Fortunately I didn’t do too much damage the first week I started to build my website and learned about the need to back up my files. During the second week I discovered a whole online community of people all about helping each other build websites. The main forum I’ve used so far is the Adobe Dreamweaver Forum.
I posted several questions and received helpful responses – from community professionals (Murray and David Powers) who seem to review every inquiry to provide helpful solutions. There are also helpful power users (Nancy O is incredibly helpful and apparently never sleeps). Besides posting questions, a great way to learn (and squander time) is to skim other users questions to find common problems and things I’ll need to learn/avoid. Some users post links to the websites they are building (they are less shy than I am) and it’s fun to see what other newbies are working on (sometimes I can feel smug in the fact my site is better than theirs, other times I’m humbled by the uber cool sites being built).
I tried with little success to use the search/help features available from within Dreamweaver, but they all seem to either connect back to the web (slooow!) or the results are off base. Someone on the Adobe forum suggested a book which I eventually purchased for around $50, is Dreamweaver CS5 the missing manual written by David McFarland and published by O’Reilly.
The mere fact of owning this 5 pound tome has made me feel smarter. Scanning over the table of contents and the index are like sleeping with the book under my pillow; it feels like the information is magically transporting off the pages into my brain. A question about formatting a link, no problem, go to page 197. Stuck on how to indent a paragraph, try page 97. The book even has a pretty lime green cover with a cute doggy wagging it’s tail.
Week two was all about learning the basics – how to navigate the Dreamweaver dashboard (not exactly mastered yet), creating new pages (got that one), inserting divisions (usually works) and creating columns. Learning about style sheets (I get the concept), templates (kinda understand), formatting text (how can something so basic be so complicated?), inserting images (not too bad, but my files are a mess), adding links (fun!). If week one was dipping my toe in the water, week two was stepping down to the first rung of the ladder, my shins are wet. There’s still a long way to go.