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Ask Slashdot: Web Site Editing Software For the Long Haul?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the when-tripods-collapse dept.

Programming 545

MouseR writes "It seems we can't rely on software, in particular Web site editing software, to exist for the long haul. Every time I rely on something, it takes only a couple of years before it gets trashed. I have used GoLive's CyberStudio before it got engulfed as GoLive from Adobe. Both got trashed. I eventually used Apple's .Mac HomePage. It got trashed and replaced with iWeb. I then used iWeb, hosted on MobileMe, and Apple just killed it again, along with the hosting. So, as I'm preparing to move my stuff on various web sites, onto my own hosting server (outsourced), I'm wondering what kind of visual web site editor(s) I could use, for the long haul. I'm rather sick of changing tools every other year and as a software developer, would rather spend my time editing my web site rather than code it. Any suggestions?"

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Notepad (5, Funny)

cgeys (2240696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430654)

Before someone comes in putting down all the IDE's and tools for web designing and suggests Notepad, let me just say this - no, notepad is not replacement for a good, solid IDE.

Re:Notepad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430670)

No, but vim is!

Re:Notepad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430752)

I used to think that- and I still use VIM a lot- especially for remote touch-ups, but being able to flip between documents, use refactoring, reformatting, class reflection and whatnot is just a massive productivity boost.

Emacs (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430976)

Emacs is the way to go! And as a matter of fact, I wrote a Lisp Script that just creates the webpage for me!

It's pretty slick. See, in my client meetings, I record what they want, I then transfer the mp3 to the machine and the script listens to it and Viola! creates the website exactly the way the customer describes it! I then get a fat check and take off in the Ferrari with my porn star of the day and we shag like Tasmanian Devils - without the cancer - Poor Devils!

At least that's what I remember after I take these cool looking pills and downing them with Scotch while viewing porn ....

Re:Notepad (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430680)

Right, Notepad++ is.

Dreamweaver (2)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430688)

Isn't Dreamweaver still around? I seem to remember it doing a pretty good job coloring my code. Plus the instant preview was kinda nice.

Re:Dreamweaver (3, Informative)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430708)

I've been using dreamweaver for a long time now. It has not substantially changed and is good for editing run of the mill static web pages with a template.

Re:Dreamweaver (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430950)

I've been using Dreamweaver back since it was HomeSite.

All around a very good product that has so far lasted for the past decade.
It is more oriented towards the "I want to code, but see what I am doing" crowd, but it does so very well.

Aside from that, since you are obviously a Mac User, I would highly recommend looking into RapidWeaver, as it is very capable, surprisingly so for a drag-and-drop editing application, and you can post whatever you make on a server very easily as it is just HTML and Javascript.

If you need something a little more comprehensive with server-side scripting support and basic drag-and-drop forms, I would recommend considering a CMS application, such as ModX, Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla (in order of consideration).

Re:Dreamweaver (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430890)

Where I work, we call Dreamweaver "Nightmareweaver."

It is full of bugs that don't necessarily break things, but constantly mess up your productivity.

It's full of stupid thoughtless "features" like a URL text box that's only about 30 characters wide, and a "check links" command that doesn't work on a page unless you've set up a complete site. The way it handles CSS is over-complicated, and I've had more than a few pages' content simply "vanish" from the design editor because it couldn't figure out the div layout.

And honestly, Adobe, what's the point of selling a WYSIWYG HTML editor that still makes you go into the code to fix formatting?

The only positive things I can say are, 1) if you edit code directly, DW doesn't fuck with it, and 2) tag autocomplete is easy to get used to.

Re:Dreamweaver (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431194)

I completely agree - Dreamweaver is horrid.

For a text editor I would recommend HK Tools (paid - since) or HTML Kit (free) available since 2004.

For a WYSIWIG editor CKEditor would be a good bet. It's far from perfect but there's no such thing as a great WYSIWIG. At least this one is free but with optional paid support, has been around since 2003 and shows no sign of going away.

Re:Dreamweaver (2)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431216)

On the Mac, CS doesn't stand for "Creative Suite", it stands for "Complete Shit". I like Dreamweaver on Windows (though I liked it better before Adobe fucked it up) and bought it on the Mac but threw it out in favor of Coda [] . (Another possibility in MacLand is Espresso [] , too.).

If I was a rubytard, I would probably recommend nanoc [] or jekyll [] .

Re:Notepad (1)

JewFish (315210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430700)

Vim on the other hand is an excellent replacement for any website development IDE.

Re:Notepad (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430710)

ed is an excellent replacement for vim for any purpose.

Re:Notepad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431086)

Just type

cat > index.html

and get to work. Mistakes can be retroactively fixed with SED, and you can provide basic search functionality with a nice .sh using GREP.

Happy hacking!

Re:Notepad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430968)

Before someone comes in putting down all the IDE's and tools for web designing and suggests Notepad, let me just say this - no, notepad is not replacement for a good, solid IDE.

You're right - a good solid IDE is a replacement for a coder who knows what the FUCK he's doing. Your insistence on one says all we need to know...

Re:Notepad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431154)

The only problem is that a good coder usually ends up being a shit designer.

Re:Notepad (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431108)

Before someone comes in putting down all the IDE's and tools for web designing and suggests Notepad, let me just say this - no, notepad is not replacement for a good, solid IDE.

Notepad is not only a useless HTML editor, it's a useless text editor. Use a real one and you'll see the virtue of this argument.

EMACS or vi on a decent Unix/linux workstation is your IDE. I challenge any web developer to keep up with me in site design and updating. You might be able to stay with me on a trivial site with a couple of pages/templates, but I guarantee you that as soon as you start working on anything non-trivial (like the 100,000+ static documents I currently administer), a real text editor and the basic set of *nix utilities will leave any IDE looking weak and impoverished.

Re:Notepad (3)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431238)

For Web Development a good IDE is actually quite useless. Unless you want your website to look obviously from your IDE your better off using standard text editors. I have had some forced time in an IDE where I needed it to make HTML, I had to spend twice as much time working around it to get stuff done.
That said, a modern IDE is nice in terms that if you don't try to build your html visually, they often have JavaScript or the server side language development debugging. Notepad++ VIM or Emacs with the appropriate modules installed can work quite efficiently

ubiquitous (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430674)

In before emacs vs vi...

Emacs (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430676)

Emacs? Emacs.

Re:Emacs (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430806)

I use pico (yes, I really still install pine) or notepad. I still have an old copy of FrontPage 98 as well, which makes really ugly markup, but is adequate to create a tabled template if you then go and hand edit it in text mode. Now that I am using CSS for most everything, well, I still use notepad, pico and a little FP98. This includes a couple of ecommerce sites and a dozen "misc" sites, which means many hundreds of pages that get updated from time to time but rarely replaced. I just add pages as I need. We manage to do millions in sales this way. Again, ecommerce, so the goal is KISS and we don't add but maybe 100 pages a year, but these are still decent looking sites and take very little to create. Even less to change the look of all of them through CSS.

I never understood why an IDE was "required", nor have I ever found one that was less hassle than just doing it by hand. Would love to find one that was truly simple and fast, instead of all the bloated crap I've tried over the years.

Re:Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431196)

How on earth could somebody use notepad to write code? It's got zero functionality?!? Ever heard of Emacs, vim, notepad+, jedit, Christ, anything? Are you just fatally incurious?

Re:Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431042)

But what are you going to edit with?

Re:Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431118)

Bizarrely, there's 5 vim posts to your one emacs post (as of now) -- even though (longstanding flamewar about which is "better" notwithstanding, emacs is certainly much closer in concept to the IDE the poor web designer is thinking of.

For my part, I used a reasonable text editor (JOE is my choice, but naturally vi, pico/nano, textpad, notepad++, anything would work -- even emacs, though it'd be dramatically underused here) in conjuction with some awk, m4, and makefiles to build my website -- but I would never recommend this to some poor iDweeb, because while m4 is a solution for me, it'd just be one more problem for him. I'm sure there's emacs modes already written for wrangling html and css, so I'd point him to that way. (Because I WOULD say "learn html, don't learn yet another glorified desktop-publishing app", yet no reason he shouldn't start crafting his own html with the easiest tool for him to use.)

So are all the emacs users just late to the party? Are vim users just trolls? Are people still taking this old flamewar far too seriously? Does the bloat of vim (which they almost all clamor for these days, few true-vi supporters seen) negate all of the serious reasons for vi over emacs? Is this AC rambling off on a drug-fueled stream of senseless queries?

Dreamweaver (5, Informative)

sarku (2047704) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430678)

Adobe Dreamweaver. Been stable for 15 years or more.

Re:Dreamweaver (1, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430932)

Still used as a crutch by self-professed "web designers" and clueless recruiters of such.

Dreamweaver is a tool, not a skill; same as vim, Emacs, Notepad++, Eclipse, or any other editor.

When was the last time you heard a craftsman get praised for having a tool, rather than possessing true skill?

Other than the boasting "designer" with his masterful command of drag-and-drop but merely an apprentice's comprehension of what his tool produces for him, you never did.

Re:Dreamweaver (4, Insightful)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430990)

Actually, I'd say that the difference between a professional craftsman and a hobbyist who builds stuff in his garage is often largely because the professional has a much larger assortment of tools to use.

Re:Dreamweaver (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431256)

No the professional is the one who gets paid to do the work with those tools.

I know an old mostly retired engineer whose "tooshed" would make most professional machinists happy.

He can literally build you anything mechanical out of almost any material as long as all you need is a one off part.

Re:Dreamweaver (1)

tehniobium (1042240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431266)

Actually that's just what they want to convince you! If you truly believe it would take very expensive tools to do the job professionally, then I guess there's next to no chance that you'll do it yourself, as the investment is too large.

This reminds me of the kind B.S. chefs have been telling us for an eternity: all that matters is you get fresh and awesome ingredients, then you'll have great flavor. If you live by this you'll be making pretty uninspiring dishes - eventually, you'll put it down to lack of talent, and the restaurants win :)

I'm not saying there's a conspiracy by the way - just pointing out that the above statement is misguided...

Maybe, but (1)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431272)

I'd dare say that following the garage analogy most folks here have all the best tools in it, even if a couple people may have borrowed theirs from Flanders.


Re:Dreamweaver (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431302)

Give me a break. There is little difference with someone putting together something in GIMP compared to Adobe Photoshop. You can claim xyz is lacking in GIMP yet all the good GIMPERs do a better job than those with Adobe Photoshop. Call me cynical. It is skill not tools which matter. We have a professional looking site that beats almost every other on the net and the graphics have all been done in Gimp. Except for the logo. I'm not sure which program that was done in as we didn't do it in house. We did receive it in an open format (vector). Quite honestly it isn't even that great. I was quite disappointed with it considering how much we paid. I could have produced at least as good of one if not a better logo. It is barely sufficient for our professional looking site. We have all the mirroring effects for products, css, and similar. We didn't build it from scratch. We did code significant portions of it. We did use a content management system. A 5k investment that after 3 years if paying off big time. We are the go to source on the net for a particular product. We actually have a full product line-up and only one product is well known so far for being the best. Another one is well known in certain markets.

Re:Dreamweaver (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431274)

Dreamweaver is a tool, not a skill ... When was the last time you heard a craftsman get praised for having a tool, rather than possessing true skill?

You realize the guy is asking about which tools to use, right? It's a fact that Dreamweaver has been one of the most stable tools for creating basic web sites.

Re:Dreamweaver (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431008)

Dreamweaver is the application that seems to have long legs. it is assumed, that if another commercial application were made available and was succesful,. Adobe would do all it could to kill it as they did Golive. I used Golive, I liked Golive, and it was killed off to encourage the use of Flash. Unforgivable.

There seems to be one other HTML Editor in current version, Anacrophila, but I have never used it and it might go away like all the others, but it seems to be the one and only no cost solution. While I sympathise with the smart asses that suggest Emacs and Vum , and feel sorry for the smart asses that suggest notepad, these clearly do not meet the requirement of an HTML editor. Well, maybe Emacs, but then you get an OS that looks like an HTML editor.

Personally, I am moving away from hand coding my HTML pages of using a WYSIWYG editor. There are enough script packages that do generally what I want that I can just use them. I think this is why the HTML editors development is becoming less popular. The availability of high quality scripts.

Microsoft? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430704)

I know im kind of a black sheep around here, but Expression Web & Visual Studio Web combined make a pretty solid base...

Re:Microsoft? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430780)

No a black sheep wouldn't willingly enslave themselves to Microsoft. (Too soon?)

vim (3, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430712)

Or butterflies [] if you've got far more patience than I.

Re:vim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430856)

Nah, vim is a fad. Pure vi is where it's at!

*nix Editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430724)

NVU / VI / Netbeans / Eclipse

Recommendation (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430736)

I use Bluefish on Ubuntu. It's very functional and has enough longevity as far as I know.

Re:Recommendation (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430812)

I use Bluefish on Ubuntu. It's very functional and has enough longevity as far as I know.

I second the recommendation for Bluefish on the *nix side of things. That has replaced Quanta Plus as my standard html editor on my Debian systems, since QP is no longer in Sid.

On the Windows side of the house, Arachnophilia is a good one to use.

Coda rocks! (1)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430754)

For the Mac I'd say use Coda: []

Re:Coda rocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430788)

TextMate is cleaner and cheaper!

Re:Coda rocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430918)

The original poster said he was using a number of tools that are WYSIWYG editors. Its doubtful that Coda would be any help to someone who works at that level.

Re:Coda rocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431224)

For the Mac I'd say use Coda: []

I would definitely second that. A simple and straightforward marriage of a good text editor, a decent preview, and Transmit, Panic's FTP/SFTP/WebDAV client. Well worth it if you don't need a design development mode.

Wordpress or Joomla (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430770)

Wordpress and Joomla have been around for a long time and don't show any signs of going anywhere anytime soon. If you need more advanced features, Joomla is better equipped but harder to use than Wordpress.

Re:Wordpress or Joomla (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431222)

This is actually a good suggestion, minus the Joomla part.

Wrong tag (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430786)

Not to troll or something, but I think this should be tagged as "designer", not "developer".

NVU (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430790)

NVU / KompoZer, it's been a long time since i used it but it was pretty nice back when i did, and it's open source so it can't ever fully die

NVU is now BlueGriffon (2)

roesti (531884) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430900)

NVU and Kompozer are being replaced to some degree by BlueGriffon [] , which is based on the same code.

Besides learning html and css (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430792)

Dreamweaver if you actually need to visually design a site, Eclipse for developers and those not needing hand holding.

NetObjects Fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430820)

there is even a robust free version out there... yes, i realize PC only, but runs great on win 7.

notepad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430822)

Notepad. Hasn't been changed in 20 years.

Re:notepad (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430952)

Notepad did change. They upped the file size limit beyond 64k at some point, right?

They did? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431064)

I didn't notice.

Best long term web page editor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430832)

Vi(m) ?

Text editor of choice plus knowledge of HTML/CSS (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430840)

Notepad, TextEdit, TeX, emacs, vi, pico, whatever.

Never have to worry about the editor itself going obsolete because of emerging HTML standards, never have to worry about the tool itself disappearing.

Find yourself random web host of choice (I like nearlyfreespeech) that supports direct upload of files, no fiddly web interface forced on you, and voila! Instant future-proof website!

(Yes, I'm going to have to be weaned off iWeb+MobileMe for my personal domain, too. I'm a lazy bastard, and iWeb was too easy. Now I'll have to go back to hand-coding and/or at least find a simple-to-upload-to-from-iWeb host; which, now that I think about it, nearlyfreespeech should do.)

Dreamweaver (0)

GrantRobertson (973370) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430844)

I, too, use Dreamweaver. It has been around a long time and I don't expect Adobe to be going anywhere any time soon.

notepad++ (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430848)

notepad++ you can't go wrong.

PSPad (1)

slayster (1126691) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430854)

PSPad [] has been my editor of choice for many years now. It does everything I need it to. I've never seen a visual editor which produces code that I'm willing to put my name behind.

Content Management (4, Insightful)

TimTucker (982832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430858)

If you look at the solutions for "editing" sites that scale, ultimately you'll find that what you're really looking for isn't a better visual editor, but rather a content management platform.

WordPress has a pretty decent track record for longevity, but there are plenty of other options out there as well.

Re:Content Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431010)

Who said anything about scaling (besides you)? Personally, I used to use ms fp, which was awful, but still better than anything else I could find.

Seriously, isn't there anything (cheap/free) out there that will just let somebody edit a web site in WYSIWYG mode?

Re:Content Management (1)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431182)

Look, none of the WYSIWYG HTML editors work well. They fought a three way battle against hand coding and content managers, and it's now down to just the two. Because they work better. It's a feature.

Re:Content Management (5, Informative)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431146)

I would recommend a static site generator instead.

You get the benefits of a CMS without the server side software requirements, updates, and security problems.

I use nanoc [] and love it, but there's tons of other choices [] out there.

Re:Content Management (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431210)

As long as you don't need any on demand dynamic data driven stuff (no account system, no comments system, etc) though you can get third party JavaScript based solutions for some things ( comments, ratings).

Just learn HTML. (5, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430860)

Seriously. You are looking for a solution to an impossible problem, and besides that it is *easier* to learn HTML than it is to learn Dreamweaver. Stop being frightened of the technicalities and just try it with a text editor for once.

Re:Just learn HTML. (1)

websinthe (2176708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431262)

I agree. You'll never be able to build a properly usable site if you don't have an intermediate knowledge of the code that goes into a site. It's like trying to write a novel without learning proper grammar.

Re:Just learn HTML. (4, Insightful)

MouseR (3264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431290)

I actually built a complete e-comerce web site by hand something like 13 years ago. With php scripts (or was it Perl?) and some c-based CGIs. The reason I switched to WYSIWYG is because I don't have time to deal with that and that given web site development is a far cry from my regular Application programming duties, would rather spend whatever is left of my "free" time with my kids than learning to deal with CSS.

Utopia Framework (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430870)

Hi, I had the same problem so I made the Utopia Framework [] . This is a simple tool which allows you to create website content directly. While not really ready wide adoption, I've been maintaining it (originally PHP, now Ruby) for over 10 years, and it's core ideas are (IMHO) very easy to understand and very powerful. The biggest issue right now is documentation.

Open Source CMS (4, Interesting)

dhammond (953711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430886)

Surprised nobody has mentioned this yet, but there are many good open source CMS's that allow you to edit your website through browser based tools -- Drupal, Joomla, etc. My company has built our own CMS that allows wysiwyg editing of websites (which I won't plug). The point is, for the long haul and for a lot of reasons a browser-based solution is best. And no matter what happens to an open source project you can always continue to use the code and extend it for as long as you want.

What about an open source tool? (2)

drdread (770953) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430902)

I use Kompozer myself, but have had reasonable experiences with some of the other tools too. Windows, Mac, can get Kompozer for all major platforms.

RapidWeaver (4, Informative)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430906)

Try RapidWeaver [] . You'll probably want to use the Stacks [] plugin to get flexible page layouts and Collage [] for photos.

I'm not connected to RealMac or YourHead, just a happy user.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36430914)

I've run sites with 10,000 pages on wordpress software hosted on my own domain.
Wordpress is the most advanced, well supported CMS on the planet.
Did I mention Wordpress is Open Source?

Aptana Studio 3 (3, Informative)

justfred (63412) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430916)

As a PHP developer, I'm used to writing code manually rather than trying to use a GUI code creator.

Having been through several editors on several platforms, lately I like Aptana Studio 3 (version of Eclipse), mainly because of its FTP deployment, and the fact that it works identically on OSX and Windows.

(Biting tongue to avoid the troll response, Microsoft Word.)

MediaWiki (3, Informative)

davecotter (1297617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430930)

I know the design can use some updating, and you don't have a lot of design freedom, but if your main goal is to just get information out there, update pages frequently, create new pages, and things of that nature, well i totally love MediaWiki. Your web editing tool is your web browser! I've been using it on my site since forever ( [] ) and i have to say i'd never ever want to use anything else. yeah, maybe it's kindof ugly. but it's so *easy*!

Notepad++ (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430948)


Re:Notepad++ (1)

penzler (1717744) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431134)

+1 I've used Dreamweaver for a while but it's not really good at everything it's suppose to do. Code highlighting is great in Notepad++ and it's lightweight and versatile. Dreamweaver has good server integration (I feel like its backend could use some work but it knows how to work with servers). My answer: there isn't one.

Migrating from visual editing to hand coding. (5, Interesting)

JoeytheSquid (1460229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430954)

I've been a web designer since 1994. As all of my training was in the arts, not scripting or programming, I stumbled along making sites using visual editors until around 2001. At that point I realized that my various transitions from one visual editor to the next (Cyberstudio > Adobe GoLive > Dreamweaver) could be avoided if I did the proper thing and learned how to hand code HTML and CSS.

So I did. I throttled down my workload and taught myself how to hand code everything. Sure that first year was miserable but I've since put together a rapid development framework that allows me to turn a custom design to a working Wordpress theme in about a business day. The end result is less headaches, a more refined workflow and sites that actually validate.

Sure, I still rely upon an IDE for my development and most of the Mac IDEs are highly imperfect and rarely updated (Looking at you Coda, Textmate and Espresso), but at least my general workflow remains unchanged. Therefore should I need to drop Espresso and move to the (perpetually) forthcoming Coda 2, I'll be able to make that migration without much trouble.

wysiwyg Will Probably Always Have this Problem (2)

boondaburrah (1748490) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430958)

Unfortunately, I don't really see any way to get what you want for the long haul. Companies keep changing, and so does the web. Even if you find one, it will produce code that breaks in browsers a few years from now, and sometimes current ones. What I would suggest is (bear with me) hand-coding your layout once, and then working it as a template for a simple CMS. I wouldn't want to hand code an entire website either, and for most a fully blown CMS is overkill (I don't need forums, or accounts at all: my website isn't really social), but there exist CMSs inbetween, and you only have to hand-code a few pages at worst.

I started with WolfCMS or something similar. Make one page, cut the code into snippets, and create a "layout" that includes these snippets. The CMS will fill the content in for you as you create pages. That's all I need, and it still gives me the power/flexibility to form my website into anything I want. Also, I would avoid one that has it's own scripting language. More pain than it's worth, especially for simple websites. You'll need to learn a little web development to get set up, but it should be relatively smooth sailing once installed. Wordpress can also be bent to create a number of different kinds of websites with their template system, though it's a bit more complicated. Handy if you want to include a well-known, well-supported (with plugins!) blog system, though.

As for hand-coding software, I tend to move around. I used GoLive for a time, for the preview, but now I just have some kind of programmer's GUI text editor in one space/virtual desktop, and a browser open in the other. I use Smultron on mac (I think it's been abandoned now though), Geany on linux, and Notepad++ on windows. Geany's my favourite so far.

Dreamweaver and other animals (1)

MishgoDog (909105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430962)

If you're looking for a fully visual web site editor - Dreamweaver is still a great program. There are some shortcomings, but it does a fairly good job of visual website editing, and isn't bad at colouring the html code to make code tinkering better. Using Dreamweaver is how I learnt to use html, as a start.

I use Notepad++ for most of my code tinkering though (html/js/php), so it might be worht having that on the side.

There are also a bunch of online visual web-authoring tools (through a CMS or a stand alone tool) which can be useful, but you are definitley better off with an offline editor I think!

Finally - depending on the content of your site, you can find a bunch of tools which make site design much simpler or unnecessary - e.g. wordpress for a blog, a CMS for a content driven site, Gallery for a photo gallery, etc. And with the number of skins out there, often people won't be able to tell it's not custom designed!

Yep, DW is the choice (1)

nightcats (1114677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36430978)

DW is best for ease of use, convenience, durability, plugins, CSS toys, etc., etc. If you're in the Mac universe, DW is still best, but there's also a British product called Freeway which I used years ago on a PPC Mac and I think is still around. Very well done, as I remember. But if you want free, NVU is okay and I have a product on the Windows box here called HTML Kit, which is okay. But if you want the full monty in being able to work with code and design simultaneously with the assurance that the product will be on and supported five years from now, DW is your can't miss choice. It ain't cheap: $300 for the CS5.5 version; $150 if you're a student or teacher (and can prove it).

Hot Dog (1)

thebra (707939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431022)

I used hot dog pro in the early 90's before I learned HTML.

Kate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431030)

As a freelance web developer -- all you need is something like KDE's Kate. Notepad+ if you're on Windows. If Mac...I dunno, should be able to get Kate to work. Makes it easy; does everything you need/want and not much more.

vi (1)

jmitchel! (254506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431032)

vi is the one true editor. vi is the forever changing and unchanged. vi is the eternal virgin. vi is the foulest whore.

Seriously, the farther you get from twiddling text files in a text editor over SSH, the more vulnerable you are going to be to having your vendor yank the rug from under you, or just wander off and abandon you.

Sandvox (1)

hawkbsd (86544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431092)

If you're already using a Mac, you might be interested in Sandvox from Karelia Software. It does a lot of what iWeb did with some other customizations possible. You'd still have to find hosting, thought.

piss on my mind (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431094)

i wonder what it would be like,
to urinate on my own mind,
to feel each drop by drop,
pouring out and laughing,
laughing and laughing,
as the urine takes hold,
and wait for the mold,
that's sure to unfold,
piss on my mind!
PISS ON MY MIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you really have such bad luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431102)

don't use what I am using!

Sorry, but what rock have you been living under? (1, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431104)

Sorry, but what rock have you been living under?
The number one visual web development tool for more than a decade now has been and still is Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is the reason Adobe dropped GoLive after aquiring Macromedia, since they didn't want two tools for the same segment under their roof. And it was the right decision to make Dreamweaver the prime choice.

If you need a visual web development tool, Dreamweaver is the way to go. If you're using a Mac, as I take you are, Freeway Pro and RapidWeaver are maybe alternatives.

The Web - The people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431114)

The web always turn against itself. Just like people.

Cross-platform, compatible, fast, simple,

The web is always turn against itself, just like people.

Vim-meister (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431130)

Vim FTW!

Simple (1)

Ramley (1168049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431162)

joe & bash shell

I have the same problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431178)

Seems like rapidweaver or sandvox is the right choice for me.

I run a small that gets small updates once every month with low amount of visitors. It is just a community site for the people on the road i live on. So it is really simple since it just information on the rules, updates on our cable tv/fiber, budgets, information on board meetings.
It is really something where iweb fits and since i wasnt using my MobileMe hosting myself, i just use it for this.

BB Edit (2)

opencity (582224) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431180)

hey I like it more than vi ...

Seamonkey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431204)

Seamonkey is a good WYSIWYG and probably has some amount of staying power being part of mozilla.

Drupal (2)

Plugh (27537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431212)

Drupal. It sucks less than the other CMS I've played with. I still hate it. Just less.

Why do I still need to use dreamweaver.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36431220)

I have been coding for 15 years. I have tried all different IDE's and Text Editors from Notepad, Notepad++, Aptana, Bluefish, screem, eclipse, intellij, netbeans, and many more. I always am hopeful that I can ditch dreamweaver and move to something cheaper, easier to use, and not made by adobe. Everyytime I try it's ended in failure. All the other IDE's are cumbersome to setup. Or they feel slapped together. Getting the project to work correctly under situations where I am not running a server on the machine I am developing on, things like that.

I always end up getting frustrated and pissed off. Then I open dreamweaver. In three clicks or so I am up and running and can start coding immediately. Everything has a place, and it's place is logical.

I am not a fanboy of adobe by ANY means. I can't stand forking out thousands of dollars everytime they decide a new version is worth it. But I have to admit, over the years, dreamweaver has always JUST WORKED.

granted, I use it in developer mode and very rairly do I use the split screen for showing me the site. Mostly I code in PHP/Javascript/CSS and only recently has dreamweaver really been able to handle all this in the view window.

My setup for at least the last 5 years has been this

Dreamweaver for coding
linux machine running Apache/PHP/MySQL (Centos usually, I have Ubuntu running on a VM for playing around with)
and recently in the last 2-3 years (ish)
Firefox with Bugzilla, web developer toolbar
Tomcat and PostgreSQL added to the linux server

I have been able to work on 99% of the projects I ever worked on with this setup. the other 1% I worked on pre-existing projects with customers own software (i.e. windows ASP server, coldfusion, etc..)

Why do it yourself? (2)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431264)

I just drop by the Best Buy and pick up one of those forlorn looking day-labourer devs waiting out front there.

Frontpage (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431270)

Fourteen years later, I'm still using Microsoft Frontpage. They call it Sharepoint now, but it still works with the old Apache server extensions.

Emacs (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36431280)

Or vi if you are of the other religion.

p90x workout (0)

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