Introduction

I have been a fond user of Macromedia Dreamweaver for a long time now, since version 1.2 was

available. It was the first accurate WYSIWYG editor and more importantly for an emerging designer

at the time, it was the industry tool of choice. As I've grown in experience however, the said tool

is fast becoming my worst enemy for a number of reasons.

1. Layout

Now, no-one can argue that Dreamweaver in Layout Mode is fantastic for designing the overall

table template for your site. Drawing tables and cells is far easier than calculating which ones

to merge, where a colspan and rowspan should go, etc...

I recently started to notice when cross browser testing with Opera that EVEN the bloody table

code it produces in Layout Mode is flawed, failing to add crucial WIDTH tags to cells which totally ruins the column

structure in Opera. So annoying is this problem that even when I try to add all of the widths manually in

a trusty HTML editor, the lovely Dreamweaver REMOVES them for me when I reload the page.

If you ask Macromedia about this "feature" of Dreamweaver, they simply blurb on about it removing superfluous,

unnecessary tags. So why don't these pages work correctly in the most compliant browser, Opera?

2. Style Sheets

Next complaint is even bigger than the first one. The Dreamweaver support for style sheets was at one time fairly revolutionary... that is, until they forgot to update it in the last 2 versions. So bad is the support that you can't even add a :hover pseudo to the Anchor tag without employing an external stylesheet editor.

So you'd think that Macromedia would at least accept these shortcomings and make integration with an external

stylesheet editor simple. Well NO, the sheets never reload automatically after updating - you have to painstakingly

relink them, then preview the page again to proof your changes. This gets very annoying when all you are trying to

do is change an element's position or a similarly menial task.

3. Content Design

Now the final insult. Macromedia would have you believe that Dreamweaver is the last word in multistage development, design the template > define it > pass it to the content editors > publish

Sounds wonderful but it doesnt work. Frequently simple templates that I have produced for people who wish

to content edit fail to work correctly. For example: add a table into an editable area and watch the uneditable

regions start dancing about the page like a man possessed.

Dreamweaver always tries too hard. If I have defined a template then I want Dreamweaver to assume that it

is correct and to leave MY code alone. Just allow editing of editable regions - BUT no, it plays about with my

tables, removing WIDTH tags here and there...

In Internet Works magazine I read about the process of web production at BBC.co.uk - They cite

the beloved DW as a crucial part of their workflow, using the template features just as I want to. I'm not sure

how much I believe them! Why doesn't it work in any project I ever publish?

Plea to Macromedia

Now you would think that an accomplished company like MM could get it right after 4 incarnations of the

web's most popular design package. In the next incarnation, all I want is a package that can design layouts

that are standards compliant. Don't bother with Flash Text and Flash Buttons, we don't want it!

In the meantime I will keep using it for drawing tables visually... but nothing else!

Rant over - Dan...