If you have a Mac at your disposal to work on, I would highly recommend a piece of software called Coda. It has all the good points that people do praise Macs for (ease of use, layout, clear functionality etc.) without the bad points (it's not stupidly overpriced with loads of crap you'll probably never need). It is however Mac only, so it's not available on Windows at all.
If you just want basic code markup, Notepad++ for Windows is fine and also free, which is nice. Doesn't have any site management tools or FTP build in mind.
If you do want a book, you want to look at HTML / CSS courses rather than software packages. Which particular one you go for is very much a matter of taste though.
"RECYCLE suitably - including facial-hair onto garden." - Chumpy
A few thoughts from someone barely one step up the same ladder -
Before you start, plan the site on paper - keep it as simple as possible, for users' sake and yours (so many sites are self-defeatingly overambitious and overcomplicated).
Sketch-out a consistent layout for your webpages - again, keep it as simple as possible, for users' sake and yours (so many sites are self-defeatingly overambitious and overcomplicated)!
Although a steeper learning curve, I'd recommend doing it the steam-powered way and write your own code, you have more control over the final outcome, and maintenance/updating/expansion becomes easier.
Use tinternet as your source: found a feature you like? Clone it - right-click-view-source is your friend...
W3Cs HTML and CSS free validation service is a BLOODY useful debugging and development tool and will leave you with code that works on all browsers.
Oh, and while you should see how your code renders on different browsers (and ideally different monitors) don't expect it to work properly on Internet Explorer - nothing does
Bonne chance mon ami!
I would agree with EoS (that must be a first! lol) regarding going the steam-powered way. I taught myself html and css when I became virtually housebound some years ago, just as an intellectual exercise, and have two websites that I maintain. I chose to use Topstyle [ http://www.topstyle4.com/ ] as my html editor, as it has built-in helps (suggestions in coding in both html and css) a preview pane which can be either IE or Firefox and a separate preview with either browser and different screensizes. The W3C validations are linked in the menus too.
The latest version is IE8 friendly, and autodetects other browsers too. Works on Windows 7 (which my version doesn't - note to self: must upgrade) and makes sites for mobiles too.
Suzy Creamcheese - what's got into ya?
Easy. Learn html. Learn CSS. Learn graphic design. Forget the rest of the posts on this thread.
By all means code the whole thing in php or java. Then redo it in a year's time.
Nothing wrong with properly implemented HTML. The very best sites use exactly that.
And Dreamweaver is fine. The major issue with DW is people using older versions that they've hacked, which write basic HTML to older standards. Your choice, but if you steal a tool, don't complain that it doesn't work properly...
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but Iím not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.
Surely the best teacher for this endevour would be a spider.
If only they could speak English.