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Dreamweaver vs. Hand Coded HTML design

Posted on 2007-04-09
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
We are hiring an ASP.NET developer to build our new eCommerce site, but we want to handle the HTML graphic design part of the development. We have already produced our wireframes using Visio.

Now we are wondering if we should hand code the HTML Design Mockups or if we should use Dreamweaver? In the past, we've always coded by hand. But I suspect that Dreamweaver might be mature enough now to use? What do you folks think?

Thanks! Kristin
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Question by:forcedexposure
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dodge20 earned 100 total points
ID: 18876300
I think dreamweaver is more than capable of doing the html portion of your website. Are you planning on using CSS for your design, or tables? Dreamweaver does OK with CSS in my opinion, but i find it is easier to handcode the css rather than use dreamweaver. But as far as a GUI for development software, it is the best I have used.

There is a learning curve to use dreamweaver correctly. It all depends on your coding abilities. A beginner should definitely use dreamweaver. An advanced user may not like it as well.
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by:rdivilbiss
rdivilbiss earned 100 total points
ID: 18876525
For someone who has hand coded in the past I'd recommend a simple code editor with syntax highlighting and auto completion, along with macro or code snippet capabilities, rather than such a robust GUI as Dreamweaver.  (PsPad maybe).

Further I would argue the developer will probably be relying on a .NET specific development tool, such as VisualStudion and introducing Dreamweaver into the mix might not be the best choice for this situation.

I also agree with the learning curve issue mentioned by dodge20.
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by:forcedexposure
ID: 18876664
Hi There,

My developer claims that if they did the HTML design work, they'd would use Dreamweaver.

We have around 40 pages to design for the site. Our in-house HTML designer claims that he can do 1 to 2 pages per day by hand, rather than by using a product like Dreamweaver. I wonder if it would be faster to do it with Dreamweaver?


Thanks! Kristin

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by:fuzzboxer
fuzzboxer earned 100 total points
ID: 18876686
Dreamweaver has auto completion and code snippets.  It is the best web development tool out there and works well with many different languages.  However, for .NET applications I suggest Microsoft's Visual Web Developer:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/vwd/
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by:dodge20
ID: 18876741
forcedexposure

You will be able to create pages much much faster using dreamweaver as opposed to hand coding. I would say I can do it 10x faster using dreamweaver than hand coding each page.
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by:fuzzboxer
ID: 18876766
I concur.
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 100 total points
ID: 18877008
Hi guys,

I agree that DW is faster, once you learn how do certain things, but I'm wary of integrating it into a .NET site as the support for .NET is sketchy at best.

If the issue at hand is using a GUI to design the pages, look into nVu as a possible DW replacement.  It's also free...
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by:Alan Henderson
Alan Henderson earned 100 total points
ID: 18877905
nVu is fine if you don't need DWTs or included content.
Perhaps you should consider MS Expression Web. It's light years ahead of the dreadful FrontPage, it's on a par with DW, AND it supports .NET.
60 day free trial here:
http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/overview.aspx?key=web
What do you have to lose?
As dodge20 points out, CSS is easier to hand code. Both EW and DW make this relatively easy.
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Author Comment

by:forcedexposure
ID: 18878610
"CSS is easier to hand code. Both EW and DW make this relatively easy."

Can you please explain what this means? Is it difficult to use cascading style sheets with Expression Web and Dreamweaver?


Thanks! Kristin
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by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 18878792
Hi Kristin,

I'll answer the DW part of the question.

Using CSS with DW is pretty easy.  There is a way to create and edit style entries from a Wizard that pretty much eliminates the need for hand-coding the CSS.
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by:Alan Henderson
ID: 18881020
Hello Kristin,
It's more or less the same as Jason1178 describes with EW. You can create or modify a style in a dialogue box without knowing any scripting.
In both programs an external style sheet is easily created or edited even if you only have a minimal knowledge of CSS. As you edit the sheet autoprompts give you a choice of available properties and values for the selector you're working on.
It's easy - honest!
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Author Comment

by:forcedexposure
ID: 18882915
Thanks for your input, everyone!

I think I'll spend a couple days with the Web Expressions product as a free demo and see what's involved in learning it. If it looks like it can be learned quickly enough for this project, we'll employ it. The site has around 40 pages and it would be nice to be able to easily make modifications for future upgrades.


Best Wishes, Kristin
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by:rdivilbiss
ID: 18883721
Then learn the dynamic web templates part first.

Most of your pages will be relatively static, header, navigation, footer, etc. DWT, will let you concentrate on the page content separate from those elements.
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by:Alan Henderson
ID: 18885288
I'm with rdivilbiss.
If you're not sure about DWTs, have a look at this page:
http://www.mistywindow.com/

The top banner and the side bar are an attached  DWT.

You can see the DWT here:
http://www.mistywindow.com/misty.dwt

All you do is create the content that you want to appear on multiple pages and save it as a DWT file rather than as an HTML file.

Then you create the content of each new page and attach the DWT to it.

Good luck.

Que's book "Special Edition - Using Expression Web is very good.
There are also some links to tutorials here:
http://www.mistywindow.com/reference/web-design-resources.htm
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