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Web Design and Hosting Creating sites, scripting, and hosting discussions.

Direction needed for Newbie to web design

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Ade Lewis

Member Since: Sep 01, 2008
Posts: 22
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I apologise in advance for this very long topic and thank you for your patience.

I'm fairly new to web design and have a mac. I bought a copy of Freeway express and created a site to help sell our house which turned out really well, following this a few people asked me to create sites for them for various reasons, also all of these turned out really well.

This then evolved to a few people asking me to create sites for their businesses which they paid me to do. Great !!!

I'm sure you're wondering by now where this post is going, well here it is, I sort of feel like I've been bluffing my way through this whole process so far. I really enjoy designing and creating web sites and at the moment there seems to be a lot of people willing to pay me to do it but I think that I may have come into this from the wrong angle.

I'm now in the situation that a music producer wants me to create a site for him where people are able to upload demos of their songs for him to review. So today I've hit the internet and found examples of scripts that I can include in a site to achieve what he wants and hey presto it all works. But the big thing is that I don't really understand how it all works. It all looks great and professional but to be honest if for some reason it stopped working I would have no idea how to fix it.

So. Where do I go from here ? There is so much information and so many tutorials on how to achieve certain goals that it's all a bit mind boggling. I'm still using Freeway express which allows me to create a site really quickly and then paste in pieces of code that I don't understand. A friend has given me his copy of Dreamweaver that he bought and never used but before I plunge into learning how to use it I thought I'd better ask where I should start.

What should I learn first ? Do I need to learn HTML in depth or do I just need a general idea of how it works. Any Good tutorial sites that start at the beginning and work through all the basics rather that just giving you a list of what you can learn and then leaving it up to you to decide ?

I would really appreciate any advice that you can give.

P.S Here are some links to a few sites that I have created (All with no real clue of what I'm doing)
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Member Since: Mar 19, 2008
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I looked at the sites, if you are bluffing, its a good bluff. Well done, as time goes by you can only improve. I use rapidweaver, it does everything one could want and more, lots of good plugins, snippets and themes available and you can really get a professional finish. Email me if you want to know more

Mac is like a car, keep clean and up to date and it will give you many hours of good driving
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Member Since: May 23, 2008
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Hi there.

Firstly I just want to point out that there are two distinct sides to what people commonly refer to as 'Web Design'. You have the actual design process and the development process.

This is something that I am still learning more and more about but a good place to start is finding a good source on instruction and inspiration. If you're in the UK i suggest a great (if expensive) magazine - Computer Arts Projects

Each issue focuses on a different aspect of computer based graphic design. The current issue for instance is about design for print. Many of these many of these theories can be easily applied to web design as it is a similar medium.

Also look into the golden ratio and grid based design. That will help you loads with laying out your pages.

As for applications to use, InDesign and Photoshop for layout and graphics respectively.

Once you have a design signed off as the final one you have to actually turn it into something a web browser can understand.

I cannot stress how important it is to understand that drag and drop development tools (like those available in dreamweaver) are not how you will create great pages. Invest time in learning XHTML and CSS and really know how it all works. Only when you are editing the code itself will you fully understand how to create robust, bug free and importantly, cross browser compatible pages. You can look at the website. They have validators that make sure your XHTML and CSS code is valid.

As for server side code. I use ASP. This is a Microsoft family of technologies that include C(sharp). You could use PHP or ASP. The choice is down to you AND where it is being hosted as ASP will require Microsoft based webservers running IIS (Internet Information Services), microsofts webserver software.

For development i tend to use a mix of applications but mainly Visual Studio. This is however, expensive. You just need an app that has decent syntax recognition to make you work more speedily.

I'm sure this is plenty for now but please let me know if you would like any more info.

Web Designer
Microsoft Web Developer
MacBook Owner
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