Direction needed for Newbie web designer

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Ade Lewis, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Ade Lewis macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2008

    I'm fairly new to web design. I bought a copy of Freeway express and created a site to help sell our house which turned out really well, following this a few people asked me to create sites for them for various reasons, also all of these turned out really well.

    This then evolved to a few people asking me to create sites for their businesses which they paid me to do. Great !!!

    I'm sure you're wondering by now where this post is going, well here it is, I sort of feel like I've been bluffing my way through this whole process so far. I really enjoy designing and creating web sites and at the moment there seems to be a lot of people willing to pay me to do it but I think that I may have come into this from the wrong angle.

    I'm now in the situation that a music producer wants me to create a site for him where people are able to upload demos of their songs for him to review. So today I've hit the internet and found examples of scripts that I can include in a site to achieve what he wants and hey presto it all works. But the big thing is that I don't really understand how it all works. It all looks great and professional but to be honest if for some reason it stopped working I would have no idea how to fix it.

    So. Where do I go from here ? There is so much information and so many tutorials on how to achieve certain goals that it's all a bit mind boggling. I'm still using Freeway express which allows me to create a site really quickly and then paste in pieces of code that I don't understand. A friend has given me his copy of Dreamweaver that he bought and never used but before I plunge into learning how to use it I thought I'd better ask if there was a better way to get a more rounded understanding of what I'm doing.

    I would really appreciate any advice that you can give whether it be online tutorials or training courses or books.

  2. jdl8422 macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2006
    in my opinion you are learning the best way possible. You can look at tutorials all day long but if you don't use them in a real world situation then whats the point. When you needed to upload songs to review you didn't know how to do it so you figured it out. Thats the best way to learn. You said you are afraid if something goes wrong you will not be able to figure it out, well then this isn't new for you. You will hit the internet again and figure out what is wrong. Along the way you can view some tutorials to better your skills and get a better understanding of how things work, but actually having a goal and figuring out how to achieve it is the best learning. It sounds like you are a pretty smart person so it shouldn't be too hard. A few tutorial sites:
  3. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
  4. benben macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2008
    Buy a book to refer to - the two i've found most useful are Sam's Teach Yourself HTML in 24hrs (terrible title - solid bank of html knowledge) and Visual QuickPro Guide: PHP 6 & MySQL 5.

    Reading your post was very interesting, your background is very similar to mine, and i think i'm not that much further down the line...

    I still use dreamweaver. It is a very powerful program - i'd reccomend you start using it, and if you do, make good use of the 'split view'. This shows you the WYSIWYG and the code views simultaneously so gets you used to what code different elements generate.

    Alongside the PHP book's tutorials, i volunteered to build a clients website using the language i was learning. Having a real world example to work on is invaluable.

    Stick at it!
  5. design-is macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    London / U.K.
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    As said above, I think your in the same boat as a lot of us that are hanging around these forums. I too am in a similar situation, again, probably not that far down the line from yourself. It's nice to hear there are others in the same boat :)

    I have found the info so far to be both reasuring and useful :)
  6. Ade Lewis thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2008
    Thanks very much for your replies, it's good to know that I'm not the only one fumbling my way through.

    I've ordered a couple of books already "Creating web sites - the missing manual" and "CSS - the missing manual". The web sites one is pretty basic for those starting from scratch but I thought it might help to show if I've been missing out anything major. Other than that I think that I'm going to take all of your advise and just keep on doing what I'm doing.

    Thanks again for your words of encouragement.
  7. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    My company builds complex business web applications and I don't understand every little detail that goes into the coding aspect. I'm no developer, therefore I hire one. I'm a project manager and designer. I obviously know what a database is, how it all works, and how to build interfaces which talk to one another, but when it comes to the PHP I can read it, but never could write it.

    So, my advise to you is to hire a developer you can trust and start building a relationship with. Every site we do now needs some dynamic aspect to it, it's just the fact and the way business moves.

    Smart people, hire smarter people. :-D
  8. micharadi macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2006
    I think you should use the dreamweaver copy your friend gave you. I suppose, it's the CS3 version, if so, you can build the current goal you specified with ease. Of course with the help of special tutorials.

    I've already specified one good function of CS3 in other thread, which is, the 'split view' that shows your design as well as the code itself. Hence, it will guide almost to how it can be coded, your goal, that is.

    SAMS Teach Yourself Javascript in 24 Hours.
    SAMS Teach Yourself HTML/xHTML in 21 days.
    Accessible - XHTML and CSS Web Sites - Problems. (This is useful too!)

    Websites: (Dreamweaver CS3 - Essential & Advance) (Great tutorial too!) (Very useful for HTML Tutorials!) (So many programming languages tutorials!)

    Hope this helps!
  9. pointycollars macrumors regular

    May 15, 2007
    I learned the exact same way. I wanted to do something I didn't know how to do, searched the internet, copied code from existing websites, and taught myself how it worked so that I could fix it. It's the only way to learn :)

    I suppose the difference is, I never opted to use programs like Dreamweaver. It's a good stepping-stone, but if you're really serious about web dev then I'd try to learn as much as you can about different code and scripting languages, so that even though you may cut-and-paste code, you'll know what you're doing and be able to alter, tweak, or manipulate it to your own ends. You'll find that you are much more flexible as a developer or designer this way. If you do use Dreamweaver, definitely take the advice of the poster that suggested using split-screens, it shows you the nuts and bolts and it's a great way to ease into the coding world.

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