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What's the secret to using Dreamweaver?

by wfairley / April 12, 2006 10:30 AM PDT

I bought Studio MX 2004 when it came out ~ couldn't figure it out. I bought a bookcase full of books, but it has never clicked. I just bought the Adobe Web Bundle, and here I am wishing I knew how to do "it".

I really want to build my own web pages; I've sketched every page out in a sketch book, right down to the menus, buttons, graphics, animations, everything. Yet when I sit down to the computer and open Dreamweaver 8, I just don't know where to start or what to click on. I'm about to bust to make this web site!

There are no local continuing education classes I can take, and the local universities want me to register for the two-year web master programs.

Can anyone suggest the "best" method for learning Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, etc. ???

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Don't just buy the books - READ them!!! :-)
by Andrea B. / April 12, 2006 8:10 PM PDT

Dreamweaver does look very intimidating, doesn't it???

Dreamweaver itself comes with tutorials that can get you going and I imagine there are boatloads of ohter tutorials out online.

I bought a video tutorial here: http://www.killersites.com/videoTutorials/videoTutorial.jsp
- this is not a plug, I'm not selling the tutorial - I have bought the Dreamweaver and the Flash one and find them down-to-the point, easy to follow, and very reasonably priced.

However, to make good webpages, it does not require Dreeamweaver - you can make a website with nothing but Notepad.

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It's true that I only need Notepad..
by wfairley / April 13, 2006 11:46 PM PDT

It's also true that I only need a sledgehammer to build a boat out of a tree, but I'd rather sail in style. Happy

Well, I've been reading through the books, and while it isn't clicking, I'm following the steps and trying it.

I guess it's like swimming - it will all make more sense once I get in the water. Happy

I'll post an update in a few days. Maybe even a link to the new site...

Thanks for the input Andrea!


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Take a Dive
by Andrea B. / April 14, 2006 9:30 AM PDT

I agree - things like that are easier to figure out as you go.

I use Dreamweaver, but write my code manually anyway - I guess that's like owning an electric saw but not turning it on...... but I think of it more as letting my plowhorse ride the tractor!!!

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I use Word
by PudgyOne / April 14, 2006 11:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Take a Dive

I use Word.

I type the information, save it as a html document.
Then I open the html document copy and paste the code to my website.

It's cheating, but it works.

Hope this helps.


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Using Word to create Webpages
by Andrea B. / April 15, 2006 12:43 AM PDT
In reply to: I use Word

may work, but it's downright sacriligous!!!!!

At least for anybody who cares about standards and clean code and such boring stuff.....

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Using Word? Holy Cow!
by HolyCow! / April 28, 2006 1:31 AM PDT

I tried that once upon a time. Found that Word tries to put every Microsoft proprietary piece of web code in there, too.

I performed an experiment. Created a page with Word. The resulting html page contained 60K bytes. Then I ran this html page through Dreamweaver's ''Clean-up Word HTML'' option. The result was a 19K html page which displayed perfectly, using only standard html (no xml or other wasted code).

This is very significant for your website visitors in much quicker display of pages, not to mention the reduction in your website's bandwidth usage.

Because of this, and the other advertised features of Dreamweaver, I purchased Dreamweaver. It's worth it to me, and I find it relatively easy to use. I develop webpages professionally, so the expense appears justified. Dreamweaver can be set to either take advantage of the latest and greatest in xtml and xml, or to use a more simple, basic set of html.

When developing for my customers, I take into consideration who I'm developing for. If it's a company which already has, or expresses a desire to invest $400 or so in Dreamweaver, I use xhtml and the other expanded abilities of DW. But if developing for a small company which just wants to have a site created and then take over maintenance of it, I use the more basic commands of DW, which are more compatible with more affordable HTML editors. The more affordable, feature-rich HTML editor I've been recommending lately is CoffeeCup ($49). Does a good job, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, which is what most small business owners like to hear. Especially if they need multiple copies of the editor for multiple web authors!

As for an ''ease of learning and use'' comparison between DW and CoffeeCup, there shouldn't be much of a difference for those who just want to create basic pages quickly. You'll need to invest some time to struggle through and learn some new things. Should take an average person maybe a week or two of spending four hours a day to become adequately proficient, but you'll always be bumping into walls and learning new things as you go forward (and that's a good thing).

One big plus I've found with DW is it's ability to properly maintain your links. Let's say you have a certain page that you want to rename or replace with a page of another name for some reason. And this page is linked to by 7 other pages in your site. While renaming the page, DW will ask you if you'd like the links in the 7 other pages to be changed to maintain the links, and will make the changes in all 7 pages immediately, behind the scenes. This is a huge timesaver!

You can also find/replace at the document, folder, or site level. Changes all instances of a given text string to another. Very handy!

So yes, there are features in DW which are worth their weight in gold... to the appropriate users. Someone with a small website with a handful of pages is probably better served by CoffeeCup or other more affordable product.

And on a related note, my customers all receive the recommendation that they avoid using FrontPage. Frontpage uses proprietary (surprise!) code - even requiring it on the webserver (they call it Frontpage extensions). If you use anything other than FrontPage to upload your pages, the FTP session can corrupt the server-side extensions and bring your site down. Or so I've read time and time again, even in Microsoft's literature. Please educate me if this is no longer true. So, purchasing one copy of Frontpage ($140?) for use in the office and 5 copies of CoffeeCup (at $49 per copy) for use at home by website contributors is just asking for trouble.

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by tjplaw40 / May 11, 2006 1:47 PM PDT

If this person is having trouble using Dreamweaver I doubt they could write HTML.

Very Dumb Replies people!!!.

Use the help feature, also Dreamweaver comes with a few web templates. It takes time, I love Dreamweaver.

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Using Word to create web pages...
by Rob Hurley / May 11, 2006 5:07 PM PDT

is like using a duck to create a steel bridge

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Have you tried an WYSIWYG program?[text]
by BlazeEagle / April 28, 2006 1:07 PM PDT

WYSIWYG aka ''What You See Is What You Get''. I used one to avoid all the typing required when Wordpad or an HTML editor is used.

Are you doing a ''deep'' site or a ''fan/hobby'' site? WYSIWYG's use a easier method then text editer's. You can drag stuff around to place it where you want.

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Ummm, have you ever heard of Dreamweaver? It's WYSIWYG
by wfairley / April 28, 2006 11:31 PM PDT

If you read my original message, you will find that I purchased Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, which is a WYSIWYG web design environment. It's very versatile, providing me with the ability to not only design simple html-based web pages but also more complex web sites with database technologies including php, asp, jsp, etc. that allow me to create login pages, offer online ads, conduct transactions, the whole works. It's great, or it will be once I learn how to use it.

That's the point of this thread ~ I am asking the cnet community of folks for insight as to the best methods and resources for learning to use Dreamweaver.

Thanks for the advice.


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by BlazeEagle / April 29, 2006 1:22 PM PDT

I somehow didn't get that. I feel bad about my post now.

Sorry I couldn't help you.

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Whoa, you are not a sorry person, friend
by wfairley / April 29, 2006 10:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Sorry...

I don't think you have anything to feel sorry about. You posted a helpful message, my friend.

Keep them coming! Happy


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Using Dreamweaver Visually
by wfairley / April 18, 2006 3:05 AM PDT

I dug out the book I've most frequently perused on Dreamweaver the past few months, and after following the steps, I've now ''created'' a web site on my computer; I'll tackle the first page later this week.

Teaching is in my blood; one of my long-term goals is to finish my PhD Psychology so I can teach at the college level. In the meantime, I've been looking at ''Authorware'' and ''Breeze'' as tools that will allow me to create some online material for the topics I wish to cover on the web site.

I've experimented with Microsoft Producer, the free add-in for PowerPoint 2003, and it seems simple enough ~ I created a test presentation in about twenty minutes, but it is quite limiting, and seems to require a lot of bandwidth.

Back to Dreamweaver ~ I really like the idea of the videos, so I will invest in the Fireworks video next month - I'm a photographer by hobby, so I want to integrate images into my web space as much as possible. Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks all seem to work very closely together, so I think that once I get the basics of Dreamweaver, the other applications will flow a little faster for me.

By the way, I like the ''mule riding the tractor'' analogy! Too cute! Andrea, you are great! Happy


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by saurabhs / April 23, 2006 3:56 AM PDT

Dreamweaver handles images really well. A tip is to use fireworks/photoshop to create gifs, and use dreamweavers built in funtion to insert the images. Also, try using tables and changing the border thickness to 0.

Hope this helps

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Fireworks is next on my learning list
by wfairley / April 25, 2006 10:35 PM PDT
In reply to: tip

Thanks for the tip. I bought a book Monday called, "How to Use Dreamweaver 8 and Fireworks 8" by Lon Coley, Jennifer Fulton, and Scott M. Fulton. It looks like it might help me understand a little more about how the Studio package works.


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by brink51 / April 27, 2006 2:58 PM PDT

Im a new at building websites. I found out its easyer to use notepad and freeware like NVU and Amaya.

What a learning curve this Dream program has, it seems like its better to learn the code from the start.

The best tutorials to learn from.

Google. W3schools and W3.

I think Dreamweaver is a waste of money unless you have a large web site to manage.

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H.O.T. Macromedia books/tutorials AND use the help system
by david spirek / April 27, 2006 11:47 PM PDT

I've had great success using Lynn Weinmann's H.O.T. series (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321112725/103-1655124-4179835?n=924014&s=books&v=glance)

Also...be sure to use the Help system. After all these years, I'm still shocked when people ask me to answer simple questions. I've gotten into the habit of simply going to their computer, pressing F1, and pointing out the process for them. It helps them remember it, print it on the spot, and introduce them to the help system.

Good luck to ya!

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A Suggestion
by mizmike / April 28, 2006 1:16 AM PDT

It sounds like you may be a book junkie like me! I have the same habit of buying books that look like they have something I could learn/use, then letting them sit on a shelf unopened.

I have been teaching a webmastering class at the high school level for several years, and what I find works best is to learn some of the basic HTML code before diving into Dreamweaver. It's not that it is absolutely required to learn code, but there are many times that Dreamweaver won't let you do something or there is something you can't seem to change in Dreamweaver. At those times, you can go into the code and fix the problem (most of the time).

A couple of websites with good tutorials for learning HTML are http://www.htmldog.com/guides/htmlbeginner/ and http://www.w3schools.com/default.asp.

After a quick survey of HTML, just go to Dreamweaver and jump in. That is often the best way to learn new software -- try something and see what happens.

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Tutorials works for me.
by brink51 / April 28, 2006 4:59 AM PDT
In reply to: A Suggestion

Your making a good point. It works for me.

OH!! Thanks for the htmldog link.

Im at the lowest level of experience, 5 months ago I didnt know what html was.

The online tutorials helped me alot and makes the code seems easy.

Ive been playin with Dreamweaver at the school campus, now I can spot problems looking at the code.

I think the best thing to do its go over the online tutorials a few times, then pratice making a site with note pad. My last pratice site was in CSS and it looks good, even with using browsers for the blind.

Now I dont think that I need Dreamweaver for buildin small personal sites. Like Im not going to build large sites with hundreds of pages.
Copy and paste updating for 10 pages about 10 minutes.

Just wait a year or two and some free opensource will come out that better or equals dreamweaver.



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Try School
by msgale / April 29, 2006 2:01 AM PDT
In reply to: A Suggestion

I was faced with the same problem, I had bought Dreamwaver and was not able to really understand it. My best solution was go to school. Many Community Colleges and Adult Education programs run by local school districts teach Web Development at little or no cost.

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local cont. ed. program was canned, next best thing = $34k
by wfairley / May 3, 2006 10:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Try School

Thanks for the advice. I'm sure in any other part of the country there are continuing education classes or night classes that are within my budget, but here in good old Alabama, where education and learning are ranked 2nd worse in the nation (behind Mississippi), the continuing education program at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) was cancelled 3 years ago due to funding shortages. They offered a one-day Dreamweaver course for $99, which I was planning to take.

The local vocational college offers a webmaster program for about $34,000. I'm not interested in changing careers, just learning to make myself a useful website (more than just html).


PS - keep the advice coming, it's great.

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LYNDA.COM - Saved me from a similar fate
by TsavongLah4u / May 5, 2006 7:05 AM PDT

I feel your pain - Dreamweaver books are difficult (boring) to gut your way through...

I learned about Lynda.com through a web-designer friend. They've got online classes available via subscription (per month or per year - very convenient if you have a high-speed internet connection)

They also have DVD's, which I've purchased, and found to be VERY VERY helpful - it's easy to rewind the lessons, and being a visual learner, it's sped my learning efficiency. Better yet, the Dreamweaver DVD for MX is $149.95 for 9.5 hours of instruction.

I also bought the H.O.T. (hands-on training) book from Lynda.com, and the curriculum is EXACTLY the same, but the instructor adds some humorous touches and insights that aren't in the book.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Check it out at http://movielibrary.lynda.com/html/modPage.asp?ID=72

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Whats the secret to using dreamweaver?
by lmen7 / May 5, 2006 11:31 PM PDT

To wfairley


gud day...
talking with a problem on web designing... you can download tutorials from different sites... just type it and let the search engine works for it,,
my second suggestions, try to use microsoft frontpage, wherein you can use templates in creating you website.. just edit it.. and follow the links...
reading a lots of books, magazine or even watching TV ( Convergences zone channel)could be useful in preparing your own website... hence its very expensive to hire a professional one... i can help you about this matter just keep in touch with me at evangelista_angelo@yahoo.com... thanks

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Excellent advice, thank you for your offers
by wfairley / May 6, 2006 12:37 AM PDT

Thanks for the suggestions, and the offer for personal assistance. I have been exploring some of the tutorials available on the Internet, and I will purchase a DVD tutorial after my next paycheck. I am finding the books are best as reference material, but a video will help bring me up to speed most quickly without spending a lot of money on classes.

Thanks again, and keep those valuable posts coming. I'm certain that everyone who reads this forum discussion is gaining insight on their questions.


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by gerpec1 / May 7, 2006 9:28 AM PDT

I have the older version and it seems to work great for me.
I have not got the newest one becaseu I am scared I won't be able to figure it out.

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i used tripod
by SlipKnoT maggot / May 8, 2006 10:10 AM PDT

tripod got me in the face of making websites and gave me a kind of an idea of what its like! its a website that lets u build ur website online.. 4 free seriously i'm not rich so i wouldnt be lying! and also before u make a purchase of a software, try downloading a trial version first!! anyways here's the site.


and heres a website that i made! its pretty lousy, i didnt put much thoughts to it! hope it helps u. if any questions tengo152005@yahoo.com

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i used tripod
by SlipKnoT maggot / May 8, 2006 10:13 AM PDT

tripod got me in the face of making websites and gave me a kind of an idea of what its like! its a website that lets u build ur website online.. 4 free seriously i'm not rich so i wouldnt be lying! and also before u make a purchase of a software, try downloading a trial version first!! anyways here's the site.


and heres a website that i made! its pretty lousy, i didnt put much thoughts to it! hope it helps u. if any questions tengo152005@yahoo.com


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get a text editor (I use Edit plus), and write HTML
by Rob Hurley / May 11, 2006 4:55 PM PDT

At this point, Dreamweaver is more for creating (commercial) sites than web PAGE design.

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Matter of opinion
by Andrea B. / May 11, 2006 8:03 PM PDT

I use Dreamweaver now (after first using Notepad, then HTML Kit) but I still handcode - however, Dreamweaver offers great tools, for example sidewide find and replace, it updates links if you make changes in your site, libraries (even so php includes may be a better, more universal way to go), and many more.

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I want to learn Dreamweaver, but thanks for your opinion...
by wfairley / May 12, 2006 7:46 AM PDT

While I appreciate this opinion, it is not relevant to this thread. I purchased the Adobe Web Bundle because I want to build my site with the power of a commercial site, complete with logins for my family and friends, a forum to discuss various family matters, a classified ads section to include personal ads (my aunts insist on introducing me to my next ex-wife), even a secure web page for transactions.

When I was in college in the 80s I used a general markup language on an IBM mainframe for my senior thesis. I spent a grand on software this year so that I could produce a web site that goes to a much higher level; does that make sense?

I will learn how to use the Studio 8 suite; it is just a matter of time.

I signed up for the monthly tutorials on http://www.lynda.com and they are quite helpful, so I anticipate publishing my web site within the month of June.

Keep the advice and opinions coming everyone, most of the posts are very helpful!

-Woody Fairley

PS ? I am amazed at the number of posters who have not completed their profile on this site. I would highly recommend completing your profile, as it adds credibility to posts. I find it difficult to value a post if I do not know their background; it does not help me put the message into perspective, leaving me little more than the message itself to use as evidence to the poster?s knowledge, skills, and abilities.

In this example, I see that Rob is from Sonoma County, and that he is a literature buff, but I do not have any other information about his background. I am thrilled to find someone with an interest in literature, and I am thankful that Rob gives me more than an alias to relate to, but I am not sure if Rob is approachable. I?m sure his intentions are good and he is trying to help me as well as share his opinion (which parallels the opinions of others, and I am listening: I will get an html book this week), but I am in the dark about this individual, and therefore cannot attribute a lot of credibility to the message.

There are several messages in this thread from individuals who have not completed their profiles. It does not take a lot of time, although I did have some trouble with the photo. I would ask everyone to complete their profile, which allows everyone (not just me) to value those messages.

By the way, this is a great web site for networking, which should provide even more incentive for completing the profile. I regularly connect people with jobs, across the country.

-Woody Fairley

PS ? Anonymity feeds the imagination; sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad. In this case (this website), it is bad.

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