Is Dreamweaver the best/only construct'n software?

  pvjw55 19:04 16 Jun 08
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I am a graphic designer who designs website layouts as well other things for a living.

I want to buy some software to learn how to create the backend html/flash etc rather that always sending the coding/creation offsite.

This is for business clients from small ones to blue chip.

Is Dreamweaver the best software to use/buy? Is it straight forward?

I currently design the sites in 'Quark xpress' should I learn 'indesign' and would that make creating/converting websites easier?

Thanks for you help in advance

  Taran 09:30 17 Jun 08

Dreamweaver was and arguably still is hugely overrated and there used to be a lot of snobbery attached to its use. The implication used to be that you can't possibly be a 'real' web developer unless you are using Dreamweaver, which is just so much nonsense.

A good web developer can create pages and applications in anyone of several software solutions and the editor of choice has less to do with the output than the abilities of the person using it.

That said, Dreamweaver is a highly productive method of developing once you get past the learning curve.

The latest CS3 suite features some very interesting "round trip" capabilities where layouts designed in Photoshop can quite easily be turned into sites in Dreamweaver, and graphics can be sent out from Dreamweaver to Photoshop or Fireworks for editing, then dropped right back in again when done.

It's a market leading product for a reason, but it wasn't always the best at what it did.

The now defunct Adobe GoLive featured far superior site management functions for large sites, and FrontPage 2003 and now Microsoft Expression web both offer a lot to any competent web developer.

The short answer is that Dreamweaver exceeds the needs of most of its users and provided you get a handle on how to use it properly it is very good at what it does.

Lynda.com has some excellent tutorials on Photoshop/Dreamweaver web development.

  Taran 09:38 17 Jun 08

I meant to add that if you end up working on anything other than relatively simple static sites you will have to plan on becoming adept at probably two (at least) programming languages.

Simple sites can get along fine in plain vanilla XHTML, but most SME's and pretty much all Blue Chips run data-driven websites that tie into one of the common database platforms (Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL) and use .NET or PHP scripting to call page content.

That's just one of many reasons why many graphics designers concentrate on design/layout and outsource coding. You can't really be more cost effective unless you work at a high level in all disciplines, and you don't learn web development overnight. Rewarding though, if you can find the time.

I also should have added that Dreamweaver does not author Flash (since you mentioned it) so you would also need to invest in the Flash program.

  pvjw55 11:08 17 Jun 08

Hey Taran.... Thanks for a great and detailed response. It has been of great help. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Thank P.

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