So You Want to Develop Websites?

So You Want to Make Websites: Which Camp do you Fit Into?

The face of the internet is provided by two very different groups: Web Developers and Graphic Designers. They both have different roles with their own unique purpose. Graphic Designers fit on the creative spectrum, and excel in telling a visual story with branding, logos, banner ads, websites or any other visual imagery. Website Developers have the less creative job of planning and programming websites. They use programming languages to set up the structure and functionality of websites.

So the question is this: Are you a warm fuzzy creative person who needs to get that exact shade of purple for your logo, or are you a technical person who can’t live without clean code?

While there are some exceptions, designers and developers are usually 2 very, very different people. That said, there’s no law that Graphic Designers can make themselves more valuable by learning some code, and programmers can’t find their way around a pixel.

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The Graphic Designers Role

graphic-designerThe creative person in the process is extremely important. If websites were all code and no graphics, the intent would be a pretty dull place. It’s the graphic designers job to gather all the information from the client and gain clear objectives. The Graphic Designer then creates different visual concepts that reflect the message the client requires. In most cases, then they hand off their images to the developer to put the pieces together.

The Web Developers Role

The Web Developer (or programmer) sets up the structure and code to create a website. They are also responsible for interaction between databases to create things like registration pages or shopping carts. Web Developers use such technologies as HTML, Javascript and CSS.

What’s the Job Market?

Now you know where you fit, what about getting a job? The US Department of Labor Statistics describes Graphic Designer as someone who creates visual concepts to communicate ideas. In 2012, the median pay for Graphic Designers in the United States was $44,150, with 259,500 jobs. The job outlook was expected to increase at a rate of 7%, slower than average.

Web Developers are described by the US Department of Labor Statistics as those who analyze needs and implement web content through code. In 2012, Web Developers in the United States had a median pay of $62,500, with 141,400 jobs. The job outlook was expected to increase at 20%, faster than average.

Graphic Designer/Web Developer Morph

So we see that the job outlook for Web Developers is pretty hot. Graphic Designers don’t have to be left out in the cold when it comes to the programmer mentality. A new trend is that Graphic Designers are breaking barriers and learning code.

This is a great idea because:

  • Graphic Designers can better prepare their images and understand coding roadblocks: What we see on the web can be radically different from the PSD or AI file. Learning code helps make the transition from Photoshop to HTML more seamless.
  • Better communication with programmers makes the process much, much easier. Designers don’t need to be a coding guru, but being able to talk the talk makes the walk much easier.
  • Graphic Designers can make smaller changes on their own without constantly running to the programmer.
  • They become more valuable: It’s a new world of cross-training. Adobe InDesign users are creating iPad apps with DPS, and Photoshop and Illustrator designers are learning HTML and CSS to become more valuable employees.

“Learning HTML and CSS creates a really valuable way for people to efficiently design for the web. For every pixel I put down in photoshop, I know exactly how I’m going to code that in HTML and CSS.” – Asher Hunt, Head mobile designer at LivePerson.

win-win strategy

So yes, according to the US Department of Labor Statistics, Web Developers make more money. But that doesn’t mean the creative visual designers have to be left out in the cold. By learning as much HTML and CSS as possible, Graphic Designers can make themselves more valuable, and elevate salaries.

The bottom line is that Graphic Designers learning code creates a “win-win” scenario for jobs and salaries.

– Jori Curry

Quick Tip: Using Dreamweaver for your CMS Development with Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc

Drupal, WP and Joomla icons next to each other

Are you looking to do some theming or plugin development for a common CMS (Content Management Systems) such as Drupal, WordPress or Joomla? If that’s the case, then this tip may be useful for you. Dreamweaver CS6 has a neat option to provide code hinting for common CMS’. Start by setting up your server and local environments in the Manage Sites panel then open up one of the PHP scripts for whatever CMS you may be using. Once you have a document open, go up to the Sites menu once again and find the item “Site Specific Code Hints”. A window will come up, but as long as it is a common CMS, Dreamweaver should automatically recognize which CMS it is, so all you should have to do is click OK. After you have done this, Dreamweaver will add a config file to your local site and from then on out you will have code hinting for your custom web development with your CMS of choice.

Turns out LESS really is more

 

Today I will briefly go over a new means to style your webpage. You most likely have some experience or familiarity with CSS, but for those who do not, CSS (cascading style sheets) is the web standard for giving design to your page. The problem I have found with CSS in the past has been that it is very much so static, meaning that everything you want your CSS to do with your elements of the page you have to write out specifically. I want my styles to be dynamic, I want elements to be styled differently under different circumstances, and I don’t want to have to type the same thing over and over again just because I have elements that require similar styling. With LESS, this is no longer a problem. What LESS is essentially is a language to program you CSS instead of writing static stylesheets. LESS follows similar syntax as CSS but allows for things such as variables and functions, making your styles take shape according to output (desktop, mobile, etc.) or other conditions and also allows for reusable code and styles. Even better on the reusable code, you can import other LESS stylesheets into your styles. Why would you want to do something like that? Well what this will let you do is build a series of functions and styles that you know you will be using in pretty much every web project so you dont have to rewrite the styles at all. For those of you who are programmers, it’s the same a building libraries. Also, since the language is so similar to CSS, you will be able to take advantage of some of your code hints in Dreamweaver or the IDE of your choosing.

LESS is very easy to use. By only importing the less.js javascript file and a slight change on your typical linking of stylesheets, you can bring in your LESS styles.

Photoshop Express – Photoshop for the iPhone/iPad!

Yes, Adobe has made a version of Photoshop for iPhones and iPads, and the best part? IT’S FREE! Here is a link to a video that demos this new app: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hui0p_qI-Q

This is a great application for photographers looking to edit their photos on the go or for casual user who would like to edit or enhance their photos. Not only does it allow simple editing and enhancement all by touch, but also gives you the option to upload directly to Facebook and Picasa or share to friends via email.

Photoshop Express, I’m sure, will have photographers and graphic designers very excited, but another reason this app is so significant is that it is a precursor to having full desktop applications that have gone completely  mobile. This very well could be the beginning of the end for desktop computing in general.

3 Exciting New Classes At Ascend Training!

With scads of new technology that CS5 has introduced and enabled, Ascend Training has expanded it’s class offerings with three new additions to our regular schedule!

Adobe InDesign CS5 Interactive Level 1: InDesign Documents for Web and Distribution–This 2 day class is geared towards current InDesign users who are looking to make the leap from print to interactivity. Learn how InDesign has evolved and can now create many interactive functions previously exclusive to Flash. You’ll also learn how InDesign and Flash can work hand in hand through new export functions in CS5.

Adobe Flash CS5 for Android: Building and Deploying Android Apps–Want to take your ActionScript skills to the next level? The newest update for Flash CS5 will allow users to develop Droid Apps. If you want to learn more about this exciting new technology and the potential it holds, check out this 5-day class! Also, take a peek at this related class topic: Adobe AIR.

HTML 5: Designing Websites with HTML 5–After 10 long years of waiting for a major HTML release, here it is, HTML 5. In this 2-day class students will be introduced to the newest HTML tags and image controls. Be on the forefront of this cutting edge technology that incorporates CSS3, CANVAS, and JavaScript.

The Creative Suite Conference Sneak Peek, November 4th

Ascend Training has teamed up with Mogo Media for this year’s InDesign Conference November 2nd-4th. We are both excited to bring participants the opportunity to get a sneak peek into next fall’s Creative Suite Conference. The last day of the InDesign Conference, we will be offering a Sneak Peek Track where attendees will gain exposure to a variety of topics: Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, and HTML 5 to name a few. Those not signed up can still participate and purchase a 1-day pass for $99. For more information, please click on the link below!

Quick Tip from Jerome – Dropbox

If you have a Flash or InDesign project that you are putting time into both at work and at home or just have files that you access and edit frequently from multiple machines, then Dropbox is a tool that you should look into. Dropbox is available for essentially all platforms, mobile, Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Once you have installed Dropbox and logged into your account, it creates a Dropbox folder in your home directory. Anything you put in that folder from then on is synchronized over the internet to any other devices on which you have Dropbox installed. For mobile devices you merely open the Dropbox app and you then have access to these files as well. Bear in mind that Dropbox is completely free for up to 2GB of storage, not a bad deal at all!

Now if you are feeling saucy and really want to take full advantage of this great tool, you can further its usefulness by using symbolic links or “symlinks”. What these symlinks do is to redirect anything you put into a folder into another folder. For example, if I created a symlink between my Documents folder and a folder on my Dropbox, then anything I put into my Documents folder will go right into my Dropbox. Pretty slick. Just know that it will remove the original folder from your system. In the case of our example, my Documents folder would disappear unless I removed the symlink. So be sure to back up. (It wouldn’t be a bad idea to know how to remove this symlink either.) Are any other ActionScript 3.0 developers salivating over this besides me? What this means is that you can have all your 3rd party or home brew libraries and classes stored in the ‘clouds’ and any updates you make on one machine goes to all. Now that’s better living through technology.

Need help with this symlink business? Here’s a link:
Symlink Tutorial

The End is Near, Part II

Time is quickly running out for Ascend Training’s regularly scheduled CS4 classes. Our last CS4 hands-on training will be:

Dreamweaver CS4 Level 1, Chicago, Aug 30 – Sep 1, Deerfield, Oct 11 – 13

Ascend Training is happy to put CS4 classes on our regular schedule for groups of 3 or more people. We will also be happy to provide our CS4 curriculum for our on-site training. Any of our students taking CS4 classes are still eligible for 8 months worth of free retakes in the CS5 version of the class. Those retaking a class in CS5 who have originally taken CS4 classes will also have the option of buying the book used in the new class.

iPhone Application Development: IT’S BACK!

Ascend Training is happy to announce the return of our iPhone Application Development class! iPhone, iPod, iPad Application Development (5 days, $2490) has just been added to our catalog of classes. Ascend Training is proud to have Gene Backlin, author of Professional iOS 4 Application Development: Building Applications for the iPhone and iPad, teaching this exciting new topic. The class will be exclusively taught at our Chicago location (410 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 433) on the following dates: November 29-December 3 and February 7-11.

Please contact our IT Administrator, Jeremy Chambers, about prerequisites for the class.

Fall Into Savings: InDesign Promotion

We have a promotion on all of our hands-on InDesign classes. You must register by October 15th, but you may take the class at any time. Please contact us if you would like a custom discount code to register.

Our Adobe Authorized In-Depth classes always include a free 8 month retake policy that includes the new version, and the guarantee of 10 students or less. We offer the following InDesign CS5 Classes:

Adobe InDesign CS5 Level 1: Fundamentals to Intermediate
Adobe InDesign CS5 Level 1: *Accelerated Pace* for Current InDesign Users for Former Quark Users
Adobe InDesign CS5 Level 2: Advanced Master Class
Adobe InDesign & XML: XML for Designers