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Why I choose Dreamweaver

Dreamwaver logos through the ages!OK as a web designer, you might expect me to use Dreamweaver, and as a web developer, you might expect me to hand code. However, I think Dreamweaver is a by far the best tool for combining the two. This article is not an advert for Dreamweaver, Adobe are not paying me (I wish) it is merely an explanation as to why I use it.

Absolute Beginners

In 1998 I began using Dreamweaver (back then it was Macromedia Dreamweaver version 1.2. This was the latest version). It was easy for a beginner to pick up basic web design principles using the WISIWIG interface. It really was a case of What You See Is What You Get.

I suppose this was the initial joy in building websites. You designed on screen your images and text and when uploaded – things looked the same. I used a design based on tables and nested tables that allowed me to place my content and images practically anywhere on the web page.  My first attempts were basic, but functional. As the web evolved and my knowledge and expertise grew Dreamweaver grew with me. I learned how to use many more features as they became available, and found myself much more of the time in CODE view.

The design progress over the years.

The following image shows the website fitnessfiesta.com from 2001, 2004 and 2006. The website changed to reflect current website design trends.

Image of website showing web development

By 2004, I was using more Javascript and CSS in my web sites.

By 2006 the site had a major redesign. I used a more modern navigation.

Coding Geek

Screen shot of website showing how web developmentThis brings us to the site today. It had another major redesign in 2008. I moved the site into PHP instead of HTML.

This allowed the content of the website to be driven from a MySQL database instead of static HTML web pages.

The benefits of using a dtabase is the ease to make quick changes to the website as new events are added or passed.

The benefits of keeping a website current and updated is of great advantage to your customers and also Google, who can see the website is regularly updated.

Dreamweaver is not the only software in web development, but it is my favourite. In my view, the beauty of Dreamweaver, now under the ownership of Adobe not Macromedia. The on page view renders CSS so that it is simple to switch from code to design view and vise versa. In the beginning it was not only the temptation to stay in design view, but neccessary.

These two screen shots show the same thing, just one in Design View and one in Code View:

Image showing code and design view in DreamweaverAs you can see, there are many features to this web devlelopment software.

It is easy to talk about the features of Dreamweaver for almost an eternity. What I would rather discuss is how it has helped me with the transition from web designer to developer. As the internet has progressed, the skill set of the designer and developer has had to grow with it. Whilst you could knock up a half decent website with a basic knowledge of HTML and a working knowledge of Dreamweaver, now there is so much more. Ecommerce design needs to run from a database, CSS helps ensure accessibility, and keeping code clean and simple.

Conclusion

Now any website designer that uses Dreamweaver can make the switch to web developer and the software is still the same and enables a smooth transition from designing static ‘brochure style’ website’s to dynamic database driven websites. Dreamweaver allows the web developer grow their skill set to cover PHP, ASP and Coldfusion programming languages.

5 comments for “Why I choose Dreamweaver

  1. Kevin
    April 30, 2009 at 11:00 am

    “Web Designers” that need a WYSIWYG editor aren’t actually web designers at all.. they’re graphic designers, seeing that coding is a part of WEB design.

  2. April 30, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I totally agree with you Kevin, “Web Designers” that need a WYSIWYG editor aren’t actually web designers at all..

    There is a clear difference between
    Graphic Designers
    Website Designers
    Website developers.

    The article is to show that Dreamweaver will cope for the transition of a web designer becoming a developer.

  3. Marcus
    April 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you both, Kevin and Steve. I have been dealing with this issue for years now. I work with a team including two ‘web designers’ who are nothing but graphic designers. Just because you use photoshop and can cut things up and insert them into software/cms does not make you a web designer. The interactivity and possibitilies of the web are NEVER realized by them because they do not know what is happening behind the pictures. Very frustrating.

  4. April 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks Marcus.

    I loved your quote “Just because you use photoshop and can cut things up and insert them into software/cms does not make you a web designer.”

    A previous article on this site talks about how the two need to work together.

    What is the difference between a web designer and developer.

    I have worked on sites that half been half finished by a so called web designer and the whole website has consisted of sliced up images from Photoshop and they wonder why the site does not work!

  5. June 11, 2009 at 12:15 am

    The tools you use don’t determine if you’re a web designer, the results do.

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