Is Dreamweaver a serious web design tool?

The team at Fueled examine the pros and cons of using Adobe's veteran web design software.

Dreamweaver enables you to build a website without writing code

Dreamweaver CC is a popular software program for creating websites without knowing any code. It's a useful program for a wide range of web designers and developers, from beginners to advanced professionals.

You can build credible sites with Dreamweaver, but it has limitations; in order to do whatever you want with the best web design techniques, you will need to learn HTML, CSS and other coding. Here are some of the pros and cons of using Dreamweaver...

Simplifying web design

The main attraction to Dreamweaver is that it simplifies web design as a "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) platform. With drag and drop features, there’s not much of a learning curve to understand design in a short time with Dreamweaver.

The learning curve with Dreamweaver is short

Some people, however, have difficulty learning the basics of Dreamweaver due to its confusing interface and cannot always trust the WYSIWYG element, which does not necessarily display what a live user would see through a browser.

You may find that the software offers a lot of features that you may never use, while others may find it to be all they need to do whatever they want. It's particularly useful for designers who only need basic websites.

Ways Dreamweaver can help

Dreamweaver provides useful tools for pros who prefer to write code through a window that displays both code and design views. It provides code highlighting, which allows you to read your code quickly when checking for errors. Its code suggestion feature helps code writers with CSS. Other useful features include file manager, code validation and accessibility checks.

Ultimately, Dreamweaver is a simple and efficient platform for people who need to design multiple basic sites. It comes loaded with templates that give you plenty of different choices for site layouts. The latest versions are up to date with browsers, giving you a "live view" of what sites realistically look like online. Dreamweaver also provides advanced tools, and as part of the Adobe family it integrates well with other Adobe products.

Dreamweaver is nicely integrated with Photoshop and other CC apps

Another advantage to using Dreamweaver is that it's a cross-platform solution. It helps you build websites for all devices, as you will not need to learn special code for mobile websites. The "Fluid Grid" feature on new versions, for example, lets your site automatically rearrange itself to fit the screen it's being viewed on.

Why Dreamweaver might not help

If you rely too much on the basic functions of Dreamweaver, it can turn you into a lazy web designer. Since the web is constantly evolving, you may miss out on valuable developments by limiting your design knowledge to just the tools provided by Dreamweaver.

Even though your top concern might be how easy it is to upload and organize content, at some point you may want to explore beyond WYSIWIG solutions to incorporate more sophisticated technology into your projects.

Another downside to Dreamweaver is that it is expensive compared with other solutions. There are plenty of content manager systems, such as WordPress, that provide you with basic web tools at no cost.

In some cases, you can do much more powerful tasks with CMS platforms than with Dreamweaver, which can be overwhelming for beginners. In order to maximize the software for its most powerful capabilities, you will need a cloud subscription, which can add up to high expenses over time.

Too much code?

One of the main drawbacks to using Dreamweaver is that it creates extra code on your web pages, which means clutter for search engines while adding a layer of unpredictability to your production. If you want to be in control of your website on a technical level and maximize efficiency, you will need to write your own code.

Dreamweaver is fine for sites not meant to compete for search ranking; it also allows you to write in HTML if you choose. Since it gives you the best of both worlds – easy design and code control – if can be a useful tool for business. Many professionals, however, criticize Dreamweaver for its poorly written code snippets and outdated CSS coding.

Conclusion

The best platform for web design depends on what's most comfortable for you. Some people cannot handle the nuances and limitations of Dreamweaver, while other designers appreciate it for running more basic sites.

The main advantage to using Dreamweaver for the non-technical crowd is that it bypasses writing code, but it can also help more experienced code writers do their jobs more easily.

Words: Fueled

Fueled is an award-winning mobile app design and development company based in New York City, with locations in both Chicago and London. They have developed apps for almost every format you can possibly think of, from the iPhone and Android, to Kindle Fire, Apple Watch, and now the Apple TV.

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