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|Best Program To Use......|
What is the best program to use to make web sites? I have used Netscape Composer because it was referred to me by a friend. I am trying to learn HTML but it seems like a pain since with Composer it is all done with the click of a button. I have downloaded HTML Kit and EditPad for test editors.
What is the overall best program to use?
|html mark up is all decision making about the conceptual context of information...software is useless at that...the human brain is superb at it |
Heh - you must only look at good sites! There's so much crap out there that I wonder if most of the population can even spell HTML let alone write it.
No matter what tools you use to create a website, the point where many sites (even the big professional ones) fall down on is COMPATIBILITY.
Use Dreamweaver, or FrontPage or GoLive or NotePad, TextPad, BBEdit... whatever you want (Just NOT NOT NOT MS Word or PowerPoint... I've seen it happen. It's not pretty.).
THEN... this is the important part... download Netscape 4, Netscape 6, IE 4 & 5, and the latest version of Opera for your platform. If you're on a Mac, find a Windows machine to test on as well. If you're on Windows, find someone with a Mac to guinea pig for you. Test on Linux too if you want to be really thorough.
If your site doesn't at least FUNCTION in all those testing environments, fix it. If you're really crazy, you can even try to make the site LOOK the same for all browsers/platforms... but at least make sure it functions.
If you can do that, who cares what editor you're using?
Java applets... sound files... bland layout... cloned clipart..
All cross-browser compatible, all made far easier to implement using a WYSIWYG editor.
I have seen one or two very good FP sites. They are the exception, sad to say. Generally speaking, a designer is doing quite well if he or she can use FP to design a site that I don't immediately recognize as a Frontpage site.
Do you recognize this as a FP site: [tameronsuzukieast.com...] well, it is. Don't let the missing FP metas fool ya.
Here's another one just for fun: [damson.com...]
I think it's a matter of what you learn on and then how well you can use that tool.
Here's the same concept done with DW: [jplv.net...]
IMHO it's not the tool that makes the site but the person behind the tool...
But in 1994 I started with notepad and then later composer in Netscape 3 Gold. If you want to be a master of HTML and layout don't use a WYSIWYG editor. Study the sites you like and learn to code by hand.
I like to use GoLive to prototype my websites, I can quickly build complex tables, design the navigation, and because it is an Adobe product it integrates with Photoshop.
However the code GoLive generates is bloated, is not XHTML compliant, and forget about working with ASP/PHP.
So I then load UltraEdit and re-code everything by hand. I like UltraEdit because it is intuitive, fast to work with, and does not get in the way. It also has multi-file search and replace, syntax highlighting and many other features.
I start by coding my ASP/PHP page templates. I create header and footer include files, as well as a include file that will open my database connection.
Then I code my Cascading Style Sheet include file. I use one file for the entire site. If I ever want to change any of the formatting across the entire site, I just have to change one file.
Then I add the code to read and write to the database to each ASP/PHP file.
It works well, I have a 400+ page site with only 35 physical front end files, everything is read from the database. If I wanted to I could add another few hundred or more pages to the site just by adding some more records to the database, without ever having to edit a line of HTML. If I want to change the site navigation, or the site design, I just have to change a single file.
At one time Dreamweaver was included on demo CDs. That's what got me started.
Just an observation, this blew me away when I saw it. The only way I knew this was a Frontpage site was because they left the FP metas in the code:
As for editors, I use HTMLkit and check everything I write now against the W3C recs making sure the code is valid, and now, accessible. Thankfully, I don't have to develop websites, I just write copy and optimize the sites now. :)
I use HomeSite, i don't like how the WYSIWYG solve the code. The code must be tunned for loading speed and search engine optimization.
Now that Homesite is owned by Macromedia, maybe that the latest Dreamweaver integrates something like it. ;)
I use Source Edit [sourceedit.com]. I think it's one of the best editors out there.
st crim: "Do you recognize this as a FP site: [tameronsuzukieast.com...] well, it is. Don't let the missing FP metas fool ya."
even with the source containing an over complex mass of nested tables and endless batches of line breaks...those menu buttons and the general blockiness are pretty much a dead give away
st crim: "Here's another one just for fun: [damson.com"...]
similar blocky look...the way it randomly intersperses <b> tags and so on are typical FP "idiosyncracys"...and you simply can't get more FP than - <font color="#C0C0C0" face="Arial" size="2"><br></font>
If you want to be a master of HTML and layout don't use a WYSIWYG editor. Study the sites you like and learn to code by hand.
Hehehe... "Master of HTML"... Who hands out that title?
If I can create a site with valid, clean, compact code, why does it matter in any way, shape or form if I use a WYSIWYG for part of my design process or not? If my WYSIWYG editor allows me to have full access to my code, allowing hand editing when needed, how is it functionally any different than a text editor with the added convenience of a WYSIWYG interface?
|brotherhood of LAN|
I agree that some WYSIWYGS leave their hallmarks - try not to use URL's to illustrate this fact folks :)
One of the hallmarks of FP is the include function which leaves its mark in the source code, where a SSI would not.
If you hone your WYSIWYG / Text Editor, I guess there is a balance you can reach, where there is least interference and you can work at good speed.
I used to handcode but honestly, can anyone build complex tables faster than a wysiwyg editor. Since then, I have gotten lazy and bought the FP 2 bible and have done quite well. I must add though that at least a moderate knowledge of HTML is required for just about any editor or else your work will surely look "off the shelf." My choices are FP2000, Ultra Edit 9.x and PhotoShop for the artsy stuff.
Have a great week folks,
I've used most of the editors and done quite a bit of hand coding. I've even written some editors myself for inhouse specialized work.
Dreamweaver is good but comes with a higher learning curve (at least in my experience).
Frontpage XP is very good, but has some idiotsyncricies which are very annoying. The WYSIWYG in Frontpage is among the best available.
Homesite is excellent.
1stpage is okay.
Arachniphilia (spelling?) is also okay.
Notepad is great when hand-changes and coding is needed.
My wife loves Frontpage 2000 and wouldn't use anything else. She can create massive web sites easily and quickly without worrying about coding.
I think the point is use what fits your needs. They all work in one way other another.
I think, in the end, nothing is better than a combination of hand-coded HTML, a scripting language, and a database. You get total control.
One of the problems I have with WYSIWIGS, Dreamweaver included, is that they generate a lot of invalid HTML. Not to say the generate HTML that doesn't work... just invalid. Most WYSIWIGs are not up to par even with HTML 4.0 standards, and still make constant use of the <FONT> tag for lack of CSS support (or should I say CSS predominance? Dreamweaver and many other editors have CSS support, but default to FONT usage for things like color and size).
In my opinion, Homesite is the best thing you can use for straight editing. It provides color coded support of all major coding languages, it offers easy navigation of websites via the resource window listing, it does quick and easy HTML validation (this one very important), spell checking, and link checking; Its resource window will let you see all the valid elements of a tag, and set them there (though you should have to), you can do directory (and directory tree) wide searches and search-and-replaces, and myriad other features which should serve.
I guess the main problem is that the people who are most interested in finding a good WYSIWIG are people who are starting out, or not as code-savvy as very experienced folk. I'm a firm believer that there's nothing you can't do in an advanced suite like Dreamweaver that you can't do with some good scripting, server-side includes, a database, and good coding skills.
Another thing, I suppose, to take into consideration is whether or not you're working on a project of your own, whether you're working in-house for someone else, or whether you're doing freelance work. I can see using a WYSIWIG for small-medium freelance jobs, because it's very fast and works very well for presentation (though not necessarily as well for speed, functionality, or search-enging-results). If you're just doing something for yourself, then either you want something quick-and-dirty, or you want to start a project that will really fly (so you do it by hand).
I'm sure there are lots of reasons for using WYSIWIGs, and I'm not saying that they're bad to use - I'm mostly saying that your product would be much cleaner, much more efficient, and much more in your control if you did it by hand.
I started coding by hand using a text editor.
Moved up to Adobe Golive, loved the functionality but was frustrated by its poor performance in terms of speed.
Purchased dreamweaver which is MUCH faster than GoLive and has more flexibility in some areas.
I switch back and forth between each application depending on the task.
In the end you will want all the best of tools for the strengths each one has.
If I had to pick one to start with, it would be dreamweaver.
If you know basic raw html you life will be easier no matter which application you use.
I can't remember the last page I created that I did not go and edit the code manually to some degree.
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