View Full Version : Dreamweaver for beginners

03-16-2010, 06:29 PM

I'm thinking about taking a Dreamweaver course at a college for basic website design. Considering I have no programming or design experience (but am very computer literate) is Dreamweaver something that I'm going to be able to understand and pick up easily?

Do you think the course is necessary? $450 so I want to be sure.

I'm only looking to create basic to mid level website's for my own companies, not be a website designer by trade.

Any feedback/discussion on Dreamweaver for beginners is much appreciated.

03-16-2010, 06:45 PM

I think you'll be able to pick up Dreamweaver and website construction fairly easily. If you have a logical mind then it all starts to fall into place pretty quickly. Good design is harder to master. In my opinion, having a sh*t website is worse than having no website at all.

A course is a good idea if you want to get a head start and it depends how you learn. Some find a structured course easier than trawling the net for tutorials and vice versa. It really depends on the quality of the course if it is worth 450 bucks ;)

Always remember though that DW will not build your website for you with no need to understand code. Many people seem to get this impression and get carried away with WYSIWYG but everyone here has got on and learnt code (after some gentle persuasion) and is happier and a better designer for it.

I have one question (from my own point of view). Why are you not hiring a pro to do this for you? I'm not questioning your decision but I'd like to know.

03-16-2010, 07:07 PM

I have one question (from my own point of view). Why are you not hiring a pro to do this for you? I'm not questioning your decision but I'd like to know.

Because I am not in a position yet to launch my startup businesses and won't need a website for another 6 -10 months. I have an honours business degree and experience but I won't be able to start for about another 6 months. Because I have the business side of things covered (i can do my own accounting, business law, marketing etc...) I thought I would round out my skills with some website design. Why pay someone else to do what I can learn to do myself.

Is it unrealistic to think that I'll be able to do this at a reasonable level of quality myself?

Would the money I'm paying for the course be enough to cover hiring a pro to do it for me?

03-16-2010, 07:14 PM
I have absolutely no idea if you'll be able to hit a decent level or not. Some people get it and some don't. You won't know until you try.

If you have the time to learn then go for it. It can be both rewarding and frustrating at the same time!

Obviously being a web designer I am interested in the attitude of new start-ups to websites. You guys are the core of my business so it intrigues me to understand the thought process. I hope whatever your business is that people don't apply the... Why pay someone else to do what I can learn to do myself ...logic to it ;)

Please don't take any of that the wrong way. You are welcome here and we'll help you all we can :)

03-16-2010, 07:44 PM
I've taught Dreamweaver at the college lever and now teach my own online course so I obviously feel a course can be very valuable. But it depends totally upon the quality of the instructor and the course.

As corrosive said. Dreamweaver doesn't build your page for you. You will need to get at least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS so make sure the course does that. I've seen college level "web design" courses that just amounted to slicing up a Photoshop image and importing the results to Dreamweaver. Make sure you don't get stuck with something like that.

03-16-2010, 08:13 PM
You both talk about code a lot. I was under the impression that Dreamweaver minimized the amount of actual code and programming you need to know and do. Am I misinformed?

I know a bit of visual basics (bare minimum) and have to say I don't really enjoy that kind of stuff. For me to get to a level of proficiency that will allow me to develop a functional and semi attractive site will I need to really dive into the whole code thing (I'm trying not to sound ignorant of how hard website design really is, just trying to get an underastanding of the level of comittment this will take)?

I agree that a crap website is worse than no website and if thats all I'm going to be able to produce than I don't want that.

03-16-2010, 08:20 PM
Dreamweaver minimizes the need to write the code yourself (which is a major convenience). In fact you can go pretty far with the visual editing tools and never actually work with the code.

But, just because the code is hidden, doesn't mean you can ignore it. HTML is pretty basic stuff but CSS can be rather intimidating. And it's CSS that you'll be using (although possibly through some visual tools) to edit the appearance of your pages.

So you really need to develop at least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS in order to use Dreamweaver to accomplish what you want. You won't need to be a web guru but you need to know what your doing.

If you have a good instructor, they should be helping you learn to use Dreamweaver and HTML/CSS at the same time.

Just think of Dreamweaver as tool. The more you know about the car or house or whatever you plan to use the tool to create, the better the end product will be.

03-16-2010, 09:18 PM
Does anyone know if there's a way I can get a quick visual introductory (possibly video) to the kinds of things that I will be doing in dreamweaver. I'm a bit worried about the code side of it as I really did not enjoy the little bit of programming I've done in the past.

My gut tells me website design is going to be like everything else, you'll only get out of it what you put in to it. And if I don't enjoy it I probably won't put enough effort in to make it worthwhile.

P.S. Thanks for the help so far, you guys have provided valuable insight

d a v e
03-16-2010, 09:26 PM
not sure about videos but here's some online things to read in the meantime

03-17-2010, 12:45 AM
I'm a bit worried about the code side of it as I really did not enjoy the little bit of programming I've done in the past.
This is important.. if you don't like to code, you really have to ask yourself if you want to get into this.

03-17-2010, 12:45 AM
dreamweaver has proved time and time that it is a good beginners tool, most however if they continue will tend to grow out of the need for all its wizards as they become more familiar with the process, especiaally if they work in split view to see what is happening.
html is all about code essentially and dreamweaver isa good tool to help you apply that by visual methods.
in the end im a great believer in taking something , in this case perhaps a template, pulling the wires out and trying to put them back,
a course could help but difficult to say specifically as we have seen the result of some suspect courses here. Not all of course.

03-17-2010, 12:51 AM
If you want to take a Dreamweaver course it's going to be hit and miss.
If you have a local course, find someone that has taken it before and get a review.

d a v e
03-17-2010, 05:15 AM
if you know what is covered in some sort of detail you could post it here ...

03-18-2010, 02:37 AM
Here's a syllabus I've used. I think it's a reasonable amount to expect from a
course for beginners to moderately experienced users.

Module 0: Jumpstart
0.1 Server information.
0.2 Housekeeping (create local folders)*
0.3 Download index file*
0.4 Dreamweaver welcome screen
0.5 Define local site*
0.6 Define remote site*
0.7 Upload*
0.8 DWcourse Dreamweaver Forum *
* Action points
Module 1: Your first HTML page
1.1 Before we begin
1.2 Workspaces
1.3 The Designer Workspace
1.4 What is HTML
1.5 HTML Document Structure (with video)
1.6 Download lesson file (with Module 1 video)*
1.7 Create a new page*
1.8 A few words about formatting
1.9 HTML formatting*
1.10 Preview in browser*
1.11 Upload*
* Action points
Module 2: Text formatting with CSS
2.1 What is CSS (video)
2.2 Download lesson file
2.3 CSS Definitions
2.4 CSS selectors (video)
2.5 Format text with CSS (video)*
2.6 Exporting and importing style rules*
2.7 Save and upload*
Appendix 2.A: Online fonts
Appendix 2.B: CSS shorthand
Appendix 2.C: Font sizes in CSS
Appendix 2.D: Media specific style sheets and the Style Rendering toolbar
*Action items
Module 3: CSS Layout
3.1 Download lesson files*
3.2 CSS layout (with video)
3.3 Create page from built-in CSS layout*
3.4 Working with linked CSS files
3.5 Customizing the CSS layout*
3.6 Background images*
3.7 Save and upload*
Appendix 3.A Dreamweaver’s CSS layout options
Appendix 3.B More CSS shorthand
* Action items
Module 4: Images
4.1 Download lesson files
4.2 <img> tag
4.3 Online image formats (with video)
4.4 Inserting web images*
4.5 Simple editing of web images*
4.6 Photoshop smart objects*
4.7 Reformatting Photoshop Smart Objects and web images*
4.8 Rollover images
4.9 Save and upload
Appendix 4.A Image tips
Appendix 4.B Image options
Module 5: Working with templates
5.1 Download lesson files
5.2 Create a template*
5.3 Editable and optional regions*
5.4 Apply template to existing page*
5.5 New pages from template*
5.6 Editing template and updating template-based pages*
5.7 Upload*
Appendix 5.A Site outline
Appendix 5.B Template tips
*Action items
Module 6: CSS Menus
6.1 CSS Menus
6.2 CSS List-based menu (with video)*
6.3 Live View
6.4 Spry menubar*
6.5 Save and upload*
Appendix 6.A Spry menubar style editing tips
Module 7: Behaviors (Javascript) & Spry widgets
7.1 Download the lesson files*
7.2 Behaviors
7.3 Using Behaviors (with video)*
7.4 Spry Widgets
7.5 Using Spry Widgets (with video)*
7.6 Upload*

Module 8: Odds and ends
8.1 About this module
8.2 Download the lesson files
8.3 Highlighting the current page in menus (with video)*
8.4 Tables and tabular data*
8.5 Spry Data Set tables (with video)*
Appendix 8.A: Inserting and formatting tables
Module 9: Forms
9.1 Overview
9.2 Form structure
9.3 Building the contact form (with video)*
9.4 Testing the form*
9.5 Formatting the form (with optional CSS positioning video)*
9.A Access key and tab index
9.B Configuring a Spry Validation Text Field
9.C Text area cross-browser issues
9.D About the script
Module 10: SEO (in Dreamweaver and beyond)
10.1 Introduction to Search Engine Optimization (with video)
10.2 Keyword brainstorming
10.3 Research
10.4 Competitive analysis (with video)
10.5 On-page optimization
10.6 Off-site optimization
Appendix 10A: SEO terms and definitions
Module 11: Favicons, CSS rollover images and video
11.1 Download lesson files*
11.2 Favicons*
11.3 CSS rollover images*
11.4 Inserting media*
a. Flash (.swf)
b. FLV
c. Quicktime
d. YouTube video
*Action items
Module 12: Checking Your Site for Errors
12.1 Download Support Files
12.2 Checking, validating and fixing your website
12.3 Spell Check
12.4 Checking your pages within Dreamweaver
1. Validation
2. Browser Compatibility
3. Accessibility
4. Link Checker
5. Reports
6. Another Way to Check Title Tags
12.5 Browser Checks
1. BrowserLab Online
2. BrowserLab Dreamweaver Extension
12.6 Fixing Cross-Browser Issues
1. IE6 PNG Transparency
2. Extra Sidebar Top Margin in Explorer
3. Content Starting Below Menu in IE6
12.7 One last Fix
12.8 What’s Next?
Appendix 12.A Browser Usage
Appendix 12.B Search in Dreamweaver

03-21-2010, 02:15 AM
its important to know which version of DW you will be taking. the older versions are very much capable without knowing any code, the newer versions have eliminated some point and click features. but to answer your question, i was the same way. way back when, i took a DW course and knew nothing about HTML/CSS etc.. over time, i have since took various HTML/CSS, etc courses. it did for me what i think you are looking for. (this was before CSS was all the rage however) looking back now, yes, i got the job done, but now there is no way i could tweak a page without knowing code. and $450.00 is a little steep. the local online courses here are all around $169.00.

03-21-2010, 02:37 AM
Realistically, why would you want to learn outdated techniques and an outdated program? It's not like they'll come back into style.

And I'd disagree that the older versions are more capable. They may make it a bit easier if you want to design using tables and deprecated html attributes. But, if you want to do things according to currently accepted practices (especially CSS) then CS4 is the way to go.

03-21-2010, 03:40 PM
i didnt mean the older versions were more capable. what i meant was, for what he is looking for, the older versions are more of a point and click, whereas the newer ones force you to write some code. he is looking to not write code. we all agree that the newer versions and correct way and newer protocols are better practices.

03-21-2010, 05:19 PM
I can assure you that the new version does not force you write code. It does require you to learn some new techniques especially if you want to use tables for design and deprecated html elements. But even that can be done in the visual editor if you know how. Some people just find it easier to work in the code than to adapt to the new user interface.

That said, no matter how you use the program or what version you choose, you'll be more successful if you have an understanding of HTML and CSS.

03-21-2010, 08:27 PM
That said, no matter how you use the program or what version you choose, you'll be more successful if you have an understanding of HTML and CSS.

I totally agree, however the point i was trying to make to the original poster, was in MY case, I jumped right into DW 8 without any knowledge of code or CSS with no problems at all, but it would be much harder to do that in CS4 without at least having CSS knowledge.

I do agree with everything else youve said as far as learning it the right way, correct way, current way, etc..