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What is the overall best program to use?
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?
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.
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...
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.
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. :)
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>
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?
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.
Have a great week folks,
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.
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.