small amount of PHP as well.
    Books are really helpful after you get going. I am a book fiend and because I am trying to learn PHP to a high level, having 2-3 good books in addition to taking an online class / tutorial is a big help. Each author provides a different perspective and after awhile you get a really great idea of how to go about things efficiently (assuming the books are good).
    Don't waste time and just jump in. It's the best way (no fear!)
    Best of luck

    Jim


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