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WYSIWYG and Text Code Editors Forum

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Dreamweaver: Is it Worth Learning?
Are other professionals using it? Beginners?

 2:00 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)


I went right from a notepad editor to ColdFusion Studio. CF Studio does all kinds of things; it has all the various snippets of code, it can auto-suggest tags as you write, it has a wicked global-search-and-replace, etc. etc. I used it for re-coding and redesigning an .asp site last year, had no problems doing so.

I tried Dreamweaver 1.0 (back when the earth was cooling) and it didn't much impress me.

So what's the deal with Dreamweaver now? Is it something being used by high-end professionals? Or the beginner market?

How many people use are using their template feature, instead of using pages that have .cfm/.php/.asp includes or are database generated?

Are their other time-saving features that make the investment to learn it worthwhile over other programs?

Thanks for your insight.



 2:36 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think Dreamweaver has about 80% of the professional market, but don't know where I got that. It does a lot of things well, in my book.


 3:45 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I like Dreamweaver very much. I use it for the visual aspects of the site such as table layout.

Most of the time I will do the preliminary layout in DW, then switch to my text editor for real coding.

But Dreamweaver is excellent and well worth keeping in your toolbox.


 4:15 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

By far, Dreamweaver is the WYSIWYG editor used by the majority of professionals who use a visually oriented tool. The new release has incredible functionality, although I've never thoroughly utilized what DW2 has so I've never felt the need to upgrade, not until now when I see what the new one does.

It' a great creative layout tool for design, and puts out relatively clean code. I keep Photoshop open at the same time, make graphics as creativity hits, and move it all around in DW to get the visual feel of the placement and balance. And it's a quick and dirty way to throw together small sites that will validate, even without using even half of what it's got, even in my outmoded 3-generations back version.

I do the CSS by hand in the HTML view because I'm just getting into it, but then can move it external once I've got it how I want. There are extensions available for versions 3+ that extend functionality; it does whatever needs to be done and then some, even prior to the new release, which looks awesome.


 6:36 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

It would probably be just as quick to learn to code by hand.

More fun and of greater value too... ;-)



 6:42 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I did, Nick. I started as a Notepad purist because I figured it was always available, anytime, anyplace. If you can code by hand you can slip in and make little changes right in the control panel without going through the save/upload FTP routine. I still use it. But a handy visual tool accomplishes other things that would take forever by hand.

I then went to a tag editor, more ergonomically sound - easier on the wrists when you know which little button to click than to do all the typing out; but you still have to know HTML.

Like now, I do XHTML and CSS strictly by hand; but instead of pulling all the font tags out by hand in an all-nighter, a couple of clicks pulls them all with the right tool.

<aside> We cannot do a thread entitled "Real men code by hand."</aside> ;)


 8:22 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

dreamweaver is really worth learning, i have ultradev 4 (haven't tried the new one yet) and it was not that difficult to learn (i started with version 2), there is no point listing the advantages here, suffice to say the power is awsome and there are extensions galore available both free and pay for to add even more functionality - i purchased a shopping cart extension and can now build ASP ecommerce sites in a snap.

of course the ability to hand code is always handy as an extra, ditto hand coding styles as marcia mentioned...

hand coding and DW are complimentary skills not mutually exclusive.


 8:28 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Agreed, I use DW Ultradev 4 and I'm more than impressed. They've even mended the table problem that earlier DWs had.


 10:25 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

<aside> We cannot do a thread entitled "Real men code by hand."</aside>

Ahhh... I remember it well, one of my most satisfying wind ups :-)



 11:04 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Dreamweaver has a check-out / check-in facility which allows you to flag if someone is working on a file.
I find this VERY useful as I often have more than one person who wants to work on pages.
Its a simple idea but stops you accidentally overwriting someone else's good work.


 11:06 am on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

two reasons to use a text based html editor rather than a visual tool

it's quicker...once you have a basic library of mark up snippets you can chop them around just as quickly as you can create mark up using an editor...and it is mark up that you know will work...I've used FP, Dreamweaver and Hot Metal...I'm quicker with Arachnophilia


marking up an html document is all about making decisions about concept and context...this is exactly what software is no good at...it is something the human brain does extremely well...however I can see the case for creating style sheets using something like Top Style


 12:17 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Two Major reasons to use a Dreamweaver over a text editor.

1) its quicker
2) its more efficient

A text editor is not going to come anywhere close to Dreamweaver in getting a site up and running.

There are bucket loads of useful features for code, site maintenance, layout etc.

Most the "bad" comments are from people that have not bothered setting preferences etc or simply taking the time to explore the features.


 12:40 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

no knighty...it is because I have spent time learning how to work efficiently and effectively and by and large have a better set of pre made mark up than Dreamweaver has...so the amount of time spent marking up a page differs little between ctrC ctrV and click and drag

and being mark up I know is effective I spend less time having to correct errors caused by software not being able to cope with the context


 2:54 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

The problem with this thread is that it is all based upon personal perspective.

Some of us have developed methods to work effectively in a text editor and some of us have developed effective ways of working with software.

The truth is, once we reach a certain level, we all work the way we work for a reason. Some of us think it's fun to hand code, but it's tedious to the other half.

I think the issue here is finding how you personally work best and then doing your best to make that method efficient.


 3:04 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)


Could'nt agree more.

All I would say is that it is a good idea to learn as much as you can, and in response to the origional question (Dreamweaver : Is it worth Learning?) a resounding yes it is!

The ability to hand code obviously being essential.


 3:06 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

this is about giving advice to a beginner

consequently I think it is important to dispel the myth that anyone using a text based editor to build sites is tediously typing in every character...I do less typing using a text editor than I did using a WYSIWYG...it is all cut and paste and hot keys

by all means let us agree to differ...but let us do so on a basis of fact not myth


 3:17 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

and if you're really super duper clever you'll use a serverside templating system like phplib and rarely have to build more than 2-3 pages per site.

No matter how large they are!



 3:36 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)


I also think it is important to dispel the myth that anyone using a WYSIWYG editor to build sites is a mouse clicking, HTML clueless simpleton who can't code properly...I adhere more to standards and clean HTML than I ever did before.

I don't recall anyone here arguing that with Text Editors you have to type every character. The question asked was about Dreamweaver and not the merits of hand coding.

Any good designer should be able to hand code the question is can you be more productive with a tool such as Dreamweaver. From my own experience Dreamweaver has accelerated and vastly improved almost every facet of web design.


 3:53 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

anyone using a WYSIWYG editor to build sites is a mouse clicking, HTML clueless simpleton who can't code properly

You mean they're not?

Only kidding! hehe

This is a bit like politics and religion, each to there own I say!



 4:00 pm on May 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Interesting comments, all. I find the thought of it marking pages that have been or are being updating VERY handy.

I'm one of those people who don't trust WYSIWYG generated code; but again, that's probably because I haven't tried one in years.

But now Dreamweaver MX handles CF code, too. CF Studio has been folded into Dreamweaver since Macromedia bought out Allaire... I guess we'll give it a shot.

(And I have to agree with you, Nick, about making 1 or 2 include-driven page templates though we'd use ColdFusion instead of .php.)

Thanks for your thoughts, folks.


 4:57 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I use dreamweaver, adobe golive, notepad, msword, excel, flash and whatever else it takes to get the job done.
All are just tools, none better than the other alone, when you can recognize the strengths of individual apps, combined as a whole they are powerful.

Purple Martin

 5:11 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> Most of the time I will do the preliminary layout in DW, then switch to my text editor for real coding.

Lots of people (including me) do it this way. And now that HomeSite-esqe coding is integrated in DW MX, it's definately worth buying it.

Robert Charlton

 6:18 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been a hand coder, and while I've not used DreamWeaver myself, I've worked with people who have, and I've been impressed by many of its features.

I've also seen how some sloppy code gets written. It's very easy in DreamWeaver to end up using nested tables for everything. I remember asking the designer why she was nesting tables rather than dividing a table into cells, and she responded that it was just a lot of trouble to go back and modify the code to add the cells... much faster to create the new nested tables. She clearly had priorities other than economical coding.

I've wondered myself whether, if you have the mindset that clean code is what you want, and you've had experience coding with NotePad or HomeSite or whatever, you can get good results with DreamWeaver. My guess is you can.


 7:33 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great points from all... and after all, it IS a matter of perspective: what works best for you! That's all that really matters. There is no denying, that DW IS a powerful tool; it just depends on your work "style." Learning DW? If you will seek a position in a corporate Web development environment, it is probably a good idea.

Eric_Jarvis touched on a point that I strongly relate to:
marking up an html document is all about making decisions about concept and context

For me, personally, the closer I stay to the "actual code," the easier it is for me to conceptualize the design. Sounds funny doesn't it? I USED to use DW to do layouts... but after I got tired of cleaning up all the inline styles, I migrated to HS full-time. Ultimately I found I retain a "closer" connection to what was going on than when I was relying on DW as a visual layout tool.

I "found" what works for me.
- papabaer


 8:37 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

A point worthy of mention is that DW is'nt just visual - it also has a great text editor, you can configure color codes and DW will only insert the code you tell it to insert.

A lot of people argue that DW puts in tags you don' want, after going through the DW prefs I never get code I dont want. I'll admit the functions it uses are not the lightest, but thats about it.

Dreamweaver is'nt just for creating HTML it goes way, way beyond that. Its about managing assets, code, images, pages etc.

If people only design in the visual mode then there is something wrong with thier design process. I use the visual editor and text editor side by side allowing me all the benefits of both worlds.


 8:48 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

If the question was rephrased as :

Should I learn DW in addition to learning to hand code

... I would say 'yes, if you have the time'

If the question was rephrased as :

Should I learn DW instead of learning to hand code

... I would say 'no'

brotherhood of LAN

 9:07 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

>I would say 'no'

Me too, even though I rely on WYSIWYG. Soon as I header towards includes, the reliance was less. The only qualities I want in WYSIWYG at the moment are ease of use (I am used to frontpage) and speed of use.

I have had dreamweaver on my PC for ages and never tried it out. Although I definetely know my sites are not the cutting edge of design (for sure), most stuff is either in CSS or an include file containing a snippet of HTML. The rest is history! :)


 9:20 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

essentially papabear, i think you are correct. DW does add alot of inline sytles (delete, delete). but that does not detract from the visual environment on offer and its ability to pretty much drop anything into pages.

Picking up DW MX soon, so will have a serious play with that


 9:34 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>DW does add alot of inline sytles

What Inline Styles??


 9:37 am on May 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

The wysiwyg in dreamweaver is useful, but the split mode between text editor and visual is excellant, you can really work on the code, certainly as a beginner/intermediate, but for tweaking and accuracy, i have'nt come across anything that can beat this split mode. And whether in text, split, or visual, you still have a full assortment of references on tap, for HTML, CSS, and JS, which is very useful, and flags up if there is something blatantly wrong.

Don't worry BOL, it won't take you long to switch over to DW.

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: 47 ( [1] 2 > >
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