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WYSIWYG and Text Code Editors Forum

Has Dreamweaver replaced HTML?

 2:34 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Recently, my Adobe Illustrator instructor stated that no one uses HTML anymore: all Web development is now done in Dreamweaver. A graphics artist whom I know agrees, while my son, a Perl programmer at a software house, disagrees.

I'd be interested in hearing your opinions.

Also, I would like to know more about Dreamweaver before I invest in learning it and the required software. For example, I would never develop a Web site using FrontPage when HTML is just as easy, more versatile and less buggy.



 2:36 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>all Web development is now done in Dreamweaver

False. Sounds like he holds stock in Macromedia. ;)

Some graphic artist use dreamweaver but HTML is a must for development. GoLive and Frontpage are other well know WYSIWYG editors. I use homesite like many developers I know. I still know many that use notepad.

I would say less than 30% of web layout is done in Dreamweaver. I would say less than 5% of web development is done in Dreamweaver.

>>I would never develop a Web site using FrontPage when HTML is just as easy, more versatile and less buggy.

Same goes for server-side scripting. I would be upset that an instructor would say that half of the ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl and what have you is created in Dreamweaver let alone all.


 2:51 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Carolynf, Dreamweaver is a good tool if you want a graphical what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface. DW's not replacing HTML, of course, it's just creating it for you. You can easily edit the HTML yourself by flipping between WYSIWYG and code views.

To say that "all" development is done in DW is just goofy, and it's a safe bet that anyone who says that is largely clueless. There are many good (and not so good) tools out there, and it would surprise me if DW even cracked 50% of the market. Even Microsoft's much-reviled FrontPage has a significant market share, and a new version that may actually correct some of its past problems.

If you want a WYSIWYG tool, I recommend DW - but don't assume that everyone else is using it!


 2:57 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks! I really appreciate this forum and the participating Web developer pros like you two.

I have a feeling that Dreamweaver may be most suitable for graphics artists who want to crank out the occasional Web site.


 3:01 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is a print program called Quark. It is pretty standard for print. You layout your projects for print in it. Dreamweaver is basically Quark for the web. It is very powerful. I have the MX studio because I use Freehand, Flash, and Homesite. I get basically dreamweaver for free. So I use it. What do I do in Dreamweaver? I do a first layout in it. It is a great way to work through layout ideas. Plus its FTP and check in/out functionality are great. Then I take it in to Homesite and code it up.

If you are looking for a WYSIWYG I agree with rogerd that Dreamweaver is one of the best.


 5:04 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi, all... first post.
I just wanted to say that I have recently completed the design of my first major professional website, and I couldn't have done it without Dreamweaver. They had me using Net Objects Fusion (a piece of crap that churns out code that looks like dog vomit) and I begged and pleaded for two or three months to get DW, and it made the world's difference.
I love Dreamweaver.
That said... It has its drawbacks. I've had trouble with it moving my re-editable regions in templates so that they incorporate the wrong things. (I had one around a title so I could change the page title from page to page. It moved it so I couldn't. Fixing it was impossible. I had to delete 15 pages and start over.)

Basically, I use Dreamweaver the way i used to use HomeSite. I loved HomeSite but my HTML isn't quite good enough to allow me to do anything really snazzy with it; I was constrained by my lack of knowledge.
As it is, I keep DW in the "Code and Design View" and I mostly edit the HTML with an eye on the Design View to see if it worked right, though I use the Design view to do things like set up tables, where a number of lines of code will have to be changed to stay consistent. So handy. I'm just one of those people who finds it easier to just hand-code certain things than to futz around trying to figure out how to get the program to do it automatically. I wish Word had a code view-- though it'd be horrible if it did. Yeurgh.

I think it's a great tool. But you have to know HTML to use it really effectively. The reason I chose it is because it would let me write my own HTML, and wouldn't change it. I tried Adobe GoLive, and it changed stuff. It was terrible with hand-coded javascript and the like. It just wanted things its way. Dreamweaver won't screw with your code like that. It's very faithful. If you want your HTML to be non-standard, it will let you. A few things it gets confused by, but for the most part, my solitary difficulty with it has been the difficulties with the templates. (My site is something like 95 pages at this point, with seven subtemplates and one ubertemplate. The templates are a huge deal for me, and I just wish they were a little better...)
I love it, but I my heart belongs to HomeSite. And there's just a certain satisfaction to knowing that, should all else fail, you could code a website in NotePad that just can't be beat.

One thing I do miss in DW that I loved in HomeSite was that the preview mode of HomeSite would let you test JavaScript. You could actually see the page as it would look. It's just a minor annoyance to have to hit F12 all the time and pop up an external IE window to see if your javascript is screwed up or not. Especially if you're as bad at javascript as I am...


 6:16 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Woah - hold on here, not so fast with trashing Dreamweaver type stuff

100% of our web sites are completed using Dreamweaver - because it is EFFICIENT to so do.

Sure it has some limitations, but for a web designer who needs to design web sites QUICKLY that 'meet customer expectations' in order for the pay check to arrive SOON - it is unbeatable.

Think it throws too much surplus code around?

Use layers and download the free extension Layer2Style - it dumps all the DW layer positioning into as CSS in the <head>, from where you can cut and paste it into an external style sheet.

Note: DWMX still allows you to edit these external style sheets easily.

The end result is a TIGHTLY coded set of html pages, with a slightly messy external style sheet, which you can clean up at your leisure.

It might be a UK thing, but I know far more web designers who use Dreamweaver than hand code.

I admit that most of them use it in default mode - and sure it produces sloppy code, but that is their choice, not a limitation of Dreamweaver.

Now all you hand-coders out there are going to tell me you can do it by hand quicker and better - good for you.

The point is I can't do it quicker by hand, nor can plenty of others out there - as for better, I disagree. I CAN hand code if I need to, and DW allows me to do it fairly easily - if I don't like the unbuilt html editor, I can call up an external one - no big deal.

Its also often quoted as one of the significant reasons for reluctance to switch to Linux - no DW for Linux:(

Its a personal choice - if you prefer to hand code, do so - if you want an easy life with sloppy code, use DW - if you want to be EFFICIENT use Dreamweaver AND learn to hand code as well.

I have a feeling that Dreamweaver may be most suitable for graphics artists who want to crank out the occasional Web site.

Not IMO - sure they use it, its easy for them. but I say DW is best suited to anyone who wants to produce web sites quickly and efficiently.


 6:24 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Woah - hold on here, not so fast with trashing Dreamweaver type stuff

4eyes I don't think anyone is trashing it. If thats how I came across then I apologize. I like Dreamweaver. I just do so much data driven stuff these days that using it consistantly is not an option. To say that all development is done in dreamweaver is just untrue, and that is the point I am trying to make.


 6:30 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Dragonlady! I agree with your assessment of DW, and the awkward preview. My pet peeve with the preview is that it seems to spawn TMP files that must then be deleted. Not sure if MX still does that, though - by now one would have expected a fix.


 6:33 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Not sure if MX still does that, though

Cleans them up on my machine when I shut DWMX down. I do remember that problem. Homesite also had that problem.


 6:42 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>my Adobe Illustrator instructor stated that no one uses HTML anymore: all Web development is now done in Dreamweaver<<


I have become so dependent on DW that I no longer know how to write HTML and wouldnt have a clue what DW is doing to it. So all i can teach you guys how to use DW, not to create webpages and write HTML.

Still what do you expect a graphics teacher to know about HTML anyway?

This is a bit like using a statistical analysis program to do complex things like factor analysis without having a clue of what the results actually mean.


 7:16 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

So all i can teach you guys how to use DW, not to create webpages and write HTML.

IMHO, it comes down to finding a balance. I've been using DW for years, but my expierence with HTML came from learning to write raw code in good ol'notepad.

That's why Dreamweaver is such a powerful tool.

Using DW saves time and money for web professionals with several projects on the go.

A knowledge of the raw code behind the "design view" enables developers to quickly fix bugs or errors.

I would never teach someone to use DW without teaching them about the code that is being created behind the scenes.

- Chad

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Dragonlady7.


 8:56 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Had to just jump in for some comments from the filed.

What do you guys think of GoLive. I am very fearful that if I do use it, it will end up being like a Front Page nightmare with all that extra ishkibble.

I have been using HotDog for years but it just does not have enough of the new widgets a GOLive has.

Ready Aim Fire....

Let me hear it.


 9:15 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the welcomes, everybody!
On GoLive, I have to say this:
I only used it briefly, and mostly on a Mac, to work with existing webpages I was struggling to edit.
It has fabulous site-management tools. (So does Dreamweaver.)
It doesn't change most code. It doesn't produce the hideous, vomitous mass that, say, NetObjects Fusion does. It actually produces a decent product. I know people who use it and don't regret it.
I've heard it has a steeper learning curve than DW. I don't know. I dove right into DW because I was so familiar with HomeSite (which is basically identical in the code editing view) and I did a lot in the HTML that I only later figured out the shortcuts for. I learned some hard lessons with the templates, which made me think it wasn't all as easy as I'd thought.
But I'd have to say that DW and GL are the two most powerful and actually good tools out there. I'd say use GL if you're really into Adobe's line of products. It's a darn sight better than the freebies. It's quite powerful. And it didn't do anything too terribly awful to my code. It just tried to adjust my spacing by adding a bunch of invisible table cells, or something similarly ill-advised, if I recall correctly.
It wasn't anything really terrible. I think I did the javascripting I was working on then in BBEdit, which is a good text and code editor for the Mac that I haven't found a Windows equivalent for. :/ There might've been javascript support in GoLive that I just didn't take the time to discover; I don't really know. I used it for something under a week, as I remember.
So, I wouldn't necessarily say you'd regret switching to GoLive. I just tried both and found DreamWeaver easier and more satisfying to use. I just can't get over how great it is to be able to edit the code and the design at the same time without switching views. It reminds me to check my work more often, which is a valuable thing for someone as absentminded as I.

I think you can download trials of each one, can't you? Give 'em a shot, poke around, load a sample page and see if either one does things you're not happy with to the code. That's my advice. They're both freakin' expensive, but probably worth the money. (I think they each currently cost $400 or so, so price isn't a deciding factor.)


 9:34 pm on Jun 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

instructor stated that no one uses HTML anymore

To say that nobody uses HTML anymore seems to be rather clueless. Uhm, then what is this that my browser rendered? I thought it was HTML?

Dreamweaver doesn't replace HTML, it generates HTML. HTML (generally) is the language that web sites are written in - You use DW or FP or another editor as a tool to output the HTML for you, instead of writing the HTML character by character by hand in say, Notepad.

Dragonlady: But you have to know HTML to use it really effectively

This is what it comes down to. If you don't understand HTML you're going to run into something you can't fix, or can't do, or can't figure out, simply because you don't understand what is going on behind the scenes. IMHO anyone who is going to build sites should learn about HTML aside from whatever editor they choose to use. (look at CSS too)

When I started out I built my first sites in Notepad. Now, I use DWMX + Homesite depending on what I need to do. As tools go, they make it quicker, easier to get what I need to do done.



 12:29 am on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)


Sorry my bad, I wasn't 'squaring up', as they say.

I meant my post to be a 'spirited, but humourous', defense of DW - re-reading it, I guess the humour was, err..."under-emphasised"

Maybe it should have had a few smileys in it :)

Yeah, its insane to teach Dreamweaver instead of HTML.
Teaching both makes more sense.


 1:05 am on Jun 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

I use Dreamweaver, and you couldn't pay me enough to make me go back to the good old Notepad and code by hand. But if I had to, I could sit down and design a site using a text editor and html code, it would just take me a lot longer ;)

I do switch back and forth between code view and WYSISYG view, or do the split screen. But it was the template feature of Dreamweaver that caused me to abandon Notepad in favor of Dreamweaver. It saves me endless amounts of time when I need to update hundreds of pages at a time.


 9:30 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

My story might be interesting. I started designing basic sites a couple of years ago with Microsoft's FrontPage. I got frustrated fairly quickly with the lack of layout options, and within a month I had switched to Flash with ActionScript for all of my web site design.

Last month, I wanted to start learning more about server-side development with Flash, so I picked up a book or two. I also want to be a professional graphic designer late next spring, so I figured there's nothing more for it, I have to learn HTML and Dreamweaver. I bought a student version of Dreamweaver MX, a Teach Yourself XHTML in 24 hours book, and a Dreamweaver MX Training from the Source book. A week later I'm finally comfortable with both HTML and Dreamweaver. CSS outside of Dreamweaver's WYSIWYG environment is going to require some more work and practice for me, (as is PHP/MySQL), but overall I'd say that both HTML and Dreamweaver are elementary stuff.

Student versions of Dreamweaver MX are priced at $100 US. The books for Dreamweaver and XHTML are another $50 US used at Amazon. If you're taking college courses for this sort of thing, any money that you spend on hardware, software, or training is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to your college costs and will be well worth it in the long run if you have the discipline to see the training guides through. Macromedia's pricing is especially easy on the student pocketbook when compared with Adobe's.


 9:49 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The wysiwyg features are great for prototyping a page.

After you get that done, you can use a good editor to modify the code.

But it was the template feature of Dreamweaver that caused me to abandon Notepad in favor of Dreamweaver. It saves me endless amounts of time when I need to update hundreds of pages at a time.

Then you can bring the modified page back into DW and save as a template.


 10:14 pm on Jun 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

There are two type of people who make web pages (for this discussion at least).

1. Web Designer - This person is very big into DW. They are usually a "graphics artist" by trade, and are or have moved into the web world. They view a web site as a bunch of static pages, with at most minimum server side dynamic logic. The site is usually viewed as a dynamic brochure. Function (many times non-existant) Follows Form.

2. Web (Application) Developer (I'm in this camp) - This person thinks of a website as being a server side dynamic application with static elements. Most have been developing web sites for years with a text editor. Tools like DW are seen as a rapid prototyping tool. They usually have a very firm grasp of HTML. They use the WYSIWYG GUI for the comlex layout portions of a site in the begining of the development, then move the project into a high end text editor, or programming language centered IDE for the rest of the development cycle. The site is usually though of as window to content, manytimes coming out of a database, or dynamically generated by some other means. Form (sometimes ugly) Follows Function.

For people of type 1, they manytimes view Dreamweaver as the only relevant tool. For hardcore dynamic site development, DW is a tool in the toolbox, which is of helpful, but limited use.

There is a third type, "Web Programmer", who I left out. These are historically computer programmers by trade, now using a web browser as their interface. I ignored them for the purposes of this discussion. Same thing with people learning web development, with no other related background.



 8:50 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would say there are 3 types :

1) Graphic/Web designer, a person who is heavy on the visual side and uses all the automated tools like slicing with spacers etc and who rarely if ever uses the code view.

2) Web Designer, someone who uses the code view and WYSIWYG together to create tight, aestheticly pleasing, cleanly coded web pages.

3) Programmer, doesnt use DW because they think that it hinders them from "true coding".

1 = nice to look at, poor code
2 = quite nice, pretty good code
3 = less visually appealing but coded very well


 9:19 pm on Jul 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

There's a fourth type of Web developer, too: The editor/writer who creates relatively straightforward, text-heavy pages with occasional photos or illustrations. For that kind of person, FrontPage is an extremely efficient tool.

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