Should I bother learning Dreamweaver CS3?
June 20, 2008 2:32 PM   Subscribe

What workflow advantages have you found with Dreamweaver CS3?

I got the Design Premium version of Adobe CS3 a while ago and in addition to the programs that I actually know and use (i.e. InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat Pro, and Illustrator), I have been wondering whether Dreamweaver CS3 might offer some advantage over my current web workflow.

Currently, I generally do mock-ups in Photoshop then create the site code (HTML/CSS/PHP/JS) using EditPad Pro. I test sites on a dev server running on my local machine and then upload files to the actual servers using FileZilla, since I'm not fond of EPP's built-in FTP functionality.

Has anyone migrated from a similar setup to using Dreamweaver and found real advantages in time saved or ease of use?

My first impression of DW was that it seemed bloated with stuff I don't need and won't use, though I realize that's partly because I'm just not used to using anything other than a text editor.

I'm curious about integrating it with my Photoshop mock-ups as wells as replacing the need for a separate FTP program to actually transfer and manage the files.

I have no interest in the WYSIWYG editor or any of the prefab layouts. The code completion felt intrusive but I wonder if I should just be patient and once I get used to it, I will learn to appreciate it. I'm also wondering about other things that DW can do -- error checking, browser compatibility testing, etc. that might make it more useful as far as consolidating my tools.

One other potential issue is that I'm about to start working on some Perl-centric sites, for which DW doesn't seem to have much in the way of advantages -- syntax highlighting, code completion, etc.
posted by camcgee to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The only feature of dreamweaver I missed when I stopped using it (or moved to a new job where they didn't use it) was the site search/replace (especially with regex support) we didn't trust it to do the ftp so we didn't use that.
posted by missmagenta at 2:41 PM on June 20, 2008

Have you used the Tracing Image feature yet? Since you mockup in PhotoShop it might come in handy. View -> Tracing Image -> Load. Load your image and you can it as a guide when creating your layout.

I'll try to leave some more info later when I get time.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 2:57 PM on June 20, 2008

It's capable of being trusted for FTP. However, there are a lot of things to disable when creating a Site profile.

Using notes and "source control" are default options I believe. The problem with these is that files to track notes and track "source control" get added to the local and remote sites.

I air quote source control because its based on the contents of working directories instead of repositories. I think VSS was supported at one time but I don't even see it as an option in CS3.
posted by hitopshelf at 3:05 PM on June 20, 2008

The "site" features, as noted above, are extremely useful for working with a lot of files, fast. The global find/replace is great. DW will code-highlight just about any language at this point- you can even load custom templates.

If you just want to edit one file at a time though, something free like Notepad++ or the program you've been using has almost all the same features.

(one small but very useful thing that only DW has as far as I know: CTRL + [ selects the parent html tag. Absolutely great for working with big complicated html blocks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:16 PM on June 20, 2008

I like it, but I only use it as a glorified text editor with colorization.

I've used a vi emulator for nearly 15 years, now, so my fingers have a hard time not typing a "/" when I want to search for things.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:06 PM on June 20, 2008

I mirror thanotopsis' comments entirely. I have it installed, and its my favorite editor -- but it wouldnt take much to change me to something else. I enjoy the FTP/SFTP editing ability and use it extensively. Its nice to be able to switch between sites fairly easily and quickly (and have files open from multiple sites).

Has it saved me any time? Not really. When I am in a hardcore php mode, I use Zend's editor which works a little better for php.
posted by SirStan at 5:47 PM on June 20, 2008

The search/replace function is good, as you can say "remove all "width" attributes from all tables" sans regex.
posted by signal at 6:53 PM on June 20, 2008

I, too, use DW as a glorified text editor. The auto-complete is nice, as is the find/replace. However, I probably never would have bothered with it if we didn't have it at work.
posted by brundlefly at 9:16 PM on June 20, 2008

Also, I should say that I'm probably not using it to its full potential. For instance, I had no idea about the feature drjimmy11 mentioned.

(Thanks, drjimmy11!)
posted by brundlefly at 9:18 PM on June 20, 2008

Thanks for the responses.

I, too, use DW as a glorified text editor...I should say that I'm probably not using it to its full potential.

This is really what I am trying to avoid. My current text editor does all the things that I want a text editor to do -- syntax highlighting, code snippets, regex search and replace, etc. I didn't want to replace a system that I know works unless it was a significant upgrade.

It looks like the main thing I'd get out of it is the "sites" and the ability to remove an external FTP program from the workflow (the image tracing thing, while a good example of something that DW can do that my current system can't, seems only useful if you're creating a design using the WSYIWYG features, which I won't be). I'll probably give it a shot for a little while with a couple of sites and see how it comes together.
posted by camcgee at 9:51 AM on June 21, 2008

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