not exactly how things will actually turn out in a browser
I don’t get this point. Why would it look different? It’s just HTML/CSS like anything you’re writing by hand. You just have GUI for it.
You have to first learn how to crawl in order to walk.
Suggesting to someone to use simple text editor, assumes that the person knows all the html tags, how to properly structure page, etc. With tools like DW you can generate this code and switch between Visual and Code view to make any further edits.