Dreamweaver, your time could be now

Rather than using WYSIWYG editors to build websites, they could be put to better use as rapid prototyping tools.

I have a confession to make. There was a time in my graphical youth when I quaked at the sight of HTML and CSS. It all looked like computer gibberish code to me. For my first ever website, I used Adobe G-Olive, a one-time competitor to Dreamweaver — affectionately known as Dreamweevil. It had graphics and circles and lots of things wrong with it.

Then I learnt to hand-code, using Allaire HomeSite. Oooh, playing with the big boys I was. And since that day, I eschewed WYSIWYG editing tools such as Dreamweaver with professional aplomb.

However, with some serious wrangling on Adobe's part, that could all change. I will still lovingly hand-craft every piece of CSS that I touch but Dreamweaver could be a tool for rapid prototyping.

In the latest version, it offers a Fluid Grid Layout feature, to enable swift designing for different devices. Along the lines of James Meller's Responsive Wireframes, it could enable Dreamweaver to become a wireframing or prototyping tool of choice.

More than that, if there was decent support for features including box shadow, border radius, and colour gradients, plus support for object-oriented and modular CSS and the CSS preprocessor of your choice, and all that could output clean code, well, Dreamweaver could become a visualising tool of choice. Heck, if they threw in some rudimentary Photoshop editing tools, I'd be at the front of the queue.

As CSS wizard Jonathan Snook said recently:

I was asked once what the next big thing was for CSS and I said tooling. Most tools up until now have missed the mark on allowing for quick prototyping that can easily spill over into quicker production.

He's specifically talking about CSS and the quick Bootstrap prototyping web GUI JetStrap but the same principle could be applied to visual design tools as well: quick prototyping that easily spills into quicker production.

Jetstrap - The Bootstrap Interface Builder
Is Jetstrap a possible contender for visual rapid prototyping? Photo: Jetstrap

Rest assured though, if Adobe doesn't manage it with Dreamweaver, I bet my bottom dollar that there'll be a web-based app doing it sometime very soon.

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