New to Web Design....questions

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by blaklaybul, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. blaklaybul macrumors regular

    blaklaybul

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    Aug 29, 2007
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    New York City
    #1
    I am new to web design and development, but I am interested in beginning. In order to build a simple web page, what, if any, languages would be recommended to learn?

    Also, how does dreamweaver help the process of creating a webpage?
     
  2. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #2
    Learn HTML and CSS

    Dreamweaver helps you not have to learn HTML or CSS. Or, if you do know HTML and CSS, Dreamweaver makes a good HTML editor + it's management of your site and FTP stuff is nice too.

    Getting Started With Dreamweaver MX 2004 (nothing much that a beginner would be interested in has changed since then)

    Dreamweaver isn't the only option, though.
     
  3. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #3
  4. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #4
    The only thing Dreamweaver helps you do is create messy stupid looking websites. What you have to do is join a web forum somewhere (google it, dude) and learn HTML with table based design (google it) first. Then once you are good at that, learn HTML with CSS design (google it.) :)

    Thats how I started out, anyhow.
     
  5. Fleetwood Mac macrumors 65816

    Fleetwood Mac

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    Apr 27, 2006
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    #5
    Why start learning the wrong thing? That's only going to create bad habits, and trust me, they die hard.

    Start off with basic HTML and CSS. Just play around with <div> tags and see what you can do with them. There are some great free tutorials all over the net.
     
  6. Aranince macrumors 65816

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    #6
    If you wanna learn HTML/CSS the proper standards-based way...I suggest www.w3schools.com
     
  7. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #7
    'cause the thing is, tables produce faster results in more browsers with more compatily than CSS does right now (not its own fault, more Microsoft's with IE but still.) People like results. They like nice looking (in their eyes) websites that they can show off to friends.

    After you get more comfortable with HTML, then start adding in CSS.

    People tend to loose motivation to learn things if they have to have some complicated "link thingy between the HTM file and um... I thinks its called ccs?"
     
  8. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    I completely disagree CSS is far easier than table once your used to it. Not only that all browsers support it no problem.
     
  9. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #9
    First off, I'm sorry blaklaybul for taking over your thread. We should move this argument somewhere else, Fleetwood Mac &/or Techguy172.

    ~~

    I understand that if you are an experience web designer, if you know CSS, and you know that your site will look nice after you use it, you will use CSS. I use CSS. I really LIKE CSS. But there are two problems with it.

    1. You must first craft the HTML, having a clear picture of how it will work when it is done without seeing it in the intended layout. Again, that is easy for people like you and me, but it is nice for beginners to have a solid: I type this, this happens, without having to edit two files at once.

    • It is not completely cross-browser compatible. Even if you build very simple sites, you still have to include lots of "IE Only" code to get it to look right in IE. Then, you have to make sure that the IE Only code isn't messing with code from other browsers.

    So, lets look at a comparison:

    CSS:

    Pros: Separates design and content, is easy to make if you only care about Firefox and Safari (~30% of the web), and allows your code to be structually clean, is simple once you are experienced, is the "new thing" TOTAL: 5

    Cons: Separates design and content so you have to have to files open at once, has many tags that don't work right in IE unless you have long, messy "hacks", requires comprehensive knowledge of two coding languages instead of one, the new version won't fix anything (CSS3 had been pretty much killed because of lack of support from Firefox and IE - it has been "final" for about 2 years), requires at least two browsers open (three if you really care) TOTAL: -3

    POSITIVES: 2
    TABLES:


    Pros: Is really easy to learn HTML and cobble some table layout on, requires knowledge of only one language, everyone who uses a graphical browser will see pretty much the same page, it works without any "hacks" what-so-ever, you can code every bit of your messy code into the same file - no problemo, you can edit all of your code in most "webhost html editors." TOTAL: 5

    Cons: Will be harder to change layout later, is the "old thing" TOTAL: 2

    POSITIVES: 3

    ~ Any positives you wannna add to CSS or Cons to tables - I'd be curious to know.
     
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #10
    If you know tables really well, sometimes it's easier to mess with table design then it is to mess with a CSS design, because if all the above negatives for CSS.

    Not only that, but there is NO REASON at all to NOT use tables. So what if its the "old" way.

    I have an old car that gets me to work/school every day. I have an "old" TV that I play Wii on all the time. I have an old iPod that I use in the car every day. Just because something's old doesn't mean it's not good.

    Actually, the website I just did could probably have been simplified with tables... So yeah, tables may be out of style, but they're by no means useless.
     
  11. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #11
    I agree with you completely. It is just that that might be considered bad for people. If you read the thread completely, you can see I am advocating for learning tables first, then CSS ;)

    I do disagree that there is NO REASON at all to NOT use tables. There is: it allows you to separate design from content, which for big, static sites is a good thing.
     
  12. MegaMan1311 macrumors regular

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    Blaklaybul, you should learn CSS and HTML first. That will give you what you need for building a site. If you are really interested by then, learn PHP and Javascript after that.

    I second the idea of maybe getting a copy of Dreamweaver. I find its WYSIWYG view is useful if you are typing up content onto a page. I use its code view for building the site and everything else. I love its autocomplete feature. It will close a tag if you type "</" without the quotes. Its FTP is very convenient, and fairly easy to use.

    If you do get Dreamweaver, I have one recommendation, which is to NOT rely on its WYSIWYG to build sites. I did at the beginning, and I regret it. We ended presenting a horrible site to the customer. They liked it though... Later, we came back to them and gave them an upgrade to a much nicer site.

    Actually, do NOT rely on ANY WYSIWYG editor to build sites. There are some exceptions to that though.

    If you want to buy a copy of Dreamweaver, and have a family member or friend in school (from Kindergarten to College) that is either a staff member or student, go here to purchase it. It will save you about $200. They are highly recommended by me, and they were also recommended by Macromedia before they were bought by Adobe.

    I hope that my input helps you.

    Also, about the Tables vs CSS debate, I have been using tables, but I am trying to learn how to work with CSS to build a site. Tables seems easier, but CSS is cleaner code, and more modern. (without hacks)
     
  13. blaklaybul thread starter macrumors regular

    blaklaybul

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  14. rendezvouscp macrumors 68000

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    Long Beach, California
    #14
    Tables aren't inherently evil; I just made a rather large one yesterday for comparing two products. However, tables for layout is a misuse of tables: they were not made to create a foundation for a web page, but for marking up tabular data.
    -Chasen
     
  15. desenso macrumors 6502a

    desenso

    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    #15
    Wow! Some shockingly bad advice in this thread!

    HTML & CSS are trivial to learn. They're not really programming languages, they're just a way to mark-up a document.

    The best way to learn is just to practice. In my opinion, Dan Cederholm writes, without a doubt, the best books. Pick up a copy of Web Standards Solutions and Bulletproof Web Design. Spend a weekend working through the books and you'll know all that you need to know to design basic pages, and you'll have the means to go about finding solutions to more complicated problems.

    The technical aspect of web design is a piece of cake and can be fully learned. It's having original ideas and an artistic sense that will set you apart.

    I would strongly advise for you to NOT learn table-based layouts first. There is absolutely no benefit to be gained from doing this because CSS designs are fundamentally different and do not rely on the same basic structure at all.

    I would advise you to NOT start with a WYSIWYG editor. I think it will set you down the wrong path. It's better to learn the nitty gritty first and then rely on WYSIWYGs to pump out quick HTML when you don't care about markup. Using WYSIWYGs first, in my opinion, will just confuse you about what is good code and what is bad code.

    Finally, while www.w3schools.com is an authoritative source of information, it's definitely not the place to begin.
     
  16. blaklaybul thread starter macrumors regular

    blaklaybul

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    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    New York City
    #16
    how do you guys feel about the Head First series?
    I have Head first HTML with CSS and XHTML and it seems like a good place to begin
     
  17. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #17
    A quick check makes it seem fine...
     
  18. palmerized macrumors regular

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    Nov 15, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    #18
    I've been coding and designing sites for close to 10 years... and I would definitely stay away from any sort of WYSIWYG editor. You have to learn the code first.

    I would also start with HTML 4.01, which INCLUDES tables. I'd also try CSS. Start off using CSS to control elements like font face, colour, size, etc...

    W3.org, has tons of useful info. If you're using a Mac -- check out BBEdit/Text Wrangler. Or if you're set on Dreamweaver, just use Code view. The auto-complete tag feature is pretty useful.

    One of the ways I started off was looking at some of your favorite websites, and view it's source code. Copy and paste it into a new HTML doc and start playing around with it. See what changes you make to the code influences the rendering in your browser.
     
  19. Photomax macrumors regular

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    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #19
    I would focus on the current RIGHT way and learn CSS and XHTML. Getting to the point where you can separate the content from the presentation as efficiently as possible will take your work to the next level as quickly as possible.

    Sure you can learn outdated practices like frames, table based design, font tags, etc. But why? This is 2007, not 1997. Spending time with Dreamweaver learning how to make boxes, rows and cells to establish a design is a huge waste of time IMHO. The only thing to learn with tables is how to create tabular based data (CSS can even handle that chore.)

    Learn CSS. Period. Its the most useful web design practice to know. Learn how to create sites with lean code. Learn the benefits of separating all the presentation from the content. Learn how to use the correct doctypes. Learn how well CSS can use thin slivers of graphics and make wonderful looking designs. Learn how few graphics you actually need when you use CSS for the design.

    If you grow and get into dynamic sites and use PHP etc then understand all the CMS systems use CSS.

    A great book that explains how to write simple code and style with CSS is Charles Wyke-Smith's book "Stylin' with CSS - A Designer's Guide." Its great, very easy to read and he does not assume readers know terminology like other tech authors do.
     
  20. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #20
    Right. Tables are simpler, at first. And, more sites use them so you are less likely to be puzzled about what a site is doing while looking at its source.
     
  21. johngordon macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #21
    Oh well, I guess all the websites I've done are messy, stupid looking ones. :(

    My advice would be :

    Learn some basic HTML and CSS first to do some pretty basic stuff.

    About the best online resource I've ever seen for this is the W3 schools site :

    http://www.w3schools.com/

    A site I'd recommend for learning some CSS and navigation bars is this one :

    http://css.maxdesign.com.au/listamatic/

    These are great, as they provide the HTML and the CSS which you can then edit, and get an idea of what's doing what pretty quickly.

    Once you've done a bit of that, perhaps download the trial of Dreamweaver, and have a play around with it.

    What I like about it is that it's a more useful than just a basic text editor, you can simplify tasks without having to edit code directly all the time, and if you've learnt some HTML and CSS you can still edit the code directly without wondering what the hell it all means.

    I haven't upgraded to the current DW, but it does seem to display pages far more faithfully in design view than older versions, which were terrible, ie they could look completely wrong, even tho' they looked OK in a browser. Was often less than helpful as a guide tho'.

    Also, if you download the trial, there are several CSS layouts you can save, and re-use / edit etc after the trial runs out, even if you don't end up buying it.
     
  22. rhyndu macrumors regular

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    #22

    Sorry... I didn't really think out that post. What I meant was, all websites created by beginners or who use any type of WYSIWYG editors generates ugly code and probably ugly websites.:(
     
  23. johngordon macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #23
    Let you off! :p

    My sites probably aren't the best, but then they're probably not the worst either. (Clients have always been pretty happy).

    I'd definitely agree learning HTML / CSS first is the way to go, but using DW when you also know your way around the code has benefits to working purely in code.
     

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