I have used computers my whole life. I wrote my first programs in BASIC on a TRS-80 at the public library in the early 1980s. We had Decwriters in my high school, and I learned to program on punch cards. I finally got a Commodore VIC-20 around 1982, but it was pretty much a useless toy. I spend hours and hours at the public library using their TRS-80. It wasn't until I got my hands on an Apple II that a friend loaned me that I really started to "learn" computers. By 1987 I had a Commodore Amiga, and that was the computer I started my business with, doing simple desktop publishing jobs, and I really learned everything there was to know about computers with the Amiga, from updating the hardware to writing programs, programming music, using the first basic sound digitizers, hand scanners, hard drives laser and inkjet printers. I bought every computer magazine in existence back in those days, because that was how we taught ourselves.
Commodore ultimately went bankrupt and the Amiga platform died a slow death over about 10 years. Soon there were no companies releasing anything new and I hd to switch. Fast forward to the year 2000 and I was a solid PC/Windows/Adobe user and that's what I used to build my graphic design company. Must have gone through over a dozen machines, not to mention the ones I'd get for my employees, plus the file server, and dozens and dozens of programs had to be learned and mastered to make money. The internet was still brand new. There were no "online training academies" or paid courses. You used forums, email, and Google, and built relationships with other people in your line of work.
About 10 years ago, I went through a major life changes that required a drastic alteration in my business model. I came to realize that NOT knowing how to build websites was a liability I could no longer afford, so I set out to do it. A friend and I created a partnership website company, and we started out using a rudimentary website builder provided by GoDaddy called Website Tonight. It was cloud-based, and infuriating to work with. I understood very little of what I was doing, and my main goal was to just get sites to look like clients wanted them to look, and have the information on them the clients wanted. SEO, styling, CSS, HTML, all this stuff meant nothing to me. But I knew how to use Photoshop, so I could cobble together reasonably decent looking pages. And it went on like this for 2 years.
Finally, we realized we needed a builder that could do more. We needed to not rely on cloud-based software with egregious annual fees for every website. We needed to be able to build more sophisticated sites than what could be done with Website Tonight (which was rapidly growing long in the tooth anyway.) So we did some research and gambled on a new program we found called Website Realizer. This was a hundred times more powerful than what we'd been using, but it was not easy to learn. It had some templates, but the documentation was sketchy, and like Bootstrap Studio, there was no direct access to the HTML, but you could add custom code. What it did allow was free reign over the CSS, so that was what I set out to learn first (which is basically backwards from the way most people are taught website development. Usually you learn HTML first, then CSS.) I did the opposite. Again, the main goal was to build site for clients and give them what they wanted so we could get paid. Whether we were doing things "correctly" wasn't paramount. But the sites were getting built, and the business grew.
The problem with Website Realizer was that it only built static sites, meaning everything was absolutely positioned. This was normal in the early days of web design, but by 2015, responsive design was on fire, and our clients with static sites were clamoring for "mobile websites!" They wanted people to be able to go to their websites on their phones, and we didn't have the tools or skills to provide them with what they wanted. We lost dozens and dozens of clients.
So with our business rapidly dying, in the winter of 2018, I started doing more research to find a program that I could use to build responsive websites. I settled on Pinegrow. Pinegrow, to put it simply, is a BEAR. It's not an easy program to learn. It has horrible documentation, It's UI is not terribly intuitive, and while it's improved a lot over the last two years, it's light years away from being a simple "drag and drop" builder. You really need to know HTML, CSS and ideally one popular framework to do anything productive with the program. But they do have a VERY big following of users, and an excellent support forum. I'd say the average Pinegrow user is considerably more skilled at website development than the average Bootstrap Studio user, and forums are not always kind to newbies who ask lots of newbie questions. In 2018 there were few (if any) courses on Pinegrow, and very few tutorials.
So I went back and started doing more research for alternatives. I found Mobirise, I found Adobe Muse, I found Macaw, I found Wordpress, I found Wix, Weebly, Webflow, Duda, and many others. The market was flooded with responsive builders that all advertised that you could get a "beautiful website up in minutes with just a few simple clicks." When has it EVER been that easy?
I finally came to find Bootstrap Studio. I knew what the Bootstrap framework was from Pinegrow (which supports it natively) and I liked it. It made sense to me. So I tried the online BSS demo and it seemed to be well designed, polished and intuitive. I didn't actually understand how to use the program, but it seemed like something I could teach myself. And the price was certainly right, so I bought it.
As you know BSS's documentation is not the greatest. It took about 3-4 months of reading and re-reading all the tutorials, and following along with their tutorial videos to get a handle on how everything worked, but combined with what I'd learned of CSS over the years, my experience with Bootstrap in Pinegrow, and reading the forums here, I was soon able to build responsive sites pretty quickly, and I was doing stuff that I'd never done before.
So if I can do it, you can do it. :wink: