Which package to go for??

  leasthope 18:37 30 Jun 2003

Hi, i do some web design work with my trusty frontpage software but i am thinking of moving up in the web design world. I have used all the main web design packages at some point through work but i will be going it along so don't know which package to go for. I am torn between Dreamweaver and Adobe's GoLive both are roughly the same price so it's a pretty tough choice. I think Golive as the advantage of easier integration between other adobe software like photoshop or illustrator. I will be getting photoshop anyway so i think i might go for Golive but if anyone can put in a good word for dreamweaver it would be welcome.


  Forum Editor 18:58 30 Jun 2003

is an excellent application, and if you feel you would like to give it a try I can think of no good reason why not.

As for putting in a good word for Dreamweaver.....it's not really necessary is it? It's a superb program, and used by most web design professionals.

  Agricola 20:11 30 Jun 2003

If you want to become a professional designer then you should abandon all these editors and teach yourself HTML and then something like PHP. Most people are put off by learning because they look at all the code Front Page produces and think its impossible, as is just the thought of something being too technical, when in fact you can easily put a simple site up using just a couple of different tags and a few lines of code. Dreamweaver FrontPage etc are very well for amateur sites and homepages, but shouldn?t be used or passed of as professional work

The web is awash with sites and are ten a penny created by so called professional designers, who are just ordinary folks who think they can do web design because they have managed to put a few pictures up of their pet dog and family using FrontPage. These sites , even the best Front Page designs, look, well.., amateur and can be spotted a mile off.

It is a shame these people can fool some clients into thinking they are wonderful, but a lot of potential customers will spot the obvious and wont touch you with a barge pole. If Front Page is so good then why don?t Microsoft use it themselves?

This poor quality look, apart from peoples inability to produce proper layouts, mainly comes from the difficulty and inability of these packages to fine tune good layouts. you can spend hours fiddling around and still not get every thing where you want it . Another draw back is the amount of code which these packages produce. If you want to alter the slightest thing manually you have to wade through hundreds of lines of rubbish. I once re-wrote someone?s FrontPage effort and reduced the number of lines of code by 85%

Writing a site in your own HTML gives you much more control and flexibility, you can correct things a lot quicker and layouts are thousand times easier and quicker to create. It will give you more credibility and professional image when you say, ? I programme everything myself in notepad? and will set you apart from over those folks who still use FP Dreamweaver etc,

  The Paul 23:09 30 Jun 2003

That puts me in my place then doesnt it. I've been using Dreamweaver MX for a few months now and while I used it to do most of the work I did change the code as far as simple old me could do. I thought my site was quite good for a twit. That is until this thread came along. Sorry "leasthope" not you I'm directing this at.

Seems a pity to pay all that money, build a site that I liked, and feel - as FE said that "As for putting in a good word for Dreamweaver.....it's not really necessary is it? It's a superb program, and used by most web design professionals" only to find that I am still a twit.

Actually, I think Dreamweaver is a superb program.

  powerless 23:58 30 Jun 2003

There are many sites out there that look awful (opinion) But what is avialable on these sites is amazing.

I go for content and not design.

  Forum Editor 00:48 01 Jul 2003

to dismiss programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver as 'amateur' and isn't very helpful in a forum that's designed (among other things)to assist people to get started in web design.

To say that professional designers don't use them is, if you'll pardon the expression, rubbish. I've been designing sites for many years, and have worked all over the world with some reasonably high-profile clients in that time. This may or may not qualify me as a 'professional' designer (whatever that means anyway), but I have certainly earned a reasonable living at it, and continue to do so. I regularly use both FrontPage and Dreamweaver, and personally know of many other successful designers who do the same.

To make sweeping statements about how "layouts are thousand times easier and quicker to create" if you write your own HTML is frankly nonsense, and is not really the kind of advice we're looking for here.

Of course it's great to be able to write HTML yourself, but I find that I'm doing it less and less often - the latest versions of the best WYSIWYG programs are so good. The new version of FrontPage (2003) which will be available soon is the first commercially available, fully WYSIWYG XSLT editor which can use to work with live data to create interactive and dynamic sites. I've been using it for about six months now, and it will transform the way that people like me work with data-driven sites. Work that would take days of hand-coding can be done in a matter of hours.

We welcome diverse opinions here, but please let's keep the wildly sweeping (and inaccurate)statements for somewhere else.

  Forum Editor 01:21 01 Jul 2003

about this - but some forum members (like The Paul) have designed really good sites in Dreamweaver and FP, and I'm sure it isn't too pleasant for them to be told that their efforts are ".......amateur and can be spotted a mile off".

The internet's for everyone, not just a few purists.

  Taran 03:15 01 Jul 2003

Just because you can do something does not necessarily mean that you should, or that others should too.

I can hard code HTML, ASP, PHP and half a dozen other languages until the cows come home in any plain text editor on Windows PCs, Apple Macs or Linux boxes. So what ?

I can get ten times as much done in the same time if I use an WYSIWYG editor and I can't think of any professional web designer or developer that I know who wouldn't think me extremely eccentric if I CHOSE NOT to use such software.

My greatest excuse for using a WYSIWYG web editor is that they remove the constantly repeated entry of code tags. Try writing any long or complex web page (or even worse, an entire site) using a plain text editor.

Be afraid. Be very afraid?

It's also worth noting that such repeated code entry is an environment that can encourage you to make mistakes as you become tired or bored.

Another important feature of WYSIWYG editors is the ability to visually see exactly what your pages are like as you work with real objects, images and text. Whether you like them or not, WYSIWYG editors are used by every professional web designer I know. It's also worth keeping in mind that the major selling points of such software is that in theory at least, you don't need to know the underlying code to produce excellent results.

And my last rant about plain text web editing is from a purely commercial standpoint. If I hard coded all of my sites for whatever reason (purism, insanity, sadism or perverse mixture of them all) I would have to charge about four or six times the price I currently charge since it would take about that much longer to do the same amount of work.

I'd be very interested to see a hard coder who could match the sheer speed of output that someone who is familiar with FrontPage, Dreamweaver, GoLive et al can achieve.

My main armoury for web design (which I do on a professional level and have done for some years now) consists of but is not limited to;

FrontPage 2000, 2002 and 2003 Beta (which is an absolute dream), Dreamweaver, GoLive, NetObjects Fusion, CoffeeCup HTML Editor 9.5 and Namo Web Editor. Arachnophilia 4 is still my favourite plain text editor despite newer versions being released. These are complimented by a range of image editors and other software (Photoshop, Ulead PhotoImpact, Paint Shop Pro, Fireworks, Flash, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Poser, Bryce etc).

HTML is all well and good and I would agree that anyone who is interested in web design learns at least some basics. The advent of WYSIWYG editors means that it is not necessary to do so.

All those purists out there could keep in mind that HTML was implemented by engineers who had little or no interest in or need for layouts, design and formatting. It was intended as a relatively simple way of displaying a long structured text document but its use has evolved over time.

Amateur sites can be made by anyone and are not, to my knowledge, web language or originating program specific. I've seen some horrific PHP and ASP attempts and some incredible examples of design and layout by complete amateurs who had the time to spend getting to know FrontPage or Dreamweaver.

Question: What do you do if you need a PHP page or pages but don't know PHP programming ?

Answer: Open Dreamweaver and create a PHP page in your site. Add form controls and point and click to add behaviours to them and, hey presto, with absolutely no knowledge of PHP and a bit of common sense you can generate a quite complex PHP dynamic page for updates, record input, record deletion, queries and...

Doing the same thing with a simple text editor would take six times as long and would require an intimate knowledge of PHP and some nifty typing.

Now, finally, to pull my commentary back on track somewhat, I'd like to point out to leasthope who started this thread that several professional designers of my acquaintance use Adobe GoLive almost exclusively and they speak very highly of it. Personally I rate it right up there with Dreamweaver and in fact there are several things you can do with GoLive that you either can't with Dreamweaver or that you can do far more efficiently with GoLive. It is a superb program and an excellent choice if you have the budget available for it. Good luck with it and post your first URL when you get you head around it.



  Aspman 14:13 01 Jul 2003

I've never used GoLive so can't comment on it, I do use Dreamweaver MX almost everyday, it is an excellent program. It is usable from absolute beginners to professionals. I work in a school and here we have 10 year old kids doing their first websites in Dreamweaver. So its basic functions are really easy to use. The integration with other Macromedia products can also be very handy, especially Fireworks. I prefer photoshop but thats just coz I've used it for longest, Fireworks can let you edit images without having to reopen in another package. It works better than I am explaining. I write ASP pages also but have never got to grips with the macromedia way of things (thinking back to Ultradev) and I have stuck with Visual Interdev, though I think I should make the effort as DW, I'm told, is very good at scripting.

I would lastly say its work the effort to get to grips with HTML in some way. DW even MX versions still do the occational odd thing that needs sorted out in the code, strange spacing expecially. Its good to know your way around even if you don't need to do it very often.

  The Paul 23:39 01 Jul 2003

That is more or less how I felt. I thought that my efforts were fine. I still do and words like yours encourage people like me.

I work in an environment where people have an image about themselves. Despite their knowledge and qualifications and experience, they still make serious boob boobs. Happily - simple people like me are there to clean up after them. Sadly, what I have learned about web design is that there are people who have major image issues everywhere and feel that "purist" is the only way. WAKE UP!!!

As FE says. Not all sites that are pleasing and comfortable are designed by code writing anoraks. The odd decent site gets through that is written by a twit like me.

Thank heavens for FP and Dreamweaver.

  barryoneoff.co.uk 00:38 02 Jul 2003

after reading the experts opinions (that is not meant to be sarcastic, you are professionals), can I add my little piece as a {still learning) amateur?

I do not have the finances for top of the range programs like the above mentioned, so never having used them, I cant comment on them. All my work is done with free software I have collected, and I can recommend Net Objects FusionMX for building a site and Micrographix Picture Publisher along with Ulead PhotoImpact for the image editing. (unfortunately Ulead cant handle gifs though). Good luck, Whiz...

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