Why is Dreamweaver Preferred Over GoLive for Website Creation?
October 23, 2004 5:29 AM   Subscribe

WysiwygFilter: For those website creators out there, Adobe GoLive and Dreamweaver seem to be the two major web apps. But it seems that Dreamweaver is the overwhelming favorite amongst people doing the work and I was wondering why? Yes, I know that there are other ways to create web pages and manage sites, but I am interested only in comparing these two.
posted by jeremias to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
As someone who considers these things tools of the Devil himself, I would say it's because Dreamweaver seems to have an idea of what proper HTML should look like (it even uses CSS fairly well now, I hear), whereas GoLive and Frontpage . . . words fail me.
posted by yerfatma at 6:15 AM on October 23, 2004

It's been a long time since I've touched either, but back in the early versions DW was better at (mind, you, not "great at" just "better at"...) things like:

a) not irretrievably mucking up perfectly good markup,
b) allowing use of regular expressions,
c) keeping multiple authors' changes from colliding with one another,
d) pointing out the markup that would cause problems with specific browsers,
e) supporting CSS editing and preview,
f) integration with the most excellent Fireworks, etc.

GL was very visually oriented at the time; I couldn't even figure out a way to edit source. DW was somewhat more balanced in that respect. Then because of upgrade pricing and the UI differences, once you've settled on DW most pretty much stick with DW unless there's a very compelling case for a switch.

Also, a lot of developers I knew had become very dependent on certain DW extensions. That's functionality they could have replicated with a modest knowledge of CSS and JavaScript, but lots of DW users find HTML too intimidating to learn--let alone CSS and JS--so that minor add-on becomes a powerful incentive to stick with DW. Maybe they could have even found a similar tool for GL; but I think the perspective is: why take time away from billable work, just to learn a different method as long as the present one suffices? Also, these days there are whole "DW shops", so as the de facto standard it's the tool that young developers are most likely to start on.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:26 AM on October 23, 2004

very dependent on certain DW extensions

Great point: I would highly encourage some outside reading on CSS + JS, lest your site become dependent on the dreaded "MM_" functions. I'm sure they work fine, but everything they do can be done in 1/10th the code.
posted by yerfatma at 3:23 PM on October 23, 2004

For me, the name Adobe evoked print publishing: PageMaker and font tools that were used to get pages ready for paste-up. Macromedia was Flash and Shockwave, the Internet-based future.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:58 PM on October 23, 2004

The current version of Dreamweaver is probably so popular because it can be useful to a broad range of developers in both skill level and preferred methods of working. It is extremely flexible in that you aren't encouraged to use any of the Behaviors (JavaScript or Server) but you can if you like. You can customize the environment, create your own snippets, etc., and so forth. Sharing a common production environment with shared code is also helpful if you're in that situation.

Futhermore, it does develop, for the most part, compliant code, including XHTML. Like every WYSIWYG product however, it can behave a little oddly as it tries to guess what you're doing. Applying certain styles in the Design Window for example, instead of in the Code Window can make for unwanted sets. This is, of course, a trade off as it can greatly speed up a number of other functions.

Basically, you can tell it not to hold your hand, and it won't...

Of course, you have to spend some time with it to really exploit it. The CSS Rule part of the Tag Inspector, for example, features a nice hierarchical CSS properties editor.

Having said all that, it's the person, not the program and you might prefer GoLive's interface. Fortunately, I believe, you can give them both a try...
posted by juiceCake at 6:17 PM on October 23, 2004

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