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WYSIWYG and Text Code Editors Forum

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Best Program To Use......

 3:43 am on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

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?

Any thoughts?



 4:05 am on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Stay away from Composer.

Learn HTML. After you are comfortable with it, learn some basic JavaScript dance steps. Then go to Dreamweaver. DO NOT GO TO DREAMWEAVER BEFORE DOING THE HTML AND JAVASCRIPT.

Dreamweaver is the industry leader for a reason. Others will flex their html muscles at you regarding Dreamweaver, but don't let that bother you. Dreamweaver saves time. It allows you to flex your design muscles.

In the future, you will marvel at how far you came from your early Composer days.


 9:57 am on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Welcome Webmaestro08 to webmasterworld, what can i say you've come to the right place, a gold mine.

First off their is no clear out and out editor that is better than anything else, its like people suggesting a Ferrari is better than a Lamborghini. Its a matter of opinion

their are many that would recommend a multitude of wysiwyg,

Homesite > good editor, can do code and wysiwyg, link check and so on. (freebie)
arachnophilia > good editor, though knowledge of html, js, css, is useful (freebie

Microsofts Frontpage > not a favorite of mine, but my co-mod lives by it, easy to get started with.

Macromedia Dreamweaver > very easy to learn, this i would personally recommend, wysiwyg, code and split code/wysiwyg, which is very easy for learning html, and working out how html structurally commands the visual environment of the page being created. This can take you from very simple pages, where your working on validating code to dynamic sites, that can utilise Macromedia's propreitry products (Coldfusion), or go into the open source world of server/client configurations.

Learn HTML. After you are comfortable with it, learn some basic JavaScript dance steps. Then go to Dreamweaver. DO NOT GO TO DREAMWEAVER BEFORE DOING THE HTML AND JAVASCRIPT.

Completely disagree with this statement. Certainly understanding HTML, Javascript, CSS and all the other web based languages, would be advantagious. BUT Macromedia / Microsoft, made these products, in the first place to create a more easier medium for people to learn how to create web pages.

I would suggest first off downloading either Frontpage or Dreamweaver from the prespective sites, and having a look and seeing what you think, that will give you a rough idea of whats available, both Macromedia and Microsoft, have tried to make these packages all things to all people (webmasterworld even makes you think in PC terms)

Then you can hunt around if these don't fufill what you want, there are literally thousands of programs. check this thread

some lite reading to get you started !

reasons for using editors [webmasterworld.com]
i use wysiwyg becuase... [webmasterworld.com]

Drill down the threads in this and the other forums here, also don't forget the site search !


 10:04 am on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

For just bashing out straight html I like 1st Page 2000 from Evrsoft.

Best part: it's free.

If you find it doesn't suit you, no loss.


 10:06 am on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)


Dreamweaver is the industry leader for a reason.

I'm not so sure about this. When i first became a member here i certainly thought so, but after a little time, i've realised that its probably not, certainly in general use i would'nt think its usage compared to Frontpage is very high, though i don't mean commercial, just out and out usage, by anyone.

But commercially, a run down of editors/wysiwygs certainly from what people favor here, does not suggest DW is the industry standard, more that its one of the industry standards.


 4:12 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

"Dreamweaver is the industry leader for a reason."

Perhaps this is only the view from San Francisco, arguably a major center for Advertising, Design and High Tech: If you look for employment doing web design, the vast majority of employers request either a knowledge of HTML or Dreamweaver, and more often than not, both.

In the very rarest of instances do I see an employer requesting Frontpage2000 skills.

When I say "Industry Leader," I'm talking about the real world and there's nothing more real that trying to find a web design job in your local and national classified job postings. Dreamweaver is hands down the leading requested software over MS Frontpage. No question about it.

With great respect to the other opinions posted here, perhaps I should have qualified my comments thusly:

If you want to pound out code from the solitude of your bedroom, that's fine and 1st Page from Eversoft would probably be adequate (never heard of it, can't recommend it).

But if you ever aspire to step out into the real world and be gainfully employed, a working knowledge of HTML and JavaScript will serve as a strong foundation to augment a solid grasp of Dreamweaver.


 5:38 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Dreamweaver is without a doubt the industry leader.

FrontPage, while "required" by some shops is a horrible program, only used because the shops get it as part of the Office suite. That would explain it's wide use.


 6:03 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

It could be argued that McDonalds are an industry leader, but it's certainly not for the quality of their products.

WYSIWYG editors vary greatly, and Dreamweaver is certainly not as bad as some (certainly miles better than Netscape Composer). But it has many serious weaknesses, the main one being the phenomenal code bloat it generates: you can always tell a Dreamweaver site because the JavaScript is five times longer than it needs to be.

Microsoft Frontpage, as well as code bloat, suffers from a series of flaws too numerous to mention; one of the worst is its fondness for Java applets to make buttons, making sites horrendously slow and impossible for robots to index.

WYSIWYG editors will give you a website, but often with strange bits of coding (ever seen the source text generated by Adobe GoLive?) and serious design flaws.

Moreover, they restrict you to what the programmers thought possible or desireable on a website. Knowing HTML means that you can often come up with unusual solutions to problems that wouldn't be possible with WYSIWYG.

I'm currently negotiating with a graphic designer who has been using GoLive to produce websites at fantastic prices for some of his clients. He has suddenly discovered that his sites only look good on Internet Explorer for Mac at a screen resolution of 1024x768, and doesn't have a clue how to fix them, because he doesn't understand the basics of HTML. It will cost him a lot of money to hire me.

By all means use WYSIWYG editors for your own personal websites, but don't expect professional results from them.


 6:19 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

So what program do you use RewBoss? What would you suggest to use to make a site "professional"?


 6:23 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

rewboss, I agree with your comments about poorly planned web sites and non-browser compatibility, but that's a matter of bad planning and has nothing to do with Code Editors.

And I agree with you regarding code bloat. I think "phenomenal" is a harsh description, though. But some of this bloat is part of Dreamweaver making code that is cross-browser compatible. And a working knowledge of HTML helps shrink things down when you need to.

"Don't expect professional results from them." I have to very respectfully disagree. One of my teachers, who incidentally wrote the O'Reilly Dreamweaver Missing Manual, did the web site for Intuit (Quickbooks) using Dreamweaver, and that was a professional result.


 6:26 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I always code by hand.

That's not to say you can't, as a professional, use a WYSIWYG editor, just that you can't expect a WYSIWYG editor to magically deliver professional results.

But to use a WYSIWYG editor in this way, you need to know exactly how it does what it does, and how to fix things to make them more efficient (or more visually exciting). To do that, you must learn HTML -- the basics at the very least.

Sorry, there's really no way around that if you want to go professional.


 6:29 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Have to put in my plug for Adobe GoLive here... I use it, and found it great for "getting started" without having to know HTML at first. As I used it more and more, and got more interested in "advanced" web design, I found it very easy to directly edit my html code in GoLive, and now I'm pretty proficient in writing my own HTML... but the WYSIWYG programs offer a great way to get your basic layout down before you start tinkering with the code.


 6:30 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hands down for me is Homesite. It use to come bundled with dreamweaver for the pc. Every proffessional web design job I have had(Quite a lot) use homesite. Its a text editor but it is very nice. If you still can get the dreamweaver homesite bundle I think that is the best bet.


 6:39 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Heh, simultaneous posting, cool, huh? Hi, martinibuster.

Yes, I believe you when you say your teacher produced a professional result with DW, but I'm betting that he/she could have done it by hand if he/she had wanted to.

As for Dreamweaver's "browser compatible code", it's backwards compatible to Netscape 2. That's where some of the code bloat comes from. Much of the rest is just superfluous. I can make a JavaScript rollover script using about a dozen short lines. Admittedly it does generate a JavaScript error in Netscape 2, but even that could be fixed with a couple of extra lines if I thought anyone was still using that browser. Unlike Dreamweaver's code, it preloads the images, too. (DW attempts to preload the images, but it doesn't work properly in MSIE.)

I think this illustrates one of the biggest problems with WYSIWYG. It's a bit like getting one of those instant cake mixes where you just add milk and eggs and presto, chocolate brownies. The result may be very nice, delicious even, but kinda predictable. If you learn how to cook, you might still use the instant mix, but you can adjust the ingredients and even add some of your own to create something far more interesting and individual.


 6:41 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wow, so many people all posting at once...

You may be wondering why I have called this meeting...


 10:48 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)


If you are looking for pro-level sites, you would go far wrong with Dreamweaver.

Don't worry chaps, i am a dreamweaver user as well as homesite and notepad.

My comments regarding dreamweaver being an industry standard, is probably more directed towards the users of the forums.

brotherhood of LAN

 11:00 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is there really a "best" program? Why are there so many attempts at being one?

Frontpage is OK for someone with no prior knowledge of making websites. There are enough errors in the way that it constructs websites for you to get "hands on" with the HTML, and you WYSIWYG it for yourself. When you outgrow frontpage, some of the side trimmings are still useful, like checking out dead links, both internal and external, edit/replace, a zillion options....

FP might not produce the best code, but it is easy for you to throw something together and see how far you have got on your own two feet.

In the end I don't think anyone sticks to one particular program......considering the amount of webmaster related installs that must be sitting on all our computers :)

The best program at the mo is BestBBS v3.00, which provides online updated information about how to make a better site ;)


 11:03 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)


i can't say i have had a look at BestBBS, how easy is it to learn ?

brotherhood of LAN

 11:12 pm on Jun 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

yeah its pretty easy to learn.......you click recent posts a few times a day for a few months and hey presto, you reference a thread when you need that info ;)

validate your pages with W3C if essential, test 'em out on all browsers, and all the other factors that are frequently mentioned in WMW.

things like "optimum file size" means front page is no longer a good program for making web sites, because the code is bloated. However, things can be done quickly with the format it has (alongside replace bad code/good code)

I would have never tried to use arachnophilia and its smooth layout if it was not for here.

I know it was OT, the point is that the program will have its limits, even if it is called Dreamweaver - the most popular one in town so it seems :)


 2:28 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

To be honest BOL, the original question i did'nt think deemed a battle between the ediotrs, more a question of ones to try, so i gave him the options rether than you must do this, and you must do that.

i was taking the perverbial about BestBBS.


 2:37 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

> Frontpage is OK for someone with no prior knowledge of making websites. There are enough errors in the way that it constructs websites for you to get "hands on" with the HTML, and you WYSIWYG it for yourself.

I can't believe, in this day and age, that everyone still wants to blame the program. Its not the program, its the user. That same inexperienced FP user would probably generate just as much code bloat using Dreamweaver.

Code bloat comes from the inexperienced user. Code bloat comes from all those nifty little gadgets that the WYSIWYG editors throw in your face. Dreamweaver has them, and so does FP, and every other program out there.

FrontPage is a superior tool if used correctly, and so is Dreamweaver. They both have good and bad points. Its all a matter of education. I see sites that look awesome on the outside, take a peek behind the scenes and they are a mess.

Code bloat happens when you have various people performing edits on the site. One person does something this way, the other does is that way. Code bloat happens when you don't use CSS. If you are not using CSS to at least control font styles, then you've missed the boat! The elimination of just the font tags alone drop almost 25-30% of the bloat.

Years ago I would have agreed that FP was weak at the knees! Today, its right up there with the rest of em, if not leading the pack. At least in sales anyway!


 5:59 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ive tried various free trial incarnations of Dreamweaver. It is certainly the best (to my mind) of the WYSIWIGS with 'Home' a close second. The first WYWIWIG we used was Hot Dog, a great program which was way ahead of any others in its time. But in the end, we always came back to text editors with the ability to preview in diff browsers.

However my main concern with dreamweaver is a bit like Front Page.. the more the use it the more you suffer dependency symptoms... and the less likely you are to learn raw HTML and XML, js etc. Its similar to the problems i have with Flash.. it can sometimes be great, but the product is never your own.. it depends on the flash plug in, and that macromedia will always support it.

A truly professional dedicated web designer should be able to work with raw HTML and coding first, and use all the major WYSIWIG programs if called upon to do so. That provides the flexibility and wisdom required of any professional web designer guru! Simply put, it is easier to learn how to use any WYSIWG like DW and HS if you know the thory behind them, it is a much harder job to do the reverse. So changing jobs to a company who insists on one particular program is easy for the professional web site designer.

We basically use a text based editor with color coded tags, great search and replace, and a "code snippets" type of library for codes and tags we use frequently, and a one click preview that will bring up the document in any broswer we want.

Add to that, that the text editor will come up in 1 second compared to 10 to 20 with WYSIWIGS and its no contest for us.


 6:04 am on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree that it is better to learn HTML first.

If you want to stick with free WYSIWYGs, Mozilla's composer is a nice improvement over the old netscape one.


 12:03 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I can't believe, in this day and age, that everyone still wants to blame the program. Its not the program, its the user. That same inexperienced FP user would probably generate just as much code bloat using Dreamweaver.

That's only partly true. The trouble is that Microsoft Frontpage is attractive to people who have no experience, and promises that anyone can use it to create attractive and usable websites without knowing what they're actually doing.

For example, FP allows you to choose whatever font you like. What FP doesn't tell you is that whether the visitor actually sees the font you specify will depend on whether they have that font installed on their PC, and that if they haven't it'll probably show up as Times New Roman.

FP is pitched at beginners. Since you have to be at least semi-professional to create a decent site using it, it fails.

Dreamweaver's JavaScript rollover code may be bloated, but it's a darn sight better than the FP way, which is to use Java Applets. Yes, FP will produce JavaScript rollovers, but they're buried in some submenu somewhere where nobody can get at them, and so FP actually encourages inexperienced users to use inefficient techniques. Most novices still don't realize that JavaScript and Java are not the same thing.

brotherhood of LAN

 1:09 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>FP is pitched at beginners. Since you have to be at least semi-professional to create a decent site using it, it fails.

on the contrary, ive seen some very impressive sites made with FP. I'm not defending FP here, its just that I keep hearing DW DW DW like everyone here is employed by then ;)

DW / FP / Anything Else

Grab source code from all the sites you visit and "copy and paste". If a program can't do that "properly" then you may want to buy an HTML book :)


 1:18 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Question for Chiyo:

What text editor(s) are you talking about?
Sounds like a good one I would like to check out.

Thanks for sharing,


The Contractor

 1:18 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)


I agree. I remember this thread where a few users came out of the closet and actually admitted to using FP :)



 1:44 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here we go again with the Text editor parade.

My editor of choice is Textpad www.textpad.com


 4:03 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am firmly of the belief that WYSIWYG editors are of limited use and largely more effort than they are worth

the problem is that they are designed on a basis that web design is like DTP...but what you see is not actually what you or anyone else gets on the web...so using that approach leads you to a situation where you either ignore large numbers of users or spend loads of time checking the site in huge numbers of browsers and tinkering to make it work

it is far quicker and easier to design by marking up the content first so that the site can operate independent of presentation, and then adding styles afterwards...this is a process that no wysiwyg is suitable for...though Top Style can be extremely useful when it comes to adding the presentation

stylesheets can be created effectively by software...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


 4:10 pm on Jun 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I find Homesite is a good programme for creating clean HTML quickly and easily..

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