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  1. #1
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    Should I buy Dreamweaver? Oh please help.

    Hi!

    Can you suggest software that I could use to make a website with CSS?

    I want to make a website that would be in the neighborhood of this:

    http://www.stewartpaxton.co.uk/image...re_council.jpg

    I have, maybe, $200 or so. I am a public school teacher and can get a discount from adobe. I will also need graphic software.

    I have used dreamweaver for years and fireworks, but I wish I could learn to make a site like the one I posted above.

    I made this one: http://www.rusticofurniture.com.

    Anyway...

    What do you think I should buy? ...just to make a basic site using css. Thanks sooooo much.

  2. #2
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Welcome to SitePoint, JulieGirl.

    What Operating System are you on?

    I'd stay away from Dreamweaver. It's extremely expensive and the only thing you need is the code view, something you can get from any other good editor without spending as much money.

    Some good editors are Notepad++ (Win), Coda (OS X), TextMate (OS X), Espresso (OS X), TextWrangler/BBEdit (OS X), Sublime Text 2 (OS X, Windows, Linux), and Komodo Edit 7 (OS X, Windows, Linux).

    There are plenty more, but these are the ones I've used and they are all very good.

    As for software to create graphics, if you have FireWorks, then you should be fine. It can do all that is displayed on the website you posted as an example. For that site, the only graphics you'd need are a gradient or two, logo, a background (search field area bg), and the magnifying glass icon. Everything else doesn't require any images and can be done with CSS.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  3. #3
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    Well heck. Maybe I'm asking the wrong question:
    Did they use CSS to make this? http://www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/ It's kind of what I'm looking to make.


    Oh thanks so much.

    I am so used to WYSIWYG. Is there a software that is kind of like that?
    If I used notepad to make a website I would just flip out trying to do it!
    Is that what you meant? Write the code on notepad? I think I would just die!

    I have a Dell laptop from 2 years ago. Inspiron. Win 7.
    Do you know what the person might have used to make this?
    http://www.bordergrill.net (I don't care about that fancy rotating picture stuff)

  4. #4
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Hi JulieGirl. As Maleika said above, there are many great alternatives to Dreamweaver. Many of them are free, too. The tools you use for this are not really the issue here. The real question is how to create a site that looks like the image you posted. Having Dreamweaver (and a hole in your pocket) won't get you any closer to that end. The key is proficiency with HTML and CSS, and that takes a bit of time and study. However, there are lots of helpful people here, so feel free to ask away. For example, a good starting question would be—What's a simple beginning HTML framework for building a site like the one pictured above? Questions like this are best asked in the HTML/CSS forums.

    EDIT: seeing your post above this one, I'd say the person who created that page coded it by hand. Honestly, HTML and CSS are very simple, and it's actually easier to write the code than use a WYSIWYG editor. My first attempts at getting things to look right on screen were murder until I realized how easy it was to manipulate the code itself. It's truly worth the relatively short time investment. One simple book will get you going in a short time.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    CSS is used to make every site nowadays (okay, some throwback somewhere is pounding away at his keyboard, snarling about whippersnappers and muttering that tables were good enough for grandpa and they're good enough for me, but we're not worried about him). Your goal shouldn't be necessarily to Build a Spiffy Site, but to learn HOW to build that site.

    I'm a teacher also, and we both know that the process is as important, if not more so, than the final result. It won't do you any good in the long run to use a program to build a snazzy site if you don't know what the program did to construct it. My suggestion is similar to Kohoutek's: download a powerful, code-friendly text editor such as Notepad++ or Coda (not plain old Notepad, that would be frustrating indeed), start putting together a site using CSS, and see where you go. We can help you when you hit roadblocks, and we can steer you to sources for more help (Maxdesign tutorials yes, W3Schools no, for example).

    By the way, just from a quick glance at the source code, the South Lanarkshire page is nicely done, though nothing extraordinary. The Border Grill page, not so much. I'm pretty sure it was made in Dreamweaver or something similar, though I didn't poke through the code long enough to make a solid determination. Lots of unnecessary JavaScript and code spaghetti in there. Did we mention that Dreamweaver sucks?

  6. #6
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    Ha! Ok. You guys just saved me from buying Dreamweaver. I was totally gonna buy it but decided to check here first. Wow.

  7. #7
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieGirl View Post
    Well heck. Maybe I'm asking the wrong question:
    Did they use CSS to make this? http://www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/ It's kind of what I'm looking to make.


    Oh thanks so much.

    I am so used to WYSIWYG. Is there a software that is kind of like that?
    If I used notepad to make a website I would just flip out trying to do it!
    Is that what you meant? Write the code on notepad? I think I would just die!

    I have a Dell laptop from 2 years ago. Inspiron. Win 7.
    Do you know what the person might have used to make this?
    http://www.bordergrill.net (I don't care about that fancy rotating picture stuff)
    All good sites are made without a "What-You-See-is-What-You-Get" editor.

    Dreamweaver has a visual editor, of course, but relying on it will make things worse. Instead, consider the browser window your WYSIWIG. Good text editors allow you to preview your HTML documents in a real browser, so it's not all that much different from using a WYSIWIG editor.

    And you definitely won't die. It might look intimidating to you now, but like Ralph and BlackMax have said, the learning curve is manageable, and your results will be moons better. It's actually not too difficult to get a good site up with the aesthetics of the sample site you posted.

    I'd get a solid editor like NotePad++ and a good beginner's book (or online resource) on how to create a website from scratch. Those are the primary ingredients to get you up and running much faster than you might think.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    My school actually bought me a single copy of it for my classroom computer. I use it to show my kids in the Tech Club just how bad the code it produces is.

  9. #9
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    you can get a 30 day free trial of Dreamweaver on line.

  10. #10
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    As a dearly departed friend used to say, "The only thing about Dreamweaver that can be considered professional grade tools are the people promoting it's use". 90% of what it does is teach you how NOT to build websites, and by the time you don't need that 90%, you're back down to a overglorified notepad replacement and throwing money out the window - like as others have mentioned there are plenty of decent flat text editors that are OVERKILL for something as simple as writing HTML and CSS (or even XML, PHP, mySQL, ASP, PERL, Python, Ruby, C, Pascal or any other programming, scripting or markup language you could name)

    My current favorite:
    http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html

    Is nice because of it's line wrapping options, ability to turn of the annoying acid trip of color syntax highlighting, and it NOT being tabbed or restricting everything to one window -- so I can for example have my CSS open in one window at a third of screen width, HTML in another, and then any other code in yet another; then simply alt tab to ALL the browsers for testing... since if you are testing against just one browser, you are more likely to lead yourself down the garden path on a technique that might simply not work everywhere.

    But there are plenty of others
    http://notepad-plus-plus.org/
    http://www.editplus.com/
    http://www.crimsoneditor.com/

    Over on the Mac you have Text Wrangler, which if you're on Lion is an easy free install off the App Store.
    http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/

    *nix users get a whole slew of editors of differing complexities, from the easy to use gEdit on Gnome, to the very complex but powerful (and often annoying) vi/vim.

    Franky, if you 'need' anything MORE than a flat text editor for making the HTML/CSS for a website, you might want to consider doing something else.

    WYSIWYGS are rubbish, the sites they make are rubbish -- in terms of accessibility, maintainability and sustainability they are nothing but unmitigated disasters.

  11. #11
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Wehoo! Crisis averted! Maybe it's just b/c this is a markup and code-oriented forum, but we tend to advise against WYSIWYG editors for the reasons listed above.

    Although it's easier, keep in mind that just b/c it's easier doesn't mean it's better. I guarantee that an excellent website made by hand will be better than an excellent made w/ a WYSIWYG.

    ~TehYoyo

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TehYoyo View Post
    than an excellent made w/ a WYSIWYG.
    No such thing.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    As a dearly departed friend used to say, "The only thing about Dreamweaver that can be considered professional grade tools are the people promoting it's use".
    Dude, you linked to my writeup about Dan. I'm honored.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Member Walden's Avatar
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    I actually do use Dreamweaver to create my sites, but I hand-code everything and only use the "code view." When I bought Adobe CS5 Dreamweaver came with it. So when I transitioned to designing websites rather than graphics I started using Dreamweaver since I already had it and was very familiar with Adobe products and interfaces. That being said, I do not think it's worth the money to buy it on its own if you plan on hand-coding. And I tried the "design view" WYSIWYG editor a few times and found it to be frustrating and lacking the control that editing the HTML/CSS will give you.

    You mentioned also needing graphics software. Since you are eligible for the education discount, I might recommend just buying Adobe CS5.5. You'll get Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc. Basically all the software you would need to create most any graphic or web design, and it's much cheaper to get the CS than buy a couple softwares on their own.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Addict kvnwpts's Avatar
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    I use dreamweaver, I would get confused not using it. I like it and sometimes its good to have view mode. (Sometimes)

  16. #16
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    But why spend ~$700 on that when you could use another code editor for the same purpose?

    ~TehYoyo

  17. #17
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy TheRaptor's Avatar
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    As mentioned above, Dreamweaver is not what you want to be using. All you need is a text editor. Sublime Text 2 is one I've been using lately and so far I'm very impressed with it.
    TheRaptor - Joe

  18. #18
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of Notepad++. But maybe that's just because I haven't tried anything else....but hey! It does what I want, code highlighting, color-coding (excuse the pun), and has some great features!

    ~TehYoyo

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TehYoyo View Post
    It does what I want, code highlighting, color-coding (excuse the pun), and has some great features!
    In other words all the annoying things I turn off.

    Do they let you turn off the stupid tabbed editing and *SHOCK* let you run editor sessions in different windows yet, or is it still the step backwards in functionality for multiple display users?

    Not that it matters -- it's just another Scintilla wrapper, which is why it's pretty much the same thing as Flo's Notepad2, just bigger, fatter, and not letting you disable some annoyances.

    Which is not to say Notepad++ isn't a fine editor; it just doesn't let me turn off some of it's more annoying 'features' that just get in the way of actually writing code.

  20. #20
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow60 View Post
    Do they let you turn off [...]*SHOCK* let you run editor sessions in different windows yet, or is it still the step backwards in functionality for multiple display users?
    Sure do! (I just did it)

    Not that it matters -- it's just another Scintilla wrapper, which is why it's pretty much the same thing as Flo's Notepad2, just bigger, fatter, and not letting you disable some annoyances.

    Which is not to say Notepad++ isn't a fine editor; it just doesn't let me turn off some of it's more annoying 'features' that just get in the way of actually writing code.
    Meh. I like it - I only have one 23" display, and the 'features' I prefer. So hah!

    ~TehYoyo

  21. #21
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    Dreamweaver is a fantastic software! buy it!

  22. #22
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Why does everyone feel the need to have such fancy features? I'm with DS here. I just use plain notepad to code everything. I don't see the point in downloading software to do the same thing. I wouldn't even use any features.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

  23. #23
    SitePoint Guru dojo's Avatar
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    You need to start learning 'proper' layouting and this is not done via tables. Get to learn HTML and CSS to be able to code div based layouts. For this a free editor will do the job. i use Crimson Editor for close to 10 years now. Best of luck

  24. #24
    <title class="lol"> bronze trophy TehYoyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    Why does everyone feel the need to have such fancy features? I'm with DS here. I just use plain notepad to code everything. I don't see the point in downloading software to do the same thing. I wouldn't even use any features.
    I find it easier to debug and more efficient for me....just for me, though. I have no say in your preferences (and don't pretend to).

    ~TehYoyo

  25. #25
    Non-Member bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    Why does everyone feel the need to have such fancy features? I'm with DS here. I just use plain notepad to code everything. I don't see the point in downloading software to do the same thing. I wouldn't even use any features.
    Well, there are some features even I like that regular notepad doesn't deliver. Notepad mangles UTF 8, so if you deal with other languages it's a nightmare. Notepad doesn't maintain indents so you're hitting tab a lot more often, and it doesn't do block tab/de-indents... it doesn't show line numbers down one side, when it word-wraps it has no auto-indent or indicators a wrap took place, there's no option to show where your tabs line-up... there's no auto-case select, no guide-line hinting for width when practicing the 76 rule.

    At the same time you are right, many of them are needlessly complex and don't really add anything useful. It's why I like Flo's notepad2.
    http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html

    You can turn off all the garbage you don't want (like the illegible acid trip of colour syntax highlighting), it doesn't destroy my workflow by forcing everything into one window, and at around a third of a megabyte it's not exactly a massive download by todays standards.


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