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PHP vs Dreamweaver Libraries

PHP vs Dreamweaver Libraries and html content



4:42 pm on Mar 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Starting a new site and am wondering if I should go with a:

A. custom PHP/MySQL content management system
B. or a HTML website made using Dreamweaver and utilize the library updating feature.

Let me know which method I should go with from the different perspectives below: -

1. cost-effective
2. search engine friendly
3. server resource friendly

Thanks guys,


5:21 pm on Mar 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ergophobe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Good question. I'm curious to see some answers come in on this one.

I suspect that if your goal is to get something up and running as painlessly as possible, Dreamweaver is the way to go.

If you don't need a custom CMS, but can use one of the zillions that are available off the shelf and for free, that would be the cheapest by far.

Personally, I have a bias against WYSIWYG editors that is based on a little experience (currently unwravelling a site that someone did in Front Page) and a lot of ignorance (I haven't updated Dreamweaver since Version 3 because I just never used it).

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that most people here are in my boat and wouldn't know where to begin using the Dreamweaver libraries and therefore, how to evaluate them in neutral way.

The one thing I've noticed with PHP code pumped out via Dreamweaver is that it tends to use older, deprecated features of PHP (like $HTTP_POST_VARS). This could be because I've only seen code pumped out by older, deprecated versions of Dreamweaver.


8:49 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I thought there would be tons of responses to this, strange! Hey maybe there isn't a simple answer after all.


9:49 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well first of all Dreamweaver libaries are not related to a CMS in any way!

A DW Library item is just a section such as a menu etc that DW can update automatically throughout the entire site. DW will keep a reference of every page the library item appears and update it, then all you need to to is udate the files.

An include file whether in PHP, ASP or whatever is just the ability to include one file within another, this way when you change the included file you dont need to update any pages.

If you have PHP already then that is the way to go, if not then the DW Library is.

1. cost-effective - PHP = free, DW need to buy
2. search engine friendly - no difference apart from the DW code to show where a library occurs
3. server resource friendly - DW =just HTML, PHP = proccesed on the server


1:33 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We currently have a PHP site which uses DW templates!

We started off just using DW with templates but found that after the site hit ~300 page mark things started to get harder to manage.

If your site is going to be small in the 20 page area then DW will work fine. The problem comes when you have a large site. If you change a template that is used by many pages then you have to upload all of the changed pages to your server. This becomes quite a pain, errors begin to creap in when some files are not uploaded.

With PHP we can change a shared file used by many pages with a single change/upload. This is much easier and much less error prone. Of course, the reverse is that you can completely break your whole site with a single change.

With a PHP site you must have a development system where you can test site changes before they go live. Whilst it is recommeded with a DW site, it really isn't an absolute must.

We are gradually working through our DW templates moving the libraries & such over to PHP includes. When that is done we will in all probability stop using the templates. There is no rush though.

As for advice, it really depends how big your site is. If it is big now then a CMS may be a good choice. If it isn't, then a CMS will just get in the way. A DW static site will be much quicker.

You can always change things later... ;)


1:52 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for your reply.

My site will start with 1300 pages.

It would seem from this perspective alone that PHP will be the way to go, any thoughts?


3:24 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

With a 1300 pager then it would certainly be worth using PHP. We have found PHP to be very useful. The language itself is growing on me more & more every day.

The CMS side is really outside my field of expertise. When we started the site we started using Plone. We found that it was too much for us to start with. Documentation was a bit thin, no books etc. I believe that has changed recently.

I would be sceptical that a CMS doesn't involve some compromises somewhere down the line. You usually have to give something up to gain convenience.

We are some distance from requiring a CMS type system. Perhaps, at 1300 pages, you are rather closer to it.

Whatever you do, build yourself a development system & build the system on there. Test a number of different CMS to see which fits your requirements best.


4:17 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

don't use DW libraries to manage your site..use PHP/MySQL CMS and SSI (Server Side Includes) ... much more efficient...and you can easily maintain a manageable development structure to work with on your side...for easy uploading (either via an admin function within you CMS or good old FTP)


5:22 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks all of you for your comments. I will most definitely go with a CMS then.

It will however need to be custom made unless somebody knows where I can get the bare bones and then get someone onsite to tweak it, anyone?


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