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You're going to hear the good, the bad and the ugly about both of those tools. It depends on exactly what you need it to do, and sometimes it just comes down to the one you're more comfortable with. I believe each has a trial download, best bet is to take advantage and take them for a test spin.
This subject does come up about once a week or so as this Google search [google.com] shows.
Personally, I should advise reviewing the basics of HTML before even considering a WYSIWYG editor. Try writing some basic pages with a text editor first, and understand what the markup does (it's really very simple) and then once you know what you're doing you can make an intelligent choice on the development tool you wish to use.
Actually, we have this debate every week [webmasterworld.com] in the WYSIWYG forum it seems. There are diehard fans and detractors of both packages. The latest versions of DW and FP are quite good. It really depends on which user interface you prefer nowadays. DW is a bit more complex, and seems to be tough for some to acclimate to. FP is based more on the classic MS Office family, so if you can use Word, you can feel at home in FP.
The question of poor code being output is not really a factor. I pump out 100% valid XHTML sites with FP all the time. You can do the same with DW or NotePad...or a myriad of other programs. A WYSIWYG editor will not improve your code. It will just make the process of putting together and managing your site a bit easier. You're still responsible to check that code. ;)
In a situation like this the best thing you can do is manke an informed descision by evaluating all options. Dreamweaver and Frontpage are both generaly very good products, but as was said already in this thread, it is very importaint to try and acheive at lease a basic grasp of html.
No editer will write perfect code. Because of this is it always importaint to understand how to tune the produced html after it has been spatt out by the editor. This is where your html knowledge comes into it's own.
What you will find is wysiwyg editors tend to add a lot of code bloat to your pages. After you have finished within the editor environment it is always a good idea to review the code and make changed where ever required. Generaly you can shrink your pages by quite a lot simply by removing un-required code.
If you want to use an editor I definatly recoment you try a few. Find out what works for you and what one you feel would make you more productive.
I only know the basics of HTML, but I have hand-coded a few simple HTML pages. I'll never really be good with hand-coding, but still, knowing the little that I do has come in handy more than a few times. Understanding basic HTML is empowering. It's a must-do.
As far as DW vs. FrontPage goes, as others have said, it usually depends on preference. FP2003 is supposedly pretty good so you won't go terribly wrong with it. DW is also pretty good and has a lot of mainstream support, so you also won't go wrong with it.
I'm sure many have made this comparison before, but I'll do it here again: I am thinking that in some ways, Dreamweaver vs. FrontPage is a little like Photoshop vs. PaintShop Pro. Both have their passionate fans, but at the end of the day, either program will probably get the job done.
As for me, I'm a Dreamweaver/Photoshop person. I started out with FrontPage (and incidentally, just picked up a copy again, just to see what all the fuss was about with FP 2003), but I've been using Dreamweaver for several years and really love it.
I see Dreamweaver having some similarity with Photoshop in that: It's more accepted as the "professional" standard (okay, I can't say this 100% for Dreamweaver, but *definitely* for Photoshop). Suffice it to say that Dreamweaver has more "support" overall. (I base this on the vast amount of Dreamweaver books, CD tutorials, extensions, online communities and websites, specialized tutorials--the Dreamweaver "subculture," if you will.) I don't see the same level of "subculture" for FrontPage (though it definitely has some support). Also, Dreamweaver is cross-platform, while FP is not. (Cross-platform is good, in my opinion.)
Same goes for PaintShop Pro vs. Photoshop. The Photoshop support "subculture" is really amazing. (Tutorial CDs, DVDs, books, websites, etc.) PaintShop has *some* books and tutorials, but nothing compared to Photoshop. Also, Photoshop is cross-platform, while PaintShop is not.
None of this means that Dreamweaver (and Photoshop) are automatically better, or that you will like them better. But it does mean that getting specialized information or support for them will be easier.
One reason is better CSS support, but the main reason is that Dreamweaver is basically an industry standard.
Thus, if you decide to look for a job involving web design in the future, you will be much more likely to need DW skills than Frontpage skills. Even if you only want it for a few hobby sites, why not learn how to use a tool that could be of some use in a future job?
Yes, you can drive a nail into a piece of wood with a hatchet or a hammer. But if you get a job in construction they will want hammer experience, not hatchet experience.
I find the code view code, colour schemes in Dreamweaver to be very helpful when coding by hand, although I have no use for design view, it is pretty much useless when designing sites with tableless layouts (Dreamweaver MX).
Its better to learn by actually coding. It will help you in the long run. I used Frontpage once and well its brtual. I like Dreamweaver though, although I mainly use it for the color coding ;).
You do have to be careful with both programs because they do throw in junk code you have to watch for.
For the most part since they don't automaticly handle PHP, CSS or ASP as well as I would like they are not particularly useful for me in ways other than mentioned unless I am editing a live site.
If I was coding with other people these programs would be much more useful.
BTW, use XHTML and CSS (as opposed to html) or you will need to recode as it is depriciated.
However, a lot of us just want to get the darn pages written. We are more focused on content than we are having perfect code, doing it all ourselves, being super geeks. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a purist, but I'd hate to think of a newbie being turned off to web development because all that code, code, code was intimidating or tedious to them.
You can liken it to other crafts or skills--like cooking, maybe. Some people want to cook the recipe from scratch, fine-tune every nuance, while other people are perfectly happy getting a mix from Betty Crocker and adding eggs and milk. The quality of the end result won't quite be the same with the quickie mix, but some people can't tell the difference and don't care. They don't have anything sophisticated in mind, and they don't delude themselves that they're gourmet cooks.
As for me, I'm glad that I know the little bit about HTML that I do. I regularly do a little editing here, editing there. But I'll be honest, I'd fit more in the Betty Crocker camp than in the Gourmet cook camp. It doesn't bother me and my site visitors don't seem to care either, since I seem to deliver content that they want to see.
I'm fairly new to editing websites. I started out with FrontPage a few years ago to help out a friend with her site. It had its problems but it got the job done. Then a year ago, I volunteered to take over a school website that was built in (you guessed it) Dreamweaver. I had zero experience with it and the person who transfered the site to me for maintenance gave me a one hour lesson. Then she dropped out of site and I was left to fend for myself. I taught myself how to use it while working on a live site. Fortunately, the original webmaster had done a very good job building the site and I had a fairly easy time keeping it up to date. I now use DW MX2004 and FP2003, and have to say that I prefer DW. FP 2003 is a big improvement over earlier versions. Little by little I'm learning HTML code by using these products. The ability to work in a split code/design mode helps me isolate and figure out what the pieces of code are doing.
When I started I knew just rudiments of graphic design in a print environment. I took a course of Dreamweaver and I found it easy to understand and capable to quickly produce professional results.
I read in a book the HTML basics (nothing difficult) in order to correct or add some things manually.
We may mention pros and cons for both Dreamewaver and Frontpage, but I definitely would recommend Dreamweaver.
I use DreamWeaver, but I find it necessary to go in and out between the WYSIWYG view and the code; DreamWeaver, IMO, doesn't always use the most efficient code possible and will sometimes exhibit a mind of its own in reapplying tags when you delete a paragraph.
Still, the ability to set up templates and library items (for items that appear in multiple pages of your site) makes things so much easier when you're working with a large site.
Code view is the best(in any editor Design View is useless!).
Site-wide search and replace.
More extensions(plug-ins) than you can handle.
and most impotant:
Support for other languages other than Html(PHP, JSP, ColdFusion and Microsoft's own ASP)!
This is why I am never gonna go back to FrontPage.
My 2 cents.
Having not used FrontPage for a couple of years, I recognize it may have changed since I used it, but I, too, found its desire to rewrite my code frustrating.
I recall it adding extra metadata, lots of it to advertise that the page was created with FrontPage, as well as other metadata that isn't really needed. I remember that it always created a long list of metadata when all I wanted was the three or four basic metadata lines. And it put the most crucial metadata, the title, at the end of all the stuff it added in, diminishing the title's prominence.
Also, it tried to tie every page to one of the generic (and, IMO, ugly) FrontPage template designs despite the fact that I always worked from my own designs. After assigning the page to its random choice of template, it rewrote tags to conform to that template's styles.
I tried to manually undo FrontPage's rewriting of my code, but each time I opened the page it would restore the default FrontPage coding that I had rewritten.
Maybe FrontPage is less obnoxious now than it was a couple of years ago. I think it must be to have so many defenders, but I've stayed clear of it since I started using DreamWeaver. Basically, I don't want any part of an authoring software that thinks it knows better than I do what I want.
frontpage is garbage....just opening pages in fp adds all sorts of code to your pages....
I'm going to have to call you on that one...what code does it add? I've been using FP for years and it hasn't done that to any of my sites. Sorry, but that's just plain mis-information.
I think he means the extra stuff FP will add at the header. But i guess that was the version of FP2002. FP2003 is good and got quite clean codes. I use both so i can compare.
Usually using dreamweaver to build css and using FP to build tables. Also using FP to build my logo. haha the wordart is the only tool i know.