When we run Dreamweaver training courses, we are always amazed at the number of different types of Dreamweaver user who attend our courses. There is simply no longer a typical Dreamweaver user. We get people working from all types of organisation in all types of role. Private individuals, accounts specialists, marketing specialists, academics, workers in the health services… Of the…
Why Dreamweaver Has Become So Popular | HTML Articles
When we run Dreamweaver training courses, we are always amazed at the number of different types of Dreamweaver user who attend our courses. There is simply no longer a typical Dreamweaver user. We get people working from all types of organisation in all types of role. Private individuals, accounts specialists, marketing specialists, academics, workers in the health services…
Of the people now wanting to learn Dreamweaver the vast majority attending our courses will not necessarily become specialists in web development. Rather they have a need to develop content for a web site or to build a web site for a particular purpose. They have looked into the choices of software available and come to the conclusion that Dreamweaver is the best package to use and now they need to learn how it works.
Dreamweaver has become the industry standard web development software, seeing off rivals like Microsoft FrontPage. And it deserves its position. It is a great software package with powerful features and an approachable interface which lets anybody who can use a computer embark on a basic software development project and, with a bit of patience and knowledge of a few fundamentals, bring it to a conclusion. Dreamweaver has attained this dominant position because its creators have always aimed to satisfy the needs of all the different types of users of their software.
In the early days of web development, there were two types of web development tool: those used by coders (the specialists who understood the technologies underlying web pages) and the visual software tools which functioned in a manner similar to word processing and page layout programs and were used by non-specialists and inexperienced web developers. The visual programs (which included Dreamweaver) had a very poor reputation among web professionals who found that the code produced by these programs was clumsy, verbose and inefficient.
About ten years ago (recognising the need to satisfy both types of user), Macromedia, the owners of Dreamweaver started making efforts to attract serious web developers to Dreamweaver. They addressed the code issue by including tools which would clean up inefficiencies in automatically-generated code and purchasing and bundling a coding utility called with Dreamweaver. They also enhanced their code environment with sophisticated features like line-numbering, colour-coding and code-hints and added other code-friendly features to supplement the visual development environment such as the tag selector which displays the HTML tags representing the objects on the page.
Another important feature that has helped to mark out Dreamweaver as a serious web development tool is its inclusion of tools for generating dynamic server side content using industry standard scripting languages such as ASP and ColdFusion and, later, ASP.Net and PHP. This functionality was originally introduced in mid 2000 in a slightly more expensive edition of Dreamweaver called Dreamweaver UltraDev. The idea back then was that heavyweight web developers would buy UltraDev and lightweights would buy the standard edition of Dreamweaver. However, in 2002, Macromedia simply stopped making UltraDev and put all of its functionality into the much cheaper standard edition of Dreamweaver, making Dreamweaver the obvious choice for web developers of all types.
Macromedia also recognised that professional web developers often work in teams and added collaboration features to Dreamweaver which allow a group of people to work on the same web site without treading on each other’s toes. They called the feature “File check in and check out”. There also created a “design notes” facilities which allows members of development teams to attach notes to individual web pages for the information of the other team members.
As new technologies have emerged, the makers of Dreamweaver have also responded by taking them on board and modifying the way the program generates code. Thus, in the latest release of the program, Dreamweaver CS3, it is assumed that the user will be building websites using cascading style sheets (rather than HTML tables as was previously the case) and Dreamweaver offers a series of thirty or so different CSS page layouts that can be used to build efficient pages and adapted and personalised at will.
As new features are added to Dreamweaver with each new release, the program continues to have an interface which is user-friendly and approachable by any experienced computer user, bringing web development within reach of just about everybody on the planet. And it is this policy of satisfying the needs of professionals as well as beginners which will doubtless continue to make it the obvious choice for anyone wanting to develop web content at any level.
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