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A basic understanding of html and CSS code is a pre-requisite for working
with DW. When you understand the basics, you'll appreciate all that DW can
do for you.
Taking a Fireworks comp to a CSS based layout in DW
If this makes no sense to you, start here:
Alt-Web Design & Publishing
Well, I start with what I want the layout to look like. Personally I use Adobe Fireworks to do that, while most in the industry use Adobe Photoshop.
When I'm figuring out what I want to site to look like, I've already talked to my client to figure out what they're trying to convey with their site, what sections they'd like to include in the navigation, and many other factors that will shape the design.
I'll use filler text to decide where all of the verbiage goes (www.lipsum.com), I'll use Kuler to help me figure out a color scheme if the client doesn't have a preference ( http://kuler.adobe.com) and then I'll find some stock textures and images to work into the layout (www.sxc.hu).
Once I have the design nailed down, which can take days, weeks, or months depending on the project - I use that as a roadmap when opening up Dreamweaver. If my design has a blue background I'll figure out the hex code for that shade of blue and tranfer that data to my stylesheet in Dreamweaver. From there I chip away at the HTML and CSS recreating the layout I did in Fireworks.
Some would suggest that you study HTML & CSS until you can recite it like the alphabet. I personally learn by having a small challenge, figuring out how to overcome it, and then moving on to the next.
Just remember that squirrels don't collect all of their nuts in one day.
THANK YOU for your advice, I've been getting frustrated because I'm so new to web design....your squirrel quote helped to remind me to take one thing at a time!