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I have a new interest in website development but after searching for various ways to begin I have found many recommended programmes/packages and am unsure which would be best to start out with. I would like to learn to create a professional website and associated skills and would be thankful if anyone could recommend a starting point and/or where then to progress too.
Ok thanks so I should start with html and then move onto a package such as Frontpage as suggested then?
and I broadly agree. Nowadays WYSIWYG applications are so good that there's really no need to learn how to hand-code in html, although it's undoubtedly a useful skill if you want to fine-tune something later on. Modern programs can do in minutes what a hand-coder would labour over for hours, and people like me, who earn a living from designing websites wouldn't dream of coding everything by hand any more.
FrontPage - particularly the most recent version - is a superb web application, and is every bit as powerful as the legendary DreamWeaver; in fact where data-driven sites are concerned it leaves DreamWeaver looking a little inadequate. To get the best from FrontPage you'll need to have the FP extensions installed on your host server, but that's something that any good host will do on request anyway. FrontPage can really shine in conjunction with Microsoft Sharepoint services, but that's another topic entirely.
Undoubtedly one of the best applications for newcomers to web design is NetObjects Fusion. Easy to work with when you first start, NOF has the power to keep pace as your skills develop, and many designers end up working with nothing else. NOF can cope with pretty well any demand you make, and I recommend it as a first application.
DreamWeaver is a wonderful program, and as powerful as they come, but it does have a reputation for involving a fairly steep learning curve. Some of its little ways take some getting used to, but once you have your head around DreamWeaver you'll love its ability to do almost anything you can imagine.
All web-design applications have their idiosyncracies, and none of the major ones can be thoroughly absorbed in ten minutes - you'll need to spend time experimenting. Get your software, sign up with a web host, and practice - it's by far the best way to learn. There are literally hundreds of thousands of tutorials and tips 'n tricks sites out there, so you won't be short of help - and of course we're here if you get stuck at any point.
Good luck, we'll look forward to seeing the fruits of your labours in due course.
Thank you for the good advice I will look into everything mentioned and see how I do. As for the fruits of my labour Im afraid you might have to be a little patient to see that.
NetObjects Fusion did look rather nice but Im not sure that I wish to spend so much money on the software at this point so I may have to have a look at the numerous tutorials/guides you have mentioned as my starting point.
Nvu is free and claims to be a rival for Dreamweaver and Frontpage.
Looks interesting, anyone used it or know of its credentials?
It is open source (that's why it is free). I think that quite a few people on here have used it and said good things about it.
I've tried it and it seemed to do a lot but I can't get my head around WYSIWYGs and find it easier to use an HTML editor so I'm not the best person to comment.
and I'm currently playing with it. First impressions aren't always last impressions, but so far so good.
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