The Closest To Geek I’ve Ever Been

Foundation - Web Design with Dreamweaver 8 Tonight I finished reading my first book on webdesign.

I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Foundation Web Design with Dreamweaver 8 for about a little over a month. I’ve always known a little HTML, but never really understood CSS (nor CSS based layouts) until I started reading this.

And my approach to Dreamweaver has always been as if I were working with a Word document. To me it was never important to be standards compliant (or to even understand what that means) and if it looked alright to me, it probably looked alright everywhere else too.

I get skeptical over people who swear by hand-coding everything. I don’t know if they sound like old people talking about the good ol’ days before WYSIWYG editors or if they are truly passionate about hand-coding the same way a baseball fan might feel about the Yankees. Maybe a mixture of both.

To their credit, whenever I’ve used Dreamweaver in the past (I use MX 2004 at work) it always seemed to make incredibly sloppy code. For example, if you made a table in Dreamweaver and then decided that you didn’t want that table and deleted it, it seemed like you’d still have a few table tags in your code. Maybe I was never using it right. Either that or version 8 is a lot better.

My first project with this is going to be a website that hasn’t really been redesigned since the late 90s. I gave it a facelift late last year, but that was before I knew anything. The navbar on it is made with Javascript (generated from Dreamweaver). I want to convert that to a CSS based navbar with hover and active states, etc. The chapter on layouts Plus the template capability is great. Just build your layout once and then define your editable regions. You change the template and Dreamweaver will update all the pages based on that template. Tons of time saved.

The only thing I’m struggling with is IE compatibility…I know I’ve got some people still at version 5 and I keep wondering if I should bend over backwards for these few people or leave them out to dry.

I still have a few more books left. I also have Beginning Web Programming with HTML, XHTML, and CSS from Wrox press. I read a few chapters into that before starting the Friends of Ed book. I also have one on Flash MX 2004 and Adobe Classroom in a Book for Indesign CS2 and Photoshop CS2. I think I’ll be starting the Photoshop one…or the Indesign one. It’s off anyway – I use regular CS.

And the Friends of Ed stuff? Definitely recommended. Part of the reason I stopped with the Wrox (Programmer to Programmer) book was that it was real dry and was actually more of a reference book and I wanted to get up and running ASAP. It uses so much space listing all these deprecated tags that I kind of felt like I was wasting my time. The Friends of Ed stuff (Designer to Designer) seemed much more concise and the language is definitely easier to grasp. But, I do believe in knowing what any HTML WYSIWYG editor is doing (and being able to clean and troubleshoot code) so I still plan on reading through the Web Programming book…I just don’t think it will be as enjoyable.