Dreamweaver is hard!


New Member

As i stated in my previous thread, i've been getting pressured to learn some web. I feel very comfortable working in Print/illustration/layout but can't seem to get into the whole web thing. Anyways, it seems like Dreamweaver is the route to take. I downloaded the trial version and bought a book that teaches you how to build a complete website. Dreamweaver is A LOT harder then i expected! the user interface is not clear at all (coming from my perspective).

Is there any other web editor out there that produces clean code but is easier to use and learn?

code itself is pretty damn hard, so i honestly wish you the best of luck with finding a clean and reliable generator.

if you're unhappy with CS4, try CS3 or earlier? they have worse coding standards but they may be easier for you to get around.

if you're going to learn to code a website properly though, i'd buy a book on the basics, and slowly work up. sometimes working with a blank .html file and just coding each <div> etc gets you a lot further than actually using a generator.

I feel your pain BubbleB*tt

I've spent the last 4/5 years developing myself as a print based designer, only to be told when I go for jobs, or even work experience, that I need to be able to web design/code, use Flash and do motion graphics/animation etc!! I personally though that was what animators were for. And I thought web-design was in web designer domain.
It seems now though, that to be a graphic designer, we must be able to do EVERYTHING!!

I'd say just take your time and learn it. Don't rush it and not do your best, just to keep up. It's something that needs to be learned properly. Theres lots of night classes/online courses (see sessions.edu) that can help with the basics.

To be positive, just think of how proud you'll feel once you know you CAN build websites, and your first propper one is live!

My advice, would be to forget the WYSIWYG editors, they do nothing but bloat the code.

Work you way through a tutorial site such as www.htmldog.com using a simple text editor such as notepad, or notepad plus (notepad plus holds a few elements that dreamweaver does- such as the auto completion)
the thing that eats me up inside is the direction professional Graphic Design is going. I remember my design class in art school. We were not permitted to use stock images for any of our projects, unless it was something we were not capable of shooting ourselves (i.e the surface of the moon). Most of the projects were horrible! Nobody had any idea how to create the components or produce good layouts. Once our teacher changed the rule, every project was a gettyimages free for all! They all looked professional because they were relying on the professional photo's and illustrations taken from the internet.
My point being, is I personally feel that designers should design, web developers should code, chefs should cook ...... I know those days are over.
*sorry for the rant, I guess I should get back to my HTML tutorials ....
i agree with you to a certain extent bubblebutt.
I think it's important that designers know how to design for web and produce their layouts accordingly with various web standards and user experience stuff in mind. Having said that...knowledge of HTML / flash is definitely a bonus but i agree with Helen that something like Dreamweaver is not necessarily the way to go. If you mention it to a proper web developer, they'll probably curse it's very existence and for good reason.

I think a happy medium is to have knowledge of the languages but form a good partnership with a web developer and work together on projects. That way as a designer you can make it look nice and the developer can make it work properly...there's one too many websites out there that look nice but are badly constructed. Many web developers won't go near the design part of the site for good reason...maybe it should work both ways?
Play to each others strengths and you will be able to produce some great work.
It's a shame that there appears to be an increasing amount of design agencies that can't see past this. Perhaps it has something to do with cutting costs...especially in the current economic climate...people want more for less!
I agree 100% with what you are saying. In fact I couldn't have said it better ;)
I have definitely created one of those 'nice' broken sites. The place I work for requires me to build some websites. They're usually pretty basic but there's always a few things that the client will request that i have no clue how to produce. For example one client asked at the end of production to make the site updatable and to be bilingual. I'm sure my face went white.

The main problem i have, is that i have to dumb down my design in order for me to be capable of building it. (and even then it doesn't always work how i planned)
Hi All,

I hope I'm right in thinking that Dreamweaver is a very good and a recommended program to develop websites on a commerical level. However, I find using something like HTML editor crossed with programs such as Top Style to do the initial coding and layout and then for things such as the actual design side of the website I find popping it into Dreamweaver works for me.

I think really it all depends on preference really along with knowledge however if your looking for a good web development program I would recommend HTML Kit which can be downlaoded from here.

I hope this helps


Robert Haylor
Does anyone know of a good book that talks about web for designers? Stuff like web standards, different technologies, user experience etc... Not so much 'a how to create a website' book.

If your looking for standards then I'd recommend going to: W3Schools Online Web Tutorials and also visiting W3C.org, these people are the chaps behind the web. Theres a lot of stuff on there but it does talk a lot about standards and validation etc.

Hope This helps
I would also recommend bookmarking the above link for W3C......... When Building sites, it's good practice to run each page you code through the validator to check it complies to standards.

Also running it through browsershots lets you check how the site looks in some of the most common (not to mention some of the most obscure!!!) browsers
My advice, would be to forget the WYSIWYG editors, they do nothing but bloat the code.

'Nothing' is a big word, WYSIWYG editors have their role, not least that they are useful learning tools. And Dreamweaver is much more than a WYSIWIG editor. You can't maintain a site with hundreds of pages using a text editor, for example, it just isn't practical. OK, in an ideal world, maybe a designer shouldn't have to do that, but in the real one... Plus, it's the industry standard, you need to be familiar with it to take part in any team work / work flow. Would an employer even consider a web designer's CV which didn't have Dreamweaver on it somewhere?
If you just want to dip your toe into web design, don't get bogged down in dreamweaver. You're talking about learning a whole new profession. Just do some reading on basic html stuff, there's so many levels to web design its hard to know when to stop. For your needs just keep it simple. And decide what you are: Graphic Designer/Web Designer. A good book on html basics and notepad is all you need.
For example one client asked at the end of production to make the site updatable and to be bilingual. I'm sure my face went white.

These are development requirements, not just design requirements.* If you're being asked to do this kind of stuff, you need more than just HTML and CSS. I quite agree with those who are saying you need to learn the basics, that goes without saying, I had the impression you needed more, and Dreamweaver is pretty damn useful.

*In either case, a client who changes the specs at that stage of the game is offside, not that that's likely to stop them.
I agree with John Ross' comments. Web Design is such a grey area for some clients, they expect you to cover the full spectrum of graphic artist to web development, programming, database management and even IT support/server security! I've seen too many job postings for basic "Web Designer" wage which need a knowledge of PHP, JQuery, PERL, print skills, Ruby on Rails, ASP, and well you get the picture.

You need to make sure exactly what it is you want to learn, stick with that and don't go selling skills you don't have. I'm always honest with the people I work with, tell them what I can and can't do. To be fair I've always found a solution to their problems (even if it mean't buying a pre-packaged app!). Sometimes you just can't accommodate everyone, you'll wish you kept to jobs you know how to do well, rather than see it all fall down and not knowing how to fix the mess!