I got your Total Training for DW8 probably around 2007 and I really didn’t spend much time watching it. The only thing I did with DW was create part of a site for someone, using tables, before she finished it herself by using a simple program for non-designers, and for practice, I replicated one of your pages in the tutorial — the one with the green background about flowers with a newsletter signup. That was about a year ago, and I’ve done nothing with DW since then.
I recently became interested in the web design again as I run a sideline moving services company, basically loading/unloading for the do-it-yourself moves. I receive most of my leads via Craigslist. So I also have some other web tutorials by Lynda.Com, one of which is “HTML Essential Training.” I also got this one a few years ago and hardly watched it at all. I started watching several of the chapters this past weekend, and I tried creating a more advanced Craigslist posting with columns, using the <PRE> tag. It didn’t exactly come out as desired, with centering, bold, etc. From looking at the code view of a web site, I replicated parts of it and got the Craigslist posting exactly the way I wanted it to appear, using a div class panel. And, mind you, I do not know CSS at all.
What I’m getting to is, since doing this, I got reinterested in pursuing doing something with web design, even if only as some kind of freelancer, and maybe just getting some jobs working for someone else who has some side gigs, at least as a start. Having said this, if I want to get serious about doing something with web design, am I better off learning to hand-code, obtaining a more current Dreamweaver version as you suggested, or a combination of both?
Dreamweaver is by far the most popular Web design program among professional Web designers. That said, most designers find that learning at least basic code is helpful, even if you use Dreamweaver. Indeed, most of us use the Split View in Dreamweaver, which lets us take advantage of all of the cool design features in Dreamweaver while still keeping an eye on the code behind the scenes. Once in a while, I find fixing something in Code View is more efficient, but most of the time, I prefer to use Dreamweaver’s design tools.
I definitely encourage you to upgrade the program if you want to improve your skills. Not only has Dreamweaver improved in the last few versions, but the way most of us design Web sites has changed. That means that books and training videos for the latest versions are written with the latest strategies. If you can, get the CS5 version of the program and consider subscribing to KelbyTraining to watch my videos on Dreamweaver. You can easily watch all of my videos in a month’s time, and a one-month subscription is about the same price as a book. You’ll find more information about my videos, as well as several free written tutorials in my Dreamweaver section.
I hope that helps and I wish you all the best with your career,