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What HTML Editor/System Works Best with CityDesk

www.softwaremarketsolution.com, the site I run for software marketers, is becoming increasingly ramshackle and needs to be reworked.  I'd like to use CityDesk as the underlying foundation for the new site, but want to know which WYSIWYG editor works best in conjunction with Cdesk.

I've used DreamWeaver, which has a serious bug that slows down working with larger web pages (and the interface is pretty horrid, in my opinion).

I truly like Fusion for getting something done quickly, but it's a fairly closed system and I'm not sure how will it will work with Cdesk.

Go Live has some things to recommend it, but I've  not used it extensively.

FrontPage in the past was something of a mess, but I've read its perked up recently

Your recommendations?  Anyone else have an opinion?

rick

Rick Chapman
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Rick, I love you, but your page looks like a dog's bollocks.

Hire a decent web designer to give you a template. With CityDesk it's a one time cost and you'll get something professional-looking. I'm a big fan of Dave Shea, who did the Fog Creek redesign and is working on a new Joel on Software.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Well, I happen to LIKE dog's bollocks.  Looks OK to me!

In point of fact, that IS a template!  Every site I've ever created used a template; I can't draw to save my life.

But, one of high-tech's most enduring traits is that everyone seems to hate everyone else's choices in colors, design, style, templates, etc.

But let's assume you LOVE my next template.  The reality is that over time I'm going to have tweak things, add pages, move things around.

A top down system like Fusion makes this easy.  Most WYSIWYG systems make site maintenance much easier.  Which one works best with Cdesk?

rick

Rick Chapman
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Rick

It does look OK but it should look GREAT.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

+++It does look OK but it should look GREAT.+++

Actually, Joel is kinda right.  It looked much nicer when I first mounted it, but first you realize you want to add that, then this, then that over there, and it becomes a bit of a mess.

I await some recommendations!

Rick Chapman
Wednesday, February 25, 2004


"The Dog's Bollocks" is the best. 

Were you thinking of '"A Dog's Breakfast/Dinner" by any chance?

Will
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Yeah. Dog's breakfast. That's what I meant.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Speaking of using City Desk - does City Desk full support CSS yet? Last time I looked, I was really dissapointed to find that it didn't let one use CSS to the extent that is desirable (to me, anyway).

Burninator
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Rick-

I personally use Dreamweaver with CD, and it works pretty well.  I haven't run into the bug you describe in dealing with overly-large pages, partly because most of my time in CD is spent in CD itself, not in the external editor (which is just used to define a template).

When I do run into something I need Dreamweaver for (constructing a table, for example), I just put the table together in a blank doc, then paste it into the source view of an article.

As for CSS support, while I can put styles in the template, I do have to resort to manually stuffing tags into the source to use them; it'd be nice if CD had a way of applying styles to tags... but that's definitely not a grandma feature.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I use HomeSite 4.5.  It's a bit buggy, and it's a resource-hog, but I like it.

Alex Chernavsky
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Rick.. I'd have to side with Joel here. Your page is scary.

Thoughts for you:
Colored blocks imply grouping.
Space implies separation.
Strong colors draw attention.
Contrast can be used to guide attention.
Size, color and placement can be used to indicate 'weight' of an element.

Start by defining all the elements on the page, sort them acording to their weight and design them accordingly.
Adhere to dafacto standards.

Also.. you are squezing way too much into every page and you menu is too long. Use subsections. When you, as the designer thinks everything is important, the reader will react by thinking none of it is important.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I watched an interview you did, can't remember where but it looked like the set was in someone's basement.

The interview was great!  Content and presentation.  I went to your website and immediately lowered my opinion of you professionally.

This is a unfair, to be sure, but one that I'd wager others share.

Hire a professional!!

B#
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The easiest way to design a good web page is to find an existing page that you really like, and then modify it just enough so that you aren't guilty of plagiarism, or copyright violation, or some such fool thing.

Anonymous coward
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

+++The interview was great!  Content and presentation.  I went to your website and immediately lowered my opinion of you professionally.+++

Well, I've had other people tell me how much they liked the design and that the site was easy to navigate and they liked the big text.  And these days infinite numbers of sites seem to be filled with large quantities of cool-looking grey text you have to squint to see.

As I've noted, everyone seems to think everyone else has no taste.  At least when it comes to web sites!

In the meantime...recommedations?

rick

Rick Chapman
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Rick, I've looked at your code and played with a few of your data structures and I've been able (in a very short amount of time) to generate a similar site with some alternative styling in approximately 25% of the size (including images). 

The site is drowning in code and images which don't help the user navigate the site.  Replacing these with coherent structures which allow the user to explore without feeling as if every page is a dead end would be a huge improvement.  Additionally, the navigation graphics interfere with the user as the text shifts context, tense, and forms (nouns, verbs, gerunds).  All this can distract a user no matter how dedicated they are.

I suggest that you investigate how much you spend on bandwidth versus how much you would spend if each page was 25% the size it currently is, and how much you would benefit if users had a coherent context in which to operate.  If these justify the cost of pursuing development with a web designer, I suggest that you do that.  I think you site could benefit enormously.

Lou
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

+++Well, I've had other people tell me how much they liked the design and that the site was easy to navigate and they liked the big text.+++

And I had a friend who opened a restaurant where the food was mediocre on good days.  But there were still some customers who told him (to his face at least) how awesome it was.  Didn't make it so.

He's out of business now, by the way.

Don't take it personal.  People's comments here aren't meant to attack or demean, but (hopefully) help.

As for site design, I've always been a fan of simple and sublime.  Take this message board for instance.  White page, big black text, a picture here, a link there.  Looks professional, functions well. 

If you hire a professional designer, shoot him if he designs the site in a way that the is tiny and can't be resized with the IE View menu. :-)

Ken Klose
Thursday, February 26, 2004

Yeah Rick, 

I itend to buy your book and based on Joel opinions I look forward to some useul insights into software marketing..

BUT...

Your website is bad.  Not artistically flawed, I dont mean 'not to my taste', but poor in design quality. 

I too did a double take when I saw it and thought "is this for real".

braid_ged
Thursday, February 26, 2004

This website has got the '1996' look :/

I'd seriously start thinking about using less categories with more subcategories, there is just way too much stuff on there. Your pages also tend to be large.  (your frontpage clocks in at 79K)

The search gives a 404 and everything on the page just seems tacked on somewhere, especially that ugly banner :|

SEs don't use the META tags anymore (AFAIK) to classify you but they still punish you for trying to abuse it, so you better clean that up as well, unless you want to get barred for life.

<span class="directory_entry"><font color="#0000FF">  <-- it's full of such redundant stuff.

Due to that left, red bar, the page has a down-scrollbar even when there is nothing (of content) there.

your use of space is also a bit annoying (be that subjectively of course)  I have a 22"@1600x1200 and 1/3 of the page is taking in by your blue top piece (which in itself doesn't offer me anything at all), so the actual usable page only starts at the next 2/3 of the screen.

Well, I hope this helped you a tiny bit..it's not meant to be derogatory :)

Harold

Harold
Thursday, February 26, 2004

To answer your question, I use Homesite 5 from Allaire but there's room for improvement here. If you are going the "free as in beer" route, I remember that earlier versions of Homesite were freeware.

I second Joel's comment about your design and would suggest this link by Dave Shea: http://www.csszengarden.com

Ralph Lee
Thursday, February 26, 2004

If you hire someone, which is probably a good idea, make sure it is understood that you will need to understand and alter what they have done and therefore the design should not just look good but be easy to change.

Otherwise you will end up with a great looking site that have hundereds of lines of cut and pasted JS all over it or something equally horrible. Someone willing to work with you properly probably won't produce rubbish anyway but that's a catch-22 :)

Dom
Thursday, February 26, 2004

I understand the emotional investment you have in the site but at some point you have to reconcile it with the lost revenue that will result.  I, literally, can't go there.  Too much clutter, colors, not sure exactly what it is.  I do know that I get this 'feeling' and I just want to leave.

You are asking for recommendations,  Hire a professional.  Do NOT design it yourself.  The content, what little I've seen, is excellent.

Did I mention, hire a professional?

 
Thursday, February 26, 2004

Most professionals are complete idiots (remeber those ass-clowns from RazorFish?).  Don't just hire _any_ professional.  Make sure you look very carefully at the person's or company's portfolio;  check-up on references;  and run a query through the database at the Better Business Bureau.

J. D. Trollinger
Thursday, February 26, 2004

Oy ve.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that beneath the craggy exterior of many programmers beats the heart of a frustrated artiste!

Just in my defense, this site was first posted in 1998 and for its day, was regarded as perfectly acceptable.  It was designed by a professional and used a template.  Over the years, I've accreted various things to it, resulting in the current, as I said, ramshackle appearance.

This was never a commercial site, but was intended to act as online extension of The Product Marketing Handbook for Software.  The first two editions of the Handbook had extensive resource directories but the growth of the web made wasting space on highly fungible informaton seem pointless.  Hence this site.

+++Rick, I've looked at your code +++

Well, that's not MY code.  That's what DreamWeaver pumps out.  I'm not a fan of the product, but most WYSIWYG systems do pretty much the same thing.

I have taken your criticisms to heart and acknowledge this site is now an offense to the heart and spirit of all those who appreciate fine design!  I have also made note of the various suggestions and please feel free to make more!  I make no claims to be a designer.

So, recommendations on integrating Cdesk with an editor?  Anyone here work with Fusion and Cdesk?  Go Live?

rick

Rick Chapman
Thursday, February 26, 2004

All you need is Notepad.

Norrick
Thursday, February 26, 2004

HTML in _Notepad_?  Egads!  Notepad is for wimps.  I grow my own papyrus, pound it into sheets, and then I code in cuneiform using ink made from soot.

J. D. Trollinger
Thursday, February 26, 2004

I actually peed in my pants.  Ass-Clowns, soot!  LMAO 

 
Thursday, February 26, 2004

I think the reason that Joel didn't offer an answer is that City Desk includes an editor, whether its the right editor or not is a different question.

By not answering he avoided the hole in the ground.

In short though, any WYSISWG is going to mangle stuff to one degree or another, personally apart from AccessEdit (plug plug and its not prime time yet so don't worry), I use Ultraedit which gives me syntax colouring and such and I really don't want WYS.. that horrible acronym anyhow I have a bunch of browsers I have to go check the presentation as part of the process.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, February 26, 2004

I would imagine that for the site listed, given a proper template from which to start, CityDesk could handle all content creation and modification.  It's really not that difficult a site to generate given the content.

Lou
Thursday, February 26, 2004

Rick:

To answer your question...

If you are determined to use a WYSISYG editor, don't waste time with anything but Dreamweaver MX 2004. All the others either write poor code (Frontpage), encourage bad code habits (GoLive) or do not scale well with large sites (Fusion). DWMX2004 has the best support for XHTML, which is what you want to be shooting for. It is also much improved in stability from past versions and can be used as a straight text editor once you step up to pure code.

If you are willing to spend a bit of time with the nuts and bolts, I recommend an actual XHTML/CSS editor such as TopStyle from Bradsoft.com. I also recommend that you test your site in both IE and a current version of Mozilla, avoiding IE only tricks!

Feel free to email me if you have questions, as I have recent versions of all four and am familiar with them.

Colin Scroggins
Friday, February 27, 2004

Rick: the best advice you could receive is "don't use a WYSIWYG editor." Use CityDesk, it have _everything_ you need to maintain a website.

Also, ask Joel to get a discount from David Shea for your site, and you will be set :-)

Leonardo Herrera
Friday, February 27, 2004

I use Dreamweaver, CityDesk and TopStyle together-I can't imagine a better set of tools.

Murkin (from Murka)
Monday, March 01, 2004

I've taken a look at the Forssa site with their automated template system.  It looks interesting; has anyone here used this product?

BTW, once I'm done with www.softwaremarketsolution.com I will be posting an article about its reworking with Cdesk.

rick

Rick Chapman
Monday, March 01, 2004

All the others either write poor code (Frontpage), encourage bad code habits (GoLive) or do not scale well with large sites (Fusion).

Fusion is my favorite WYSIWSYG editor; it does many many things right.  But it has no content management capabilities.  Have you used Fusion as a front end template maker for Cdesk?  Any tips on integrating the two?

rick

Rick Chapman
Monday, March 01, 2004

"Rick, I love you, but your page looks like a dog's bollocks."

Rick,

I agree with Joel about your site.  You still got that 1998, pre-CSS, HTML3, Netscape 4.5 look on your site.  You should dump the NetFusion and hire someone that is competent in Photoshop and Dreamweaver.  Your comments on this board are very insightful and what I've read of your book is very good, but your page does you a disservice professionally.

Bear in mind that I'm just a lowly programmer, but this is just my opinion.

Cletus
Sunday, March 07, 2004

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