Web Development Tools – Is Dreamweaver Still Relevant?
Remember the magic?
When I started doing web development and design, Dreamweaver was THE program to use. Everyone was talking about it. When I first started using it, I was blown away. I spent hours upon hours creating fake sites trying to get the hang of everything. I even remember thinking about trying to get the Dreamweaver Certification that Adobe offered so I could put the logo on my first portfolio site. Everything was easy to understand because of the graphical interface and no real need to know HTML. This was in the days when tables were the way to go, and CSS was just getting started.
Then along comes a book called Dreamweaver 4 Magic, one of the authors being a guy name Al Sparber (which you can buy on Amazon for less than $1 now!). The book was awesome. It taught a lot of cool things you could do in Dreamweaver, and it taught me some basic HTML and CSS. Al Sparber though did more things that helped me grow as a developer – he created the site projectseven.com.
The Golden Age for Dreamweaver
When CSS was just starting to get popular, Projectseven was creating some really cool plugins specifically made for DW. I even bought one called Menu Magic for somewhere in the area of $90 or so. Expensive yes, but I thought that if I was going to be building a lot of sites, this was perfect for getting menus built quickly. Not only were they selling products, but Projectseven was putting up turorials up so you could learn some advanced techniques. Take into account that this was before all the popular blogs we love now, were not around then. We are talking some 8 years ago, or close to it at least. Their article on Uberlinks using CSS pretty much showed me what CSS was capable of, and I took off from there. This is what I would call the Golden Age for Dreamweaver. Everyone was using it, and ‘web developer’ or ‘front-end’ were terms not really being used yet. If you were designing websites or just getting into it, Dreamweaver was where it was at.
Fast forward to today
While I have fond memories of starting in web development using Dreamweaver, I only use it to build eblasts now because it is easy using its Design View to create tables. And since I don’t have to do those anymore at work, the only thing I will be using it for is ftp (because it is easy for me). I don’t mind it as a text editor because I think it does really nice auto-completion of HTML and CSS, but I mainly use Notepad++ now, with an occasional dip into NetBeans or Aptana. Notepad++ though is so simple to use and stripped of all the crap I don’t need, I pretty much fell in love with it the first time I used it. Don’t get me wrong, Dreamweaver has a lot of cool stuff now, but I dislike that it is specifically for DW.
My question for people reading this is, is Dreamweaver still relevant in our field? Projectseven still makes plugins for it, and while I will never buy one again, people obviously still do or they wouldn’t be in business. Someone has to be using it, and not just someone, but a lot of them. Who though? Does Dreamweaver cater to hard core professionals or ‘basement’ designers? People who build sites at a company or someone who does it for fun for their friend’s band?
If you use Dreamweaver as your main editor, please leave a comment and let us know why you use it, what you think its advantages are over other editors that are free, or why you think it still has a place as a relevant web development tool.
Tags: Web Development