Web Development Tools – Is Dreamweaver Still Relevant?

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.

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5 Responses to “Web Development Tools – Is Dreamweaver Still Relevant?”

  1. Al Sparber says:

    Hi Jeremy,

    Great article. Yes, we are still producing and sales are booming. For a while we were waiting for the hammer to drop – but it’s still holstered ;-) We even explored making WordPress themes, but were extremely shocked at the inefficiencies of that application. We do not believe WordPress is good at all. If we did, we would very likely have dove into the Themes/plugins fray. We are still waiting for the killer CMS and when we find it we will very likely back it.

    • jcDesigns says:

      Well I’ll be damned! Thank you very much for coming to comment. An extremely pleasant surprise this morning seeing that you came here. I owe your company a lot for that book and the tutorials on your site for what you taught me. I still visit projectseven.com every once in a while just to see what you guys are up to. I am very happy to hear you guys are thriving, so keep it up!

  2. I use DW to maintain my two online businesses. Most of my clients have been happy with the sites that I’ve produced with it, but I’m wondering whether or not I should get into “WordPress” as a primary means of website creation?

    I STILL don’t like “blog” websites. I prefer sites that are more “static” – ones that don’t require much updating and so forth. I’m not new to blogging, I just don’t like it. The word “blog” never sat well with me. Call me old-school or whatever, but I can’t get into this new direction the web seems to have taken in terms of social networking, blogging and so forth. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing and I’ll find out why at the last minute…but that’s just the way it works for me, I guess.


  3. John says:

    I still use DW mainly because I can get feedback right away as I code or update CSS. I used to use Notepad, but given what we code is to translate into a visual result, I stick with DW.

    I does have a lot of nice benefits, and having used it for a long time, it’s just natural for me to use it and navigate through it.

    But I think it will always come down to the what people want to use.

  4. Becky says:

    I still use Dreamweaver in code view, because it has FTP and I like the way it organizes my projects. I also like the code snippets feature and some other shortcuts that help me get my coding done faster.

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