When I first started designing webpages I was very adamant about hand coding everything. I knew how web page editors could mess up the code. My first website was on a geocities page. Do you remember when everyone had geocities, back in the mid-90s? Well, I was only 16 years old and I remember learning HTML coding, the bare necessities, from my brother. I thought I was so cool because I actually was able to pick up simple coding pretty quickly. In no time, I was posting images, links and even making tables!
Well, then geocities came up with a web design editor. My curiosity was peaked and so I used it to do all kinds of other crazy text effects and things that would now look rather gaudy to someone with a trained eye in design. Of course, I didn’t realize I was sacrificing my hand coding to an evil editor. It chewed my code up and spit it out in mangled form. I was depressed and vowed to avoid using a web design editor, no matter the cost.
Fast forward several years and I’m running multiple businesses. Some of them call for repetitious coding. Hand coding takes forever. It’s slow, but its accurate. Still, if only there was a way I could have saved time, I would have taken it. Around this time, the big two web design editors were by Macromedia and Microsoft. I could only stomach two minutes in the Microsoft program, also known as FrontPage. It added in all this unnecessary Microsoft coding and messed up my pages. I was told by a designer friend to try Dreamweaver, the other editor option. This was in the program’s early days. Still, my code was much cleaner in Dreamweaver than it was in other editors. Dreamweaver showed remarkable promise.
That brings us to today. I am now a loyal user of Dreamweaver. Now an Adobe product, I’m currently using Dreamweaver CS 4. As the program continues to grow and develop, I’ve realized how much time I can save using Dreamweaver. I still do part of my coding by hand, but Dreamweaver cuts the work out on things like making tables and setting up my CSS documents.
Dreamweaver has the potential to be incredibly newbie friendly due to it’s array of easy to use, easily labeled panels and tabs. I know that if I’d have had Dreamweaver around when I was learning to code, I wouldn’t have made nearly as many mistakes, coding wise. This program would have saved me an incredible amount of time!
When you look at something like Dreamweaver and compare it to a program like Photoshop, you aren’t going to be as likely to see the benefits of the changes in the upgrade quite as much in Dreamweaver. The program works so well now, on its own, that upgrades often include what I like to call “tweaks” as opposed to actual feature changes and inclusions. The next step Adobe is going to have to make is to have Dreamweaver construct vast layouts in one click, for a variety of webpage styles. Of course, that takes most of the fun out of designing.
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