|What Should I Be Using?|
i'm a casual web guy, meaning i fart around online, and build my own page...
i've been using notepad to build my page by hand...
sure i've used frontpage to help me figure out code, but aside from that, its all by hand.
i'm not too fond of frontpage namely because i'm a stickler for "perfection" and it generates way too much waste code.
i've got dreamweaver sitting at home and my friends are webbies, so they've got most everything else...
so what should i be using?
i'm talking, clean, and easy...
just kinda want to cut down on the time i'm opening and closing tags url and image tags as that's what's takes up most of my time...
[edited by: caine at 9:05 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2004]
[edit reason] url drop - against tos [/edit]
|i'm not too fond of frontpage namely because i'm a stickler for "perfection" and it generates way too much waste code. |
That hasn't been true for several years.
Still, if you're just a "casual Web guy," why not use NotePad? Tools like FrontPage and DreamWeaver aren't cheap, and they require at least some investment of time if you want to use them effectively (and correctly).
give it a try
Well I use the Open Office HTML editor. I used to use Frontpage 2.0 because it was in Windows 98 but when once I gt a new system with XP I didn't have Frontpage anymore. The open office tool seems simpler to use than the old Frontpage and best of all its free. I use the other Open Office tools a lot too.
I realise Open Office isn't going to be anything like Dreamweaver or the full versions of Frontpage but its been more than adequate for my relatively simple website.
All wysiwyg's generate surplus and usually non-validated code, until you get a very good grip on them.
Personally, in your situation Culverin - my concerns would be scale of the site as a task, as a casual guy you may want to spend a little time playing around building pages, hence something like notepad, with the W3C rules, will help in a good understanding in the mark-up languages, i.e. html, xhtml, xml, etc.
However once things go beyond a couple of pages, or even into more than one site, then picking up a code/wysiwyg editor will be a sound move. One's that i would recommend are HomeSite, and Macromedia's Dreamweaver, though both require a good investment in time and learning to get the most out of them, but once that has been done, what is taking you maybe an hour now can be done in 2-3 minutes.
There are alot of proponents for Frontpage who happily suggest that is a good product, can't disagree, tried it about 4-5 years ago and that was that.
btw, welcome to webmasterworld.
I'll put in my usual plug for HTML-Kit, an amazingly feature-packed freeware program.
I've been playing around with the demo version of SiteSpinner and am pretty impressed - both with the ease of use, fast learning curve, but mostly - the nice clean css code it creates. I haven't yet decided to buy it ($49 i think), but am definitely considering it.
Sitespinner is nice to play with but has some serious shortcomings that makes it unsuitable for serious web work IMO.
The most alarming are : Can't edit any pages not created in Sitespinner
CSS code is NOT nice - too much flab means the pages are massive compared to the same thing in pure css (or Dreamweaver, if you know how to use it)
No round trip html editing
Shame really, cos it is pretty easy to use and has goo dfeatures otherwise.
I spend 98% of my time thinking about how I want to present a page and 2% on coding it (by hand).
I'm a stickler for squeeky clean code as well, needless to say I won't touch anything wysiwyg.
FP and DW have certainly come a long way in the last few years, but I don't think you can beat writing the code yourself. Given the coding time is such a tiny percentage of the entire project for me I just don't see the point in using wysiwyg tools if you know how to code the puppy by hand.
|but I don't think you can beat writing the code yourself. |
That used to be the case, but is not as true now.
We covered this at length in the past, but once more for reference won't hurt.
If you are building sites with css and use Dreamweaver get the free extension Layer2style. You can't get much tighter code once you dump all the css into an external style sheet. It is far less code than hand coded tables.
Far quicker than hand coding, and totally indistinguishable from hand coding.
Past threads on this subject have always split along partisan lines, so just for the record 'hand coding' is Ok by me, whatever you prefer.
But lets not do the 'WYSISYG gives code bloat' thing again, cos it ain't really true anymore.
I happen to like TopStyle 3.10. It's made by the creator of HomeSite, Nick Bradbury, and you can download a free 30-day trial. It's focus is mostly CSS and only lacks some of the bell and whistles of a full blown HTML editor (I'm not talking about WYSIWYG, but rather support for hand coding), but it has most. That should change with version 4.0 (still pre-alpha, but I think Nick either started working on it, or is about to), since there has been a lot of demand for it and Nick is responsive to user requests.
IIRC, it sells for under $90.
I can't think of any WYSIWYG that doesn't generate some surplus or redundant code.
And always wind up hand tweakig the html to get the desired results.
However, Dreamweaver, Adobe Go Live and if you are on a peasant budget the built in editor in Netscape usually have the least extra crap (or easiest to clean up)
|I can't think of any WYSIWYG that doesn't generate some surplus or redundant code. And always wind up hand tweakig the html to get the desired results. |
As I already explained, DW can produce code that does not need any tweaking AT ALL! You get ZERO surplus code in the page html. You just need the right free extensions installed.
I mean it, honest. If you don't believe me, try it.
The most you may have to do is to tweak the external style sheet to suit your own preferences - but even then, it can often be done once for the whole site
Culverin I just picked up "Namo weditor" has the same feel as FP ..in that you have your 3 views all laid out.. Edit View , html view and preview ..
You can edit your site in either edit or html view.. very nice .. loads extremely fast compared to FP 2002 or 2003.
And best of all you can pick it up for $49 if you take the download version (meaning you dont get a CD or manual) ..it's the educational version..which they have no restrictions on who can buy it.
What you posted supports their comments about Dreamweaver not producing clean code. By your own admission, it needs "the right free extensions installed." These are written by third-parties not Macromedia. Sure, its WYSIWYG code can be cleaned up, but they should be doing it by default instead of a user having to resort to someone else's product.
Many people still use the 'WYSIWYG editors generate extra/poor code' line when they wish to defend their preferred method of Web Design. And while that was true up until the not too distant past, it's not really true today. I should know, because I was adamantly opposed to WYSYWIG editors for a long time.
Dreamweaver MX 2004 fabulously generates tidy code. I still to this day make a habit of proofreading code after using DW, and I find very little to change. And that little bit I do change always turns out to be stuff I take out, later to concede that it was there to ensure cross platform compatibility. And the beuty part of it all is, you can develop by hand with it if you wish also. Split the WYSIWYG view with the Code view, and you can do both at the same time (which is a great way to code).
I stick with DW, however GoLive also performs just as well (I just don't find GoLive's interface well suited for web design).
FrontPage on the other hand, does still generate crappy code. While initial design with FP is better than decent, as you add content, or make changes to websites with FP, it doesn't insert new objects very cleanly. Any linux user browsing with Konqueror can attest to that.
All in all though, if you prefer to code by hand, any cheap (or freeware, there are a lot of them) IDE interface would be SO much better than simply using Notepad. At least then you'd have Auto-closing of tags, color coded elements, indented/formatted code, etc... look for phpEdit which is great (especially if you do any work with PHP) or even simpler would be an app called AnyEdit.
|What you posted supports their comments about Dreamweaver not producing clean code. |
Pah! Arrant tosh.
HTML editors do not produce clean code, you need to learn html and, if you do it well, then YOU produce clean code. If not, you can produce a worse mess than ever.
They are good as the effort you put into them.
It takes just seconds to download a free extension. The ability to use extensions is a feature built into DW - it is extensible.
If you have bothered to try it out feel free to give informed criticism. If you haven't, then your criticism will remain as uninformed opinion and be read as such.
If you really want to hand code, DW can do that just fine as well.
If its about productivity and quality of output, then DW beats hand coding for most people.
"Pah! Arrant tosh"
Well her's some more.
I have used DW since DW2 and have the current MX version in everyday use.
Over this period of my and MM's evolution I have evaluated the alternative WYSIWYG programs and the opposition always seems to be AT LEAST one version worse than DW.
The current DW MX is as good as could be hoped for and the split view allows for code to be monitored and tweaked if you need to. But mostly this is only for personal preference and in my use is never through code bloat.
If you have DW MX at your disposal, look no further.
The addition of an external editor such as EditPlus etc can be integrated for anyone who has become too attached to their text editor over the years.
I could go on and on but that is enough "Arrogant Tosh" for now.
piskie - your 'Arrant Tosh' seems to be agreeing with me.
Has one of us misunderstood the other?
Of course not, since they're not designed to "produce...code"; they're designed to assist the coder--not replace him.
|HTML editors do not produce clean code |
As far as DW producing clean code, even if it's true, I'd be very suprised if it can produce as clean code as can be achiveed by hand. For example, does it use divs or tables for layout? (I'm asking because I don't know.) Putting aside the tables vs. divs argument, in every case I've seen, divs look cleaner than tables.
Also, can it produce valid XHTML 1.1 code?
I'm not so sure if it applies here, but I'm reminded of the issue of man vs. machine in chess. While it's true that machines have surpast men in chess, there is still a world of difference in style; the games played even by the best chess computers lack a certian quality--their games lack soul. If you're not a good player, it's hard to understand, but if you are, it's obvious.
Mep00, To answer most of your questions is 'yes'.
It will validate XHTML pages to atleast 1.0 in my DW MX which is not 2004 MX. It will give you warnings if you are hand coding that specific Tags are not compliant with current specification. If it is done to everyones satisfaction I would not think so.
Where most WISIWYG's fail is when you start making changes/modifications from your initial design. Tags may be left behind that are not necessary. That is one reason I use the split view (code on top and WISIWYG below) for some quick edits. I am not a proponate for 'only' designing is the visual mode, I am just as comfortable in a text editor or even more so.
Its a tool and use it for what it is good for. Don't use a screw driver to when your plyers are better for the job.
|I'd be very suprised if it can produce as clean code as can be achiveed by hand |
Couldn't be cleaner. It can easily be configured to create divs, the css data for which is in an external style sheet which it automatically updates when you modify via the WYSIWYG editor.
Code ends up as:
<h1>My Page Heading<h1>
<p>content goes here</p>
Everything else is in the external style sheet.
The only thing you may like to do is reformat the external style sheet to suit your own preference.
OK 4eyes, I'm surprised. I just remember when I got sick of FP2000, and haven't looked back since.
I hate to be picky (ok, maybe I don't hate it that much), but I prefer 1.1.
|It will validate XHTML pages to atleast 1.0 |
In the end, it was Deep Blue who won, not Gary Kasparov.
|If it is done to everyones satisfaction I would not think so. |
Not the end of the world, but no small failing either.
|Where most WISIWYG's fail is when you start making changes/modifications from your initial design. Tags may be left behind that are not necessary. |
The best thing said so far.
|Its a tool and use it for what it is good for. Don't use a screw driver to when your plyers are better for the job. |
The truth is, I almost never write HTML files, but rather, php and templates. So, is it time to start looking over my shoulder yet?
I've just downloaded a free for personal use WYSIWYG edditor called DHE Editor. It has support for CSS and seems a really neat editor. Yes it probably does create larger than average code but I find it quite neat anyway.
Here's the official spool....
DHE Editor is a WYSIWYG HTML editor that takes advantage of the absolute positioning techniques os CSS 1 (style sheets). It allows you to design web pages by simply dragging elements into place. You can also take advantage of advanced CSS features like overlapping images and other techniques that are not possible with plain HTML. CSS is supported by all major browsers, so your web page will look the same to every visitor. DHE Editor can be used to create HTML, ASP, PHP, CFM, JSP, XML pages and also provides an option to insert code elements if needed. You can import images, associate events to part of labels, pictures, input fields and more. Great for beginners to design a web page, but also very handy for established webmaster that want to generate CSS based page layouts.
You can get it here [hexagora.com...]
Probably sounds like a sales pitch, but I have no connection with them.
Web based site builders integrated with other hosted features designed to allow non-techies to run their own affairs are the future for both basic and middle of the road site design as well as the hosting industry.
Services like MonsterCommerce and EbizWebpages easily produce decent sites with reasonably clean code in a matter of minutes with shopping cart, secure server, etc. already configured and integrated all without any technical experience needed.
Give any small - medium business owner who wants to sell online the choice between a quick web based solution that he doesn't need to know anything about and a product like FrontPage or DreamWeaver and the web based, all inclusive service wins every time.
There is an old wysiwyg editor call AOLPress that is free for everyone to use. I've always found the code to be absolutely clean. It seems to be better than other editors in the things that you do all the time such as adding links and images (e.g. allowing you to check the links immediately). It also has a great interface to allow you to directly edit the HTML source. It is very easy to learn to use and comes with a good tutorial and help.
It misses out giving the user the capability to use all the features added into html in the last few years (unless you use the hand coding features). This may well be one of its best features as it stops users from using features that often only work in specific browsers. This also makes it easier to learn. Generally, if you create with this then the page will be readable in almost every browser. For this reason it may well remain the best html editor for new or occasional web editors to use.
hope this helps
Ken in Melbourne Australia.