Hi Everyone!

I'm really looking forward to finding some answers here.

I'm trying to teach myself how to write HTML and CSS, and essentially, how to build a good website. I am a graphic designer, so I have little knowledge, but I am trying to better myself.

I am wondering, in order to make this all work... what program/software should I be using to built extraordinary websites, able to write HTML, CSS as well as put my designs in there too.

I also need to know how to go about having my own "server" "FTP", etc.

I pretty much am looking for someone to take the time and explain to me the ways of the trade! Once I have teh right software, and learn it, I'm confident I will be able to do this!

I look forward to a reply. Thanks.

Hey canadian_sars,
If your a student you can get Expression Studio for free from dreamspark. Personally I like to use Expression Web in code view.
Otherwise you could try nvu, or any text editor, like notepad++. At this point its important to get stuck into the code (best way to learn is by doing).

As for learning the code you should check out w3schools. There are many sites out there with tutorials but this one stands out. Also, google is your friend :-D

As for hosting, you probably wont need it at the start but if you want I can give you more info and recommendations.

Good luck,


Hi there!

Thank you for replying to my message so fast and with such helpful information!! You know, I was inspired to get into this just last night! I was up until 2am, trying to learn HTML coding, and creating some simple tags, elements, etc! (Exciting that I know some of the lingo!) It all started when my web developer told me he couldn't do what I wanted done on my website.. and well, I wasn't too happy! So I started out with Text Edit on my mac, and am fascinated, and only want to learn more.

Anyways, I have a few more questions for you. Is the software Expression Studio and Dreamspark, similar to Text Edit (For simple coding) or is ot closer to Dreamweaver?.. Pretty much, I get lost between the coding and the designing, and I don't entirely know how I should be integrating the two.

For example, If i create a layout with roll overs and buttons and pages, and I want to slice it up and make it into my site, where should I go about doing this?..

Thanks so much for your help!

Your welcome. Once you start to 'get' the language it can be very interesting.

Expression Studio is a suite of web design tools. Dreamspark is a site with free software for students. Expression Web would be closer to Dreamweaver but it can be very powerful when used in code view (rather than wysiwyg). Expression Web is useful because it complies to w3c standards, meaning you'll have less problems with compatibility. Basically what it does is a bit like spellchecker in ms word, It underlines invalid code. This is very useful especially when your learning or if you want an easy way to eliminate the little mistakes you make (like leaving out closing brackets).

Anyway, the best way to start is with a basic text editor and a browser. I strongly recommend you go to w3schools and start the tutorials (their free). They will cover all the essentials so you don't go off making basic mistakes.

Using layers. AKA the <div> tag (which doesn't actually do much) is arguably the most powerful tag in html with the help of css.

I can't thank you enough!

I'm going to look into all this within the next couple of days, and should I have any problems or questions I'll come back here to find you!

Thanks again, have a great weekend!


I'd agree with previous poster's advice, w3schools is a great place to start and always a good place to come back to.

From software I'd strongly recommend trying Dreamweaver CS5 - you can download free 30 day trial. Don't let the abundance of options overwhelm you, until they something to you you can use it for just typing code. You can choose different views: code, design or code & design - so you can load someone's page and study the code behind each element on page.

Avoid too old literature or tutorials, as info may be outdated partially or completely.

As you mentioned words "extraordinary" and "mac" I assume you like super cool things, so you might find HTML5 interesting. Here are some demos, tutorials, and ready-made code you can use:


but be aware that actual browsers don't support it fully yet, and what features they do support you can easily check here:



Btw. I do coding only and am interested for cross-sourcing - so if you're available for design works you can send me portfolio and prices on PM, and of course, if you need a coder for any projects feel free to contact me.

I've read in this forum forum that Cs5 is rather clunky if you are trying to do something very customized. There is no substitute for knowing what you are doing!
Keep up the learning and you will be able to evaluate the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the IDEs that are available. As you progree, you may wnat to use PHP, and javascript also. Netbeans and Eclipse are the top open source IDEs, IMO.

dreamweaver is best tool!!! I dont know about CS5 but i am using CS4 and its best i think
only bad thing is that it costs 400$

Hey canadian_sars,

I am also a newbie and sometimes feel like any syntax highlighter helps. My favorite free tools that I use all the time are; Firebug - (a Firefox developers tool) which is good for debugging, Intype - a light weight text editor, IETester - View websites in all IE browsers, Colorpix - Pick any color from your computer. My favorite of all free tools is Daniweb.com and tutorial based websites.

joining this site has been so helpful, and i can't tell you all how much i appreciate all your help and advice!!

Thankfully i have CS4 and will be exploring this week (very excited) !!

I am also thinking about taking some university courses as a continued education student.. thoughts??

otherwise, I'm going to be dabbing into each and everyone's advice and see what works best with me!

thanks again everyone- really appreciate it!

Hi canadian sars, I think that University courses specifically for HTML and CSS are not going to help much. As the previous posts stated, w3schools is a great tutorial to get you in the right direction.

I don't know much about graphic design but I'm learning as well so maybe we could help each other out.


Hi, I agree with the previous poster that university courses at this point (learning HTML/CSS) may not be the optimal solution.

You may find yourself learning far faster by everyday direct contact with code, using w3schools as reference, and for everything you don't know - google it / bing it, or ask here:)

HTML/CSS is like abc in web development, I know it looks kinda scary now, but just create enough pages from scratch (just dare, nothing to lose), and it will feel as natural as typing in English.

I think university courses would be a great choice for some more advanced stuff, like making dynamic pages with databases, which will anyway be your next logical step, as you cannot even make a contact form work without, say, PHP or some other server-side language.

And on those courses they anyway assume you already know HTML/CSS, so maybe that can be the way to go.