As a first blog post I thought I might tell you why I chose web design using Dreamweaver CS4 as the first course on my new e-learning site, http://www.everyones.com.
Web design seemed a logical place to start, seeing as we are talking about e-learning on the world wide web. I find Dreamweaver and the “CS4” version specifically to be a great choice because, well, in all honesty because I believe it is probably the most popular web design program out there.
But there must be some good reasons that this web design tool has become so widely used. Here are a few that I think are worth mentioning:
W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium, http://www.w3.org/) is an organization that sets the standards for web design. Dreamweaver CS4 makes it easier to conform to the standards. So why should you care about complying with some stuffy old (or new) standards of web design, so long as your web site looks good? Ah, and here we arrive at the first reason for the need to conform. By ensuring that your magnificent looking page conforms to the W3C standards you also ensure that it displays correctly in the multitude of browsers and platforms out there in the World Wide Web.
Dreamweaver CS4 helps you to build web pages that conform to the W3C standards and that helps you to ensure that your pages display correctly no matter what browser is used to view them.
Another reason that you need to consider the standards of the W3C is this business of SEO (search engine optimization). The better your pages conform to the standards, the better the search engines will like your site and the better the chances of your site finding its way up to the top of Google’s search results. Ahh, thought that one might get your attention!
A major criterion for W3C standards compliancy and SEO enhancement is the separation of content from presentation. This is accomplished using yet another scary sounding acronym, CSS (cascading style sheets).
What CSS allows you to do is to put the content of your site (i.e. the words and images) in on e place and the styling of the page (i.e. font sizes, types, colors, borders, and alignment) in another. Dreamweaver CS4 allows you to do this more easily than ever before. Believe it or not, you do not have to understand coding in order to style your pages with CSS using this WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) TOOL. When you create a new rule button, you are taken to a menu with a drop down list of selector types and a context sensitive suggestion box prompting you for a selector name.
Of course an interactive step by step tutorial such as Everyone’s Dreamweaver CS4 Level Two helps to develop an understanding of the CSS selector types and when to use which ones.
All this is not readily apparent the first time you begin your first web site. To assist you with the initial layout of your standards compliant website, Dreamweaver CS4 comes equipped with layout templates so you can be sure to set off on the right foot before you enter a word of text onto your web page.
Another reason to use Dreamweaver, particularly if you are new to web design is the WYSIWYG editor Dreamweaver calls Design view. It does a nice job of showing you what the page will look like in most circumstances. However, Design view has its limitations and that is why the CS4 version also offers Live View. And if that is not enough, you can click the Preview in a Browser button and preview the page in the browser(s) of your choice.
Another great feature of Dreamweaver CS4 is how well it integrates with another popular Adobe application, Photoshop. When you insert a Photoshop image into an HTML (hypertext mark up language) page in Dreamweaver, you are presented with an Image Preview dialog that allows you to specify the quality settings of the jpg (joint photographic group) or gif (graphics interchange format) image that you are inserting. If the original image is subsequently edited in Photoshop, the ‘smart object’ icon on the image changes to let you know that the original has changed. A right click on the icon allows you to update the image in the HTML file according to the changes that were made in Photoshop! Click the image below for a free tutorial on inserting a photoshop image into a Dreamweaver html page.
One more amazing feature of Dreamweaver is its ability to keep track of the links in the web site. If you move or rename a file in your site, you would normally have to be very careful about the links contained in the file that relate to other files in the site and vice versa. With Dreamweaver an Update Links dialog automatically pops up prompting you to allow Dreamweaver to update all the links in the site that would be affected.
I hope all of that gives you some idea of why Dreamweaver CS4 is such a popular tool for web design, both for experienced and not so experienced web designers. And if you need further convincing as to whether Everyone’s E-Learning courses are the best method of getting a handle on this application, I invite you to visit http://www.everyones.com/courses/dwcs4 and indulge in the fully interactive, step by step tutorials that will take your skill from newbie to pro in record time! Please contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns about the topic of this blog or anything else that you’d like to discuss!
Please join me for the next upcoming webinar all about Dreamweaver CS4 and the interactive courses offered by Everyone’s E-Learning Inc. Sign up at http://www.everyones.com/webinar