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Dreamweaver rant

Sympathy please.
Does anyone else get REALLY REALLY annoyed having to work with 'templates' for a website that have just been spewed out of dreamweaver. It's really like being handed a pile of crap on a plate. Ten gazillion nested tables that just aren't even slightly necessary for the layout, font tags that open and close with nothing inbetween them, occasional bits of badly-organised CSS added like an afterthought in style attributes or seemingly randomly named CSS classes, tons of unnecessary macromedia javascript crap, constant use of 'spacer' images in tiny black table cells instead of borders... AAAGH.

Would it /kill/ macromedia to have their bloated piece of crap optimise these kinds of things away a bit? of course semantically marked up XHTML and CSS-based layouts would be nice, but I'd settle for just a clean and optimal table-based layout. I know these things are theoretically possible with dreamweaver but it in no way encourages you to do things the 'right' way. The user interface just encourages any old haphazard mix of font tags and css, nested tables and floating absolutely positioned divs...

-Matt, who's just spent several hours reducing 30k of nested tables and font tags into something that makes enough sense to use as a template for a web app

Matt
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

What version of Dreamweaver made the templates? The latest one seems to have gotten a lot more "standards oriented".

michael (michaelsica.com)
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I feel your pain. But my gripe isn't with Dreamweaver. It's with Borland JBuilder.

Has anyone else seen the bloody awful code that the GUI builder generates? It's like you've got a clueless code-monkey without any idea working behind the scenes.

P.S: For those that say "don't use the GUI builder" - I have no choice. It's because the other monkeys can't hand-craft UI code without having to resort to using such an abomination. ..

TheGeezer
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

isn't the point of dreamweaver is that it makes a giant pile of crap...
which works in all browsers?

mb
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I think that if you are getting crappy dreamweaver templates then you should be looking at the people who have supplied you with the templates, not Dreamweaver. I use Dreamweaver regularly and I have no problem making it do whatever the hell I want. I find it by far the best table editor in existance in the market, and it is quite simple to edit the html as required when necessary. The latest version of Dreamweaver even has reasonably good css rendering in design mode. Go train the person making the templates. There are far too many "web designers" these days who get a confused look on their face when you stick them in html mode.

"no no no no NO! For the 17th time, don't drag table borders!!! aaargh!!"

Nathan Ridley
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Yes I agree a lot of the problem is with the designers. Unfortunately as a freelancer I pretty much have to take what I'm given.

No idea which version of dreamweaver they're using, so perhaps it is an old one. Still. In all the versions I've tried it's been perfectly /possible/ to create good HTML, but that certainly isn't the typical outcome if you go about things in a typical wysiwyg fashion treating it like a word processor / DTP application.

Essentially I just felt having a moan, that as a programmer I seem to spend half my time monkeying around with HTML. and layouts. It's even worse if I want to get a really neat XHTML/CSS layout to work cross-browser, but at least that ends up looking good and being easy to generate. It's just the job nobody wants to do, neither the graphic designers nor the programmers... both see it as somehow beneath them or somebody else's problem but someone has to end up doing it. It's really one of those problems software tools should be able to solve, hence my annoyance at dreamweaver. Perhaps I should try a newer version though.

Matt
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I know what you mean.  People will use like 10 tables in order to position something where they want it, when you can just use a freaking layer and position the thing.  The javascript that pops out of fireworks sometimes really sucks.  My biggest pet peeve is having to go from code to design just to put a <br> before the right tag.  In the end though, it still is a big timesaver...i'd hate to have to type all the font settings on the tags everytime just to display text, and If you inherit a fast changing site, a style sheet can be tough to come up with without some solid time to invest into it.  I like the code editor though for asp and javascript...

grover
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

DREAMWEAVER ROCKS.

Don't be blamin the tool. You wouldn't blame the hammer if your kitchen counter was crooked, don't blame Dreamweaver because the "web designer" doesn't know a DIV from a GOTO statement.

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Oh yes. Especially if it was produced by people who thought this was MacDraw for the web.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Well like I said - I'm perfectly capable of producing good html from it myself. Although unless it's a particularly complex / image-heavy layout I'd probably be quicker just coding it by hand. I just wish it made more effort to encourage the designers to do things the right way, in the user interface.

Some things it does really are unforgivable though, like I said the font tags / bold tags / whatever that open and close without anything between them, all over the place. Surely a no-brainer to rewrite that kind of redundancy...

Matt
Thursday, July 15, 2004

> It's just the job nobody wants to do, neither the graphic
> designers nor the programmers... both see it as
> somehow beneath them or somebody else's problem but
> someone has to end up doing it.

Most of the designers I've worked with have their background in print material, and indeed still do quite a bit of it.  I've met very few (if any?) designers who work solely with the web.

So the problem here is that tools have been invented to create an abstraction between HTML code and the rendered output, in order to allow people who are good at visual design to do things in a manner that is familiar to them.

From a designer's perspective, HTML is just another file format, like a PSD or PNG.  When they were hired onto the project, most likely they were told "make something pretty that works in browsers X and Y."  Unless they were specifically told "make something pretty that adheres to these coding standards," they really have no interest in caring what the code looks like -- they get paid the same either way.

Most of the time, I kindly tell the designers not to bother doing anything in HTML, since I know I'm just going to have to re-work the whole thing anyway (although they should still be designing with web restrictions in mind, of course).  We end up paying them less, and at any rate I find it faster to code up their PSD file properly in HTML than to try to fix whatever garbage their tool lets them output.

Joe
Thursday, July 15, 2004

If you use and learn Dreamweaver right, it produces pretty good code, which can programmers can work with later.

It's more about the designer, especially those who comes from traditional graphic design.

They have good visual and comunication skills, and they useally don't have any problems with very basic HTML, but they don't understand HTML itself.

I often hear how annoyed they are when trying to place an image on the page and it don't look like they intended, useally a limitation in HTML not the tool they are using.

just testing
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Yep. When the final product is printed, or just an image file nobody cares how you got it - and look at how bloated .PSD's are! Photoshop encourages you to be 'messy' and that attitude spills over to HTML as well.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I agree with Matt: Dreamweaver (including 2004 versions!) produces vile filth.  Other tools are no better.

I agree with Mark: you can't blame Dreamweaver / The Tool.  You must blame its use -> the user.

But you can't blame the user because they don't know what they're doing, and it's not their fault that they don't know what they're doing.

It's a real shame.  I feel your pain.  It kills me that I can't do everything myself, and do it properly.

Such is life.

Andrew
Saturday, July 17, 2004

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