Does anyone have any tips for using Dreamweaver as a beginner and how to familiarize yourself to using the program? I have a general idea of how everything works and I made a website for my class but I still have trouble with learning how everything works. Is there anything I should/Shouldn't do or should know? Thanks!
In my view, you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking—How do HTML, CSS etc. work? They are the important things. Don't get distracted by the tool itself, because it doesn't matter what tool you use to create a website. Ideally, whether you are using Dw or some other tool, use them to write good, clean code—that is, as a code editor. If you use Dw as a WYSIWYG tool (visually dragging and dropping elements etc.) you are guaranteed to produce junky websites. So it's good advice to steer clear of those functions.
Each code editor has a few tricks / tools for writing code, like autocomplete etc., but you quickly learn what they are.
it's the best book I've come accross in my 15 years as a web designer. it makes it all easy to understand, then it doesn't matter so much which tool you use, infact you'll probably end up using something less cumbersome that dreamweaver
If your goal is to learn DW, then Lynda.com has some good tuts, particularly James Williamson's. If you want to learn how to build websites, then I'd focus on structure, style and design and the technical side of things, instead of spending your time trying to learn new software, on top of everything else. I tried it, and realized it was (for me, at least) better to focus on one or just a few fundamentals at a time, and not worry so much about learning Dreamweaver as well. I have DWCS6 and was excited to be cranking out the websites, but I ended up never using it because I was spending so much time trying to master the details of the program, which wasn't my actual goal. I watched hours of video and got a good handle on it, but I actually prefer to use Notepad++ as my default text editor.
I'd agree with lynda that's how I learned everything. The basics at least. If you want to simply learn a drop and drag then just use one of the many free options on the web. If you want to learn DW then lynda. If you want to learn to code lynda. DW is just as hard to learn to drag and drop in as it is to learn to code. I personally found it to be harder. Just learn coding give yourself the pole instead of just one fish. That said DW is not just a drag and drop. You can ignore all those fancy things as I do and just use it to code in. It has many benifits to help coding.
I would suggest you to stay away from a WYSIWYG Html builder for designing websites. Learn the basics of HTML and CSS and then take a look at the various design frameworks like bootstrap and try hand coding your sites.
It's current usefulness as a tool is now irrelevant. Its reputation is so damaged that you'll find little help out there for it and a lot of hostility for using it. Hell, if you rock up to a job interview and say that you use Dreamweaver as your tool of choice they'll dismiss you as someone with dead/old knowledge and practices.
I'd still say start with another editor. But I've always used DW. Trying now to get off it - like a drug - with sublime or kamodo. Can't seem to yet. There is nothing wrong with it. If it were free people would put it right up there on top. It is obviously sold towards newbies because they always feel they can just build sites with it. I guess you can.
I started using Dreamweaver in code view as it came with the whole Adobe package. Using it in code view means the only other function I use is preview and I now I have a little more experience under my belt I feel Dreamweaver's interface is cluttered. I have downloaded Coda2 and Sublime Text 2 and have yet to evaluate them. Any thoughts on either of these?
I have to agree with some of the other posters here. You might be asking the wrong question. It wouldn't hurt to learn at least the basics of HTML and CSS so that you have an idea of what Dreamweaver is really doing for you. I have found the tutorials over at Codecademy to be helpful to me. I do have a background in website design but I wanted to brush up my coding skills. That website really helped me out.
I know it might not be the answer you were looking for but I hope it was helpful.