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Webdesign newbie

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I was thinking about getting a student version of Macromedia Studio and playing with it some.

How difficult is it for a newbie to figure out?
post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by Slotracer152
I was thinking about getting a student version of Macromedia Studio and playing with it some.

How difficult is it for a newbie to figure out?

i dont think very hard, i picked up on it rather quickly when i first got started, though i'm still learning new features and things i like
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post #3 of 34
It is really easy, I got a student version and I know almost every feature on there. I never opened a book or manual to help me.
post #4 of 34
Web design is not about learning a program; it's about learning HTML/XHTML, CSS, usability, accessibility, and the pros and cons of doing different things in different ways.
post #5 of 34
I think you would be most free to create in DreamWeaver. I have tried them all..and so far..this is as good as it gets.

`tommy
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post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 
thanks guys
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by unremarkable
Web design is not about learning a program; it's about learning HTML/XHTML, CSS, usability, accessibility, and the pros and cons of doing different things in different ways.

people should be aware and take in consideration how all the above work and can be applied effectively to some degree or another, but it's not the end all be all of designing on the web. it is not all that important that someone needs to be able to write code (mark up if you will) from scratch. it's nice, but certainly not nescessary. i'd say get the general concept, and as you go along you'll pick up more than you imagine. that is unless you are primarily focusing on development and not the design. if your more the creative type, focus on good design, the rest will come.
post #8 of 34
I'd say it's very necessary.
post #9 of 34
So would I...

Unless you are doing personal home pages, dont waste yours and your clients time, doing web design, if you do not know what you are doing. And knowing how to use Dreamweaver, etc.. does not mean you know what you are doing.

If you just want to make personal sites and what not, by all means, have fun...

But, if you are going into this as a career, or you are going to charge for your services, do your client a favor, and learn what you need to learn, or dont bother with it.

I dont know how many sites that I have acquired from others that did not know what they were doing, and it made it such a mess to rebuild the client's site the right way.

I dont mean to preach, but its like going to a mechanic's shop, and saying.. I can fix or build that car, when really you only know how to open the hood, change the oil, and possible rotate the tires...
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by SCARECROW
So would I...

Unless you are doing personal home pages, dont waste yours and your clients time, doing web design, if you do not know what you are doing. And knowing how to use Dreamweaver, etc.. does not mean you know what you are doing.

true, but just cause you know the ins and outs of writing code does not mean your going to design a good site. in fact most programers i've worked with over the last five years, couldn't design their way out of a wet paper bag. it doesn't matter if your designing for the web or for print, good design is good design. and as such, a designer should take all things relevent regarding a given project into consideration. obviously the more you know the better, sure, no doubt about it, but to say that you have to know everything about the code is absolute bullshit. get familar with it, know the limitations and move on.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by SCARECROW
I dont mean to preach, but its like going to a mechanic's shop, and saying.. I can fix or build that car, when really you only know how to open the hood, change the oil, and possible rotate the tires...

Ah, but you don't have to know how the car engine works to be a good driver. Following the "prescribed" mainentance schedule will keep your car in good condition, but even then you don't necessarily have to know how to do the oil change yourself.

Don't get me wrong, it IS important to know WHY the oil is being changed in the car -- and the consequences if you don't. But don't give me all this crap that knowing coding is the only way someone can design good web pages.

Web sites are 1/3 design, 1/3 content, and 1/3 coding. Why not let someone have DW do most of what they want if the design and content dictate that that's all they need.

My advice: Learn a little bit of coding (so you have an idea of how the web works), but also focus on design and content, because it doesn't matter how wonderfully your site is in the markup language if you have sh*tty content and it looks bad.
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post #12 of 34
Being able to write the code, or mark-up, is part of the design! I wouldn't call people who can write XHTML and CSS programmers by any means. If you're going to be designing content for the web, you should know XHTML and CSS.

I should also add that from the perspective of a web designer, it is 1/2 coding, 1/2 visual design. Content doesn't even enter into it when you're the designer, because that is not your job.

To pop in a metaphor...

I grew up racing sailboats, specifically Lightnings. I was taught to be able to sail the boat without a rudder. Did I ever really do this in a race or practicing? No, but I at least knew how, and it made me a better skipper.

So you don't have to know XHTML/CSS to be a "Web designer", but it's damn sure going to make you a good one. And since the mark-up is what is actually making the site you are building 'come to life' as it were, I'd say it is pretty damn important to know it. It's not that difficult, it's a mark-up language.

If you're going to do something professionally, do it right. Know your tools... and face it, the code is part of the design.
post #13 of 34
The thing is, I think you have to know the code inside out to know exactly how necessary it is to know it.

If you don't know the code--you don't know what a certain bit of HTML or CSS does--then I'm afraid you can't call yourself a web designer. You're just someone who uses Dreamweaver to put things on the web, without knowing what it's doing or why it's doing them, or how they could be done better. It's automation, and automation is always inferior to actually knowing what you're doing.
post #14 of 34
How often have I been asked by clients and friends alike this very question, "I was trying to edit the site in [insert WYISWYG editor here] and it broke the site. How do I fix it?" or "I can't get [WYSIWYG editor] to do what I want. Help!"
post #15 of 34
What is included in Studio MX and how much is the student version?
post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by bih
What is included in Studio MX and how much is the student version?

The student version includes Full versions of Flash MX, Dreamweaver MX, Fireworks MX, FreeHand MX, ColdFusion MX Developer Edition (Windows Only), Macromedia Flash Player 6

(It is the regular Studio MX)(Regular customers can get Studio MX Plus Except it costs $899)

Well the student version is only $199 (You cannot use it to make money though)
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by LoCash
I should also add that from the perspective of a web designer, it is 1/2 coding, 1/2 visual design. Content doesn't even enter into it when you're the designer, because that is not your job.


that's insane, how can you say that? content drives the design. how you go about laying something out is directly influenced by what kind of content you have. you ignore the content and your ignoring your client's needs and more than likely missing the boat intirely.
post #19 of 34
I think to have a steady understanding of Dreamweaver - and to be able to fix problems that crop up - AND to have design freedom, the user needs to know at least basic HTML.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by unremarkable
The thing is, I think you have to know the code inside out to know exactly how necessary it is to know it.

If you don't know the code--you don't know what a certain bit of HTML or CSS does--then I'm afraid you can't call yourself a web designer. You're just someone who uses Dreamweaver to put things on the web, without knowing what it's doing or why it's doing them, or how they could be done better. It's automation, and automation is always inferior to actually knowing what you're doing.

once again, i call bullshit. you don't have know the every nuance of the code to grasp designing on the web. you just need to know how to design for the web. period. the more code you know is just icing on the cake. nothing more.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by running with scissors
that's insane, how can you say that? content drives the design. how you go about laying something out is directly influenced by what kind of content you have. you ignore the content and your ignoring your client's needs and more than likely missing the boat intirely.

I think we're misinterpreting each other. A client comes to me. Wants me to build his site. Well, from an ID perspective, yes, who the client is, what their site is about enter into the design. But I'm not going to say to a client, "I'm sorry sir, but you do not have enough content for me to build your website."

I am not a content creator in the truest sense of the word. I work with what I'm given, but the content is not my responsibility. I am a third party. It is up to them to provide content to drive the site, not me. Yeah, it matters when I'm doing the interface, but really, beyond that, it isn't my problem.


And no, you don't have to know every nuance of XHTML/CSS to make money in the industry. Not even to be successful. But knowledge is power, and if I have a firmer understanding of what I am working with than you do, then I have a distinct advantage. Much like if a mechanic knows every little quirk about an engine... it makes him a better mechanic. I'm better at what I do than most people because I know it inside and out and can adapt and manipulate the medium to do exactly what I want.

If you do not have an in-depth understanding of the theory and capabilities of what you're working with, you are at a disadvantage and you fall under the mercy of your tools instead of you. So yes, I think it is very important to have a deep, working knowledge of the code. If you don't want to, that's your choice. I just believe you can be better at what you do by knowing it this intimately.

It's really the science of it. If I have a rendering issue, I know there is a logical reason for why it is happening. So I can easily fix it. but if you built it in dreamweaver, and don't know XHTML/CSS down to the spec... you're the kind of person that ends up calling me and asking to solve your problem. This happens... every week.
post #22 of 34
I started out using GoLive and then gradually got to the point where I write everything by hand. Now that I have converted over to using CSS layout instead of tables, that has gotten a lot easier. I would dispute the statement that hand coding lets you understand rendering problems. All the browsers have their own inexplicable set of definiciencies, and there is a lot of trial and error testing when you hand code.

I still say starting with a good graphical editor is perfectly fine though, and DW is the best, and it is the way to go if you just want to throw together something decent quickly right at the first. Eventually, if you want to be a pro you should to learn to code by hand. Sadly though, in the current environment, just by not using Frontpage you are already in the top 50 percent.

Whenever anyone starts talking smack about html I like to check out their site. I'm just an amateur but here is mine-- if you go to the archive you can see how my style developed over the years:

www.utm.edu/~mharvey

fm
post #23 of 34
Knowing the language, is the most important aspect of building professional level sites...

And that is the part, that I think most of the people in this thread who disagree, are missing...

If you want to do personal level sites, then you do not need to know the languages at all... that is true.

But, if you are going to do this for a living, it is vital that you know all that you can... period.

As for content vs design vs code....

Content is irregardless. A good design seperated the content from the code, completely. So, no matter what the content, it is displayed fine...

Seperation of your content from the code, will make a good site everytime, as it allows for changes, additions, etc.. without ever having to recode the site. It also allows for re-designing the site with the the utmost of ease, as you dont have to worry about how the content will fit into the picture, and you can make changes on a few seperate pages of code, and have it update site-wide, instantly.

Design, is not about making things look pretty.. its about making the site useable. It should always be the first step in the process.. and it is actually architecture more than it is design.

Graphics and look/feel are something that, if the site is designed right, can be changed out very easily, since you have already done the architecture, and the code allows for look/feel to be changed.. sometimes even on the fly.

I design many of my sites with this in mind, from the get-go. We offer our site visitors their choice of the display mechanism. This can only be done by building a site correctly, with forethought, good flexible layout, and adeherence to standards and good coding techniques. These are not even remotely available in all of today's WYSIWYG editors...

One of the best examples of these design techniques is here:


http://www.csszengarden.com/


Note how the look and feel of the page can be completely changed.. on the fly.. without ever having to change anything on the site, other than a stylesheet. This is the future of the web, and static pages created in WYSIWYG editors is a thing of the past. Its the evolution of web design. Either get on board, or get out of the way...

Sorry to be blunt, but that just how it is.

post #24 of 34
I have GoLive, Dreamweaver, and BBEdit on my machine. Personally I just use BBEdit because I like it more and I hand code all my stuff. I never really got too much into the others, but even though I suck at web design HTML Javascript blah blah blah....I still like to hand code everything and it makes it easier to get something that is compatible with everything. Is there any reason I should look further into Dreamweaver instead? To start out I tried GoLive and didnt really like it...so I have been strictly BBEdit for coding now.
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post #25 of 34
You don't NEED to know all the code to make a decent site. But you will need the code eventually. All the little tools are in there in the WYSIWYG but if you don't know CSS how are you to use it to its fullest potential? If you don't know HTML or whatnot how are you supposed to make it your own? Sure you can build a site, and probably a good one with just being good at design, but imagine if you actually knew something....

Anything can be rigged for good enough purposes, but to really make a claim and self gratification you would have to see where this all came from. See why and how stuff works. Be curious. It is perfectly fine to build a site however you see fit because the experience you gain is worth a lot too. Once you get comfortable, or find yourself in a rut, take the time to learn some code so that you can get better. Hell, maybe even take a class. whatever it takes, if this is what you are into.

Ultimately, there is no one right answer, it all depends on the person that is building the site that determines what is most important. that is what makes building sites so special, it can be done several ways. Have fun with it and learn from your mistakes, that is all you can do.
post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 
dag...I was just asking a simple question
post #27 of 34
That's what you think.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by Slotracer152
dag...I was just asking a simple question

Yeah, but we like to argue about this... and make fun of the WYSIWYG people
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by LoCash
Yeah, but we like to argue about this... and make fun of the WYSIWYG people

that's all right, i'm laughing all the way to the bank.
post #30 of 34
You can no doubt give me some tips, then, on how not to be undercut by teenagers with copies of Dreamweaver...
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by unremarkable
You can no doubt give me some tips, then, on how not to be undercut by teenagers with copies of Dreamweaver...

simple, if your losing business to all the hotline and carracho kiddies then take yourself out of that kind of market. do your self a favor and don't do business for people who won't pay for profesional level work. it's just not worth it in the long run. seek out better clients and price yourself accordingly.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by running with scissors
that's all right, i'm laughing all the way to the bank.

I'll meet you there, this lousy economy is actually doing alright for me too God bless government clients.

Now I have to decide whether or not to keep my 50" Sony LCD RPTV or pick up the Panasonic 52" DLP RPTV. I'm leaning towards the Panasonic
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally posted by LoCash
I'll meet you there, this lousy economy is actually doing alright for me too God bless government clients.

ahh yes, sucking off the goverment tit can be nice.
post #34 of 34
Your tax dollars at work
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