Not sure if this is the right place for this, but here we go.

Basically I would like to get back into building websites, but I have no idea which dev tools to use. I haven't built a website for about 5 years ago and then I was using Microsoft front page (mostly because it came with my computer). I'm not sure if this was any good but I got on with it fine.

Basically, I would like some advice on where to start and what programs to buy (or better, download for free). I know some HTML and my only requirements are that the program be simple enough to use initially but allow the scope to develop my skills further. Ideally I would like to be able to incorporate forums and secure logins into my websites eventually. Also a something a bit more visual than just a preview would be advantageous (WYSIWYG sorta thing), although this is not necessary.

Hope someone can help here,


I'd suggest you use an OpenSource CMS such as Joomla or Wordpress.

Everything I know (PHP, CSS, HTML/XHTML etc.) I've taught myself through the use of modifying and fiddling with OpenSource scripts such as these. Just to clarify; they are not pieces of software, they are scripts. So you upload them to a web server, install them and then build your site from there. They both allow for addons such as forums or user-membership.

I went from FrontPage to Dreamweaver to Notepad within 12 months.

I DONT recommend using CMS's. You want to learn code and learn symantic code, so either use a terxt editor such as notepad++, jEdit, or some other free efitor, or if you want to start with Dreamweaver fine. Just make sure you know what the code actually does and is. In other words, dont just let dreamweaver code for you. DW has lots of wizards that makes some ppl lazy and they never learn to code by hand.

btw, dont use Front page either! lol worst of the bunch.

You can't expect a beginner to just open Notepad and know what they're doing in programming a website, let alone a forum or a membership system!

Using a WYSIWYG editor such as Dreamweaver or Frontpage will more than likely, as you say, result in the user not learning how to code. Which is why I suggest beginners have a look at Content Management Systems; you can see the code, when you edit something you can see what that edit did, you can see what this file does or what this piece of code does.

Once you're confident with learning and knowing the language, you can start to edit, add and modify yourself, perhaps without the use of a CMS.

Dreamweaver environment will be good for you since you knew some of html tags and you want to create simple website.

Thanks for your help guys. These responses seem a little contradictory, so to clarify, would it be best to start building a website in something like Wordpress and then move to Dreamweaver at a later date when I have got more advanced? Or should I start with one of these and stick to it? Also, as Dreamweaver is horrendously expensive for a student such as myself, are free editors such as Komodo or even Seamonkey any good?

I would suggest use Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver might be more to kill a baby. I use it, but only understand HTML, tables, etc. And there are also many tools and utilities that may not be necessary, such as support for server-side development, etc. NVU is great because it's free. If you want to learn HTML and web design to start with, this might be a good idea. NVU web editor may be the best in free circulation. But hands-free web development, I recommend XSitePro. It's really easy to learn, easy to use and do not need to know HTML

Honestly, dreamweaver is great. The drawback is IF you let it do the coding ALL the time for you. What I mean is, DW has so many tools and wizards that allow non-coders create websites in just a few hours. The trick is use DW to learn, use the wizards to start with, use the tools to code, but make sure you are understanding the code thats being inserted. Dont rely on DW's wizards for the rest of your "coding" days and when you do code, code in code view, desing view shows you nothing about the code or what code is being used.

Now as far as notepad, thats what I started with. To me thats how you learn. Go to any university that has a web design curriculum, and they will be teaching html in notepad. Get a good textbook with exercise files on a cd or downloadable, and get to work. There are plenty of sites as well such as or, that can teach you good symantic code.

The reason I dont like starting out with a CMS like WP or Joomla, is that REALLY makes ppl lazy..IMO lol If the code is already done for you, odds are that most ppl will not be dedicated enough to dissect the code themselves.

I recommend XSitePro. It's really easy to learn, easy to use and do not need to know HTML

The whats the purpose of wanting to learn if you use a program that doesnt require you to know html or at least learn it.

I tried Dreamweaver years ago and it drove me nuts, same as all the other code-cutters. It's probably improved but I still have this really bad memory.

If, like me, you like to cut your own code all of the time, then you will do a lot worse than to use Evrsoft's FirstPage 2006, though I personaly prefer their earlier FirstPage 2000 - I got used to certain features which were later "improved". I particularly like its web page preview feature.

There's also Notepad++, which I use at my parents' house (dad's spare computer). It's a litle gem and better in some departments than FirstPage. I particularly like its ability to collapse blocks of code.

Both are FREE by the way.


You may try Dreamweaver. It's simple and easy to catch up.

I'm using Dreamweaver and it is working good..`

Dreamweaver is very good for beginners and advanced user. You can develop websites in a graphical or code environments and there are a lot of tutorials out there to help you. Try searching for how to develop a website in dreamweaver or dreamweaver tutorials, it may help you make up your mind.

If cost is an issue, see if you can get hold of an earler version.


software developer

Any thoughts on Coffee Cup? I began with Web Studio 5 and think that may have been an error on my part.

I currently using past couple of years ago, I use an HTML editor called HTML Kit, and I love him very much. It has support for HTML, JSP, ASP, provides complete tag among others.Also with HTML-Kit you can basically, except any file extension you want.

I currently use Dreamweaver primarily, both at work and at home, but I've also used Notepad++(which is free). I like both, because they differentiate the different pieces of code with color. I rarely actually use the auto-complete function in Dreamweaver, so I've had no problem learning the code myself.

I have no experience with Wordpress, so I can't say whether it's good or not, but I wouldn't recommend starting with a CMS myself. The CMS's I've been thrown into at work use all kinds of code (especially server related code and XML/XSLT code) that I had no knowledge of and couldn't figure out how to use just using the CMS. I have learnt some of this code now using w3schools. I also find a CMS doesn't display the results of an edited piece of code as quickly or recognizable as Dreamweaver or Notepad++ does. These programs, you can just test the file locally on your browser and see it immediately. In my (limited) experience with CMS', you have to make the change, save the change, publish the change and then publish any files related to it. (i.e., if you edit a template, you have the publish the template AND the html pages that use that template). Furthermore, if there's an error in the server side code, it could prevent the change you made from being viewable. I wouldn't recommend tackling server side code before you understand XHTML and CSS thoroughly, and possibly even XSLT and the various languages needed to work with it. (The few CMS' I've worked with use XSLT, however I do not know if all of them do).

That's what I would recommend the most though, especially at first. The important thing isn't the program you use, at the end of the day, they all use code. So I'd pick one out you feel comfortable in (if price is an issue, I recommend Notepad++), and go to sites to learn the code. w3schools has tutorials on just about all web based code. Once you're comfortable with the code, then worry about the bigger stuff, like getting a CMS for forums and membership creation.

well if i count the above replies, i am sure most of them talked about the Dreamweaver ...
i am using it for last 3 year and it work great for me dude...
you should give it a try..if you want.

codelobster PHP Editor is new thing for me. Should have a try but it's not free?

You may get free serial number for it in their site in any time.
It is very good editor, i use it for all my web projects.

I don't know the best web editor for HTML but the most easiest one is dreamweaver