Dreamweaver: Good or Bad?
From February 14, 2007
Ask some web designers about Dreamweaver and most will tell you that anyone using it is a web design noob that wouldn't last a minute without their precious little WYSIWYG editor. Well I'm here to say they're dead wrong. Sure, there's tons of people out there that got ahold of the program and created a million table-based designs that look like crap, but there are those (myself included) that use or have used Dreamweaver as a way to learn. A year or two ago, a friend of mine gave me his copy of Dreamweaver MX 2004 because he already knew how to code everything by hand and at that point, I couldn't code to save my life. Because of my inabilities, being able to create a website by just clicking here and there was a Godsend. And being told by my highschool's computer teacher (now he's working in website design Los Angeles company) that "Most web designers these days use Dreamweaver" was even more reason (or so I thought) to use it. So in one night I created six or seven table-based templates to put on OSWD using nothing but Dreamweaver's design view (absolutely no code is involved with design view. Just clicking and typing your content). I sent them off to OSWD, but they got rejected because they didn't validate (something I had never even heard of). So after a while I came to realize that I really needed to learn how to hand code. So I downloaded all of Andreas Viklund's templates from OSWD and played with the code through Dreamweaver. In a couple of weeks I had taught myself XHTML and a CSS.
Now you may be saying, "Well you could've just done that with notepad and Firefox...", and that's true, but Dreamweaver made it very easy to learn. Being able to change a line of code at the top of the window and being able to see it instantly at the bottom is so helpful. Of course, that's not the only reason why Dreamweaver is a great learning tool. Dreamweaver assigns colors to different types of code. For example, while looking at the code of a page, the (X)HTML is blue, the text is black, CSS is pink/dark blue, and PHP is red/green/blue. Dreamweaver also keeps your code organized. This can be extremely helpful when you're first learning. Nothing is more confusing than a giant paragraph of code.
Quite possibly the most helpful thing about Dreamweaver is also the one thing that makes it so looked down upon...Design View. Working in design view goes like this: You want to create a table, so you click the table button. You type in how many rows, columns, border width, etc. and hit enter. POOF! You've just created a table without typing any code, because the code is written for you. So say you want to learn how to make a table instead of having one made for you. You create it like mentioned above, then look at the code and play with it until you've figured out what the different bits of code do.
So in conclusion, Dreamweaver can be an excellent tool for learning how to design web pages. To this day I still use it when I can't figure out how someone did something in their template, or on their website.