Starting something new…

Starting something new…

In February of 2000, I left a wonderful job as the Art Director of a science museum to join up with a small start-up training company named Interactive Fun! (the exclamation mark was part of the name!). I was the third employee, and after our marketing director left a year later, it was down to just Josh and me. It seemed like almost a crazy move at the time, but I reasoned that I was young enough that if it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be too catastrophic. To be fair, Josh took a fairly big chance on me. I had no background in training, and my first job was to hit the road and do 32 site assessments across the Southeast for a national chain of printers, produce detailed assessment reports, and then create training based on my observations. It was trial by fire, and like most things we did back then, we were making it up as we went along.

Over the years, Interactive Fun! has become Lodestone Digital, and the company has grown to become one of the largest providers of Authorized Adobe Training in the country. We opened offices in Cleveland and New York, and offered satellite training in Houston and Boston. Along the way we’ve trained in almost every state in the country (I never went to North Dakota) and I personally have logged over 175,000 miles in frequent flier points. It has been an absolute blast.

However, life is about changes, and a couple of months ago I had a wonderful opportunity open to me. As some of you know, I’ve been writing titles for lynda.com for about a year now. My first title, Dreamweaver CS3 Beyond the Basics, was recorded in Garrick Chow’s office in Harrisburg, PA. The booth was tiny, not air-conditioned, and my days frequently had me recording from 9 in the morning to 2 or 3 the next morning. As you can imagine, I was hooked. Since then, I’ve recorded seven additional titles, including Adobe’s in-box training for Dreamweaver’s CS4 release. The work is very rewarding, and the people in the lynda.com organization are top-notch from top to bottom. So when the chance to become a full-time author was offered to me, I had a very tough decision to make. In the end, I decided that once again I had been presented with an opportunity that was just too good to pass up.
So today I’d like to publicly announce that I’m leaving Lodestone Digital as Director of Training to accept a position as a full-time author at lynda.com. I’m extremely excited about what the future holds and what I can accomplish as a part of the lynda.com team. I want to thank all my colleagues and past clients at Lodestone Digital, it was a true joy working with all of you.

Of course, now it’s full steam ahead. I’m about to start work on my next title, and this blog will become much more active as I discuss what I’m working on, where I’m going to be speaking during the year, and answering questions from lynda.com subscribers. I’d like to thank you all for your support and I can’t wait to get started!!

25 Responses to “Starting something new…”

  1. bodieq says:

    James,

    First off, congratulations on your most recent move to a full-time Lynda.com instructor! I hope this means more titles from you!!

    Second, this post is not the ideal place to post my question / request, but I couldn’t find a way to contact you directly, so here we are.

    Though I am a relative beginner to web design, and I have been devouring your Dreamweaver courses, and am now going through your CS5 material, now that I have upgraded to CS5.

    I have taken your suggestion to become familiar with CSS and HTML proper as a foundation for Dreamweaver. I am no expert but the acronyms and code view don’t scare me anymore and I am ready to really get moving forward. I am stuck, though, on where to start.

    I mostly feel stuck because I am not sure what waits in the wings with HTML 5, and I wanted to get your thoughts on it. Being someone that is ready to get creating, I wanted to know your thoughts on HTML 5 and specifically the Dreamweaver Extension Pack. With HTML 5 and CSS 3 basically upon us, I didn’t want to dive headlong into training that I won’t be using in the future. I want to start with where we are as a web community and not look back.

    I am specifically interested in the multi-screen approach that I saw on the teaser video for HTML 5 in Dreamweaver. I have to redesign a couple sites and I would like to be thinking “3 screens” (phone, tablet and desktop) from the outset, but just not sure where to go from here.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated. Also, are you planning any HTML 5 training for Lynda.com?

    Thanks again

    Bodie

  2. tahmidk15 says:

    Can you please make a tutorial on registering system of website or ecommerce site development with dreamweaver.It will relay help us to make a dynamic website.

  3. tahmidk15 says:

    And also can you tell me where to learn java script and VB Script?(lynda.com have of Visual Studio training and java script tutorial is booring and difficult to learn from there)

  4. Spence says:

    I echo that! I have pretty much the exact same questions and concerns.

    Thanks!

    -S

  5. jameswill says:

    Thanks for the comments, all! I will be re-doing Simple Primate soon (with my own theme) and will be doing more tutorials, so I’ll try to address some of these issues.

    I do have a HTML5 and an e-commerce course in the works, so stay tuned!

    As for what to learn… focus on HTML 4 and CSS first. They are the building blocks for everything else you will do online… including HTML5!

  6. twyatt says:

    Mr. Williamson,

    Although I’m late to the party, I wanted to say congratulations on your move. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity and I, myself, am glad you didn’t pass it up.

    Over the past year I have gotten into web design. I liked it so much that I enrolled at the University of Phoenix to pursue a degree in web design. Now that I’m two weeks away from earning the associates, I find myself wanting a software engineer programing degree.

    After watching your Lydia.com DVD ‘Web Design Fundamentals’, I was struck with what you said about being one of the rare people who like the developer aspect as well as the design aspect.

    I truly feel I’m one of those people. I’m taking your advice about focusing on HTML4 and CSS for now. What would you suggest for the next bite of the elephant as I start on my software degree in the next month?

    On a side note, will this be the best place for your followers to keep in contact with you if we have more technical questions?

    Regards,
    Thomas Wyatt
    Austin, TX

  7. jameswill says:

    Thanks Thomas. Keep checking the blog as I’ll be making changes and adding more tutorials soon. I’ve got a title I’m finishing up, and soon as it’s done I’ll turn my attention to the blog.

    As for the next bite of the elephant, tackle javascript next, with specific emphasis on controlling the DOM.

    The re-vamped blog will have a contact section that will make it a little easier to get in touch with me.

    thanks again!

  8. WebKid says:

    Hello James.
    I honestly don’t know if you will ever read this comment but here I go.
    I’ve got a lot of visions towards web design and I must say I just totally love your Lynda.com web tutorials. Honestly, I just haven’t found any other source that will teach the basics and fundamentals with such ease and in a matter of 4 or 5-minute long videos…
    It is truly an honour to be writing to an expert in the field, starting by the fact there is scarcely (if none) any specialist I can consult concerning website development in my country.
    If you will, could you please tell me if there is really that much of a difference between your 2008 title “Dreamweaver CS4 Essential Training” and the relinquish of XHTML’s development in 2009? I had already begun this title and I am almost done with it to abandon it and start watching a new one (a lot of titles come up every month).
    Nevertheless, if for update matters I must leave it behind for a more recent title, then I guess I’d rather go with more current content, if you know what I mean.
    Again, thank you very much and keep up with the excellent job. I’m having a clean, fresh start and all thanks to your trainings.
    See ya.

  9. jameswill says:

    Hey! Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it! XHTML’s demise is kind of over-stated. Yes, XHTML 2.0 will probably never see the light of day, but the XHTML 1.0 specification is part of the HTML5 spec, so if you like the syntax of XHTML, you can keep using it! Besides, it will still be around 2 years before browsers have evolved to the point of HTML5 being the common currency. You’re find to learn Dreamweaver CS4, just make sure you concentrate on the underlying technology; HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Thanks again!

  10. WebKid says:

    Thanks so much for the reply. I’ve already begun training in XHTML and HTML as well as CSS. Perhaps JavaScript can wait a little more until I master XHTML and CSS.
    In any case, I would like to take the chance and ask you about a concept that has been flying around my head over the past few days. During your trainings, you always mention the importance of having your users experience a “consistent workflow”…I find that term to be considerably relevant as to a website’s creation concerns (since you keep pointing it out so much).
    Could you please tell me a little more about that consistency? What do you really mean by that? What does it mean exactly? How does it apply to both the structure and navigation of a site?
    Reply when you have got the time please.
    Thanks again. :]

  11. newbie909 says:

    Hi, James. I was wondering if you could offer some insight on a photo viewer I’m creating. I’m using the pictureSlides jquery plugin (http://www.robertnyman.com/picture-slides/implementation.htm) and am trying to customize the Picture Gallery demo (http://www.robertnyman.com/picture-slides/demo-packages/gallery/index.html). You can download the files at the second link.

    I’m not having problems with the JS (I think) as much as the HTML/CSS implementation for a little customization.

    Here’s what I’m trying to do:

    I really like how pictureSlides was customized for viewing photos at http://www.nagone.com. I would like to implement the prev/next navigation directly on the photo rather than having separate buttons by splitting the image into clickable areas. It’s probably important to note that my photos are not exclusively square like you see at nagone.com, but mainly cycle through horizontal and vertical and some square.

    I took a look at the nagone.com source code and CSS and can see more or less how this was applied, but when it comes to actually implementing, it I’m a bit lost. If you take a peak at the CSS you’ll see a div tag called ‘photo_nav’ I think the answer lies there.

    If you could shed some light on how to go about this I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

  12. jameswill says:

    Hey Newbie,

    You are most certainly on the right track. Note that the photo_nav a selector is using absolute positioning. It is being positioned relative to it’s parent container (the photo container) at the top left-hand corner. Both links have a height of 100% and a width of 50% (so the full height of the photo block and half the width, splitting each to a side). The real trick is in the classes. The photo_next class also has a right position attribute of 0, moving it over so that it’s top right corner lines up with the top right corner of the photo block. That means that the first link is positioned top left with a width of 50% and the second link is positioned top right with a width of 50%. By displaying them as block level elements (display: block) the entire area is now clickable. The designer here did some nice things too, as the document is an html5 document with some pretty nice CSS in there for mobile devices. That’s rare for a photography site. Pick apart his or her’s CSS, you’ll find lots of good stuff there. Note the IDs of the div tags as well, it’s obvious that eventually the designer plans to replace the slide-show with a canvas element.

  13. newbie909 says:

    Thanks so much, James. That got me back on the right track. Do you think there will be a way to make the clickable area not just conform to each half of the photo but overlap between vertical and horizontal images so the clickable area doesn’t change position when the image dimensions do?

    In other words, can there be a more generalized clickable area for the left and right (prev/next) as long as the images are centered with one another? So if you were clicking on a horizontal image and it shifted to a vertical you’d still be able to click where the horizontal image once was to go prev/next on the vertical image and vice versa. I hope that makes sense. Thanks for any input.

  14. cdhollingsworth says:

    Mr. Williamson — I’m throwing myself on your mercy. I have posted to webmaster forums and the Adobe help forums, have search help files and experimented. I don’t know where to look for the solutions I need. I’m the administrator for our Web site, built with Dreamweaver templates, using many include files, and edited by distributed users using Contribute. My computer was recently updated to CS5 and now some of the includes are asking for information that I don’t know how to respond to. Whereas I used to be able to click Template properties and repair a path that a user had screwed up to the location of an include, Contribute now is giving me an Inconsistent Region Names box. The drop-down box seems to be listing the named areas of the various includes on the page, and when I select them it lets me click OK, but if I try to do something like delete an included region it pops open the same box, that’s reverted back to the “not resolved” settings. Can you point me in the right direction to resolving this. I’m at my wits end!

    Thank you SO MUCH.

    Cindy.

  15. sddonlon says:

    Hello James!
    I’ve played around with HTML since ’94, and have FINALLY decided to take some classes. Amazing how incomplete an education can be if you learn it all by the seat of your pants, or OTJ.

    I’m going thru your Dreamweaver Essentials on Lynda.com, and THANK YOU!!!! Your statement towards the beginning is something I have a tendency to get on a soap-box about…that you should learn HTML and CSS and not depend on WYSIWYG editors!!!!!! I’ve put the demo of that on my blog. http://pixelsandpencils.blogspot.com

    Thank you for your knowledge and wonderful training!!

    Cheers!!
    Sherri

  16. jameswill says:

    Thanks Sherri for the kind words. Yeah, I’m pretty passionate about the fact that you should at tools as just that, tools. Having good tools doesn’t automatically make you a woodworker. People should expect to take the time to learn their craft.

  17. jameswill says:

    Cindy, sorry for the late reply, I’m hoping that you’ve resolved the issue by now. Honestly, I’m not a very big user of Contribute, so I’m not going to be much help to you. I’ll ask some of my friends at Adobe and see if anyone has an answer for you.

  18. jenny91 says:

    I am angry with you James, all your titles are the best at Lynda.com, can you also make a title where you can teach HTML + CSS + JavaScript all together which you feel is essential. I and many of my friends asked me to ask you for this. All your courses at Lynda are so good. I just watched your web design fundamentals and its the coolest course I have ever seen. Your teaching style plus down to earth approach is so cool.

    Please help upcoming girls who want to be cool Web Designers.

    Thanks,
    Jenny

  19. jameswill says:

    Jenny, some of the best web designers in the world are female, don’t ever let gender get in the way of what you are passionate about.

    As for teaching HTML + CSS + Javascript all in one title…that’s awfully tough to do, those are huge subjects.

    However, I might be doing a few project-based titles in the near future that mix all those together.

    Great luck and keep me up on your progress!

  20. Melo says:

    Hello James,

    As everyone upthere, I have enjoyed your great tutorial ‘Web Design Fundamentals’. It makes the path clear to me. I searched a lot for a contact page on your website, but found nothing and was astonished how you generously reply to all comments in here.

    I am moving forward to learn HTML and CSS. After looking for Lynda courses, I was a little confused about the list of courses I should follow.

    As for HTML, talking about dunfamentals, I found “XHTML and HTML Essential Training” for Bill Weinman, but since XHTML is now longer used after the release of HTML5 I was confused whether to start with this course or not. You courses in HTML5 doesn’t discuss the fundametals of HTML, or does they ? :$ Should I start with something like: “HTML5: Structure, Syntax, and Semantics”

    As for CSS I was also confused should I only concentrate on “CSS: Core Concepts” since it discuss everything or I should listen to “CSS Fundamentals”.

    Am sorry for the long comment. I just want to know the right path I should follow. Whether you answered or not, Thank you very much for your all great tutorials.

  21. jameswill says:

    Hey Tahn,

    Thanks for the kind words! We’re going to be updating the HTML Essential training title this Summer, but for now feel free to start with the older version. XHTML syntax isn’t encouraged in HTML5, but you’re free to still use XHTML using the XHTML Doctype, or still use it’s syntax, as HTML5 is backwards compatible. (Browsers will just ignore what they view as badly formed code). As for CSS, I recommend starting with the CSS Fundamentals and then moving on to the hands-on CSS Core Concepts. Thanks!

  22. LykourgosTs says:

    Hello James,
    I’m from Greece and I’m quite new to the world of web. I have watched many video tutorials from lynda.com and from you and to be honest, I enjoy this very much! J. Babbage, D. Gassner, all the other authors and you, of course, are my mentors. I just haven’t found any other source that gives me a basic or an essential training on web design and web development with such an ease.

    There are some points, though, that I got a little bit confused and I would like to give me some information if its possible. First, about form validation using the spry on Dreamweaver. Can I edit the validation of a field using for example regular expressions? what I mean is, lets say that I have a field for name and I want to prevent users entering in this fields numbers. So can I edit on dreamweaver the files from the javascript validation?

    Second, which is the best or more correct way to use so to build pages quickly? using templates like in “Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training”, or to use included files in pages like in “Dreamweaver CS5 with PHP and MySQL” using the include function in php?

    Lastly I would like to ask if it is possible lynda.com to provide any essential video tutorial about web security ( I ‘ve already sent my request and at lynda.com ), like sql injections, session hijacking, secure file upload etc etc. I have noticed that there are many training courses about css, jquery etc and not anyone about this subject.

    Well that’s all for now!

    Regards,
    Lykourgos

  23. jameswill says:

    Thanks Lykourgos!

    Spry validation is simply javascript, so yes, you can edit them in any way you wish, including adding custom regular expressions. As far as the fastest way to build sites, honestly they are a lot of variables there, so it depends on what you’re building and how you like to work personally.

    I’ll discuss web security titles with some of the folks I work with at Lynda. I agree that we need more on that!

  24. LykourgosTs says:

    hey James, thanks for the reply!

    Just have one more querstion, although it maybe a silly one, its about when gathering the content of a site. Basicly I’m only refering to the text, no images and other stuff. . Lets say for example I have to create the site of a restaurant, when comes to add some text in the site, what should do? I mean do I have to create this by my self (to be honnest I’m not the type of person who has great inspiration on creating long text, besides I feel this may take too much time to do it), should I do a research for other similar sites and take small pieces of text and try to put the together ,or ask the client to give me a text to add on the site?
    I mean what do usually designers, or even you personally, do when gathering text content for a website?

    LykourgosTs
    February 21, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Hello James,
    I’m from Greece and I’m quite new to the world of web. I have watched many video tutorials from lynda.com and from you and to be honest, I enjoy this very much! J. Babbage, D. Gassner, all the other authors and you, of course, are my mentors. I just haven’t found any other source that gives me a basic or an essential training on web design and web development with such an ease.

    There are some points, though, that I got a little bit confused and I would like to give me some information if its possible. First, about form validation using the spry on Dreamweaver. Can I edit the validation of a field using for example regular expressions? what I mean is, lets say that I have a field for name and I want to prevent users entering in this fields numbers. So can I edit on dreamweaver the files from the javascript validation?

    Second, which is the best or more correct way to use so to build pages quickly? using templates like in “Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training”, or to use included files in pages like in “Dreamweaver CS5 with PHP and MySQL” using the include function in php?

    Lastly I would like to ask if it is possible lynda.com to provide any essential video tutorial about web security ( I ‘ve already sent my request and at lynda.com ), like sql injections, session hijacking, secure file upload etc etc. I have noticed that there are many training courses about css, jquery etc and not anyone about this subject.

    Well that’s all for now!

    Regards,
    Lykourgos

  25. sayka says:

    Hi James. I’m from India, and in my country we respect our mother first, then our father and the third comes our teacher. I did’nt know why, but i realized now after having you as my teacher. The most awesome way you teach has changed my life. Thank you James. Whether you are doing the job for money or passion, you are brightening up many people’s future..

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