New to Dreamweaver - a little help needed!

  simon_lambert 20:10 10 May 2007
Locked

I just opened DW8 and it asked me to create from a list of:

HTML
Coldfusion
PHP
ASP VBScript
ASP.NET C#
Java Script
XML
XSLT
CSS
Dreamweaver site

Which one do I go for? I just want to make a page with a fair bit of writing on it, a few graphics, and I don't want to have to program it, as in writing the code.

Thanks

  setecio 22:49 10 May 2007

I think you've gone for the wrong package ... DW is aimed more at profssionals bringing with them keen enthusiasts .... You might be better with something aimed more at the amateur home market, like Net Objects Fusion.

  simon_lambert 23:50 10 May 2007

Ok, but I havent got that program, I have dreamweaver 8. I am competent with the design, I just need to know what format i pick?

  imacd 07:52 11 May 2007

Go for HTML - it doesn't mean you will need to know html, just that it will create a 'basic' webpage.

  SimpleSimon1 11:34 13 May 2007

As a fairly new Dreamweaver user, let me just clarify the above response from fourm member.

As he says, basic web pages are written in HTML and HTML allows you to specify appearance (font, colour, size etc) as part of this as well as the text itself. However, this makes it pretty difficult to maintain the text because [for example] if you want to change the font colour, you would have to update every occurence of the colour tag in your site.

Because of this, CSS has been developed as an adjunct to HTML and works in a very similar way to styles in MS-Word e.g. define a CSS 'style' associated it with a particular HTML text type (para, title, header1 etc) and then every occurence of that HTML text type will inherit the defined CSS style attributes. Even better, if you update a style attribute (e.g. colour), all text associated with that CSS style will automatically change.

fourm member is correct to say that, generally, using CSS styles makes it far easier to maintain a web site. However, in answer to your specific question, in DW, you do NOT want to select the CSS option as your starting point since this tells the program that you want to create a CSS stylesheet NOT an HTML page. Since these are two different beasties, DW will not create an web page - instead it will, basically, create a simple text file with all your [unformatted]text in it!

So, the answer is that you do select HTML to load your text into a web page. If you THEN want to format it with CSS styles, that's the point where you create a CSS stylesheet. However, even then, it's pretty rare to use the CSS option from the first screen since the normal workflow is to create the CSS as part of the HTML editting operation.

If you're going to stick with DW, I strongly suggest you buy some sort of basic intro to it. From bitter experience as a DW newbie, I can tell you that it's got lots of ways to trip you up - I'm cool with it now but, until I sat down with a guide, it drove me up the wall :-)

Good luck

  benjiboots 17:42 15 May 2007

A useful tip I found when creating pages with DW is to start to create the styles you want to use for font, colour, size etc while working on the HTML page.
You will notice that DW automatically creates CSS styles based upon your settings, only they are put in the head section of the webpage.
When you have created a few different styles or are ready to create more elaborate link effects etc, simply cut the style section out of the HTML page and paste it into a blank CSS document. Then attach the CSS document to the HTML page.
I have found this a useful way to get started because it can be rather confusing having to work directly from a blank HTML page and a blank CSS document.

  SimpleSimon1 11:15 16 May 2007

I guess different people work different ways - personally, I hate seeing CSS code embedded in the HTML page and having to 'wade' through' all those CSS defintions before I get to the actual HTML code!

On that basis, DW (I use v7 but I think v8 is similar)doesn't really help since it embeds CSS code arising from Property Inspector attribute changes into the HTML page rather than linking to a separate stylesheet (which is what happens with CSS code entered via the Design pane).

Since newbies (and I include myself in that category) will instinctly gravitate towards using the Property Inspector, they end up with loads of embedded CSS and no understanding of what the initial 'Create CSS stylesheet' quicklink actually does (mind you, I can't say I've ever used it because the Design Pane approach creates the external stylesheet, anyway).

Maybe, one day, DW will add a Preference to decide whether Property Inspector-generated CSS should be embedded or external. However, probably not, since (as the saying goes) it's only a gotcha until the first time that you find out about it :-)

  benjiboots 15:06 16 May 2007

That's the great thing about people, they do work in different ways - and today's software allows us to achieve the same thing through a multi-tude of different avenues; although sometimes this can be just as confusing!

I like the immediacy of DW's property inspector and find it a great starting point when you are faced with a blank page to design some fantastic web page. I use it to get body text and heading styles then split the view to design and code, and cut out the style snippets so that I already have a starting point for my CSS page. A sort of kick start for the design process!!

My favourite program is Flash though and after the struggle I went through to attach a CSS document to a Flash text field, anything else is a breeze!! :)

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