Hey folks, for your hardcore web developers/designers, if you look at the source code of a site, can you determine if it was built by manual/hand coding, or with a WYSIWYG editor like dreamweaver or frontpage?
If you can tell the difference, can you please tell me what those differences are.
Many WYSIWYG editors will insert a "meta" generator statement in the head element revealing who shot john. Some create extraordinarily complex Span elements for text styling and thus reveal it was not hand coded.
I've never been particularly concerned about this as I hand code everything... but it is an interesting question. Hopefully others will have more to say.
This reminds me of a few years back when a popular web editor had a free trial period. After that, if you continued to use it without purchasing, it would add something like "*** BUILT WITH ILLEGAL COPY OF <BrandName> WEB EDITOR ***" to the meta title of the page.
Anyone could go in and easily edit out text with another editor. But not many people did- if you searched on that string in Google, tens of thousands of sites came up. :)
Wouldn't say I was 'hardcore' ;-) but here's my 2c
I would agree with the whitespace comment. View the source of two pages side by side. If the html is laid out the same way, then they are probably using a template of some sort. The template of course could be hand-crafted.
For dreamweaver I looked at one of my sites. I use libraries so if you see this kind of line
<!-- #BeginLibraryItem "filename.lbi" -->
then they've used dreamweaver. It was the only thing I could spot. I also use DW templates but there was nothing specific in the html to suggest I had.
Sort of a whitespace thing, but I would imagine that people would indent their html if it was hand-built to make it easier to read whereas WYSIWYG it could be all over the place.
Meaningful class names may also be an indicator of a hand-crafted site.
Rules like "background-repeat: no-repeat;" are a giveaway.
Usage of six letter hex codes for greyscale colours instead of three is another indication, as most people hand coding would not bother but editors don't try to use 3 letter codes.
Something else I notice repeatedly (but can't explain why) is poorly thought selector schemes, in particular where almost every element uses a class of "generic_content" or "generic_paragraph" etc instead of using an element selector to set how styles should appear by default.
If you see selectors like (real world examples from a commercial Dreamweaver built site):
.genericTableB .blankCell (lol)
You are most likely looking at a WYSIWYG created site (or someone who seriously misunderstands how to use CSS)